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Inside this issue
Dealer Magazine: Interview with 2014 NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell III
Fiat Agrees to Buy Rest of Chrysler from UAW Trust for $4.35 Billion
Incoming GM Chairman Solso Made Tough Calls as Cummins' CEO
Detroit Gains Ground in 2013 as Ford Fusion Sets Growth
BMW, Toyota Agree on Joint Sportscar Platform
Congress Letting 55 Tax Breaks Expire at End of Year
Self-driving Cars to be 9 Percent of Global Auto Sales in 2035: Study
Video: Ford, the Future and the Mustang's 50th Birthday
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Dealer Magazine: Interview with 2014 NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell III


In an interview in the January 2014 edition of Dealer magazine, Forrest McConnell III, the incoming chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, discusses his family’s start in the retail-auto business, outlines his agenda for the year ahead as well as dealing with regulatory challenges, such as the “ill-informed” effort by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to eliminate the ability of car buyers to negotiate for more competitive auto loan rates offered through dealerships. Click here for the full interview.
Source: Dealer magazine

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Fiat Agrees to Buy Rest of Chrysler from UAW Trust for $4.35 Billion

After months of wrangling, Fiat SpA and a United Auto Workers trust fund agreed to a $4.35 billion deal for the Italian car maker to buy the remaining stake in Chrysler Group LLC, setting up a merger to create the world’s seventh-largest automaker. Fiat and the UAW retiree health-care trust have shared ownership of Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler since its 2009 bankruptcy. Fiat, which already holds 58.5 percent of Chrysler, has long wanted to acquire the remaining stake, but the two sides have been fighting over what is a fair price.
Source: Forbes

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Incoming GM Chairman Solso Made Tough Calls as Cummins' CEO

In 2001, about a year into his tenure as CEO of then-struggling Cummins Inc., Tim Solso did the unthinkable: He axed one of the two U.S. heavy-duty engine platforms under development, one in which the company had invested nearly three years and tens of millions of dollars. "To kill an engine platform at Cummins back then, it was like a sacred cow," says Jean Blackwell, who was then a vice president at the diesel engine maker. "Tim's message was: 'We need the right cost structure, and the customers have to want it.' People weren't used to hearing that." The recent selection of Solso as General Motors' nonexecutive chairman didn't come as a shock to former colleagues, given the parallels between his 12-year tenure at Cummins and the path of post-bankruptcy GM. Both involved a struggle to change the culture of a once-dominant but humbled company, whacking away at a bloated cost structure and a renewed effort to focus on the customer.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Detroit Gains Ground in 2013 as Ford Fusion Sets Growth

Americans are snapping up U.S. cars spanning from Chrysler Group LLC's Dodge value brand to General Motors Co.’s Cadillac luxury line, highlighting the newfound breadth of offerings in the automakers’ showrooms. Armed with what Kevin Tynan, an auto analyst for Bloomberg Industries, has called their most competitive lineups in a generation, each of the Detroit Three entered December on track to gain U.S. market share for the year. They’ve all increased sales faster than the total industry for a calendar year only once in the last two and a half decades -- when Japan’s 2011 tsunami wiped out months of Toyota and Honda output -- according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Source: Bloomberg

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BMW, Toyota Agree on Joint Sportscar Platform

Carmakers BMW and Toyota have agreed to develop a joint platform for sportscars, BMW's development chief Herbert Diess told a German newspaper. "We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car. What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday quoted Diess as saying. BMW and Toyota had in January [2013] signed an agreement to cooperate on various areas including lithium-air batteries and lightweight technology.
Source: Reuters

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Congress Letting 55 Tax Breaks Expire at End of Year

In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses. Lawmakers let these tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns.
Source: The Associated Press

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Self-driving Cars to be 9 Percent of Global Auto Sales in 2035: Study

Sales of vehicles able to drive themselves will account for about 9 percent of global auto sales in about two decades, according to a forecast published on Tuesday by auto industry consultant IHS Automotive. The study focused on autonomous cars, which can drive with "no attention needed by the driver," IHS analyst Egil Juliussen said. Such cars are not currently available for sale, but IHS predicts they will be available around 2025. IHS expects global sales of self-driving cars in 2025 to be 230,000 -- less than 1 percent of the 115 million cars expected to be sold that year.
Source: Reuters

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Video: Ford, the Future and the Mustang's 50th Birthday

What will the future bring? Well, if you’re Sheryl Connelly, the in-house “futurist” at Ford, your whole job is determining just what the future will bring. Ms. Connelly dropped in on the MoneyBeat desk to share some of her insights for 2014, including the appeal of old school design, the trick of balancing tasks, how the company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, and why the lure of the open road has been supplanted by the lure of the mobile phone.
Source: The Wall Street Journal MoneyBeat


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Quotable

"In the life of every major organization and its people, there are defining moments that go down in the history books."

    -- Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC, referring to the $4.35 billion deal for the Italian car maker to buy the remaining stake in Chrysler, Forbes, Jan. 1

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