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Inside this issue
GM Poised for More Recalls as 2 Million Vehicles Probed
Compact Car Production Could Leave U.S. to Cut Costs
Hyundai Leapfrogs Honda to Become Greenest Automaker in U.S., Scientists Say
U.S. Seeks to Fund Alcoa's Bet on Automotive Aluminum
Capacity Cuts Leave Ford Optimistic in Europe
Google Reveals Prototype, Plans for Self-Driving Car
Maserati's Image Builds on a Racing Reputation
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
GM Poised for More Recalls as 2 Million Vehicles Probed

U.S. regulators are investigating potential flaws in at least 2 million General Motors Co. vehicles that remain on the road, underlining the potential for still more recalls on top of this year's already-record tally. The largest U.S. automaker may continue to recall vehicles into the middle of the summer months, Brian Johnson, a Barclays analyst, wrote last week after meeting with a top GM executive. The company didn't dispute Johnson's characterization.
Source: Bloomberg
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Compact Car Production Could Leave U.S. to Cut Costs

Some automakers may look to shuffle where they build small cars to narrow the difference in manufacturing cost between subcompacts and compacts. Most compact cars for the U.S. market are built on American soil. Most of the smaller, subcompact cars are built in countries like Mexico where costs are cheaper. That means automakers can offer significantly better deals on the smaller cars. And it hurts the competitiveness of the largely U.S.-built compact segment, which is more than three times larger and is slightly more profitable than the subcompact segment. One solution may be for automakers to move production of compact cars from the U.S. to regions where it costs less to build them. U.S. manufacturing lines could then be used to build high-volume mid-size cars and compact crossovers, which better fit Americans' appetites.
Source: The Detroit News
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Hyundai Leapfrogs Honda to Become Greenest Automaker in U.S., Scientists Say

Detroit 3 land at bottom of 6th survey

Hyundai Motor Co., which has championed smaller engines and gasoline-electric hybrids, has dethroned Honda Motor Co. as the greenest automaker in the United States, according to a report released [Tuesday] by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The nonprofit scientific research group ranked Hyundai first and Honda second in its sixth evaluation of the environmental performance of the eight top-selling automakers in the United States. Honda had ranked on top since the report was first published in 2000.
Source: Automotive News
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U.S. Seeks to Fund Alcoa's Bet on Automotive Aluminum

The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed lending money to Alcoa Inc. to expand aluminum production at a Tennessee factory, setting the stage for the first loan to a supplier under a dormant $25 billion fund. The loan would help the largest U.S. aluminum producer expand a 100-year-old factory in Alcoa, Tenn., according to an environmental permit form signed in early May by Alcoa and DOE representatives and obtained by Automotive News. Alcoa spokeswoman Lori Lecker said the company has applied for a loan and is in the “due-diligence” phase with DOE.
Source: Automotive News
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Capacity Cuts Leave Ford Optimistic in Europe

Ford pared European production and expects profit ahead in economic turnaround

Alan Mulally, the soon-to-retire chief executive of Ford Motor Co., said he is confident its European unit could achieve a profit next year as planned because it is cutting losses and reaping restructuring benefits. "We are very confident that with the European economy slowly recovering that we're going to be profitable next year," Mr. Mulally said on Friday. His outlook is optimistic given the recent performance of its European operations. The business last year lost $1.6 billion, compared with a loss of $1.8 billion the year before. Even stripping out $400 million in restructuring costs in 2013, break-even in 2015 would mean improving earnings by $1.2 billion.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Google Reveals Prototype, Plans for Self-Driving Car

Google Inc. is now readying prototypes of self-driving vehicles, and the first iteration noticeably lacks three basic car features: a steering wheel, an accelerator and a brake pedal. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company on Tuesday unveiled a picture of a “very early version” of its prototype vehicle, which looks like a cartoonish cousin of a Fiat 500. The company said it is planning to build about 100 prototype vehicles beginning this summer, and safety drivers in California will start testing the vehicles that have manual controls.
Source: The Detroit News
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Maserati's Image Builds on a Racing Reputation

Maserati, one of Italy's classic automotive nameplates, celebrates its centennial this year in better shape than in any of its first 99. It's a health report backed up by numbers: If sales at Maserati's American subsidiary continue at their current rate, the total for the year is likely to pass 10,000 cars, or about what the company sold in the last three years combined. With North America as the brand's biggest market — nearly half of all sales in 2013 — and No. 2 China catching up quickly, Maserati's parent, the resurgent Fiat Chrysler organization, has set an ambitious annual goal of 75,000 sales worldwide by 2018.
Source: The New York Times
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Quotable

"We are very bullish on Europe."   

    -- Ford CEO Alan Mulally, commenting on his outlook for Europe despite a weak economy and the Ukraine crisis, The Wall Street Journal, May 27

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