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Inside this issue
Auto Recalls in U.S. Top 60 Million This Year on Air Bags
Honda Dealers Face Recall Phone Blitz
Obama Hails End of Six-Year Auto Bailout
Forecast: December Sales Set to Reach 10-Year High
Cars to Cuba? It's Complicated
Ford Hires Ex-GM Data Whiz to Revamp Analytics
Hyundai Motor Hires Longtime BMW Executive in Performance-Car Push
President Signs Tax Extenders Bill; Limited-Time Tax Benefits End Dec. 31, 2014
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Auto Recalls in U.S. Top 60 Million This Year on Air Bags

U.S. automobile recalls surpassed the 60 million mark for the first time in a single year, largely because of the rush to prevent more deaths from defective General Motors Co. ignition switches and Takata Corp. air bags. The tally of 60.5 million through [December 20] is almost double the previous annual record of 30.8 million recalled vehicles set in 2004, according to an analysis of data on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number will rise further as recent recalls that have been announced by automakers are recorded in the database.
Source: Bloomberg

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Honda Dealers Face Recall Phone Blitz

Suppliers, regulators, automakers and consumers are struggling to understand the scope and implications of a defect in Takata airbags that has led to recalls of millions of vehicles. For Honda and Acura dealers, it's a chore just to keep up with the phone calls. Their service departments have been facing increased pressure since Honda said on Dec. 3 it would go national with the recall for potentially explosive driver-side front airbags in certain vehicles. That recall had been limited to 11 states with humid climates but now covers about 5.4 million Honda and Acura vehicles across the U.S.
Source: Automotive News
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Obama Hails End of Six-Year Auto Bailout

President Barack Obama hailed the end Friday of the U.S. Treasury's historic six-year intervention into the U.S. auto industry, as it sold its remaining 11.4 percent stake in Ally Financial Inc., formerly known as GMAC. "Today, our rescue of the American auto industry is now officially over," Obama said. The exit — which netted taxpayers another $1.3 billion — ends the historic period of government intervention to rescue the auto industry launched under President George W. Bush and dramatically expanded by President Barack Obama. Friday's final exit comes on exactly the sixth anniversary of Bush's decision to rescue the auto industry. The bailout became a key part of Obama's re-election and remains a staple of the president's speeches.
Source: The Detroit News
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Forecast: December Sales Set to Reach 10-Year High

The latest WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.51 million light vehicles this month, equating to a 16.95 million-unit SAAR

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.51 million light vehicles in December, which would be the second-highest December sales tally since at least 1980, just behind December 2004’s 1.53 million. The resulting daily sales rate of just over 58,000 units over 26 days represents a 7.3% improvement from same-month year-ago (25 days) and a 12.1% month-to-month gain on November (25 days). The forecast puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales at 16.95 million-units, within a hair of breaking the 17 million mark for two consecutive months for the first time since June and July 2005. The industry reached a 17.1 million SAAR in November.
Source: WardsAuto

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Cars to Cuba? It's Complicated

In looming showdown, Miami dealers seek freedom in Cuba before auto trade

Within hours of President Barack Obama's announcement that he would seek to ease the 54-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Communist-ruled Cuba, Florida auto dealer Gus Machado was, as he put it, "knocking on doors." Machado, an automotive icon in the state and a pillar of anti-Castro politics in Miami, was flexing his political muscle quickly among legislators. "No way would I put a single dollar into Cuba as long as dictators and criminals are in power," he said. "We need to remind the representatives and senators in Washington of our line of thinking. We need them to work so legislation goes nowhere." The complex political struggle looming over trade restrictions is just one barrier to reviving U.S. auto sales in Cuba. Another major headwind is purely economic: Nearly all Cubans live modestly and cannot afford new or used American cars. Moreover, it's too soon to say what ground rules the government of President Raul Castro or his successor would write for American dealers and automakers who might want to sell cars in Cuba. Despite the uncertainties, the Detroit 3 say they are watching Cuba.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford Hires Ex-GM Data Whiz to Revamp Analytics

Ford Motor Co.'s hiring last week of a new senior officer illustrates the auto industry's accelerating dive into big data. The company named Paul Ballew, a former top sales analyst at General Motors, to the new post of chief data and analytics officer. Ballew, 50, will oversee the automaker's global analytics efforts and focus in particular on helping the company develop autonomous driving, mobility and connectivity technology.
Source: Automotive News
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Hyundai Motor Hires Longtime BMW Executive in Performance-Car Push

Hyundai Motor Corp. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. hired Albert Biermann, chief engineer for BMW's M performance cars and light trucks, to develop performance models and improve ride and handling. As executive vice president, Biermann will become the South Korean automakers' second-highest foreign executive after design chief Peter Schreyer, formerly of Audi AG. "We will have him in charge of developing high-performing vehicles and leading [research efforts on] performance, safety, durability, noise oscillation and system development," Hyundai said in a statement released Monday in Seoul. Biermann's appointment would come as Hyundai-Kia, known more for affordable passenger cars, is trying to raise its brand image at home and abroad.
Source: Reuters
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President Signs Tax Extenders Bill; Limited-Time Tax Benefits End Dec. 31, 2014

NADA and ATD strongly supported and advocated for the renewal of these pro-dealer measures.

President Obama has signed a measure that increases small-business expensing and bonus depreciation, which allows car and truck dealers and their customers to expense a larger portion of equipment purchases for 2014. Dealers and their customers must act quickly to take advantage of these tax benefits. This provision may provide substantial potential savings for a dealership's business customers, but they must purchase qualifying vehicles before Dec. 31, 2014.

First, the bill contains a retroactive increase of the limit on business equipment eligible under Section 179 small business expensing to $500,000 for eligible new and used equipment purchased in 2014. Without this bill, the maximum eligible for Section 179 expensing in 2014 would have been $25,000. The bill also includes an extension of the 50 percent bonus depreciation deduction for new business equipment acquired and placed in service in 2014. In addition to these changes, there is an extension of the additional $8,000 in first-year depreciation for certain business vehicles purchased in 2014. The Senate on December 16 approved a House-passed bill, H.R. 5771, to renew several expired tax provisions to benefit car and truck dealers and their customers.

Dealers and their customers are encouraged to consult their tax advisors to determine the exact amount of their potential tax savings, which depends on their own particular tax situation and the provisions described above. NADA and ATD strongly supported and advocated for the renewal of these pro-dealer measures.
Source: NADA Legislative Affairs
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