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Inside this issue
Commentary: Auto Dealers Provide Their Customers with a Safety Net during Recalls
NADA Foundation Mobilizes Emergency Relief to Help Victims of Recent Tornados
Toyota Set to Revamp U.S. Marketing Operations
Chrysler in 2014 Closely Resembles What Marchionne Said it Would 5 Years Ago
Fields Track Record Shows He Has Leadership Chops to Silence Critics
Detroit 3 Rush to Expand SUV Lineups in China
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Commentary: Auto Dealers Provide Their Customers with a Safety Net during Recalls
By Forrest McConnell, III / NADA chairman

The Associated Press reported that automakers have recalled about 9 million vehicles in the U.S. through the first four months of the year, and “if that pace continues, the nation would break the record of 30.8 million recalled vehicles set in 2004.” When something goes wrong on the assembly line, automakers turn to their franchised auto dealers and the dealerships' service departments to make things right – all at no cost to the customer. The franchise system is a network that consists of more than 17,700 new-car dealerships across the country which support their customers beyond the point of sale. Click here for the full commentary.
Source: NADA Public Affairs
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NADA Foundation Mobilizes Emergency Relief to Help Victims of Recent Tornados

Dealership employees in Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma who have been affected by the recent tornados are eligible to receive financial assistance from the Emergency Relief Fund of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation. Click here for the application for Emergency Relief Fund Assistance. For questions or assistance with the application process, call 703-821-7233 or email foundation@nada.org.
Source: NADA Public Affairs
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Toyota Set to Revamp U.S. Marketing Operations

Auto maker is offering redundancy packages to employees

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to roll out a restructuring of its U.S. marketing operations in California as early as Monday, people familiar with the plans said. The company has more than 5,000 employees in California, many of them at a complex in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance that houses Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., the company's U.S. marketing arm. Toyota's U.S. sales operations have been based in southern California since 1957. Toyota has expanded its operations in the area to include product planning, vehicle design, consumer finance and logistics. The auto maker also has a small manufacturing operation in Long Beach, Calif. Details of the scope of the reorganization, and whether Toyota plans to move a significant number of jobs out of California to other states, weren't clear Sunday. Two people familiar with the company's plans said some operations could move to Texas. The company declined to comment on what it called rumors. The company confirmed that it was restructuring its marketing organization.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Chrysler in 2014 Closely Resembles What Marchionne Said it Would 5 Years Ago

In late 2009, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and his team laid out an audacious five-year plan to rebuild Chrysler Group. The verdict is in: It worked. Today, as company executives prepare to unveil on May 6 a new five-year plan that comes near the fifth anniversary of the automaker's bankruptcy, Chrysler is profitable. Its products and marketing are vastly better. Its dealers are making more money than they have in decades. Sales continue to grow. Neither the U.S. government nor the UAW holds an ownership stake. There have been stumbles and setbacks, to be sure -- the Fiat brand relaunch and the half-baked Dodge Dart spring to mind. But Chrysler deserves a strong B+ for its performance during the last five years.
Source: Automotive News

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Fields Track Record Shows He Has Leadership Chops to Silence Critics

Yes, Mark Fields' Ford career has been fabulously successful, but a cloud of doubt still follows him. Critics tend to dismiss him as an "MBA," or worse still, a "Harvard MBA" (he's guilty on both counts). It's a polite way of calling the guy an empty suit. Where's the car-guy cred, they ask? The signature vehicles, the trail of turnarounds, the bold initiatives, the mottos on laminated cards, the evidence that Fields can succeed Alan Mulally? But look again. The 53-year-old New Jersey native, who this week may be named Ford's next CEO, has been handed a series of big and complex assignments in the past 15 years. He also has been asked to fill some big shoes, and before taking each job there have been cynics. They always expect Fields to fail -- and he never does. Yet when Fields takes over at Ford this year, he will have to prove himself again.
Source: Automotive News

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Detroit 3 Rush to Expand SUV Lineups in China

Even before the first Chevrolet Trax compact crossover arrived at his dealership last week, Chinese dealer He Sei was inundated with customer calls, he said. "They wanted to know when it goes on sale," said He, who manages a five-store group with the only showrooms for Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac in this dusty city of 2.2 million people. "The view of the Chinese consumer is that SUVs are sportier, more fashionable and more youthful." Roughly a decade after the United States, China is going gaga for SUVs. The mantra is more SUVs ASAP, as those vehicles -- including SUVs and crossovers -- rapidly supplant sedans as the most popular segment. The trend bodes well for Detroit-based automakers.
Source: Automotive News
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Quotable

"The franchised dealer network will always be a model that benefits both our customers and manufacturers alike. And it’s a network that is irreplaceable." 

   
-- NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell, commenting on the benefits of the dealer franchise system in the April Chairman's Column

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