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Inside this issue
U.S. New Auto Inventories Highest Since '09
Ford Banks On Shift From Cars to SUVs
Toyota Revamps U.S. Marketing into 'Dynamic' Product Teams
After Crisis, GM Expected to Add 400 Jobs at 3 Plants
Fiat: Decision 'Not Even Close' On Investment in Canada Factory
Chrysler to Stop Publishing N.A. Production Reports
Twitter, Eyeing $15 Billion Auto Ad Market, Says Users Buy More Cars
GM to Restore Corvettes that Fell into Ky. Sinkhole
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. New Auto Inventories Highest Since '09

Automakers tend to begin a year flush with inventory as cold weather and post-holiday doldrums keep many buyers away from dealer lots. But this past January inventories jumped by double-digit percentages for all of the top eight automakers, except Nissan, with the result that new-car customers are finding bargains. Overall, inventories are higher now than they have been since August 2009, prior to the 18-month U.S. recession that kicked off in December of that year and sent the industry reeling. “It's important to keep in mind that one month does not indicate a trend,” Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said. “January is typically the lowest sales month of the year for new-vehicle sales, and the bitterly cold and stormy weather in several regions of the country have clearly compounded what is a slower sales month. If we don't start to see some improvement by early March -- which we do expect to improve -- then we can be concerned.”
Source: International Business Times
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Ford Banks On Shift From Cars to SUVs

Passenger cars are so last century. One in five vehicles sold around the world in 2018 — about 14 million annually — will be sport-utilities or crossovers, according to forecasts by IHS Automotive. “These statistics are really dramatic,” said Jim Farley, head of global marketing, sales and service for Ford. “Something is really changing in our industry.” A seemingly insatiable appetite for crossovers, especially smaller ones, is pushing automakers to expand their lineups. The number of crossover models has more than doubled from 180 in 2000 to 370 today. Buyers from the U.S. to China, India, Brazil, Russia and Thailand see today's crossovers as mainstream vehicles — much like sedans and coupes used to be the backbone of the industry.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Toyota Revamps U.S. Marketing into 'Dynamic' Product Teams

80 employees must reapply for new posts to support dealers, guests 'more effectively'

Toyota Division is overhauling its U.S. marketing operations into "dynamic" product teams that will require 80 employees to reapply for newly created positions or take a voluntary separation from the automaker. The automaker said today that the changes were necessary "in order to meet our future business needs, and support our dealers and guests more effectively." There likely will be no net reduction in employees, said Jack Hollis, vice president of marketing for the Toyota division. In fact, the company's marketing ranks will likely grow in the near future. But because the operating structure of the department is changing, some current employees might not have skill sets that match the new organization. As part of the changes, employee roles and responsibilities are being redefined to be more "integrated, flexible and efficient," Toyota, whose U.S. operations have 6,100 employees, said in a statement.
Source: Automotive News
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After Crisis, GM Expected to Add 400 Jobs at 3 Plants

General Motors is expected to add 400 jobs this year at three plants that were temporarily idled during the automaker's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but later reopened, according to a new study. GM's Orion Assembly plant and Pontiac Metal Center in Michigan and Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee employed 3,000 workers in 2013, according to the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research. Those three facilities are expected to employ 3,400 workers in 2014, the nonprofit estimated in a study financed by the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Fiat: Decision 'Not Even Close' On Investment in Canada Factory

Chrysler Group LLC, which is exploring where to build its new minivans, may decide whether to move forward by the end of March, CEO Sergio Marchionne said. Chrysler, fully owned by Fiat SpA since last month, is negotiating with federal and provincial governments in Canada for loans to help it prepare factories in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario. Fiat is “not even close” to resolving those talks, Marchionne said Thursday. The investment, which Marchionne says may total billions of dollars, would be the largest Fiat has made since Chrysler exited bankruptcy in 2009.
Source: Bloomberg
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Chrysler to Stop Publishing N.A. Production Reports

Chrysler Group will no longer publish monthly North American vehicle production reports, claiming it is not a good representation of the company's finances. A Chrysler spokeswoman said the company was now more global and that the monthly production "reflects only NAFTA production, [and] is only a snapshot of the total wholesale shipments on which the Company's financials are based." No additional information as to why the company is ceasing the reports was provided. Quarterly earnings calls will continue, where guidance on product shipments will remain a talking point.
Source: Automotive News
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Twitter, Eyeing $15 Billion Auto Ad Market, Says Users Buy More Cars

Twitter Inc., seeking a bigger slice of the more than $15 billion auto-advertising market, said households with users of its service were twice as likely to buy a new car as the average U.S. household. About 6 percent of households with Twitter users bought a new car during a six-month period measured by partner Datalogix Inc. last year, the San Francisco-based social network said Thursday in a blog post. Those households bought new vehicles at double the national rate from April to October, according to Datalogix and IHS Automotive's Polk. The car-buying data "moves the conversation from 'why Twitter?' to 'how should we use Twitter?'" said Jeffrey Graham, ad research director at Twitter. "The measurement shows that Twitter works and there's a huge opportunity there."
Source: Bloomberg
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GM to Restore Corvettes that Fell into Ky. Sinkhole

General Motors Co. will try to restore all eight Chevrolet Corvettes that tumbled into a giant sinkhole that opened Wednesday under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. The company said Thursday that GM and Chevrolet will manage restoration at the GM Motors Design facilities in the Warren Tech Center. GM executive Ed Welburn, vice president of global design, will lead the effort. “The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history,” Mark Reuss, head of GM's global product development, said in a statement. “There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible, so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the museum reopens.” The sinkhole was estimated at 40 feet across and up to 30 feet deep in the museum's Skydome. Eight Corvettes, including a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder and 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from GM, were damaged.
Source: The Detroit News
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The crossover craze "will have a big impact on our business, not just Ford, but the whole industry."

    -- Jim Farley, head of global marketing, sales and service for Ford, commenting on the increased demand for crossover vehicles, Detroit Free Press, Feb. 13
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