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Auto News 02/2009

All May Not Be Lost for the American Car (New York Times)
But first the auto industry has to survive the next few years.

Saving the American car (International Herald Tribune)
Is there a case to be made that the U.S. car industry could revive itself, instead of ending up in a coffin? History and technology suggest that there may be, if the Big 3 automakers survive the next few years.

Auto-industry town's plan for survival: diversification (Honolulu Advertiser)
There's little question this is a company town. The 14-story Chrysler world headquarters is the tallest building for miles, towering over a 486-acre corporate campus on the western edge of the city. Police cruise in Dodge Chargers developed with the automaker. The city manager drives one too, and his wife gets around in a Dodge minivan. City Hall is a converted country estate built by John ...

Rs 1.2 lakh cr investment at risk, need govt support: SIAM (Business Standard India)
Making an impassioned plea for help, apex auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has said, over Rs 1,20,000 crore investment could be at risk, putting millions of jobs at stake if the government support is not forthcoming.

Tax holidays may boost auto industry: Ficci (Express India)
Apex industry chamber Ficci has demanded income tax holidays, import duty concessions on machinery and incentivise eco-cars to give a boost to the struggling Indian auto and help the sector double its contribution to the country's GDP from 5 %.

Rs 1.2 lakh cr investment at risk, need govt support: SIAM (Business Standard India)
Making an impassioned plea for help, apex auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has said, over Rs 1,20,000 crore investment could be at risk, putting millions of jobs at stake if the government support is not forthcoming.

Atherton To Speak At SAE Industry Meeting (Highlands Today)
Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, will be the featured speaker and give the Opening Address in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, February 4 at the SAE International's Government Industry Meeting breakfast. Atherton's address will focus on the cooperative efforts of the American Le Mans Series with government agencies, SAE International and the automobile industry to ...

Local auto dealers consolidate to survive slow period (BizJournals)
Jack Holcomb expects things to get worse in the automobile industry before they improve in the current economy.

Japan's new vehicle sales at 41-year low: industry group (AFP via Yahoo! Malaysia News)
New vehicle sales in Japan fell to the lowest level in four decades in January as the deepening recession depressed consumer sentiment, an industry group said Monday.

Japan's new vehicle sales at 41-year low: industry group (AFP via Yahoo! Philippines News)
New vehicle sales in Japan fell to the lowest level in four decades in January as the deepening recession depressed consumer sentiment, an industry group said Monday.

Japan's new vehicle sales at 41-year low: industry group (TODAYonline)
File photo shows Toyota Motor workers on a car assembly line at the company's Kyushu plant in Miyata City in Fukuoka prefecture. New vehicle sales in Japan fell to the lowest level in four decades in January as the deepening recession depressed consumer sentiment, an industry group said Monday.

China's auto sector may outperform India's in 2009: Merrill (The Economic Times)
The automobile industry in China is poised to perform better than that of India in 2009, as the country's recent state-sponsored measures to boost demand is expected to benefit its sector there, said Merrill Lynch in its report on Asia's auto sector.

Scion will add fourth vehicle:
Scion plans to expand its model line from three vehicles to four.

Toyota says Prius plug-in gets 65 mpg:
Toyota Priuses with plug-in hybrid technology are averaging 65 mpg in combined gasoline and electric-mode testing.

Japan's Toyota Prius Cup showcases hybrid car:
With steely stares and clenched hands, the drivers peer from their crash helmets as the race marshal slowly raises the green flag. Then the flag drops.

Nigeria: Auto Industy - Udenwa Tasks Stakeholders On Revival Strategy (AllAfrica.com)
Abuja — Worried by the Nigeria's ailing automobile industry, the minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, has tasked the Nigerian Automotive Manufactures Associaiton (NAMA) and Aber stakeholders, in the auto industry to come up with suggestions or measures aimed at reviving the industry.

Japan auto sales plunge in January to 37-year low (The Malaysian Insider)
TOKYO, Feb 2 — Auto sales in Japan sank to a 37-year low in January as worried consumers held off on big buys, an industry group said today. Some 174,281 vehicles were sold for the month, a plunge of 27.9 per cent from a year earlier and the biggest fall on record for January sales, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said. Auto sales had been stagnant for years as younger Japanese ...

