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Thursday, April 17, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Americans Unwilling to Pay for Big Fuel Economy Gains, Carmakers Say
Bush Proposes New Climate Change Strategy
Alternative Fuel Expo Highlights Green Technology
GM Revamps Marketing, Hires Ex-Nissan Executive
Report: Some Auto Safety Gear's Value Limited
NADA Update
NADA Headed to New Orleans
Openings Remain for May Dealer Academy Classes
Lenovo Offers NADA Members Discount on Thinkpad Notebooks
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About DMS Vendors
Top Stories
Americans Unwilling to Pay for Big Fuel Economy Gains, Carmakers Say

DETROIT -- Automakers will shoulder most of the costs of making vehicles more fuel efficient, as many Americans aren't willing to pay for higher fuel economy, a panel of industry officials said [Wednesday] at the SAE International World Congress. One problem, they say, is that consumers don't understand new technologies or are unwilling to pay a high upfront cost for hybrids, diesels or eventually plug-in hybrids. General Motors Corp. has said fuel economy regulations will add $6,000 to the price of an average vehicle by 2020. Scott Bailey, Delphi Corp.'s vice president of gasoline engine management systems, said it will cost at least $1,800 per vehicle to meet the new energy bill requirements that mandate a 40 percent increase in industry-wide fuel economy to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 -- or about $45 for each percentage point increase. In 2007, 43 percent of prospective buyers said it was a significant factor in their vehicle choice, up from 34 percent in 2004 ... But it is still far down the list. Toyota has sold 1.3 million hybrids worldwide since it started selling the Prius in Japan in 1999 and hybrids now account for 10 percent of annual U.S. sales ...
Source: The Detroit News

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Bush Proposes New Climate Change Strategy

WASHINGTON -- President Bush called for a halt Wednesday in the growth of greenhouse gases by 2025, acknowledging the need to head off serious climate change. The plan came under fire immediately from environmentalists and congressional Democrats who favor mandatory emission cuts, a position also held by all three presidential contenders. Bush in a Rose Garden address for the first time set a specific target date for U.S. climate pollution reductions and said he was ready to commit to a binding international agreement on long-term reductions as long as other countries such as China do the same. He said he envisions a "comprehensive blend of market incentives and regulations" that would encourage clean and efficient energy technologies. And he singled out the electric utility industry, saying power plants need to stabilize carbon dioxide pollution within 15 years and reduce them after that. He cited ... measures already enacted such as a 40 percent increase in auto fuel economy, a requirement for a huge increase in use of ethanol and other biofuels, and some efficiency standards, as well as a push for developing clean energy technologies. 
Source: Associated Press

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Alternative Fuel Expo Highlights Green Technology

GERMANTOWN, Md. — Imagine not having to search for the cheapest gas station for your weekly fill up, instead having to stop by less than once a month. For daily commuters, that probably seems only possible with retirement — but for hybrid car owners, that technology is just around the corner. The “conversion car” was on display Wednesday at the Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Expo hosted by the Fitzgerald Auto Mall. A lithium-ion battery made by the Massachusetts-based company A123 Systems gives the Toyota Prius hybrid 15 times more electric storage capacity — and up to 150 miles per gallon in the city. A123 estimates that the cost for the installation will be about $10,000 — in addition to the $21,100 starting price for a Prius ... But despite the hybrid’s growing numbers, the manufacturing representatives at the expo noted they had the responsibility of preparing for any route the market could take. Of the approximately 15 cars at the expo, attended by about 50 media members and politicians — including Montgomery County Democrats Sen. Jennie M. Forehand and County Executive Isiah Leggett — most were not hybrids but offered other fuel-efficient alternatives.
Source: The Daily Record

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GM Revamps Marketing, Hires Ex-Nissan Executive

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp said on Wednesday it would realign North American sales and marketing management and announced that a former Nissan North America sales chief would lead one of the four new broad retail channels. GM said the changes to align its eight brands into four brand channels would reduce complexity and improve its focus, with all of the leaders reporting directly to North American sales chief Mark LaNeve. The four brand channels include Chevrolet, Saturn, Buick-Pontiac-GMC and GM's premium brands. GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said it hired former Nissan North America sales and marketing chief Mark McNabb as vice president for premium brands in North America, which include Cadillac, Hummer and Saab.
Source: Reuters

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Report: Some Auto Safety Gear's Value Limited

