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Inside this issue
Steven Szakaly Named New Chief Economist at NADA
Important Vehicle and Equipment Tax Benefits Expiring at Year-End
Akerson in D.C.: GM Still Has 'A Lot to Prove'
Global Auto Sales May Top 100 Million By 2018
NADA's Used-Vehicle Price Index Reaches All-Time High in November
European Car Sales Rise a Third Month on Volkswagen Gains
Ford 'Lifers' Get Second Chance as CEO Readies Exit
U.S. Army and GM Announce Fuel-Cell Testing Agreement
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Steven Szakaly Named New Chief Economist at NADA



Steven Szakaly

NADA has named Steven Szakaly as its new chief economist. “Steven brings several years of experience working in economics and the auto industry,” said NADA President Peter Welch. “As the industry and economic environments continue to change, his analytical-thought leadership will benefit the membership as well as add to public policy discussions.” Szakaly brings more than 10 years of forecasting and industry analysis experience to NADA. Prior to joining NADA, he led economic forecasting at Cliffs Natural Resources in Cleveland, Ohio. He has worked with General Motors in powertrain forecasting in Detroit and was an economist with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Szakaly began his career as an associate economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com

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Important Vehicle and Equipment Tax Benefits Expiring at Year-End

Important tax benefits for dealers and their business customers are set to expire at the end of 2013. Qualifying businesses can immediately expense certain equipment and software purchases this year, instead of depreciating the cost over several years. Under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code, businesses may deduct a total of $500,000 of certain equipment purchases made in 2013, subject to certain restrictions and a phase-out. Additionally, 50% bonus depreciation on equipment purchases is in effect until the end of 2013. The increased depreciation under these rules for vehicles is similarly set to expire Dec. 31, 2013. The Section 179 and bonus depreciation incentives can also be combined. However, it is important to note that the availability and combination of these incentives are subject to complex rules. For example, the vehicle bonus depreciation is subject to certain vehicle type, business use and weight restrictions. Therefore, dealers are encouraged to speak with their accountants and should encourage their business customers to do the same regarding the expiring incentives. For more information from the IRS, click here; and from NADA, click here.
Source: NADA Regulatory & Legislative Affairs
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Akerson in D.C.: GM Still Has 'A Lot to Prove'

Dan Akerson, the departing CEO of General Motors, gave a closing defense [at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.] of the bailout that saved GM five years ago, saying the company's strong balance sheet and recent accolades for its cars show the wisdom of the move. For Akerson, the former telecom executive who joined GM in 2010, it was also a chance to cement a legacy as the CEO who closed the books on the bailout era. “General Motors is working again,” he said in the speech at the National Press Club. The speech was also a warning. Akerson admonished his colleagues not to slip back into the old habits that led the company into bankruptcy.
Source: Automotive News

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Global Auto Sales May Top 100 Million By 2018

Automakers — who have recovered from the Great Recession — will have an opportunity over the next several years to tap into rapid growth overseas while sales in the U.S. will continue to increase more gradually. The rapid global expansion of the automotive industry will put even greater pressure on North American parts suppliers as manufacturers continue to increase the pace of new product introductions, according to analysts from IHS Automotive. “At no other time in recent history has the North American automotive market been as well positioned as it is today,” said Mike Jackson, director of North American vehicle forecasting for IHS Automotive. In the U.S., automotive sales have recovered to an expected total of 15.5 million this year from a low of 10.4 million in 2009. U.S. sales will continue to increase over the next four years in the U.S., but the pace will slow at the same time that product introductions increase, said Jackson, who was one of several analysts to speak Monday at a event IHS hosted for the media. But at the same time that sales will grow slowly in the U.S., global sales are expected to increase 22% over the next four years as sales skyrocket from about 82 million this year to more than 100 million by 2018.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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NADA's Used-Vehicle Price Index Reaches All-Time High in November

Used vehicle prices firm up in November after taking a dive in October

After diving by 3.5% in October, the rate of used-vehicle depreciation slowed substantially to 1.5% in November, pushing the NADA seasonally adjusted used-vehicle price index to its highest point of 125.6. The index, which measures the change in prices for used-vehicles up to eight-years-old, is up 1.8 points from October's figure of 123.8, surpassing the previous high of 125 set in December 2012. “November's decline in the rate of depreciation can be credited to favorable market conditions, lower unemployment, moderating gas prices and advantageous credit conditions, including the end of the federal government shutdown in October,” said Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst of the NADA Used Car Guide, in the December edition of Guidelines, a monthly report on new- and used-vehicle sales trends and price movement.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com
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European Car Sales Rise a Third Month on Volkswagen Gains

European new-car sales rose a third consecutive month in November, the longest period of gains in four years, as demand for autos from Volkswagen AG and Renault SA contributed to signs that an industrywide decline is ending. Registrations in November increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 975,281 vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, said in a statement. The growth followed gains of 4.6 percent in October and 5.5 percent in September. The economy of the 17 nations sharing the euro will probably expand this quarter, continuing growth after a six-quarter recession in the region ended in the three months through June, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. New vehicles boosting car sales in Europe include the Golf hatchback and Skoda Rapid Spaceback wagon at Volkswagen, the region's biggest carmaker, and the Captur compact crossover at Renault.
Source: Bloomberg
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Ford 'Lifers' Get Second Chance as CEO Readies Exit

Every Wednesday, Ford Motor Co.'s top executives gather before sunrise to work through some of the company's most vexing problems. Notably absent is CEO Alan Mulally. The 2-1/2-hour meetings, which mainly focus on vehicle quality issues, were started by Mark Fields after he was appointed COO a year ago -- a clear sign that a changing of the guard is under way at Ford. Mulally, 68, is a top contender to lead Microsoft Corp., according to sources familiar with the software company. But regardless of whether he gets that job, he is unlikely to stay at Ford through 2014, two people close to the automaker said. The view from inside Ford, and of people close to the company, is that the management team Mulally groomed is now ready for his exit. Fields, 52, is widely expected to take over as CEO. Mulally's exit would leave Ford mostly in the hands of "lifers" who have spent much of their careers working for the Blue Oval. All but one corporate officer -- global marketing chief Jim Farley -- were at Ford prior to Mulally.
Source: Reuters
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U.S. Army and GM Announce Fuel-Cell Testing Agreement

The U.S. Army and General Motors announced Monday the start of hydrogen fuel-cell testing at the Army's new Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory in suburban Detroit. The agreement is aimed at cutting development costs for both sides as the U.S. searches to cut its reliance on petroleum as a fuel source. The two organizations will share lab technology and common equipment as they strive to improve fuel-cell technology.
Source: WardsAuto
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Quotable
"The end of the ‘Government Motors' era has cleared the runway for the team to soar. And soar we will, because we are building a GM that America can be proud of." 

   -- Outgoing General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, during remarks at the National Press Club in D.C. on Monday, The Detroit News, Dec. 16

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