News: US automaker Tesla Motor is planning to swap the current battery in its Model S vehicle with a charged pack to increase the speed of recharging, Automotive News reports. The carmaker wants to provide customers with battery-swapping capability for the US$69,900 Model S vehicle. However, the system has previously been used unsuccessfully by Better Place. Tesla has also previously concluded that the technology is too expensive. Tesla, though, believes its customer base of high-income buyers would be more willing pay for the service.
BMI View: US light vehicle sales ended 2012 on a high note, with growth of 9% y-o-y in December, taking full-year sales to 14.491mn units, slightly ahead of BMI's projected 14.362mn. With a deal reached to address the 'fiscal cliff', BMI believes the industry is in a good position to continue its recovery, with a return to the 16mn unit milestone well within reach by at least 2014.