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Inside this issue
Fuel Economy Gains Poised to Slow
GM CEO: Behavior Change Will Improve Company
Leasing Volume Could Have Greater Impact Than Initially Thought
Mitsubishi Maintains Profit Guidance, Uncertain on Sales Outlook
Jay Leno Set to Return to TV with CNBC Show About Cars
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Fuel Economy Gains Poised to Slow

U.S. auto makers, under pressure from Washington, engineered big gains in fuel efficiency during the past decade, but the pace of improvement is slowing as cheaper gas encourages consumers to buy trucks and sport-utility vehicles instead of subcompacts and hybrids. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday estimated that the fuel efficiency of 2014 vehicles would rise just one-tenth of a mile per gallon from 2013 levels, a sharp slowdown from the 0.5 mpg improvement the agency calculated between 2012 and 2013. The EPA said model-year 2013 cars and light trucks produced averaged 24.1 mpg, a record since the government began keeping score on fuel efficiency in 1975. EPA officials said they believe final 2014 numbers would beat the official outlook. But even before the report’s release, auto makers and dealers were expressing skepticism that consumers would shell out for high-tech, lightweight cars and trucks that can achieve the administration’s goal of a fleet that averages 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The success of the government fuel economy program “is not predicated on what we produce, but on what consumers choose to buy, especially with today’s lower gas prices,” the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, the auto industry’s main trade group, said in a statement. The National Automobile Dealers Association also urged a relaxation, calling the EPA’s targets “overly ambitious given moderating and falling fuel prices.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy cited an August NADA survey that showed fuel economy is the No. 1 priority among car shoppers, and expressed confidence the industry would hit the government targets. However, as gas prices have stabilized, consumers have shifted back to trucks and SUVs, and manufacturers are revving up horsepower for 2014 models to “a record high,” Wednesday’s EPA report said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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GM CEO: Behavior Change Will Improve Company

General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra said Wednesday she is "on a mission to break down the silos" at the company and says she and the executive leadership team need to change their behaviors to help drive cultural change into the global automaker. Barra was among a lineup of executives and politicians who spoke during Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Barra ranked No. 2 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Business list behind Ginni Rommetty, chairwoman, CEO and president of IBM; Rommetty also spoke at the conference. Barra, who took over as GM CEO in mid January just before the ignition switch recall crisis broke, was introduced by Fortune as the "CEO with the toughest job in corporate America."
Source: The Detroit News

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Leasing Volume Could Have Greater Impact Than Initially Thought

Along with giving some hints as to where the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index might be trending — as well as what this year’s record amount of recalls did to the remarketing of rental risk units — chief economist Tom Webb explained why new-vehicle leasing is going to have a greater impact than the market might have expected. During his quarterly conference call this week, Webb cited J.D. Power data that showed new-vehicle leasing has increased year-over-year by at least 10 percent during the past 10 quarters — seven of which had spikes of at least 20 percent. “I get the sense that many people don’t appreciate how leasing has continued to grow this year even though the percentage increases in new-vehicle sales are substantially less,” Webb said. “People are very focused on the so-called wave of off-lease units coming next year and in 2016.
Source: Auto Remarketing
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Mitsubishi Maintains Profit Guidance, Uncertain on Sales Outlook

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. expects to meet its full-year guidance for operating profit for the 2014-15 financial year, but is not yet certain it can meet its forecast for sales, a spokesman for the company said on Wednesday. The Japanese carmaker currently forecasts operating profit rising to 135 billion yen ($1.25 billion) in the year to end-March from 123.4 billion yen the previous financial year. Sales volumes are expected to rise to 1.182 million units from 1.047 million the previous year.
Source: Reuters
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Jay Leno Set to Return to TV with CNBC Show About Cars

The success of Jimmy Fallon as the new host of the “Tonight” show has mostly muted the fact that the previous host, Jay Leno, left at the top of the late-night competition — with no intention of retiring. Since his departure from “Tonight” on NBC, Mr. Leno has been quiet about any plans, though now he appears ready to jump back into the television game with a very different kind of show. Mr. Leno is near an agreement to start a new prime-time show for the cable channel CNBC built around his longtime affection for cars, executives aware of the negotiations said on Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to announce the deal.
Source: The New York Times

Editor's note: Jay Leno will provide keynote remarks at the 2015 NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco on Saturday, Jan. 24. The "Automotive Industry Event of the Year" runs Thursday, Jan. 22 to Sunday, Jan. 25. For more information or to register, visit www.nadaconvention.org.
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"Do something you're passionate about, do something you love."

   
-- GM CEO Mary Barra, in remarks during Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., The Detroit News, Oct. 8

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