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Inside this issue
U.S. Market Has Never Been More Competitive, IHS Says
Takata CEO Takes Out Newspaper Ads Amid Air-Bag Crisis
The Road Ahead for NHTSA's New Chief
New Cuban Relations May Provide a Boost for Automakers
GM, Audi Suspend Car Sales in Russia on Ruble’s Collapse
Congressman Peters Presents Signed Small Business Legislation to Auto Dealers
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. Market Has Never Been More Competitive, IHS Says

The battle for market share among the largest eight automakers in the U.S. has never been greater as the range between them continues to narrow, a report from IHS Automotive said. General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have continued to occupy the top two spots over the last 14 years, but their lead has narrowed significantly as Toyota moved into the No. 3 spot ahead of Chrysler, now called FCA US. Using registration data, IHS said GM's market share since 2000 has fallen from 28.2 percent to 17.6 percent through October of this year, while Ford has fallen from 24.1 percent to 14.7 percent. Toyota has risen from 9.3 percent to 14.5 percent while FCA, known as DaimlerChrysler in 2000, went from 15.7 percent down to 12.7 percent. But with more major players competing in the market, the gap between GM and the No. 8 automaker -- currently Volkswagen -- has declined from 26 percentage points to 14 points as of October.
Source: Automotive News

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Takata CEO Takes Out Newspaper Ads Amid Air-Bag Crisis

Takata Corp., the embattled air-bag maker, stepped up its response to a global auto-safety crisis by distributing an open letter from its chief executive officer in U.S. and German newspapers. Shigehisa Takada, Takata's chairman and grandson of the company founder, wrote in the letter that the parts maker is tripling capacity to test its air-bag inflators. The devices have ruptured in five fatal accidents and have led to recalls of more than 20 million vehicles. “Even one failure is unacceptable and we are truly and deeply saddened that five fatalities have been attributed to auto accidents where Takata air bags malfunctioned,” Takada, 48, wrote. “We understand the public's concerns and we take them seriously.” The advertisements in newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press show Takata is intensifying efforts to defend itself amid a crisis that's sent its shares plunging 56 percent this year.
Source: Bloomberg

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The Road Ahead for NHTSA's New Chief

Mark Rosekind, confirmed to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, faces immediate pressure to take a tougher stance with automakers and suppliers on safety matters, reset the agency's culture and manage the coming wave of autonomous-vehicle and other advanced technologies. Rosekind's nomination to head NHTSA was confirmed late Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, filling a lengthy vacancy atop the nation's auto safety regulator. His confirmation comes a year after former NHTSA administrator David Strickland announced plans to resign from the agency.
Source: Automotive News
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New Cuban Relations May Provide a Boost for Automakers

President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba may eventually provide a shot in the arm for U.S. automakers who have been barred from selling new cars to the island for a half-century. Cubans continue to drive tens of thousand of chrome and tail fin Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford and other U.S. models of the 1950s — largely because the Cuban government has barred the import of nearly all foreign cars for most of the last half-century. “This announcement is also good news for the U.S. economy. Cuba sits just 90 miles off our coast and has an economy of more than $68 billion. Yet, up to this point, American firms have been forced to cede business to foreign competitors. Of particular interest to my hometown of Detroit, the people of Cuba —who must famously rely on American cars made before 1959 — may soon be able to buy American cars and automotive parts once again,” Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, said.
Source: The Detroit News

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GM, Audi Suspend Car Sales in Russia on Ruble’s Collapse

General Motors Co., Audi and Jaguar Land Rover temporarily stopped selling cars in Russia this week, deciding that taking a timeout from the market was the best way to deal with the ruble's collapse. Automakers are battling a more than 40 percent drop in the value of the ruble since June, Russia's biggest financial crisis since 1998.
Source: Bloomberg
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Congressman Peters Presents Signed Small Business Legislation to Auto Dealers

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), co-chair of the Congressional Auto Caucus, presented a framed copy of H.R. 724 to the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association and Serra Chevrolet in Southfield, Mich., on December 17. The bipartisan legislation cuts red tape by eliminating a redundant and outdated provision of the Clean Air Act, which required auto dealers to provide their customers with a certificate confirming a vehicle’s compliance with the law even though every new model meets that standard.
 
“This law is a prime example of how Congress can come together to pass bipartisan legislation that supports small businesses,” said Rep. Peters. “I’m proud to present a framed copy of this legislation that cuts red tape and unnecessary paperwork for our auto dealers and consumers so they can focus on running their businesses and finding the right cars for their families.”


Rep. Gary Peters (left) presents a framed copy of H.R. 724 to Greg Brown, general manager of Serra Chevrolet in Southfield, Mich.

Rep. Peters introduced and helped unanimously pass the bipartisan legislation in the House last January, along with Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio). Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), co-chair of the Bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus, led the effort to unanimously pass the legislation in the Senate. President Obama signed the bill into law in June.
 
The bill earned critical support from NADA, Auto Alliance, National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, Global Automakers and American International Automobile Dealers Association.
 
“Congressman Peters provided real leadership to help guide this legislation through Congress,” said NADA President Peter Welch. “The auto industry’s best days are yet to come, and we’re thankful to have elected officials like Rep. Peters looking out for small business auto dealers and manufacturers alike to reduce outdated and unnecessary federal regulations.”
Source: NADA Legislative Affairs
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Quotable

"These conditions drastically improve the value proposition for consumers shopping for new vehicles, with greater competition, more refreshed products and increased pressure on prices, which contributes to strong retail demand."

    -- Tom Libby, an IHS consultant, commenting on the competitive U.S. auto market, Automotive News, Dec. 18

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