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Auto News: Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Strategy & Sales, Ford Motor Company (F)’s Focus, and Recall for General Motors Company (GM)

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Tesla Likely 1st Quarter EV Sales Leader In US (EV Obsession)
I wrote yesterday that the Nissan Leaf beat the Volt (by quite a bit) in March sales – to be specific, 2,236 to 1,478. Looking at the full quarter, however, the Volt was on top. The Volt had 4,244 sales, while the Leaf had 3,539 sales. However, the company that probably took the #1 spot was Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). We don’t know for sure, since Tesla doesn’t break out sales by country (I’m not really sure why), but its quarterly Model S sales totalled 4,750, and those were surely almost entirely in the US.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)Credit: Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Ford Focus Grabs Global Sales Crown as World Buys Small (Businessweek)
It’s official: The Ford Focus was the best-selling car in the world in 2012, according to R.L. Polk & Co. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), leading U.S. automakers in building their best cars in decades, registered 1.02 million Focus cars in 2012, topping 872,774 for Toyota Motor Corp. (TM)’s Corolla, according to Polk data that Ford released today. Ford’s F-Series pickup line was the No. 3 nameplate, its Fiesta subcompact was No. 6, and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Chevrolet Cruze was No. 8, ahead of Honda Motor Co.’s Civic.

GM Recalls Buick Encores (
General Motors Company (GM) recalled 144 units of its newly launched 2013 Buick Encores in order to fix their steering wheel fastener that may not have been properly installed. The Detroit-based automaker has informed that the steering wheel in the vehicles could come loose or separate from the steering column. The new compact crossover Encore is built by General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) Korea between Dec 9 and Dec 28. The same model is sold in Europe as Opel Mokka.

Elon Musk Responds to Sarah Palin’s Claim That Tesla Is a ‘Loser’ (Mashable)
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Founder Elon Musk on Monday responded to Sarah Palin’s claim that his company is a “loser.” Palin criticized Tesla in a Facebook post on Friday that lumped Tesla in with Fisker Automotive, a hybrid luxury sedan maker that received a $193 million low-interest loan from the federal government. Fisker announced last week it was laying off about 75% of its staff.

General Motors Company (GM): Why Its CEO Is Worried About Korea (Insider Monkey)
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) CEO Dan Akerson said on Thursday that his company is closely watching the crisis in Korea, has made contingency plans for its employees there, and may consider moving its operations if tensions continue to escalate. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) doesn’t sell a whole lot of cars in South Korea, only about 145,000 last year — but it’s the country’s third-largest automaker after giant Hyundai and up-and-coming Kia. GM’s five South Korean factories produce nearly 1.5 million vehicles a year, most of which are exported to markets around the world – including the United States.

Ford vehicle sales up 91 percent in 1st quarter of 2013 (ABS-CBN News)
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) Philippines disclosed on Monday that its vehicle sales registered a 91-percent year-on-year increase to 2,685 units from January to March 2013. Randy Krieger, president of Ford Philippines, attributed the increase to the growing popularity of its product lineup in the country. “With an expanding product range, including an upgraded all-new Explorer lineup and the addition of the all-new Ranger Wildtrak, the Ford brand is appealing to even more customers in the Philippines,” Krieger said.

Tesla Model S Nets World Green Car Award Winner For 2013 (EarthTechling)
The World Car Awards started in 2004. Candidates for the four categories – Design, Performance, Green, and the overall World Car – are selected by some of the most well-known and respected journalists covering the automotive industry. This year, they selected the Tesla Model S as winner for World Green Car. States Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO and co-founder Elon Musk, “The success of Model S is a critical step towards the widespread adoption of sustainable transport and we are grateful to the World Car of the Year Jury for the recognition. Winning the 2013 World Green Car award is great acknowledgment of what Tesla has accomplished with Model S in the last four years.”

Nigeria: Coscharis Improves Ford Spare Parts Availability (
With this development, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) intends to improve parts availability by expanding service of its Middle East Parts Distribution Centre to dealers in Sub-Sahara Africa, getting parts to customers in the region more quickly than ever before. According to a statement by the Coscharis marketing Manager, Mr Ifeanyi Nihe, Ford’s goal for the facility is…

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