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Inside this issue
General Motors Director Isdell Sees Turnaround Taking 10 Years
Ford Shareholders Praise Fields, Fret About Stock Price
New Takata Air Bag Recall Brings Total to Over 33 Million
European Car Sales Accelerate 2015 Forecasts Higher
Latest Self-Driving Google Car Heading to Public Streets
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Top Stories
General Motors Director Isdell Sees Turnaround Taking 10 Years

Retiring General Motors Co. director Neville Isdell has a parting message for Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra: Yes, GM has come a long way since the bankruptcy and is in capable hands, but the turnaround is far from complete. In an exclusive interview, Isdell, 71, said some of the institutional arrogance that got the company in trouble is still there despite Barra’s efforts to foster a humbler culture. He also criticized marketing at the bread-and-butter Chevrolet brand and said Cadillac may need to spend even more than a planned $12 billion to be a force in global luxury. Named to the board in 2008 after turning around Coca-Cola Co., Isdell has had a front-row seat on one of the most tumultuous corporate dramas in recent years. He witnessed GM’s near collapse and revival, a revolving door of chief executives, and record recall including millions of small cars with defective ignition switches linked to 100 deaths. “A turnaround at something as big as GM is a 10-year thing,” said Isdell, who’s retiring from the board in June. “We’re not finished.”
Source: Bloomberg

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Ford Shareholders Praise Fields, Fret About Stock Price

Shareholders of Ford Motor Co. on Thursday again rejected a proposal to end the two-tier class system that allows the Ford family to control the company while owning a relatively small proportion of shares, but it got a record number of votes — 36.3 percent — up from 34.4 percent last year, and 33.4 percent the year before. The Ford family holds a special class of stock worth about 40 percent of the voting shares, getting 16 votes per share. That gives the family effective control of the company. Separately, shareholders approved 15 nominees for the automaker’s board of directors, along with compensation plans for its executives. They also voted down a proposal to hold special meetings between the annual shareholders meeting. The 60th annual meeting — which took place in Wilmington, Delaware, and lasted just under an hour — was the first for new President and CEO Mark Fields. Bill Ford Jr., Ford’s executive chairman, praised Fields for the smooth transition from Alan Mulally last year. “The team didn’t miss a beat,” Ford said.
Source: The Detroit News
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New Takata Air Bag Recall Brings Total to Over 33 Million

A massive new recall from Honda of vehicles with Takata air bags Thursday has brought the total recalls for the potentially deadly devices to more than 33 million. Honda Motor Co. recalled an additional 4.89 million vehicles around the world for a new type of problem in Takata Corp. air bag inflators, a day after Japanese rivals Toyota and Nissan announced similar recalls. The new wave of recalls adds to what was already one of the largest recalls ever for a defective part. Honda has been the automaker hardest hit by the recalls. 
Source: Associated Press

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European Car Sales Accelerate 2015 Forecasts Higher

Investment banks are enthusiastic as car sales in Western Europe advance, but Morgan Stanley worries that the recovery might be less healthy than it appears. Could the increased sales pace be down to desperate manufacturers unloading unsold vehicles from weak markets in Russia and Latin America, with big negative implications for profit margins? According to LMC Automotive, car sales in Western Europe rose 6.7 percent in April, and it increased its growth forecast for the year to 6.6 percent for a total of 12.9 million vehicles. This compares with the previous month’s forecast for 2015 of a 4.8 percent increase. “The (European) economy continues to improve, helped by strong real wage growth and an eight-year high measure of European sentiment,” LMC Automotive said.
Source: The Detroit News
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Latest Self-Driving Google Car Heading to Public Streets

The latest version of Google's self-driving car - a pod-like two-seater that needs no gas pedal or steering wheel - will make its debut on public roads this summer, a significant step in the technology giant's mission to have driverless cars available to consumers in the next five years. This prototype is the first vehicle built from scratch for the purpose of self-driving, Google says. It looks like a Smart car with a shiny black bowler hat to hide its sensors, and it can drive, brake and recognize road hazards without human intervention. It has more capabilities than the prototype Google introduced last May, which was so rudimentary it had fake headlights. The new pod isn't designed for a long trip, or a joyride.
Source: Associated Press
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Quotable

"The team didn't miss a beat."

    -- Bill Ford Jr., Ford’s executive chairman, commenting on Mark Field's smooth transition as new president and CEO, The Detroit News, May 14

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