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Inside this issue
Plaintiffs' Lawyers Say GM Internal Documents Contradict Valukas Report
Porsche Tries to Remain Exclusive as Luxury Demand Surges
Why Suppliers Need to Think Different, or Face Extinction
EU New Car Registrations Rise in February
Ford Produces 5 Millionth Car with EcoBoost Engine
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Top Stories
Plaintiffs' Lawyers Say GM Internal Documents Contradict Valukas Report

Plaintiffs from around the country who are suing General Motors over faulty ignition switches have gained access to “millions” of previously confidential documents produced by the automaker and plan to depose numerous current and former top executives this year, two lawyers involved in a key case said [Monday]. Their comments suggest that GM’s confidential settlement last week with the parents of a Georgia woman who died in 2010 could mark the beginning of more disclosures about GM’s handling of the ignition defect, rather than just closing a chapter in the case. Lawyers Lance Cooper of Georgia and Jere Beasley of Alabama contend that the documents, which include internal communication between GM officials and the automaker’s attorneys, contradict the conclusions reached by GM’s internal investigation.
Source: Automotive News

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Porsche Tries to Remain Exclusive as Luxury Demand Surges

Success of Cayenne and Macan SUV’s is fuelling growth, but popularity could tarnish exclusivity

Most companies are obsessed with growth. At Porsche AG, the challenge is to stay small. Porsche’s foray into bigger volume products such as the Cayenne and Macan sport-utility vehicles is fueling rapid growth of the iconic sports car brand, but it isn’t easy to grow fast and maintain high profit margins. Sales of Porsche cars have risen nearly threefold since the launch of the Cayenne in 2002 and could exceed 200,000 cars this year. That’s tiny compared with Porsche’s parent, Volkswagen AG, whose namesake VW brand sold 4.6 million cars last year. But luxury brands like Porsche live from their exclusivity. While premium brands Audi AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand ramp up production to grab volume, Porsche is applying the brakes—even as demand for its sports cars and SUVs grows.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Why Suppliers Need to Think Different, or Face Extinction

One of the more advanced technologies used in cars today is the application of radar, lasers or cameras to sense what is happening ahead, allowing the driver, or even the vehicle itself, to react in a proactive way to avoid a potential crash. It’s this sense of predicting the road ahead that automotive industry leaders are going to have to build into their own thinking. Yes, looking ahead is something executives always need to do, but right now the stakes are particularly high. Suppliers, in particular, need to have a plan that accounts for likely scenarios 10 years from now that may include Silicon Valley giants engineering cars that drive themselves. This is no small change.
Source: Automotive News
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EU New Car Registrations Rise in February

Sales surge 27% in Spain; Italy, the U.K., Portugal and Ireland also log double-digit gains

New car registrations in the European Union continued to recover in February after a strong start to the year, thanks to significant rebounds in countries that were hit hard by the economic crisis. With economic growth across the eurozone showing increasing signs of recovery, new car registrations, a proxy for car sales, rose 7.3% from a year earlier to 924,440 vehicles, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. While it recorded growth for the 18th consecutive month, the pace of recovery slowed slightly from January. Since the start of the year, new car sales grew 7% to 1.9 million units, with most major markets contributing to the overall upturn of the European market, the ACEA said on Tuesday.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Ford Produces 5 Millionth Car with EcoBoost Engine

Ford has hit a milestone when it comes to turbocharged cars, with the 5-millionth car with a Ecoboost motor having just rolled off the production line in Wayne, Mich. It was a Ford Focus with a tiny 1-liter EcoBoost engine, the automaker says. Now, with turbocharged engines having become common from a variety of manufacturers, it's easy to forget that Ford's embracing of the fuel-saving technology was a bold move in 2009.
Source: USA Today
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Quotable

"The European car market is finally back on track after a long dry spell."

    -- Peter Fuss, a partner at Ernst & Young, commenting on rising car sales in Europe, The Wall Street Journal, March 17

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