Powering Through the Recession (The Lakeland Ledger)
Brian Jarrett owns a plethora of cars of different makes, models, colors, and prices. But for those who have heard the Jarrett name in connection with his automobile dealerships, this news is not a surprise. Jarrett, 43, became involved in the car dealership industry at a young age.

Audi Q5 hybrid due next year:
Audi will offer a hybrid version of its Q5 premium SUV in the US starting in late 2010, says Wolfgang Hatz, head of powertrain development for the Volkswagen group.

Citroen to revive iconic DS badge:
Citroen will revive its legendary DS badge for a new range of near-premium models, industry sources said.

140 to lose jobs as Va. auto industry plant closes (WRIC 8 News Richmond)
Associated Press - February 2, 2009 1:05 PM ET DUBLIN, Va. (AP) - A manufacturer of automobile brake pads and linings will close its plant near Dublin, putting 140 people out of work.

Top 10 CV Makers Sell 1.79 Mln Vehicles In '08 (The Auto Channel)
Shanghai, February 2, 2009: (Gasgoo.com) China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has unveiled the country's top 10 commercial vehicle sellers in 2008, industry website caixun.com reported.

140 to lose jobs as Va. auto industry plant closes (AP via Yahoo! Finance)
A manufacturer of automobile brake pads and linings will close its plant near Dublin, putting 140 people out of work. TMD Friction Group said in a news release it will close its Pulaski County factory by May 31 because of a massive decline in automotive industry sales worldwide.

Japan auto sales fell 28% in January (The Japan Times)
Domestic sales of new vehicles plunged 27.9 percent in January from a year earlier to 174,281 units, the biggest monthly drop since May 1974 and the largest ever for a January, as the widening global recession continued to dent demand, an industry body said Monday. It was the sixth consecutive monthly decline in Japan's new auto sales, excluding minivehicles, the Japan Automobile Dealers ...

Controversial designer Chris Bangle leaves BMW:
One of the most controversial designers in recent memory, Chris Bangle, is leaving BMW this month to pursue interests outside of the car business.

The 79th Geneva International Motor Show: 85 World and European Premiers of Remarkable New Cars (The Auto Channel)
GENEVA, Switzerland – February 3, 2009: All of the major automobile manufacturers will be meeting at the Geneva International Motor Show from March 5 – 15, 2009, in spite of the difficult economic environment which is affecting the automobile industry world wide.

Pulaski plant closing to cost 140 jobs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
DUBLIN—A manufacturer of automobile brake pads and linings will close its plant near Dublin, putting 140 people out of work. TMD Friction Group said in a news release it will close its Pulaski County factory by May 31 because of a massive decline in automotive industry sales worldwide. The company is in bankruptcy proceedings begun in December in a court in Cologne, Germany. TMD is based in ...

Mazda readies new Mazdaspeed 3 for Geneva debut:
Hot on the heels of the recently introduced 2010 Mazda 3, the guys from Hiroshima are planning to show the performance-focused Mazdaspeed version at the Geneva motor show in March.

Maruti Posts Highest Ever Sales In Jan; Hero Honda, TVS Sales Up (Nasdaq)
(RTTNews) - The automobile industry in India is still facing credit crunch, as most Indian banks and other lending institutions have tightened lending. The two stimulus packages announced by the Indian Government in December and January saw a mixed performance by car manufacturers in the country.

American buyers not ready for Audi A1, U.S. chief de Nysschen says:
Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen says the United States and its small-equals-cheap mentality isn't ready for premium subcompacts such as the Audi A1, which goes on sale in Europe later this year.

Aston Martin stuffs V12 into Vantage, but we won't get one:
Aston Martin is keeping up its 2009 new-model offensive with the V12 Vantage, the hottest version of its two-seat coupe.

Senate approves tax break for new car buyers (The Arizona Republic)
Proponents say plan aids the beleaguered automobile industry as well as creates new jobs.

Series Washington DC news 2009-02-03 (Motorsport.com)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy held a press conference in Washington, D.C. today at the Washington Auto Show declaring the importance of President Obama's directive to continually develop sustainable energy sources through alternative fuels for the transportation and automobile industry.

