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Inside this issue
NHTSA Back in Cross Hairs as Airbag Crisis Escalates
Toyota at Top in Global Vehicle Sales Over VW, GM
Forecast: October Sales Steady Before End-of-Year Spike
Surge of Used Cars Stings
Carmakers Prepare to Shift to Hydrogen Fuel Cells
'Un-Honda-Like' Problems Plague New Plant in Mexico
N.J. Dealer Lets Customers Choose the Charity
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
NHTSA Back in Cross Hairs as Airbag Crisis Escalates

For the second time this year, a long-standing defect linked to deaths and injuries has triggered a mushrooming auto-safety crisis, lending more fuel to criticism that federal regulators haven't done enough to protect consumers from such dangers. Ten automakers have issued recalls for millions of airbags that, rather than save drivers and passengers in a crash, can explode with a lethal spray of jagged metal. Perhaps most unnerving to consumers, the problem doesn't yet appear to be contained. On Wednesday, Oct. 22, two automakers told Automotive News that they couldn't say for sure whether all of the bad airbags had been identified.
Source: Automotive News

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Toyota at Top in Global Vehicle Sales Over VW, GM

Toyota kept its lead over rivals Volkswagen and General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker in the first nine months of the year, Monday reporting record sales of 7.615 million vehicles, up nearly 3 percent from the previous year. Volkswagen said earlier this month it sold 7.40 million vehicles for January-September, barely edging out General Motors Co. in the closely watched auto sales race. GM reported sales of 7.372 million cars and trucks worldwide earlier this month.
Source: Associated Press

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Forecast: October Sales Steady Before End-of-Year Spike

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to maintain solid year-over year gains in October, delivering 1.28 million light vehicles over 27 selling days. The resulting daily sales rate of 47,356 units represents a 6.5% improvement over same-month year-ago (also 27 days) and an 8.2% month-to-month drop from September (24 days), in line with seasonal expectations. The forecast equates to a 16.4 million-unit SAAR, a tick above the 16.3 million year-to-date SAAR through September. October sales also are in line with the current 16.4 million consensus forecast for full-year 2014 deliveries. However, several automakers have indicated they believe the industry will see stronger SAARs in the final two months of the year that could boost LV sales closer to 16.5 million units.
Source: WardsAuto
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Surge of Used Cars Stings

A rising supply of used vehicles, particularly late-model cars and trucks coming off lease, already is hitting some companies in their pocket books. That supply -- and the number of companies affected -- will continue to grow. Analysts predict the number of off-lease vehicles entering the used-vehicle market will rise steadily through at least 2020. Some analysts, therefore, warn that higher used volumes, if accompanied by overproduction of new vehicles, could be a catalyst for increased sales incentives, which would hurt automakers' profits.

Some forecasters caution that automakers already are on a path to overproduction. Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said many automakers are increasing their capacity in anticipation of new-car sales topping 17 million within a few years -- and staying there. That level is attainable, he said, but not sustainable. It won't be "boom and bust" if the industry hits and then retreats from 17 million to, say, 16.3 million, but it might seem that way for automakers that increased their capacity in anticipation of new-car sales topping 17 million routinely, he said. "They're trying to make that reality happen, and that's where you get into trouble," he said.
Source: Automotive News

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Carmakers Prepare to Shift to Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Concerned about slow sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, automakers are increasingly betting the future of green cars on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Even Toyota Motor Corp., maker of the popular Prius gas-electric hybrid, will use hydrogen instead of batteries to power its next generation of green vehicles. "Today, Toyota actually favors fuel cells over other zero-emission vehicles, like pure battery electric vehicles," said Craig Scott, the company's national manager of advanced technologies. "We would like to be still selling cars when there's no more gas. And no one is coming to our door asking us to build a new electric car."
Source: The Los Angeles Times

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'Un-Honda-Like' Problems Plague New Plant in Mexico

Honda Motor Co.'s journey into Mexico has left it with a bout of indigestion. The automaker's new $800 million plant in Celaya, about 160 miles northwest of Mexico City, has been struggling to meet demand amid problems caused by a green labor force, language barriers and a rail system prone to delays and occasional thefts, according to dealers who have discussed the matter with Honda officials. Those challenges caused the plant's first product, the redesigned 2015 Fit subcompact -- which Honda was counting on to drive sales growth in the U.S. this year -- to stumble out of the gate two months late, with quality glitches and supply shortages showing up down the line. Now, dealers say, the hitches have prompted Honda to push back the launch of Celaya's second product, the new HR-V, Honda's latest entry in the booming small-crossover segment. Dealers who had expected the car to arrive by the end of this year said they've been told that they will have to wait until the spring for shipments.
Source: Automotive News

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N.J. Dealer Lets Customers Choose the Charity

For years, auto dealer Bill Kindle, 61, has used his private jet to fly cancer patients to treatment centers. He has donated Ford F-350 pickups to help rescue stranded dolphins and seals along the southern Jersey shore. Kindle Auto Plaza in Cape May Court House, N.J., with a Ford-Lincoln and a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram store, has donated $150,000 annually to various community charities for years. But it took Kindle's son, Steven's, initiative to turn his father's charitable impulse into a community fundraising powerhouse under the banner Kindle Community Challenge. This year, for every car a customer buys, Kindle Auto Plaza is donating $30 to a local charity of the customer's choosing. For every repair order, the company donates $4. The two stores combined sell about 1,200 new and 1,000 used cars per year.
Source: Automotive News
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Quotable
"Many automakers are increasing their capacity in anticipation of new-car sales topping 17 million within a few years -- and staying there. That level is attainable, but not sustainable."

   
-- NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly, commenting on the potential for overproduction of new vehicles in coming years, Automotive News, Oct. 27

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