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Inside this issue
GM Delivers Record 9.9 Million Vehicles Globally in 2014
Dealers Applaud GM Financial's Ongoing Buildup to Full Captive
Ford Taking Dealer Service Online
Nissan Close to Eliminating EV Range Anxiety with Longer Range, Exec Says
Toyota Raises Ante on Hydrogen; Japan to Ease Fuel Cell Regulation
Google Sees Self-Driving Car on Road Within Five Years
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Top Stories
GM Delivers Record 9.9 Million Vehicles Globally in 2014

Executives forecast higher operating profits, 3% global growth in 2015

General Motors said [Wednesday] it posted its second straight year of record global vehicle sales, with deliveries growing 2 percent to 9.9 million units. “GM is making solid progress and has good momentum," CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. Earlier [Wednesday], GM executives said they expect operating profits to grow in 2015, even as the company funnels more money toward developing new vehicles and strengthening its brands through increased marketing. The improved profits should be driven by an expected 3 percent growth in global automotive sales, continued improvement in GM's European operations and better results in North America from selling a more profitable mix of vehicles, GM CFO Chuck Stevens told reporters.
Source: Automotive News

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Dealers Applaud GM Financial's Ongoing Buildup to Full Captive

General Motors' move last week to steer all Cadillac and GMC/Buick lease incentive money to GM Financial as part of the captive's ongoing buildup was welcome news for dealers, Cadillac dealer Howard Drake says. The absence of a true captive finance company has been a competitive handicap for GM dealers, especially in leasing, said Drake, co-chairman of the Cadillac National Dealer Council and owner of Casa de Cadillac in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “It was the first thing and the last thing we heard from the dealers at every meeting,” he told Automotive News.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford Taking Dealer Service Online

Book appointments online and get service reports online

Ford is introducing a new smart technology program that uses tablets to improve the customer experience at the dealership by making it easier and more transparent, Joe Hinrichs, president of The Americas, said at the World Congress automotive conference in Detroit. It is the next phase of a program that Ford launched in early 2014 that made it possible for Ford and Lincoln customers to book their service appointments online directly into the dealership system and select the services they need to speed up the write-up process when they arrive at the service bay. Hinrichs said 800 dealers in 49 states are using it and online appointment volumes tripled as a result.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Nissan Close to Eliminating EV Range Anxiety with Longer Range, Exec Says

Nissan Motor Corp. is very close to eliminating range anxiety with its next-generation electric vehicle battery, Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein said. “We don't need that much to get out from the basic range anxiety,” Klein said at the Detroit auto show. “We're going to be there relatively quickly.” Klein declined to give a timeline for expanding the electric car's driving range, but suggested the breakthrough could come around the debut of the next-generation Leaf electric vehicle. That car may arrive around 2017 or 2018.
Source: Automotive News
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Toyota Raises Ante on Hydrogen; Japan to Ease Fuel Cell Regulation

Japan will introduce self-service hydrogen filling stations and ease other regulations related to fuel cells to promote the technology, which carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. are using in vehicles. “It's time to introduce a hydrogen era,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among the first to receive Toyota's Mirai fuel-cell model, said after a test-drive at his residence in Tokyo. “I want all ministries and agencies to have it.” He didn't give a timeframe for the self-service stations or elaborate on plans to relax rules.
Source: Bloomberg
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Google Sees Self-Driving Car on Road Within Five Years

Executive sees no regulatory hurdles to company’s fully automated vehicle

Google Inc. threw the auto industry another curve ball Wednesday, saying its autonomous cars should be on public roads within five years without having to drive through a thicket of regulatory red tape. Speaking at a conference in Detroit, the chief of the software giant’s autonomous-car project, Chris Urmson, indicated widespread auto industry concern about regulation of self-driving cars is overblown. The onus, he said, is on developers of these vehicles to tackle safety challenges and work to boost public acceptance.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Quotable

"Our customer focus, the new cars, trucks and crossovers we launched in China and North America ... and the revitalization underway at Opel helped us achieve another record year, despite very challenging market conditions in different parts of the world."

   --- GM CEO Mary Barra, commenting on the automaker's second straight year of record global vehicle sales, Automotive News, Jan. 14

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