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Inside this issue
2014 Car Sales Best in U.S. Since '06
Incoming NADA Chairman Bill Fox Featured in the January Issue of Car Biz Today Magazine
Webinar Jan. 7: Make the Most of Your NADA Convention Experience
BMW's December Surge Solidifies U.S. Luxury-Sales Leadership
Toyota Offers Fuel-Cell Patents to Other Car Makers
Mercedes to Move U.S. HQ to Atlanta from N.J., Reports Say
Ford CEO Fields Predicts Driverless Cars on Roads in Five Years
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
2014 Car Sales Best in U.S. Since '06

Buoyed by the recovering economy, lower gas prices and the blistering sales of trucks and SUVs, automakers sold more vehicles in 2014 than in any year since before the U.S. recession. Industry experts expect those gains to continue this year, although the sales pace likely will slow from 2014. U.S. sales of cars and light trucks totaled 16.52 million — the first time they crossed the 16 million mark since 2006. That was nearly 1 million more sales than in 2013, according to figures released Monday.
Source: The Detroit News

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Incoming NADA Chairman Bill Fox Featured in the January Issue of Car Biz Today Magazine

Bill Fox, who represents New York's franchised new-car dealer on NADA's board of directors, becomes the organization's chairman at this month's NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco. Car Biz Today asked Fox about his background in the industry, the organization's goals and objectives for 2015 and what auto dealers can expect this year. “There are great economic benefits to having local businesses create well-paying jobs to sell, finance and service cars,” he said in discussing NADA's push to preserve the franchised dealership system. To read the full article, click here.
Source: Car Biz Today
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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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BMW's December Surge Solidifies U.S. Luxury-Sales Leadership

BMW boosted December sales 11 percent to hold off Mercedes-Benz and recapture the U.S. luxury-auto sales crown for 2014, as premium brands benefited from a surging stock market, low interest rates and attractive leasing offers. BMW AG’s namesake brand reported 41,526 deliveries last month, helped by the 3 and 4 Series sedans and the X5 sport-utility vehicle. Daimler AG’s Mercedes unit said it delivered 34,009 vehicles, a 3 percent increase, getting a push from the redesigned C-Class and GL-Class SUV. Annual sales for Munich-based BMW rose 9.8 percent to 339,738, allowing the brand to win back the title it lost to Mercedes in 2013. Mercedes, hampered early in the year by limited inventory for its popular CLA sedan, finished with 330,391, up 5.7 percent, according to its statement.
Source: Bloomberg
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Toyota Offers Fuel-Cell Patents to Other Car Makers

Japan's largest auto maker hopes to spur wider use of hydrogen to power vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that it will share its 5,700 patents related to hydrogen fuel cells with other auto companies without charging a royalty fee, hoping to speed the introduction of technologies that the Japanese auto maker has put its weight behind. This year Toyota is making a small number of $57,500 hydrogen-fueled Mirai vehicles available globally, and plans to slowly ramp up sales as refueling stations come online. Toyota said most of the fuel-cell patents will be accessible without royalty until 2020, except for the 70 patents related to hydrogen production and supply, which don't carry the time limit.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Mercedes to Move U.S. HQ to Atlanta from N.J., Reports Say

Mercedes-Benz is expected to announce as early as [Tuesday] that it will relocate its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta, according to several media reports. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cited three sources with knowledge of the situation. A source told Reuters that the luxury-vehicle maker is moving to cut costs, including those for cost of living and taxes. A Mercedes spokeswoman declined Monday to confirm with the Journal-Constitution whether the Atlanta region has been selected, but she told the newspaper that the company may be able to share information about its future plans [Tuesday] after a meeting with employees. Georgia emerged as the apparent winner over New Jersey, where Mercedes has been for more than 40 years, and North Carolina, reports said.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford CEO Fields Predicts Driverless Cars on Roads in Five Years

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said that an automaker probably will introduce a self-driving vehicle within half a decade, but it won’t be his company, which is focusing on less expensive features that assist in driving. “Fully autonomous vehicles are a real possibility,” Fields said at a Jan. 5 dinner with analysts and journalists on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “Probably, in the next five years, you’ll see somebody introduce autonomous vehicles.” Automakers are racing to develop self-driving cars that safely transport commuters in congested urban areas.  
Source: Bloomberg

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Quotable

"Right now, we're looking at about 16.7 million. That would be the industry's best year since 2005, with plenty of room for upside."

   --- Bill Fay, general manager of Toyota Division, forecasting 2015 auto sales, Automotive News, Jan. 5

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