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Inside this issue
Chrysler Posts Q4 Net Income of $1.6 Billion with Help of Onetime Tax Gain
Obama Lauds Barra's Rise to GM CEO in State of the Union Address
Honda's U.S. Factories Hit Export Milestone
Ford to Idle F-150 Factories for 13 Weeks to Prep For Aluminum Version
Makers Pack New Cars With Technology, but Younger Buyers Shrug
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Top Stories
Chrysler Posts Q4 Net Income of $1.6 Billion with Help of Onetime Tax Gain

New name: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Chrysler Group reported an increase in earnings for the fourth quarter as the launch of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee and higher U.S. sales helped the automaker to its third straight annual profit. In a separate announcement, Chrysler and Fiat said their combined company will be renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. It will be incorporated in the Netherlands; have a fiscal domicile in the U.K. for tax purposes; and have its primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange and secondary listing in Milan. The automakers' merger was announced Jan 1. Chrysler's net income of $1.6 billion was aided by a onetime tax gain of $962 million, the company said in a statement. A year earlier, Chrysler netted $378 million.
Source: Automotive News

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Obama Lauds Barra's Rise to GM CEO in State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama cited new General Motors CEO Mary Barra as an example of those who strengthen America by realizing their dreams through hard work. "That's what drew our forebears here," he said in his State of the Union address Tuesday. "It's how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America's largest automaker," he added, as television cameras focused on Barra, attending as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama. Barra, 52, became the first CEO of a global automaker when she succeeded the retiring Dan Akerson two weeks ago. In the early 1980s, she landed her first job as a plant engineer at GM's Pontiac Motor Division, where her father worked as a die maker for nearly four decades. Obama directly followed his nod to Barra with references to political rival John Boehner and himself.
Source: Automotive News
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Honda's U.S. Factories Hit Export Milestone

Auto maker's American factories shipped 108,000 vehicles outside the U.S. Honda Motor Co. said its U.S. vehicle exports last year exceeded its Japanese imports for the first time, highlighting efforts by major Japanese auto makers to expand their North American operations. Honda said on Monday it exported 108,705 U.S.-made vehicles last year to 50 countries, and imported 88,537 vehicles from Japan. Overall, Honda said it built a record 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. last year. The milestone comes as Honda and other Japanese auto makers are launching a new round of manufacturing plant expansion in North America, primarily targeting the U.S. market, to hedge against currency swings and trade politics.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Ford to Idle F-150 Factories for 13 Weeks to Prep For Aluminum Version

Ford Motor Co. said it plans 13 weeks of downtime for retooling this year at plants building the F-150 as it prepares to introduce the next generation of its top-selling pickup. Ford said production would be halted for 11 weeks at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan and for two weeks at its plant near Kansas City, Mo. The figures include the traditional summer shutdown for both plants. How Ford manages the launch of the 2015 F-150 and how customers react to the truck's lighter, more expensive aluminum body will have a significant effect on the company's profits this year. The F series accounted for 31 percent of Ford's U.S. light-vehicle sales in 2013, and Morgan Stanley estimates that it generates about 90 percent of Ford's global profits.
Source: Automotive News
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Makers Pack New Cars With Technology, but Younger Buyers Shrug

Young, educated and upwardly mobile, Kristin Winn represents the ideal target for automakers trying to reach young buyers. Ms. Winn, a 24-year-old technician for an ophthalmologist, says she plans to replace her nine-year-old Chevrolet Cobalt this year. She says that she would like to buy a new car that has the latest technologies, like hands-free calling, but that it's not likely to happen considering the cost. “I'll probably buy used,” said Ms. Winn, who is from Ann Arbor, Mich., as she admired the Mercedes and Cadillac exhibits at the North American International Auto Show last week. “I plan to go back to school, so I have to keep that in mind.” Automakers have been in a race in recent years to woo the most coveted, if elusive, sector of the car market: younger buyers. They have restyled cars, creating sportier versions that are more environmentally friendly, and loaded them with the latest dashboard technology. But despite these efforts, young buyers like Ms. Winn still say that price and fuel economy are the most important factors in deciding what to purchase.
Source: The New York Times
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Quotable
"The 2013 year-end financial results reflect the commitment Chrysler Group has made to rapidly refresh our product lineup with vehicles that achieve exacting performance standards." 

    -- Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, commenting on an increase in the automaker's earnings, Automotive News, Jan. 29

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