Daily News Briefs: April 18, 2012

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • A shortage on auto resin, used for brake and fuel lines, could take months to mend, Reuters reports. Evonik Industries, whose German plant suffered an explosion on March 31, said the damaged factory will be at least partially offline for three months or more. Evonik and French chemical company Arkema make nearly half the world's nylon resin supply, an analyst told USA Today Tuesday. Automakers convened Tuesday in Detroit to address the shortage, which was already strained by high demand from solar companies. Automotive News reports automakers plan to monitor the situation, but none have announced production cutbacks yet.
  • As Republicans blame President Barack Obama for high gas prices, Obama proposed new oversight Tuesday on oil speculators, CNNMoney reports. It's a controversial issue: Some have argued speculators are responsible for double-digit percentage increases in the price of oil, but others disagree. Obama's proposal would expand funding for market oversight and require oil traders to pony up more of their own cash for transactions.
  • Analysts told Automotive News that the Dodge Dart's sub-$16,000 starting price hits the right spot, but reliability will determine the car's market success. The compact sedan, which hits dealerships in June, comes from a brand still known for subpar reliability despite sales chief Reid Bigland telling us last February that Chrysler has implemented a "maniacal" focus on quality. Still, the need for reliability could be overstated: The Chevrolet Cruze has awful reliability, but that hasn't stopped hordes of buyers.
  • Volkswagen will announce a North American location for its forthcoming Audi plant today. The German automaker's luxury subsidiary will likely place the factory in Mexico, sources told The Detroit News, despite the automaker denying such reports last week. It wouldn't be the first luxury car built south of the border: Mexican auto plants assemble the Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKZ and some Cadillac Escalades.

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