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Inside this issue
Automakers End 2014 Strongly, Pushing Some Brands to Records
Webinar Jan. 7: Make the Most of Your NADA Convention Experience
Industry 'Can't Give Up on EVs'
DOD to Prohibit the Use of Certain Military Allotments
GM to Offer Retailers a New Route to Reach Drivers
Service Bays Turn to Text Messaging
NADA Outlines 1-Year-Old Mainstream Model Retention Rates
Sporty Cars to Roar into Detroit
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Automakers End 2014 Strongly, Pushing Some Brands to Records

Holiday sales, cheap gas prices and low interest rates pushed U.S. auto sales to big gains in December, helping the industry close out a strong year with several brands setting sales records. Fiat Chrysler led the way, selling just over 2 million cars and trucks for a 16 percent increase over 2013. It was the company's best year since 2006. Nissan and Honda also reported gains in December with both Japanese automakers setting sales records. The figures show that car and truck sales finished the year strongly. For all of 2014, analysts are predicting sales of 16.5 million vehicles, up 6 percent from last year and a return to pre-recession levels. And analysts say Americans will continue to buy cars in big numbers this year. They're predicting sales of 17 million for the first time since 2005. That's close to the record of 17.3 million set in 2000. 
Source: Associated Press

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Webinar Jan. 7: Make the Most of Your NADA Convention Experience

The NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco is less than three weeks away. To help inform attendees about everything the convention has to offer – from maximizing your time to learning how to use the mobile app and program directory and selecting workshops – a complimentary webinar will be offered at 1 p.m., ET on Wednesday, January 7. The webinar, which will provide an inside look at the Automotive Industry Event of the Year, will be presented by Shana Gipson, NADA convention workshop and webinar manager; Melissa Wolpert, NADA convention services operations director; Connie Mikels, NADA expositions director; Marissa Thompson, NADA convention operations marketing and social media manager; and Jessica Levin with Seven Degrees Communications. To register, click here.
Source: NADA Convention & Expo
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Industry 'Can't Give Up on EVs'

Despite cheap gas, developers press on

With gasoline selling for less than $2 a gallon in some states, it's fair to ask whether the industry's investment in electric vehicles has been an expensive blunder. That is the question pundits are beginning to mutter as world oil prices crash. The industry's multibillion-dollar leap to EVs and greener fuel-efficient cars five years ago was triggered by rising fuel prices and a strident new environmental awareness that seemed to sweep the planet. A study commissioned by the National Association of Convenience Stores -- a business sector heavily reliant on gasoline sales -- reported in December that interest in alternative-fuel vehicles is declining as gasoline prices fall. But plummeting pump prices aside, two facts haven't changed, carmakers and analysts say: Automakers remain under regulatory pressure to make giant gains in the average fuel economy and emissions of their U.S. fleets by the 2025 model year. And delivering those gains will require some level of electric-drive market penetration.
Source: Automotive News
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DOD to Prohibit the Use of Certain Military Allotments

The Department of Defense has announced that, effective Jan. 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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GM to Offer Retailers a New Route to Reach Drivers

General Motors Co. soon will offer retailers another way to reach customers more directly while they are behind the wheel. The Detroit auto giant, which offers high-speed Wi-Fi in its vehicles, is introducing a new in-car service this year allowing drivers to get coupons from local retailers and make hotel reservations while driving down the road. Dubbed AtYourService, it will be offered via GM's OnStar information network. The service, unveiled Sunday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be available to GM's OnStar customers in the U.S. and Canada. OnStar has about six million subscribers in North America.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Service Bays Turn to Text Messaging

Reminders, updates bring in customers

Many customers of Mossy Toyota, a San Diego dealership near the beach, are millennials, generally ages 18 to early 30s. In an increasingly digital, on-the-go world, Dale Snow's challenge was to devise the most effective way to update them on car repairs. The answer? A text message. "They appreciate the instant notification. It's certainly a very powerful trend right now," said Snow, fixed operations director at the dealership. Texting service customers -- no matter their age -- pays off, studies say. An October Morpace Omnibus survey concluded that 46 percent of respondents who text regularly would be interested or somewhat interested in texting to communicate with a dealership. The 2014 Customer Service Index study by J.D. Power and Associates also found that one of the keys to a satisfying service experience is communication from the service manager. Service departments are getting the message.
Source: Automotive News

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NADA Outlines 1-Year-Old Mainstream Model Retention Rates

The December 2014 issue of the NADA Used Car Guide's Perspective featured part-two of its retention review, this time focusing on the value retention of several mainstream models, all of which were either all-new or heavily revised for the 2014 model year. In the Retention Review, NADA used retention calculation based on a three-month average (October through December of 2014) of NADA’s average trade-in value divided by the vehicle’s typically equipped MSRP, sourced from data from ALG and the NADA Used Car Guide. The company noted that MSRPs provided do not include any incentives or rebates available at the time of purchase. Click here for more information.
Source: Auto Remarketing
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Sporty Cars to Roar into Detroit

Last year, the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 pickup dominated the Detroit auto show's headlines. This year, it will be sporty cars. Acura, for instance, will unveil its reborn NSX, which has been off the market for about a decade. Cadillac is showing a 640-hp CTS-V. And three convertibles will be in the spotlight: the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, the Buick Cascada and a BMW 6-series variant. Pickups will get their due, though. Nissan is unveiling a redesigned Titan, Ram is showing a freshened 1500 and Toyota will have a redesigned Tacoma. Let's not forget the green crowd. Chevrolet is showing a redesigned Volt plug-in hybrid, Hyundai is unveiling hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Sonata and Mercedes-Benz is debuting the 2016 C350 plug-in hybrid. And Acura's NSX belongs here, too, with a hybrid powertrain.
Source: Automotive News
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Quotable

"Economic bliss, driven by job creation, wage growth and low gas prices may drive consumers to showrooms at a faster pace, emphasizing the notion that this recovery may not be over quite yet."

   --- Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, forecasting auto sales gains in 2015, Detroit Free Press, Jan. 5

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