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Inside this issue
Cheap Gas Seen Lifting Auto Sales To 8-Yr. High
For Energy Policy Makers, Tough Lessons in Downside of Cheap Gas
The Best of Times, and Worst of Times, for America's Auto Industry
Commentary: GM's Mary Barra: Crisis Manager of the Year
Ford Report Takes Look at Generation Z
This CES Will Be An Auto Geek's Delight
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Cheap Gas Seen Lifting Auto Sales To 8-Yr. High

Auto sales for December will hit their highest level since 2006, as low gas prices strengthen SUV and truck demand, Cars.com predicted on Monday, adding that next year's sales could be even better. The auto website said light new vehicles during the month would jump 11.3% from last December to roughly 1.5 million.
Source: Investor's Business Daily

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For Energy Policy Makers, Tough Lessons in Downside of Cheap Gas

Efforts to improve fuel efficiency fade along with pump prices

The sharp drop in fuel prices is undermining government policies that bet expensive gasoline would prod Americans to find alternatives to gas-guzzling automobiles. In recent years, the federal government required passenger cars and trucks to become much more fuel-efficient, with a goal to more than double average miles per gallon by 2025. More than a dozen states ordered auto makers to boost sales of electric vehicles, helped by billions of dollars in federal spending. And President Barack Obama’s administration increased spending on intercity passenger rail, joining states like California in planning for Asian- and European-style bullet trains. Those policies now face a changed landscape: a nearly 44% slide in oil prices since June that has sent the average price of gasoline to around $2.40 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The developments highlight the difficulty of designing long-term policies around volatile crude-oil and gasoline prices. They also point to a long-standing reality in American energy policy: Even before the latest price drop, gasoline has long been far cheaper than in advanced economies in Europe and Asia, making it tough to promote alternatives.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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The Best of Times, and Worst of Times, for America's Auto Industry

Wave goodbye to a banner year for America’s auto industry. Six years after the federal bailout saved it from driving off a cliff, the nation’s car-and-truck economy has rebounded with supercharged sales, innovative new upgrades — and even rosier forecasts for the year ahead. New vehicle sales rose 6 percent this year, and U.S. carmakers are set to sell more than 16 million vehicles, the most since 2006. The economy is improving, more people have jobs and hopeful drivers are finding easier access to low-interest loans. The cherry on top: Gas prices’ worldwide freefall, which has made it cheaper, easier and more enticing to get out and drive.
Source: The Washington Post

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Commentary: GM's Mary Barra: Crisis Manager of the Year

When Mary Barra took the reins at General Motors last January she could not have expected the roller-coaster of a year she would face in 2014. Over the past year Barra has presided over perhaps the most challenging time in the automaker’s 106-year history, rivaled only by the bankruptcy the company went through just a few years earlier. Along the way, she has appeared in front of Congress multiple times, and faced the wrath of the American public.
Source: Fortune

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Ford Report Takes Look at Generation Z

Ford Motor Co.'s 2015 trends report found that the car-buyers of tomorrow are a nontraditional, rebellious and socially conscious bunch. The Dearborn automaker took a close look at generation Z — generally regarded as those born after 1993 — and on Monday published their responses to questions ranging from climate change and job searches to eating habits and marriage. Ford has put out a trend report for the past three years in an attempt to better tailor products and service to future customers.
Source: The Detroit News

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This CES Will Be An Auto Geek's Delight

How far things have come and where they're going will be on full display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas beginning Jan. 5, where the gamut of top global automakers will be showcasing their latest tech. While the big unveils remain under wraps, there are already hints of what CES will reveal about the state of the automobile. For example, BMW is keen to show off something called Remote Valet Parking Assistant, which allows drivers to exit their cars and, using a smartwatch-based app, remotely guide their empty car to a parking spot in a multi-story garage using an array on on-board lasers and sensors. Audi's tech chiefs will be unveiling details about the future of in-car infotainment systems and lighting design, while Ford and Mercedes-Benz – whose CEOs will be making keynote addresses – will be spotlighting, respectively, a Mustang with sophisticated collision warning and a secret prototype packed with semi-autonomous driving aides. CES also promises the latest developments in driver monitoring systems anchored to facial-recognition cameras that can detect and alert with increasing accuracy a driver who is getting drowsy at the wheel.
Source: USA Today

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Quotable

"Anyone who doubts the value of the car dealer in today's economy should just take a look around when the automakers are all closed."

    -- Keith Crain, editor-in-chief of Automotive News, commenting on the vacation schedules of auto manufacturer executives during the holidays, Dec. 29

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