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Inside this issue
Airbag Inflator Shortage Plagues Industry
Fiat Chrysler Fire Back at NHTSA Over Recalls
As Ford Spends Big, GM Joins Aluminum with Simple Welds
Fuel Cell Cars Steal Spotlight
Chrysler Rocks the American Music Awards with 5 New Ads
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Top Stories
Airbag Inflator Shortage Plagues Industry

With tight capacity, 2 years needed for replacements

Honda and other automakers that have recalled vehicles equipped with Takata airbags are trapped in a nasty dilemma. Even if automakers fend off federal regulators' request for a nationwide recall of driver-side airbags, it could take two years or so for Takata to produce enough replacement airbag inflators. And it's unclear whether other suppliers can help Takata produce more inflators. Several automakers have warned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that other suppliers' inflators would require lengthy testing.
Source: Automotive News
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Fiat Chrysler Fire Back at NHTSA Over Recalls

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has fired back at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration one day after the agency blasted the automaker for its "woeful" recall repair rate on 1.56 million Jeep SUVs. On Thursday, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman criticized Chrysler for the time it is taking the automaker to get parts to dealers and convince customers to fix Jeep SUVs under a recall to install trailer hitches to protect rear-mounted fuel tanks. "With respect to your letter of November 19, be assured Chrysler Group takes seriously its commitment to motor-vehicle safety," Marchionne said in a letter Friday to Friedman. "I feel compelled to deliver up-to-date information that should alleviate your concerns." Chrysler told NHTSA Friday that owners of 112,829 Jeep Libertys recalled from model years 2002-2007, or 13.2%, have been fixed.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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As Ford Spends Big, GM Joins Aluminum with Simple Welds

'Great leap' may eliminate need to retool

General Motors is adding more lightweight aluminum to its vehicles. But unlike Ford Motor Co., GM is not spending hundreds of millions of dollars to retool its assembly plants for the metal. Instead of joining aluminum parts with rivets and industrial adhesive -- as Ford does to assemble the redesigned 2015 F-150 -- GM is rolling out a new welding system. GM's system spot welds aluminum sheet, such as doors, hoods and tailgates, on existing production lines with the same robots and welding guns used for steel. Ford, on the other hand, spent $359 million and lost 10 weeks of production this fall when it converted its Dearborn, Mich., F-150 plant from steel to aluminum for the 2015 model. Early next year, Ford plans to make the same expensive switch at its Kansas City, Mo., truck plant. Richard Schultz, managing director of Ducker Worldwide, a consulting firm in suburban Detroit, says GM's aluminum welding system is a breakthrough in manufacturing technology.
Source: Automotive News
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Fuel Cell Cars Steal Spotlight

Momentum builds to make hydrogen a viable option

Automakers are beginning to nudge the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle out of the illusion factory that is Southern California and into the broader conversation about the future of clean transportation. At last week's Los Angeles Auto Show, battery electric vehicles and hybrids, which once dominated California clean-energy car talk, were far overshadowed by announcements of new fuel cell concepts and investments in hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The developments indicate that automakers see enough promise in fuel cell vehicles to take concrete steps toward creating a viable market for them.
Source: Automotive News
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Chrysler Rocks the American Music Awards with 5 New Ads

Chrysler and Interscope Records teamed up to produce ads for five of the automaker's brands with appearances and video footage from Eminem, Fergie, Phillip Phillips, Gwen Stefani and Imagine Dragons

One night. Five Chrysler brands. And five of the hottest pop and hip-hop stars in new ads for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. That's what Chrysler and Interscope Records delivered during Sunday night's American Music Awards. The automaker debuted five new ads during the show with appearances and music video footage from Eminem, Phillip Phillips, Fergie, Gwen Stefani and Imagine Dragons. Each recording artist, or footage from their music videos, was included in commercials that aired during the music award show for the Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Fiat and Jeep brands.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Quotable

"We have to be the best in the world at how we do vehicle design."

    -- Mark Reuss, global product chief for GM, commenting on the automaker adding more lightweight aluminum to its vehicles, Automotive News, Nov. 24

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