Some pricey new safety gear that automakers have billed as technological breakthroughs that will save lives may have only limited protective value, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concludes in a report out [today]. Federal safety officials and many automakers have hailed the "crash-avoidance" devices as their best hope for lowering the annual U.S. death toll in crashes from the current 42,000. Unlike safety belts and air bags, the new devices are designed not to lessen injuries from a crash but to prevent one in the first place. But some of the devices may not work well, the IIHS says, because some drivers are likely to ignore the warnings, turn them off or drive with less care. Automakers are installing devices that warn you, for example, if you leave a lane without signaling, alert you to blind spots and detect other vehicles — and sometimes apply the brakes if you don't. Among the technologies the IIHS did say would likely help save lives are sensors that warn of frontal crashes — especially when paired with automatic braking — and of lane departures.
Source: USA TODAY

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NADA Update
NADA Headed to New Orleans

New Orleans is now the eighth fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To show support for the rebirth of New Orleans, the NADA Convention & Exposition is headed back to the Big Easy for its 92nd annual event which runs Jan. 24-27, 2009.

"The theme for our New Orleans convention is 'Voice of the Dealer® ... Committed to Community.' What better way to show that commitment than for us to be there in full strength at one of NADA's favorite convention cities," said Annette Sykora, 2008 NADA Chairman. NADA has held its convention in New Orleans every few years for the past 30 years.

Registration and exhibit sales for the 2009 NADA Convention will open this summer. In the meantime, check out what the city has to offer or watch a video report about NADA's return to the Big Easy.

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Openings Remain for May Dealer Academy Classes

A few seats remain open for the Dealer Candidate Academy (DCA) for successors and the General Dealership Management (GDM) classes, which are scheduled to start next month at the NADA Dealer Academy.

The DCA class begins on May 5, and the GDM class begins on May 19. All classes will take place at NADA headquarters in McLean, Va.

The Dealer Academy program comprises six one-week class sessions - one week every other month - with each session focusing on a different area of dealership operations. The initial session focuses on financial management, the next two on fixed operations (parts and service), the following two on variable operations (new and used), and the final session on overall dealership management.

For more information or to enroll, call (800) 252-6232, #5, or (703) 821-7216 (in Canada).

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Lenovo Offers NADA Members Discount on Thinkpad Notebooks

NADA members can save three ways during the month of April:

  • Instant savings with discounted Web pricing
  • Save even more with your NADA discount
  • Extra savings with eCoupon USXSAVE4SPRING at checkout

To take advantage of these savings, visit www.nada.org/ProductsServices/Technology, click on "PC Purchase Program" (member log-in required), then click on Lenovo, or call 800-426-7235. Enter eCoupon USXSAVE4SPRING at checkout for your cumulative discount. Free ground shipping is offered on all Web orders! Visit the Web site often for special limited-time eCoupons.

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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About DMS Vendors
Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines when dealers are evaluating Dealer Management Systems Dealer Management System vendors. Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication.  To learn what issues to consider when choosing a network provider, click here.
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Quotable
 
"The automaker is taking this risk, this cost burden, until consumers will decide to pay for it. I am in this game of making something consumers may not pay for for the good of us all."


    -- Robert Lee, vice president for powertrain product engineering at Chrysler LLC, The Detroit News, April 16

"If fuel efficiency was really the driving force that I think a lot of the media make it out to be today, then we'd see somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three million Kias being sold every year. Vehicle size, particularly in the United States, is a very important purchase consideration ... fuel economy by itself is simply not a sales factor. It may be a differentiator if all things are equal."

    -- Scott Miller, CEO of Synovate Motoresearch, The Detroit News, April 16

"What we need short-term is actually something that moves the needle and is affordable to the customer."

    -- Ford Motor Co.'s chief engineer Andreas Schamel noting that hybrids still have more than a 10-year payback period. In the short term, Ford plans to add more six-speed engines, more hybrids and more vehicles with its EcoBoost engines, The Detroit News, April 16

Video Reports
 
Students Learn About Automotive Careers at the DC Auto Show. 

 Students learn about automotive careers. 

 NADA/USA Today Innovation Award Goes to "Green" Dealership in Vermont.
 NADA Convention Heads to New Orleans in 2009.
 NADA Foundation Contributes to Canine Companions for Independence.
 2008 Convention Highlights

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