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Inside this issue
Toyota Keeps Top Spot Despite Strong VW Challenge
Volvo Appoints Another U.S. Chief Amid Sales Decline
Takata Review Panel Includes 3 Former NHTSA Chiefs
VW Plans 'Significant' Savings by Cutting Car-Parts Range
Audi to Sit Out Super Bowl for First Time in 7 Years
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Top Stories
Toyota Keeps Top Spot Despite Strong VW Challenge

Toyota Motor Corp. defended its crown as the world’s biggest automaker in 2014, selling 10.23 million vehicles to keep a slim lead over German rival Volkswagen AG. But the Japanese giant also forecast sales to slump 1 percent to 10.15 million in the current calendar year, on the back of slowing demand in Japan and emerging markets. It would be the first time sales have fallen since 2011, when Japanese automakers were broadsided by the killer Japanese earthquake and tsunami that derailed production and sales. Another retreat could open the door for VW to steal the lead in 2015.
Source: Automotive News

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Volvo Appoints Another U.S. Chief Amid Sales Decline

Volvo is reshuffling its North American management, moving CEO Tony Nicolosi to head of its finance company for the Americas and bringing global corporate product strategy chief Lex Kerssemakers to replace him. Kerssemakers, 55, gets broader authority than Nicolosi had. In addition to being CEO of Volvo Cars North America, Kerssemakers will be senior vice president for the Americas, with responsibility for North and South America, Volvo said in a statement.
Source: Automotive News
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Takata Review Panel Includes 3 Former NHTSA Chiefs

Embattled Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp. said Tuesday an outside panel that will review its quality and safety practices will include three former top auto safety regulators, a former Treasury secretary and the dean of the engineering school at Northwestern University. In December, Takata announced it would form a panel to study issues that led to the recall of at least 14.6 million vehicles by 10 automakers since 2013 for air bags that can explode and propel metal fragments that can seriously injure or kill drivers and passengers. At least five people have been killed and 50 injured.
Source: The Detroit News

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VW Plans 'Significant' Savings by Cutting Car-Parts Range

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest carmaker, plans to boost profitability by scaling back the range of components at its main auto brand as a cost-cutting measure. Reducing the variety of parts used in VW vehicles such as the Golf and Polo hatchbacks will offer “significant savings potential,” Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said in an online presentation. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company also indicated that it met last year’s earnings goals. Volkswagen delivered a record 10.14 million vehicles in 2014, reaching the milestone four years earlier than targeted to keep its rank as world’s second-largest automaker, behind Toyota Motor Corp.
Source: Bloomberg
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Audi to Sit Out Super Bowl for First Time in 7 Years

Audi’s “Doberhuahua” won’t be terrorizing the Super Bowl airwaves this year. Volkswagen’s luxury brand, for the first time in seven years, isn’t advertising during the game this year, a spokesman confirmed. The news comes a day after a Ford spokeswoman said the Ford and Lincoln brands wouldn’t participate either. So far, six brands -- BMW, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota -- are expected to run ads, but some brands have yet to announce their intentions. In 2014, 11 auto brands aired commercials during the game.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable

"Volvo is not only in the U.S. to stay, it's in the U.S. to prosper."

   --- Lex Kerssemakers, the new CEO of Volvo Cars North America, Automotive News, Jan. 21

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