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Inside this issue
U.S. Car Exports Top 2 Million
U.S. Dealers Sold Record Average 921 Vehicles in 2014
Congress Undecided on NHTSA Funding Increase, Reforms
Nissan Rogue Shipments to U.S. to Be Boosted By 38% to 110,000
Cars Drive Mexico Economy as Companies Invest $20 Billion
Exclusive Interview: Ford CEO Expects Fully Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. Car Exports Top 2 Million

Buyers in China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea snap up American made cars and SUVs

U.S. auto exports hit a record for the third year in a row in 2014 as strong demand for U.S. made cars and sport-utility vehicles, especially in the Middle East and Asia, offset concerns about a strengthening dollar. The trend also was fueled by foreign-owned U.S. auto plants built in the U.S. Midwest and South that are now exporting more vehicles to other markets. Car makers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. that opened factories here to be closer to U.S. customers are now exporting too. Last year, about 2.1 million new cars and trucks were built in the U.S. and shipped to other countries, the first time auto exports topped 2 million. The total is an 8% increase over 2013 and a 73% rise from 2004, according to figures released on Thursday by the U.S. International Trade Administration.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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U.S. Dealers Sold Record Average 921 Vehicles in 2014

The average number of new-vehicle sales per dealership last year marked the third consecutive year of improvement, surging nearly 50 units to reach a record 921 units sold per store, according to a study by Urban Science released Wednesday. While the average number of new-unit sales jumped, the number of dealerships in the U.S. increased only slightly from 2013. The average number of sales was based on total vehicle sales of 16.5 million at 17,953 dealerships last year. It’s an increase from 874 units on average sold per store in 2013, based on annual sales of 15.6 million units sold at 17,838 stores, a statement said. Last year’s record is more than one and a half times the average of 564 new vehicles sold per dealership in 2009 and a significant increase from the 812-unit average in 2012.
Source: Automotive News
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Congress Undecided on NHTSA Funding Increase, Reforms

The prospects for a big increase in funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's defects team are uncertain, as the Senate's top Republican on the Commerce Committee said he wasn't ready to endorse it. Democrats say even more may be needed. It is also unclear if Congress will approve sweeping auto safety legislation proposed last year by the Obama administration and Democrats. President Barack Obama proposed tripling NHTSA's budget for its Office of Defects Investigation to $31 million from $10.7 million.
Source: The Detroit News
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Nissan Rogue Shipments to U.S. to Be Boosted By 38% to 110,000

Renault-Nissan will export 38 percent more Nissan Rogue crossovers to the U.S. from South Korea in 2015 than planned earlier, to meet rising demand in North America. The alliance will produce 110,000 Rogue crossovers at Renault's South Korean factory for U.S. exports this year, from its previous plan of 80,000. Nissan started producing the Rogue in South Korea and shipping it to the U.S. last year, a move that helped boost the factory utilization of Renault Samsung, the South Korean unit of the French carmaker.
Source: Reuters

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Cars Drive Mexico Economy as Companies Invest $20 Billion

Sparks fly as 200 robots weld and bolt together Nissan Sentras at one of the Japanese company’s factories in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on a cool December morning. The $2 billion facility, opened in November 2013, churns out 600 gleaming new cars a day and employs 3,000 workers. The 192,000-square-meter (2.1-million-square-foot) Nissan Motor Co. plant is one of half a dozen that have sprung up or been announced for central Mexico’s industrial belt in the past five years, contributing to a nationwide $20 billion investment by global automakers eager to establish ready access to the U.S. market. Mexican vehicle exports are expected to rise to a record 2.9 million in 2015, with more than 70 percent of the cars and light trucks headed to the U.S., according to the Mexican Automobile Industry Association, or AMIA.
Source: Bloomberg
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Exclusive Interview: Ford CEO Expects Fully Autonomous Cars In 5 Years

With Ford's recent decision to expand its presence in Palo Alto, Calif., – from 20 today to 125 researchers, engineers and scientists by year's end – the 111-year-old car company will have one of the biggest automotive research center in Silicon Valley. “The car is the biggest consumer electronics device you can have,” said Ford CTO Raj Nair. “And that's the synergy that both Silicon Valley and Detroit are recognizing.” However, the first challenge facing Dearborn, Mich., auto maker in expanding its R&D capabilities in Silicon Valley is to attract and retain top talents, competing with tech giants like Apple, Google or Facebook. “Things that we've learned in spending time in Silicon Valley is to attract and retain talent by giving them meaningful and interesting work, beyond a competitive compensation,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields.
Source: Forbes

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Quotable

"2015 looks promising. With a stable dealer count, as we have seen over the past several years, and the strong sales forecast which the industry is now predicting, we could see this record broken again."

   
-- Mitch Phillips, global director at Urban Science, commenting on the average dealer selling a record number of vehicles per dealership in 2014, Automotive News, Feb. 5

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