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Inside this issue
Cars Recalled in U.S. Reached 64 Million in 2014, NHTSA Says
U.S. Prosecutors Settle Bias Case Against Auto Lender-Dealers
U.S. Auto Sales Could Top Forecasts
Honda Withdraws 2017 Global Sales Target Amid Quality Concerns
Nissan, Amid Sales Gains, Weighs Options to Boost Car, Truck Supplies
GM Seeks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Advice on Buyback
Mitsubishi Plans Cautious Product Push in U.S.
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Top Stories
Cars Recalled in U.S. Reached 64 Million in 2014, NHTSA Says

Carmakers recalled about 64 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, more than double the previous record set in 2004, according to official government data. The tally released Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closes the book on one of the worst years ever for automotive safety as defective General Motors Co. ignition switches and exploding Takata Corp. air bags sent millions of drivers to dealerships in search of repairs. “These figures demonstrate the need for vigorous, effective oversight to remove safety defects from our highways,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement. “When defective vehicles or equipment put Americans’ safety at risk, NHTSA will act.”
Source: Bloomberg
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U.S. Prosecutors Settle Bias Case Against Auto Lender-Dealers

The U.S. Department of Justice said on Tuesday that it reached a settlement in its first-ever discrimination case against auto dealers who also finance the purchase of used cars. Two so-called "buy here, pay here" dealerships in Charlotte, North Carolina, Auto Fare Inc. and Southeastern Auto Corp, agreed to set aside $225,000 to reimburse African-American clients who prosecutors said were intentionally targeted for predatory loans. The companies also agreed to changes to their lending practices, including limits on projected monthly payments and interest rates and disclosures of devices that automatically and remotely shut off cars of delinquent borrowers. "Combating discrimination in all segments of the auto lending market is, and will remain, a top priority for the Civil Rights Division," said Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta in a statement. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also stepping up enforcement of "buy here, pay here" auto lenders.
Source: Reuters
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U.S. Auto Sales Could Top Forecasts

Automakers buoyed by rising consumer confidence, falling unemployment and low gas prices think U.S. auto industry sales could top forecasts. In January, U.S. auto sales were up almost 14 percent — and sales are strong in the first half of February — despite brutal winter weather in parts of the northeast that has slowed sales in some areas like Boston. At the Chicago auto show Thursday, automakers unveiled new SUVs, pickup trucks and cars — nearly all with pricier features. Low interest rates and long-term repayments and low-cost leases are helping auto sales continue to rise for the seventh straight year — the longest continuous improvement in auto sales in a half-century.
Source: The Detroit News
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Honda Withdraws 2017 Global Sales Target Amid Quality Concerns

Honda Motor Co. said it has scrapped its target of selling 6 million vehicles annually by 2017 because the pressure to reach the objective contributed to the quality lapses that led to record recalls last year. The carmaker also won’t set a global sales target in its next midterm plan, the Tokyo-based company’s CEO Takanobu Ito said.
Source: Bloomberg
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Nissan, Amid Sales Gains, Weighs Options to Boost Car, Truck Supplies

Nissan Motor Corp.’s U.S. sales and market share gains will force it to squeeze more vehicles out of its North American plants -- or find factory space elsewhere. The automaker is contemplating a new wave of investment in the region to keep up with demand, Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz says. “As we close in on Nissan’s goal of 10 percent of the U.S. automotive market, we are carefully considering our next waves of investment,” Munoz told an industry audience Thursday during the Chicago Auto Show.
Source: Automotive News
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GM Seeks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Advice on Buyback

Buying back stock is a common way for companies to boost the stock price quickly because it reduces the number of shares that can be traded.

General Motors is seeking advice from a group of investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, on how to respond to four hedge funds pressuring the automaker to buy back $8 billion of its own stock, according to people familiar with the talks. Harry Wilson, a key member of the Obama administration's auto task force that orchestrated the 2009 bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, wrote to GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this week.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Mitsubishi Plans Cautious Product Push in U.S.

“The best is yet to come,” boasts Mitsubishi Motors Executive Vice President Don Swearingen during the unveiling of the automaker’s GC-PHEV concept at the auto show [in Chicago]. “We’re here to stay, and our growing sales prove that,” he says in introducing a concept of what will be the next-generation Montero, a vehicle expected to arrive in a couple of years.
Source: WardsAuto
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Quotable

"The best is yet to come."

   
-- Mitsubishi Motors Executive Vice President Don Swearingen, commenting on the automaker's planned product push in the U.S., WardsAuto, Feb. 13

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