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Inside this issue
GM CEO Sees Higher U.S. Auto Sales in 2015
Honda Chief Vows to Go Over Development, Raise Quality
Takata CEO Says Still Exploring Causes of Air Bag Explosions
Luxury Car Brands' Sales Hit Record Levels in 2014
Mexico's Light-Vehicle Output, Exports Hit Record in 2014
Detroit Auto Show: Bigger, Flashier and Upbeat
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Top Stories
GM CEO Sees Higher U.S. Auto Sales in 2015

General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra told reporters Thursday she expects steady growth of U.S. auto sales this year, reaching 16.5 million to 17 million with the help of growing employment, low gas prices and expected younger and first-time buyers. Sales grew 5.9 percent in 2014 to 16.5 million sales, the highest level since 2006. Barra met with reporters for about 55 minutes at GM's Renaissance Center headquarters ahead of the 2015 North American International Auto Show next week and nearly a year after becoming CEO. Her assessment is similar to other predictions for 2015 from analysts, some who see GM benefiting from low gas prices with sales of more profitable trucks and SUVs. She said she is “cautiously optimistic” about GM and the industry in 2015. She said market share “growth is important,” but she will look for profitable growth that maintains GM vehicle resale values and builds brands.
Source: The Detroit News

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Honda Chief Vows to Go Over Development, Raise Quality

Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito, beset by record recalls last year, told suppliers the carmaker will examine operations to improve quality and safety standards. Ito spoke about Honda's quality issues in the past year in an address to suppliers and apologized for recalls and new product delays, said Akemi Ando, a spokeswoman for the automaker. He pledged to scrutinize development and asked for support from suppliers, Ando said. The executive's remarks come after Honda agreed to pay a record $70 million in fines and submit to stricter oversight for failing to tell the U.S. government about warranty claims and more than 1,700 injuries and deaths linked to potential defects in its cars. Ito led the company through a calamitous 2014 that saw deaths in Honda vehicles linked to Takata Corp.'s air bags and record recalls to fix separate flaws in some of its most crucial models.
Source: Bloomberg

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Takata CEO Says Still Exploring Causes of Air Bag Explosions

The chief executive of Takata Corp. said the company is diligently working to identify the root causes of why some of its air bags have exploded, a problem linked to five deaths and more than 24 million vehicles recalled by 12 auto makers. “Our priority is to ensure safety so we will focus on carrying that out,” Shigehisa Takada said Friday on the sidelines of Honda Motor Co. event in Tokyo, speaking to a group of reporters for the first time since the air bag recalls escalated last year. He declined to comment on how long it will take for the company to fully identify the causes.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Luxury Car Brands' Sales Hit Record Levels in 2014

Global demand for premium cars remains healthy

BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Audi hit record sales last year, but the pace and regions of growth for Germany's four main luxury car makers varied. Deliveries of BMW AG's namesake brand rose 9.5% in 2014 to 1.81 million cars, while Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz brand deliveries were up 13% to 1.65 million vehicles and those of Volkswagen AG's Audi brand saw a 11% increase to 1.74 million cars, the companies said Friday. Porsche, another Volkswagen subsidiary, had reported an 17% increase to 189,849 deliveries Thursday. The figures show that global demand for premium cars remains healthy as the U.S. economy recovers and more people in China can afford to buy high-end products.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Mexico's Light-Vehicle Output, Exports Hit Record in 2014

Mexico's auto production posted its biggest jump in more than 2-1/2 years in December, and should advance strongly in the next few years, the country's industry trade group said. Production surged 27 percent from December 2013, the biggest increase since April 2012, Mexican Auto Industry Association data showed. Meanwhile, auto exports jumped 21 percent last month, it said. Output in 2014 rose 10 percent from 2013 to a record 3.22 million units, while exports increased 9 percent to an all-time high of 2.64 million vehicles, AMIA said. Mexican auto exports to the United States rose by 22 percent in December, but declined by 0.8 percent for Canada.
Source: Reuters

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Detroit Auto Show: Bigger, Flashier and Upbeat

Visitors to this year's North American International Auto Show can expect flashier displays both inside and outside Cobo Center as officials trumpet the news that Detroit — and the auto industry — are back. In recent years the overarching theme of Detroit's signature show has been one of resurgence, and the 2015 version is no different. The auto industry is coming off its best sales year since 2006 and Detroit is months removed from a year-long bankruptcy, leading show officials to believe attendance will top last year's 800,000 mark. NAIAS chairman Scott LaRiche expects 45 car and truck debuts, including 40 global unveilings. Luxury brands brands Ferrari and Maserati return to the show, and it will be the inaugural outing for Alfa Romeo.
Source: The Detroit News
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Quotable

"GM is moving in a very positive direction. We're getting to the core with the right product, the right brands and making the right decisions."

   --- GM CEO Mary Barra, providing an outlook for U.S. auto sales in 2015, WardsAuto, Jan. 8

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