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Inside this issue
U.S. to Fine Air Bag Maker Takata $14,000 Per Day
Honda Names Takahiro Hachigo New President
Tentative Deal in U.S. Port Dispute Spells Relief for Honda, Rivals
Porsche Dealers Eager to Upgrade
Fields Lures Another Ford Newbie in Push for Fresh Thinking
Ghosn Pledges Patience Amid Churn at Infiniti
Buffett's 2006 Cadillac Worth $12,000 Auctioned for $122,500
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. to Fine Air Bag Maker Takata $14,000 Per Day

Starting Friday, the U.S. government began fining Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. $14,000 per day for failing to fully cooperate in a long-running investigation of faulty and potentially dangerous air bag inflators. The inflators, which are in cars made by 10 auto companies, can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least six people have been killed and 64 injured worldwide due to the problem. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the fines on Friday in Richmond, Virginia, on a bus tour to promote a major transportation bill.
Source: The Detroit News
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Honda Names Takahiro Hachigo New President

Replaces Takanobu Ito, who took over as chief executive in 2009

Honda Motor Co., seeking to move on from mass recalls involving quality glitches and faulty air bags, said Monday its chief executive would step down to make way for a low-profile engineer with extensive international experience. The Japanese auto maker said Takahiro Hachigo, a managing officer based in China, will replace Takanobu Ito as president and chief executive in late June. Company insiders were surprised by the timing and the choice of Mr. Hachigo, who was promoted over more prominent executives. The shift comes at a crucial juncture for Honda, which is being challenged in its biggest market, the U.S., by Nissan Motor Co.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Tentative Deal in U.S. Port Dispute Spells Relief for Honda, Rivals

A group of shipping companies and a powerful dockworkers union reached a tentative labor deal after nine months of negotiations, settling a dispute that disrupted U.S. auto production. The agreement, confirmed late Friday in a joint statement by the two sides, was reached three days after U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez arrived in San Francisco to broker a deal with the help of a federal mediator who had joined the talks six weeks earlier. Japanese automakers had turned to more expensive air freight to get parts to North American assembly lines.
Source: Reuters
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Porsche Dealers Eager to Upgrade

Prospect of more cars, more profits strong incentive

When Ray Ciccolo moves his Porsche dealership into a new building in Norwell, Mass., this summer, he expects an extra $1,000 to $1,500 per vehicle in profits and, he hopes, more sales, too. "You get a significant amount of back-end money" per vehicle sold for having a dealership that meets Porsche's design requirements, Ciccolo said. "In order to be competitive with your local Porsche dealer, you simply have to have a brand new facility so it can be compliant." Ciccolo's suburban Boston store is one of around 150 U.S. Porsche dealerships, out of 189, renovating or expanding as the brand's sales have soared. Porsche Cars North America wants additional showroom and service space from dealers to accommodate the growing number of nameplates in its lineup and the additional vehicles on the road.
Source: Automotive News

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Fields Lures Another Ford Newbie in Push for Fresh Thinking

Mark Fields' favorite word in eight months as CEO of Ford Motor Co. has been "innovation." He said it, in one form or another, 20 times during a keynote address at last month's International Consumer Electronics Show and seven times in a 6-minute introduction to Ford's Detroit auto show reveal. Innovation was the central theme of a speech he gave last summer laying out his vision for the company and of his remarks to open the New York auto show several months before that. What's clearly important to Fields is that Ford do the innovating itself rather than play catch-up as advances from outside the industry change the business.
Source: Automotive News
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Ghosn Pledges Patience Amid Churn at Infiniti

Another exec gets a chance to lift sluggish brand in U.S.

Carlos Ghosn last week turned to another fresh face in his latest efforts to spark Nissan Motor Corp.'s Infiniti luxury brand. Gone, suddenly, as vice president for Infiniti Americas was Michael Bartsch, 56, who had been recruited from Porsche Cars North America just 18 months ago. Like most Infiniti chiefs in the Ghosn era, Bartsch left parent Nissan when his run at the luxury arm ended. The brand's future in the U.S., Infiniti's biggest market, now falls to Randy Parker, 48. Parker had spent most of his career at General Motors and its former finance arm, GMAC, before joining Nissan as a regional manager in 2013.
Source: Automotive News
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Buffett's 2006 Cadillac Worth $12,000 Auctioned for $122,500

Talk about value investing. A car owned by Warren Buffett was auctioned for more than $122,000, about 10 times the estimated worth, as the billionaire and philanthropist offered to again help out one of his favorite charities. Buffett put the 2006 Cadillac DTS for sale on the website Proxibid, specifying that the money would be donated to Girls Inc. of Omaha. The car, valued at about $12,000, went for a final bid of $122,500 on Thursday, the Omaha-based auction website said. The buyer's name was not disclosed.
Source: Associated Press

Editor's note: Warren Buffet will provide keynote remarks during the 2015 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in NYC on March 31. For more information and to register, click here.
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Quotable

"Honda is ready to make a new leap forward."

   
-- Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda, commenting on his decision to step down from the automaker, The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23

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