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Inside this issue
General Motors CEO Mary Barra Sits Down for an Exclusive Interview with NADA-TV
GM Chief Can't Shake Recall Furor
Automakers Need Dealers, NADA Chairman Says
Automakers See Boom Times for Luxury Market
Ford Plans to Overhaul Infotainment System
Land Rover Heads to Space with Virgin Galactic
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
General Motors CEO Mary Barra Sits Down for an Exclusive Interview with NADA-TV


Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Co., sat down for an exclusive, one-on-one interview with NADA-TV during the 2014 Automotive Forum in New York City on Tuesday. She discussed the role of GM dealers during the ignition switch recall, dealership profitability and the company's future goals. Click here to view the NADA-TV interview.
Source: NADA-TV
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GM Chief Can't Shake Recall Furor

Before car show, Mary Barra is peppered with calls for details of investigation

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Mary Barra sought to shift the focus on Tuesday to the auto maker's coming new vehicles and away from investigations of a troubled ignition-switch recall, but struggled amid a barrage of questions about its responses to the probes. In New York ahead of an auto show, Ms. Barra deflected questions about a potential U.S. criminal probe, saying she wasn't aware if the Department of Justice has sought documents from the company, and declined to say when GM expected to answer all questions posed by auto-safety regulator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "We are working on those every day," she said of the NHTSA inquiry while surrounded by a media crowd peppering her with questions. GM Global Product Chief Mark Reuss was recruited to help provide crowd control after her speech [at the 2014 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum].
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Editor's note: For more information on the GM recall, go to www.gmignitionupdate.com or www.safercar.gov.

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Automakers Need Dealers, NADA Chairman Says

Trade organization's Forrest McConnell III says it is “bizarre logic” to claim dealers are unnecessary middlemen

Automakers rely on dealers to help them conduct business and, moreover, to bail them out of emergencies, says the chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. “The auto industry needs the franchised dealer system,” says Forrest McConnell III, speaking at a J.D. Power/NADA conference held in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show. Franchised auto retailers carry the load of various automotive business costs, including buying and stocking billions of dollars in inventory on the lots of the nation's 17,600 dealerships, he says.
Source: WardsAuto
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Automakers See Boom Times for Luxury Market

Luxury automakers are ramping up the number of models they will offer as they see a growing demand for high-end vehicles. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and Cadillac all plan to up the number of models they offer over the next five years, amid predictions that luxury sales will continue to outpace the overall market. Many luxury players have unveiled smaller, cheaper entry-level models to woo younger buyers to the market. They are offering electric vehicles and smaller cars to meet rapidly rising fuel efficiency standards and state requirements for zero-emission vehicles. Over the last five years, Mercedes-Benz noted it has grown from 55 to 65 models in the United States, said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA — and expects to hit 75 models by 2020. “It's a pretty big expansion,” he said at the NADA/JD Power Automotive Forum here ahead of the New York International Auto Show press previews that will start Wednesday.
Source: The Detroit News

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Ford Plans to Overhaul Infotainment System

New systems could be produced in new vehicles as soon as late this year

Ford Motor Co. is working on a major overhaul of its My Ford Touch in-car infotainment system that could be introduced in new vehicles as soon as late this year, a person familiar with the matter said. My Ford Touch allows drivers to make phone calls, use their navigation system and play music, usually with voice commands. But its sometimes buggy operation and slow response has been the cause of customer complaints and sinking quality scores for the auto maker. Ford Motor Co. is working on a major overhaul of its My Ford Touch in-car infotainment system that could be introduced in new vehicles as soon as late this year, a person familiar with the matter said. My Ford Touch allows drivers to make phone calls, use their navigation system and play music, usually with voice commands. But its sometimes buggy operation and slow response has been the cause of customer complaints and sinking quality scores for the auto maker. Joe Hinrichs, the head of Ford's operations in the Americas, said on Tuesday that the company is working to "improve the stability and responsiveness" of My Ford Touch. Speaking to reporters at a conference organized by the National Automobile Dealers Association, Mr. Hinrichs added that the current version of My Ford Touch has "software limitations that we want to break through."
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Land Rover Heads to Space with Virgin Galactic

Land Rover is famous as the luxury brand of vehicles that can go over virtually any terrain on earth. Now Land Rover is going to the edge of space. Land Rover has signed a marketing deal with Richard Branson's space tourism outfit, Virgin Galactic. The partnership was announced Monday night aboard the retired U.S aircraft carrier Intrepid, now the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. A mock-up of Virgin Galactic's spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, was on the flight deck. Details of the partnership were not disclosed, but are likely to include adding the Land Rover name to the list of sponsors on the spacecraft's fuselage.
Source: USA Today
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Quotable

"GM dealers are getting ready to take care of the recalled cars, from New York to Yuma, Arizona. When something goes wrong on the assembly line, we’re there to make it right."

   
-- NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell, in remarks during the 2014 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in New York City on Tuesday, WardsAuto, April 15 

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