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Inside this issue
Snow, Ice Hamper Auto Production in the South
Ford's Farley Talks Global Growth
Some Toyota Model Sales Halted Over Seat Problem
Nissan, Renault Raise Target for Cost Savings
Ford Signs White House Pledge to Help Long-Term Unemployed Job Seekers
What's the Real Benefit of Driverless Cars?
Super Bowl Will Again Be a Showcase for Automakers
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Snow, Ice Hamper Auto Production in the South

Auto plants in the southeastern United States, where cities were gridlocked by snow and ice this week, canceled some shifts, and parts shortages caused by the storms have slowed production in other regions of the country. Hyundai, Kia, Honda and Mercedes-Benz closed their plants in Alabama and Georgia when the storms hit Tuesday, causing countless drivers to abandon their cars on freeways and stranding thousands of children in Atlanta schools overnight. Ford Motor Co. said some of its plants have adjusted their schedules because parts from suppliers in the Southeast are running low. Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said the problems are not expected to result in significant lost production. She declined to say which plants were affected but said none were completely shut down. "They're rerouting shipments around Atlanta and other places," Adamski said. "Generally, the reports that we're seeing are that most [plants] are running the way that they should be."
Source: Automotive News
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Ford's Farley Talks Global Growth

Jim Farley, Ford's executive vice president-global marketing, sales and service spoke briefly to a small gathering of dealers and press attending the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) confab about the automaker's longer-term goals worldwide. Noting that the company sold six million new vehicles last year, up 10%, and three times the growth of the industry, he said the goal is to grow another 25% in a relatively short time frame. "We have meaningful share increases and retail in Europe and across the globe,” Farley said, adding, “We plan to grow another 25% with a focus on small cars, the largest segment in the world globally. And we also have big plans to grow in SUVs."
Source: MediaPost
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Some Toyota Model Sales Halted Over Seat Problem

Toyota has told its dealers to stop selling about 36,000 vehicles of its most popular models because a component on the heated seats does not comply with a federal safety standard for flame retardants, the automaker said on Thursday. The affected models are the 2013 and 2014 Avalon, Avalon hybrid, Camry, Camry hybrid, Sienna and Tacoma, and the 2014 Corolla and Tundra. Toyota has received no reports of fires and is asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration not to require a recall of vehicles already sold, and instead rule that the “noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety,” John Hanson, a spokesman for the automaker, said in an interview. Such requests are not unusual and prompt a lengthy investigation by the traffic safety agency. If the agency rejects the request, Toyota would be required to conduct a recall.
Source: The New York Times
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Nissan, Renault Raise Target for Cost Savings

Executives to oversee broader range of shared activities at auto makers

Auto makers Renault SA of France and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan are accelerating efforts to wring costs out of their shared operations, installing a new management structure and increasing their target for cost savings by 2016. Since 1999, when Renault came to then-struggling Nissan's rescue, the two companies have been working to gradually eliminate overlaps in their research, development and production systems, while using their joint purchasing power to extract economies of scale from parts suppliers. But analysts and investors have been critical of the slow pace of integration over the past 15 years and the opacity of the alliance's combined accounting. "It has never been entirely clear how they calculate their synergies, which appear to be more cost avoidance than actual savings," said Gaëtan Toulemonde, an automobile analyst with Deutsche Bank in Paris. Now, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has set a new target for the alliance of at least €4.3 billion, or $5.9 billion, of annual synergies—including costs avoided and outright expense reductions—from 2016.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Ford Signs White House Pledge to Help Long-Term Unemployed Job Seekers

Ford has joined a long list of companies signing an Obama administration pledge to remove barriers that may keep qualified long-term unemployed job seekers from applying or being hired. “Ford supports the White House's initiative to promote the best practices for recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed,” the company said in a statement. “We are committed to hiring the most qualified individuals for positions, regardless of unemployment status or duration of time unemployed.” General Motors has also signed onto the pledge, a spokesperson said later Thursday.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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What's the Real Benefit of Driverless Cars?

Driverless cars are the auto industry's equivalent of an Armani suit: They give any company a touch of class. A small fleet of driverless cars -- displayed by BMW, Audi, Ford and others -- was displayed this month at the International CES, along with a self-parking vehicle designed by Valeo. At the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, for example, a hands-free BMW 2-series coupe maintained control during a series of power slides across a water-slicked track. And BMW plans to navigate a fleet of driverless cars next year on a 500-kilometer, or 311-mile, route from Germany over the Alps to Italy. This is heady stuff, no doubt. But I can't shake the feeling that some of us are missing the real point of driverless cars. The true benefit of hands-free cars is the anti-collision systems that have been developed for them. In conventional vehicles, these tools can keep fatigued or distracted motorists out of trouble. Automakers are introducing traffic-jam assist, low-speed collision avoidance, lane-keeping systems and other useful systems. And if fully autonomous cars never enter the showroom, that's OK.
Source: Automotive News
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Super Bowl Will Again Be a Showcase for Automakers

It costs an estimated $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime during this Super Bowl, so the stakes are high. Among automakers, the players in this year's Super Bowl are Audi, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Volkswagen and, for the first time, Jaguar. There is also a rumor that Chrysler will air an ad during the game with Bob Dylan as the company's bard-in-chief.
Source: The New York Times
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Quotable
"We plan to grow another 25% with a focus on small cars, the largest segment in the world globally. And we also have big plans to grow in SUVs."

   
-- Jim Farley, Ford's executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, speaking to dealers at the NADA convention in New Orleans, MediaPost, Jan. 26
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