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Inside this issue
Warren Buffett Joins Panel Session at 2015 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in NYC
Hot-Selling Trucks Mean Holiday Overtime for Some N.A. Plants
BMW Expands Takata Air Bag Recall to Nationwide U.S.
GM Fund Says 104 New Claims Filed; No New Claims OK'd
Electric Cars Hurt Most Among Renewables on Oil's Slump
Dodge Shedding Family-Sedan Image With 204-MPH Hellcat
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Warren Buffett Joins Panel Session at 2015 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in NYC

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Larry Van Tuyl, CEO of the Van Tuyl Group, will participate in a panel session at the 2015 NADA / J.D. Power Automotive Forum in New York City on March 31. Becky Quick, co-anchor of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” will moderate the session.
 
In an agreement announced last October, Berkshire Hathaway will acquire the Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s largest privately-owned auto dealership group, which ranks fifth among all U.S. auto dealership groups.
 
The 6th annual Automotive Forum, hosted by the New York International Auto Show, will bring together leaders from auto manufacturing, retailing, supplying and the media to discuss how industry and economic conditions will shape the future.
 
Confirmed speakers to date include: Bill Fox, NADA chairman; Johan de Nysschen, president, Cadillac; Nariman Behravesh, IHS chief economist; John Humphrey, senior vice president, global automotive, J.D. Power; Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley; Bob Vail, chairman, Greater New York Auto Dealers Association; Sandy Schwartz, president, Cox Automotive; and Peter Welch, NADA president. (Other industry speakers have been invited to participate.)
 
The Automotive Forum precedes press days at the auto show. For more information and updates, click here.  
Source: NADA
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Hot-Selling Trucks Mean Holiday Overtime for Some N.A. Plants

Several automakers, led by Chrysler, will be working overtime during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period at North American plants that build SUVs, crossovers and pickups, signaling confidence that the U.S. light-truck market will remain hot heading into 2015. At the same time, some companies are extending downtime at factories that assemble small and midsize cars -- a slice of the U.S. market in which demand has been weaker this year. U.S. light-truck deliveries, aided by new models, falling gasoline prices and a strengthening economy, have climbed 10 percent this year through November while car sales have edged up just 1 percent.
Source: Automotive News
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BMW Expands Takata Air Bag Recall to Nationwide U.S.

BMW on Monday said it has expanded a U.S. regional recall for certain vehicles with driver-side air bag inflators made by Takata Corp to cover the entire country, following the lead of four rivals that have taken similar steps. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged the carmakers to broaden the recall beyond a limited area with high humidity and they have gradually followed suit. Takata has said that extended exposure to high humidity could damage the propellant in the inflators, causing them to spray vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel when the air bags inflate.
Source: Reuters
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GM Fund Says 104 New Claims Filed; No New Claims OK'd

General Motors Co.’s ignition switch compensation fund said Monday it received another 104 claims for compensation over the last week — including nine death claims — but no new payouts were approved. In total, GM compensation adviser Kenneth Feinberg has approved claims for 42 fatalities and 58 injury claims linked to defective ignition switches. The number of death claims rose to 260, up from 251, and serious injury claims rose to 172, up from 156 over a week earlier. Feinberg has declared 306 ineligible — including 46 death claims — while 692 claims are still under review and 764 have been submitted without documentation.
Source: The Detroit News
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Electric Cars Hurt Most Among Renewables on Oil's Slump

Electric cars are likely to be hurt the most by lower oil prices within the renewable energy industry, according to a report that predicts a limited impact on wind-and solar-power companies. The 45 percent plunge in Brent crude oil prices since the end of June also will slow the shift away from fossil fuels in oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and drive up the cost of natural gas in the U.S., Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. The findings show the effect of cheaper oil will vary from region to region, helping renewables in some parts and hurting the prospects for low-carbon energy in others. Electric vehicles are likely to be the clearest victim of cheaper oil, since they’re less competitive with gasoline-powered cars when oil is cheaper. If gasoline averages $2.09 a gallon in the U.S., electric vehicles may reach 6 percent of the market by 2020, the London-based research arm of Bloomberg LP forecasts. That’s lower than the 9 percent share they could command if gasoline cost $3.34 a gallon, BNEF said. The current market share is less than 1 percent.
Source: Bloomberg

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Dodge Shedding Family-Sedan Image With 204-MPH Hellcat

Dodge’s Charger SRT Hellcat is a hot-rodder’s dream: with 707 horses under the hood, it goes 204 miles per hour and devours the quarter-mile in about 11 seconds. Chrysler bills the Hellcat as the fastest production sedan on earth, and this isn’t simply about bragging rights. Dodge, derided not so long ago for selling mostly bland family haulers, is rebooting itself as a muscle-car brand that appeals to guys in their 20s and 30s. The modern muscle car isn’t the gas guzzler it was a half-century ago. The V-8 Mustang GT Fastback gets 25 mg on the highway, while the V-8 Camaro gets 19 mpg. Even the Charger Hellcat turns in a respectable 22 mpg.
Source: Bloomberg

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Quotable

"It won't stop growth, but it will have some dampening effect. There will be more marginal buyers who are looking at the relative economics, and if you have lower gasoline prices that tilts the equation."

   
-- Angus McCrone, senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commenting on the effect of lower oil prices on electric car sales, Bloomberg, Dec. 22

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