Senate Approves Tax Credit for Many New Car Buyers (New York Times)
Angling to spur automobile sales as part of the economic stimulus package, the Senate voted to add an $11 billion tax break for car buyers until the end of 2009.

Senate Adds Tax Break for Automobile Buyers to Stimulus Bill (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate voted to give tax breaks to new car buyers while turning aside a bid to increase funding for infrastructure projects as lawmakers debated economic stimulus legislation sought by President Barack Obama.

Taft Chevy, GM to be ‘here for many years' (The Midway Driller)
Midway Driller Editor Taft Chevrolet Buick Pontiac has weathered the worst year in the history of the American automobile industry, and, like its parent company, General Motors, is planning to be around for a long, long time. “GM is not going anywhere,” said Devinder Singh Bains, general manager of Taft Chevrolet. “Taft Chevrolet is going to be here, too, to keep fighting through this crisis and ...

Senate Adds Tax Break for Automobile Buyers to Stimulus Bill (Bloomberg)
An amendment added yesterday to the Senate’s draft of the plan aims to help the auto industry by temporarily allowing some buyers of new cars and light trucks to deduct sales taxes and interest payments on car loans from their tax bills.

U.S. auto sales drop 37% to another low :
U.S. auto sales dropped 37.1 percent in January, dragged down by the Detroit 3, as the industry posted its lowest monthly total in 27 years.

Aston Martin Vantage gets V12, but we won't get the car:
The Aston Martin V12 Vantage, the hottest version of the two-seat coupe, is the latest step in the automaker's new-model offensive for 2009.

Most of Saleen sold to Michigan group:
The future of specialty carmaker Saleen Inc. is getting a little clearer: Most of the company was sold to a Michigan group last week after being on the block since November.

GM's No. 2 PR executive leaves to join United Airlines:
Tony Cervone, a top spokesman for General Motors as it battled bankruptcy rumors and won U.S. rescue loans, is leaving the automaker.

International Automobile Dealers Announce Monthly Sales (The Auto Channel)
ALEXANDRIA, Va., February 4, 2009: The American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) today released January 2009 sales figures for the international automobile industry.

SHO-stopper in Chicago? Performance Ford Taurus spied:
The new Ford Taurus SHO is shaping up to be a sleeper.

New Mercedes-Benz gullwing sports coupe spied:
Carmakers have their plans for this year's Geneva motor show lined up. But here's something that we expect to see at Geneva in 2010: Mercedes-Benz's new high-performance coupe.

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R enters Best in the Desert series:
Following a strong outing at the Baja 1000 last November, the F-150 SVT Raptor R will gain even more off-road testing by entering the 2009 Best in the Desert series.

Cash for clunkers plan revives trade fight:
Import brand automakers and dealers warned on Thursday that a vehicle scrappage proposal before the Senate would violate trade agreements and could weaken the economy.

Honda eyes $20,000 Insight in U.S.:
The Honda Insight hybrid hatchback may have a sticker price under $20,000 in the United States--and Honda might build it here if U.S. sales hit and sustain the lofty target of 100,000 a year.

Saleen buyers have considered Dodge Viper purchase:
The investors who just purchased most of the assets of specialty-car maker Saleen Inc. have considered buying the Dodge Viper business, though it’s unclear whether they are among the three bidders Chrysler has publicly acknowledged.

MEMA, OESA Working to Identify Credit Solutions for Parts Supplier Industry (PR Newswire via Yahoo! News)
As a result of the ongoing credit crisis and resulting reductions in automobile production, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and Original Equipment Suppliers Associations (OESA) are exploring options to address the immediate cash needs and longer term viability of the motor vehicle parts supplier industry. The associations have been in active communication with the U.S. ...

Reynolds Announces Kansas Automobile Dealers Association (KADA) Endorsement of LAW(R) 553 Universal Retail Sale Contract (The Auto Channel)
DAYTON, Ohio, Feb. 5, 2009 -- Reynolds and Reynolds announced today that the Kansas Automobile Dealers Association (KADA) is endorsing the Reynolds LAW(R) 553 Universal Retail Sale Contract to the new car dealerships that the association currently represents throughout the state of Kansas.


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