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Inside this issue
Cheaper Fuel Revives Popularity of Bigger Vehicles in the US
Automakers Make Progress on Joint Takata Airbag Probe
Changes to OSHA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Begin Jan. 1
DOD to Prohibit the Use of Certain Military Allotments
Fields Predicts 'Breakthrough Year' for Ford in 2015
GM to Double Mexico Production Capacity, Invest $3.6 Billion in Plants
Ford, Magna, Verizon Commit $2 Million to Bring 10 Transportation-Related Startups to Detroit
Toyota, Dealers Get Pop Culture Boost on 'Modern Family'
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Cheaper Fuel Revives Popularity of Bigger Vehicles in the US

John Bruno, president of one of New York’s biggest Cadillac car dealerships, sighs over the challenges of satisfying demand for the manufacturer’s latest hot model. “I wish I had another 100 of the new car,” he says, with a car salesman’s hyperbole. “It’s a phenomenal product.” But the popular vehicle for Potamkin Cadillac in Manhattan is not one of the widely praised sedans that Cadillac, part of General Motors, has been producing over the past two years. It is the latest version of the Escalade, a sport utility vehicle that weighs 5,718 pounds and is 17 feet long.
Source: Financial Times
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Automakers Make Progress on Joint Takata Airbag Probe

Executives from 10 automotive manufacturers met in Detroit to discuss a joint investigation into the airbag inflators made by Takata that have led to the recall of 13 million vehicles

A group of 10 automakers that have had to recall cars and trucks with airbags made by Takata said they made progress in a meeting [Thursday] to coordinate an investigation into problematic inflators during a meeting at a hotel in Romulus [Mich.]. The meeting was prompted by Toyota, which urged the industry last week to band together and hire an independent engineering firm to test and evaluate inflators that have sparked a series of recalls and are linked to five deaths and numerous injuries, "Based on the initial organizing meeting today, we feel we have positive momentum and look forward to the next steps of the process," the automakers said in a joint statement issued this afternoon.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Changes to OSHA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Begin Jan. 1

Begining Jan. 1, 2015, dealers in states under federal OSHA jurisdiction must comply with two changes to OSHA reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dealers in states who run their own OSHA approved occupational health and safety programs (list here) should contact their state for the compliance deadline for their state. Dealers must begin to keep the OSHA 300 log, 301 form, and 300A annual summary and must contact OSHA within eight hours if a work-related accident results in a fatality, a within 24 hours if a work-related accident results in the hospitalization of one or more employees, an amputation, or the loss of an eye. Additional information on this important change is available from an NADA webinar available here (login required) and on OSHA's Recordkeeping homepage available here. If you have any further questions, please contact NADA Regulatory Affairs at lbailey@nada.org.
Source: NADA Regulatory Affairs
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DOD to Prohibit the Use of Certain Military Allotments

The Department of Defense has announced that, effective January 1, 2015, service members will be prohibited from using new military allotments to purchase, lease, or rent personal property, including vehicles. This change to DOD regulations does not affect existing allotments and applies only to service members and not military retirees or DOD civilians. Additional information is available here.
Source: NADA Regulatory Affairs
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Fields Predicts 'Breakthrough Year' for Ford in 2015

Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields said 2015 will be “a breakthrough year” for Ford after a large number of vehicle launches trimmed profit margins in 2014. “Our investments are going to be paying off,” Fields said at a media event to unveil the newest generation of its Sync infotainment system. “This sets us up for growth beyond 2015.” Ford has 16 launches planned in 2015 -- including the Edge, Focus and Explorer. That’s down from 23 this year, with two of its most important nameplates among them: the Mustang and F-150. Ford said it plans to introduce 12 performance vehicles globally by 2020 under the umbrella of a new division aimed at enthusiasts.
Source: Automotive News

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GM to Double Mexico Production Capacity, Invest $3.6 Billion in Plants

General Motors plans to invest $3.6 billion in Mexico to double its production capacity at its plants around the country, officials said. Ernesto Hernandez, managing director for General Motors de Mexico, said GM is planning to make the investments through 2018 -- on top of $1.4 billion already invested in the past two years. "With this investment, General Motors will double its production capacity of vehicles, engines and transmissions," Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said. The investment will be directed toward expansion projects at GM's four manufacturing complexes in Mexico, the modernization of production lines, and technological advances in autos and auto parts, Hernandez said.
Source: Reuters

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Ford, Magna, Verizon Commit $2 Million to Bring 10 Transportation-Related Startups to Detroit

Ford Motor Co., Magna International Inc. and Verizon Telematics are sponsoring what is being billed as Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit, an accelerator program to foster innovative transportation-related startups. The three companies are committing $2 million in funding plus mentors and other resources to support participating startups. Techstars, based in Boulder, Colo., which provides seed money and mentoring for promising startup technology companies, said it began accepting applications [Thursday] for the program. Ten companies will be selected from across the country to move to Detroit and take part in a three-month boot camp at a location yet to be determined. Each will receive $120,000 in funding, intensive training and mentoring and help with customer acquisition and executive recruiting. At the end of the three months, graduates get to pitch for funding to angel investors and venture capitalists at what's billed as a Demo Day.
Source: Crain's Detroit Business
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Toyota, Dealers Get Pop Culture Boost on 'Modern Family'

Pop culture can have a powerful impact on social perceptions. In which case, the TV show “Modern Family” on ABC polished the tarnished image of the modern car dealership in Wednesday night's episode. That episode also proved the show's product placement deal with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. is alive and well. I bet Toyota and car dealers are happy. Toyota is clearly the car of choice for the Pritchett-Dunphy clan on “Modern Family.” Jay's son, Mitchell Pritchett, and his husband, Cameron Tucker, drive a Prius, for example. The car has been featured as part of the show's storyline in the past.
Source: Automotive News
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