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Inside this issue
Chrysler Sales Up 6 Percent as 2013 Finishes Strong
Lenders Tackle Compliance, CFPB
Fiat Soars After Gobbling up Chrysler for $4.35 Billion
NHTSA Moves Ahead on Backup-camera Regulation
High Rollers in a Buying Mood
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Top Stories
Chrysler Sales Up 6 Percent as 2013 Finishes Strong

Chrysler finished 2013 with a 9 percent sales increase, posting its best annual numbers in six years as the auto industry's recovery hit full stride. The company said Friday that it sold just over 1.8 million cars and trucks last year, up from 1.65 million a year earlier, led by record global sales of Jeep brand vehicles. The strong numbers from Chrysler are a sign that automakers closed out 2013 on a good note. Industry analysts estimate sales rose around 8 percent last year, to roughly 15.6 million.
Source: The Associated Press

Editor's note: General Motors, Ford and the other automakers will report their sales numbers later today.

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Lenders Tackle Compliance, CFPB

Compliance and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- topics that have a direct bearing on dealerships -- will be high on auto lenders' agenda this month in New Orleans. Among the speakers scheduled at the annual American Financial Services Association Vehicle Finance Conference is Patrice Ficklin, assistant director of the CFPB's Office of Fair Lending. The conference takes place Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, immediately before the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. Ficklin is scheduled to speak on Jan. 23. Other topics on the AFSA agenda also touch on regulation, such as a session on "AFSA University," a Web-based compliance training program for lender employees. Still others serve as a reminder that the business of making auto loans and leases continues, such as a session on improving customer satisfaction and also dealer satisfaction. Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors, is a keynote speaker on Jan. 23.
Source: Automotive News


Editor's note:
The NADA Convention & Expo runs Jan. 24-27. For more information or to register, visit www.nadaconvention.org.


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Fiat Soars After Gobbling up Chrysler for $4.35 Billion

Fiat agreed to buy the rest of Chrysler on Wednesday for $4.35 billion from the United Auto Workers Trust, and investors are bullish on the prospects for what will be the world’s seventh-largest automaker. Fiat stock leaped over 15% on Thursday following the news, finishing the day at its highest point since 2011. Fiat already holds 58.5 percent of Chrysler, but had been fighting with the UAW Trust over a fair price for the remaining share left after the US automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy. The trust threatened an IPO to raise the asking price, but ultimately Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne got what he wanted, larger scale with a chance to threaten the world’s largest car manufacturers: Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen.
Source: Forbes

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NHTSA Moves Ahead on Backup-camera Regulation

After several delays, the Obama administration is reviewing a revised rule that could push automakers to install backup cameras in more of their cars and trucks. The reworked regulation, submitted to the White House on Dec. 25, would set new rear visibility standards for light vehicles sold in the United States, according to a White House database that tracks the rulemaking process. The standards are aimed at keeping children from being run over and killed by vehicles moving in reverse. No details on the plan, submitted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, were made available.
Source: Automotive News

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High Rollers in a Buying Mood

Matt Hlavin, an entrepreneur in Cleveland who owns seven businesses, mostly in manufacturing, bought three Mercedes last year: a $237,000 SLS AMG and a $165,000 S63 AMG for himself, and a $97,000 GL550 sport utility vehicle for his wife. A legion of buyers like Mr. Hlavin, buoyed by a growing economy and a soaring stock market, are shedding whatever reluctance, or self-imposed restraint, they had during the recession by entering showrooms and leaving with trophy cars. Maserati is opening dealerships around the United States, Rolls-Royce just finished its most profitable year ever and even mainstream luxury automakers like Mercedes and Jaguar are finding an eager market for their most expensive models, which push past $100,000.
Source: The New York Times

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