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January 14, 2015 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Inside this issue
Marchionne: Let Carmakers Decide How to Meet MPG Needs
GM Expects Profitability to Improve in 2015
Audi Sales Chief Unveils Virtual Reality System for Shoppers
Ford to Decrease Global Platforms to 8
Big 3 Play Catch-Up with Foreign Luxury Rivals
Toyota to Build More SUVs as U.S. Demand Rises
Honda Invests $340 Million in Ohio for Fuel-Efficient Cars
Top Dealers Dish on Their Show Favorites
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Marchionne: Let Carmakers Decide How to Meet MPG Needs

Sergio Marchionne doesn't oppose the government's upcoming fuel economy regulations, but the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO says officials shouldn't be picking how automakers get there. Marchionne said automakers can meet the 2017-25 corporate average fuel economy regulations of 54.5 miles per gallon. However, subsidizing electrification technology is unnecessary, he said during the Automotive News World Congress at the Renaissance Center in Detroit on Tuesday. "Let the automotive industry get there. We'll find a way to get there in the most cost-efficient way," he said. "Don't tell me that I need to have electrification as the answer. It's improper."
Source: The Detroit News

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GM Expects Profitability to Improve in 2015

General Motors Co. said Wednesday it expects profitability in 2015 will improve over 2014 results, as the company reiterated plans to hit 10 percent adjusted margins in North America and to be profitable in Europe, both next year. The Detroit automaker said its forecast stems from "modest industry growth" expected this year, as it sees sales rising in China, Europe and the United States.
Source: The Detroit News
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Audi Sales Chief Unveils Virtual Reality System for Shoppers

Audi AG's top sales executive [Tuesday] unveiled a new virtual reality system that he called the “most flexible sales format ever invented for the car industry.” The Audi Virtual Reality Experience is a wearable device that allows shoppers to customize the ideal configuration of the Audi model they want and view the car inside and out from the first-person perspective. The idea is to bring a customizable car shopping experience directly to the customer, Luca de Meo, member of Audi's board of management in charge of sales and marketing, said at the Automotive News World Congress [Tuesday]. “Audi dealers can show for the first time the entire model range conveniently wherever the customer wants – in a boutique shop, or premium downtown shopping malls, in customers living room, at work or at the racetrack, especially important for a sporty brand like Audi,” de Meo said.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford to Decrease Global Platforms to 8

Ford Motor Co. plans to decrease the number of platforms it builds cars and trucks on to eight in the coming years, and said it will launch 15 vehicles globally this year — including seven in North America. Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference on Tuesday, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said the Dearborn automaker exceeded its goal of a record 23 product launches in 2014 when the launch of its Escort was pushed to December at the end of the year. “It was a very solid year for us,” Fields said. “In 2015 we're going to stay consistent with our priorities. It's a very important year where we expect significant growth ... and it's based on great product.”
Source: The Detroit News

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Big 3 Play Catch-Up with Foreign Luxury Rivals

Domestic luxury automakers like Lincoln Motor Co. and Cadillac came to the 2015 North American International Auto Show trumpeting new vehicles and billions in investment. But they still trail their foreign counterparts in terms of product and branding, experts say. Analysts say the domestic carmakers are more than a decade away from seriously competing with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus and BMW, which continue to dominate the growing luxury market. Lincoln's 94,000 sales and Cadillac's 170,000 sales last year in the United States were dwarfed by Audi's 182,000 sold and BMW's 340,000. "For luxury buyers and people living in a luxury lifestyle, Lincoln and Cadillac are not high on their consideration list," Stephanie Brinely, an IHS Automotive analyst, said in an interview. "They don't see the brands in the same way they used to."
Source: The Detroit News
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Toyota to Build More SUVs as U.S. Demand Rises

Toyota Motor Corp. will build more sport-utility vehicles this year at factories in Japan and Canada to meet rising U.S. demand, the carmaker's top North American executive said. Expanding output of models such as the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX will be a test of President Akio Toyoda's plan to squeeze more vehicles out of existing factories before building new plants. That strategy remains in place, said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota's North American operations. “The freeze is still in place until the end of March of 2016,” Lentz said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “That hasn't changed. All indications are that it will lift, but right now it has not lifted.”
Source: Bloomberg
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Honda Invests $340 Million in Ohio for Fuel-Efficient Cars

Honda Motor Co. will invest $340 million to build fuel-efficient, gasoline engines in Ohio, as it plans a slate of new electric cars in a push for more vehicles with lower emissions. Honda has added an assembly line at its Anna, Ohio, plant to build the new turbo-charged, four-cylinder gasoline engines, set to debut later this year. The so-called VTEC engines boost efficiency with valves that vary the flow of air and fuel depending on speed. The Tokyo-based automaker also plans to debut its next fuel-cell vehicle next year and will offer both a plug-in hybrid and a battery-only electric car by 2018. The company is looking to meet government requirements for cleaner vehicles as well as to boost fuel economy for drivers, Robert Bienenfeld, U.S. senior manager of environmental strategy, said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.
Source: Bloomberg
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Top Dealers Dish on Their Show Favorites

The outgoing National Automobile Dealers Association chairman, Forrest McConnell, and the incoming one, Bill Fox, share a passion: the Acura NSX supercar. “It's just spectacular,” McConnell said Monday at the Detroit auto show after Acura unveiled a production version of the NSX. Other show favorites of the two dealers and NADA leaders included the Mustang GT sports car, which McConnell said had an “extreme supercar look,” and the Ford F-150 Raptor pickup. Said McConnell: “There was a lot of testosterone at the Ford booth.”
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable

"In 2015 we're going to stay consistent with our priorities. It’s a very important year where we expect significant growth ... and it’s based on great product."

   --- Ford President and CEO Mark Fields, during remarks at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference on Tuesday, The Detroit News, Jan. 13

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