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Inside this issue
Toyota's Jim Lentz to Keynote NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles
Chrysler Creates New Safety Group, Names New Product Chief
Former U.S. Attorney to Monitor Toyota Safety Efforts
Carter: 400K Additional Leases Ending This Year
Despite Recalls, GM Will Pay Q3 Dividend
Flooding Slows Production at Detroit Automakers
Millennials Changing the Way People Buy Cars
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Toyota's Jim Lentz to Keynote NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles

Chris Rhoades, chief designer from Mercedes-Benz's Advanced Design Center, to keynote luncheon



Jim Lentz

UPDATED Sept. 25, 2014 -- Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, and Chris Rhoades, chief designer and senior design manager from Mercedes-Benz's Advanced Design Center, are the featured keynote speakers at the 2014 Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles in November. The half-day conference, presented by NADA and J.D. Power, follows a group luncheon and includes a cross-section of speakers and panel discussions featuring automaker executives covering topical industry issues with a special focus on the marketplace in Los Angeles and California.

The conference theme, “Connecting with Gen Y,” includes presentations by John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive for J.D. Power, and Joe Vitale, global automobile industry leader for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, and a panel session, “The Retailers Perspective,” moderated by NADA President Peter Welch.

Hosted by the Los Angeles Auto Show and in partnership with Greater Los Angeles and California new-car dealer associations, the conference will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the L.A. Hyatt Hotel Downtown—on the eve of press days at the auto show. The conference will close with a networking reception. Early-bird registration, which includes a $100 discount, ends today, Aug. 13. For more information or to register, click here.
Source: NADA Public Affairs

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Chrysler Creates New Safety Group, Names New Product Chief

Chrysler has created a new group, led by Scott Kunselman, to concentrate on vehicle safety and regulatory compliance and named John Nigro as its new product development chief. The decision comes amid heightened awareness across the industry and more vigilance from federal regulators about recalls and vehicle safety. Chrysler is the third automaker this year to create a new safety and regulatory group that reports directly to the automaker's CEO. Chrysler said Kunselman will report to CEO Sergio Marchionne. He also will remain part of the Chrysler's North American leadership team.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Former U.S. Attorney to Monitor Toyota Safety Efforts

Former U.S. Attorney David Kelley will oversee Toyota Motor Corp.'s compliance with a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department after the automaker was charged with defrauding consumers by issuing misleading statements over unintended acceleration recalls. On March 19, the Japanese automaker agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement of a four-year government investigation imposing the largest-ever fine on an automaker in U.S. history after it was charged with a single felony count of wire fraud. Toyota, the world's largest automaker and largest retail seller in the United States, pleaded not guilty but acknowledged wrongdoing. Under the terms of the agreement, the charge will be dismissed if the automaker complies with the agreement. Almost five months after the settlement was announced and after the Justice Department and Toyota considered more than a dozen possible candidates, Toyota told employees in an email late Tuesday that the Justice Department had appointed Kelley as Toyota's independent monitor.
Source: The Detroit News
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Carter: 400K Additional Leases Ending This Year

The key drivers to such strong growth in the new-car sales environment have more to with healthier economics than simply a carryover of pent-up demand — and one example of such a fortuitous sign has to do with leasing and lease returns. That's according to prepared comments by Toyota executive Bob Carter at 2014 J.P. Morgan Auto Conference, released for the media on Tuesday. In the comments, Carter — who is senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. — said Toyota is anticipating the industry as a whole will tally 16.3 million new-vehicle sales this year, which would be more than 5 percent stronger than the 2013 figure. Carter indicates that this is “healthy growth, but at a slightly slower pace than the past few years,” while at the same time emphasizing the importance of what’s actually spurring these gains. “This ‘new’ growth is being driven by stronger economic and market conditions ... not hangover pent-up demand from the recession,” he said in the commments. “For instance, 400,000 more customers than last year are expected to come off leases from all brands ... and most will turn around and buy or lease a new vehicle,” Carter added.
Source: Auto Remarketing
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Despite Recalls, GM Will Pay Q3 Dividend

Despite being saddled with costs of its recalls, General Motors is keeping up with its shareholder dividends. The automaker just declared a 30-cent-a-share dividend on common stock for the third quarter, same as in the past two quarters. The dividend is payable to shareholders of record on Sept. 26 as of Sept. 10. Unlike past quarters, however, GM is mired in the process of settling claims of deaths and injuries from crashes involving vehicles with its ignition switches on smaller cars. It also has had more than 60 recalls of vehicles for all sorts of problems so far this year involving more than 26 million vehicles.
Source: USA Today

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Flooding Slows Production at Detroit Automakers

Record-setting rainfall in the Detroit area has slowed vehicle production, automakers said Tuesday. Chrysler reopened its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which makes the Chrysler 200 sedan, on Tuesday afternoon, but had to send workers home because of high absenteeism. The company said flooded roads made it difficult for workers and parts to get to the plant. Chrysler had halted operations at the plant around 9 p.m. Monday because of flooding. Three other Chrysler plants, in Detroit and in the suburbs of Warren and Sterling Heights, were running but at a slower rate than usual Tuesday evening, the company said. Flood damage also forced General Motors to close its Tech Center in Warren Tuesday morning. The company told most of the 19,000 engineers, designers and others who work at the 330-acre campus to stay home while facilities are cleaned.
Source: Associated Press

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Millennials Changing the Way People Buy Cars

Millennials are changing the way consumers buy cars, but a new study from AutoTrader.com shows these young buyers are not as different as one might think. There are 74 million Americans in the generation born after 1980, second only to the 83 million baby boomers in the market. The younger generation accounts for 12% of new car sales, but that will grow to 40% by 2020 so understanding their buying trends is vital, said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at AutoTrader.com. Helms presented highlights of the 2014 Automotive Buyer Influence Study at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit Tuesday.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Quotable

"This 'new' growth is being driven by stronger economic and market conditions ... not hangover pent-up demand from the recession."

   
-- Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., commenting on strong growth in new-car sales, Auto Remarketing, Aug. 12

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