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Inside this issue
September North American Light-Vehicle Production at 15-Year High
Toyota Leads 'Best Global Brands,' But Audi, VW, Nissan Rise Most
European Car Sales Rally Again
GM Plans to Expand Key Michigan Plant
Hyundai Scrambles for More Crossover Turf
LeBron James is a Slam Dunk as Kia's New Pitchman
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Top Stories
September North American Light-Vehicle Production at 15-Year High

North American automakers built 1,481,161 light vehicles in September, 6.4% above last year, resulting in the highest output for the month since 1999. Several manufacturers had double-digit percent gains from last year, leading to record-high September results according to WardsAuto data.
Source: WardsAuto
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Toyota Leads 'Best Global Brands,' But Audi, VW, Nissan Rise Most

Toyota remained the most valuable automotive brand worldwide for the 11th straight year in Interbrand's new ranking of the 100 Best Global Brands. But Audi, Volkswagen and Nissan comprised a trio of “top risers” that are pushing the envelope and mixing the picture for car brands worldwide. “The auto industry in general has done pretty well” in the new ranking, Jez Frampton, global CEO of Interbrand, told me. Automakers generally “have gotten smart in recognizing that they have to build strong brands for the future,” he added. “To succeed in the new world of mobility, they have to reposition themselves in slightly different ways, and so their attempts to build brands have become much more sophisticated.”
Source: Forbes
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European Car Sales Rally Again

European car demand continued its recovery in September, rising 6.4% on the year, with growth in all major countries in the European Union and sales particularly strong in Spain. New car registrations, a proxy for sales, in the 27-nation bloc rose to 1.24 million vehicles in September. Since the start of the year, registrations grew 6.1% to 9.57 million, according to the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers, known as ACEA. The data show that European car sales continued to recover for the 13th month in a row after six years of steady decline.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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GM Plans to Expand Key Michigan Plant

General Motors plans to add nearly 210,000 square feet to its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant as part of a $37-million expansion of the facility that turns out three popular crossovers. The township's planning commission this week unanimously approved a site plan that would add on to the factory's body shop and general assembly facility. GM has not confirmed any plans for the Delta plant, where the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia full-size crossovers are built. A spokeswoman said only that GM is "developing a business case for a potential future investment" that could increase production.
Source: USA Today

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Hyundai Scrambles for More Crossover Turf

Hyundai's no longer growing by leaps and bounds in the United States, in part because it's only a small player in the crossover boom. “Mix is definitely a piece of it,” Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski said on the sidelines of Automotive News' Best Dealerships To Work For event. “We're very short on all of our Santa Fe and Tucson and Santa Fe Sport. That's where all the growth is and all the margin.
Source: Automotive News
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LeBron James is a Slam Dunk as Kia's New Pitchman

If automaker Kia can find three more superstars, it will have an unbeatable NBA team. The brand known for having all-star Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers as its pitchman has now added an even bigger name: LeBron James. The Cleveland Cavaliers megastar is hawking the new Kia K900 luxury car. Even before the deal was signed, he had taken notice of the big rear-wheel drive sedan aimed at creating a new image for Kia. "I was a Kia K900 driver and fan before we decided to become partners, so I'm really excited to be Kia's first-ever luxury ambassador," says James in a statement.
Source: USA Today
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Quotable
"As our K900 luxury ambassador, his [LeBron James] star power will cause people to question everything they think they know about our brand."

    --
Tim Chaney, a Kia vice president in the U.S., commenting on the automaker's new luxury ambassador, USA Today, Oct. 16

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