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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Automakers Rally Against States' Fuel Standards
US Hybrid Sales up 38 Percent in 2007; Prius Leads the Pack
Credit Crunch Sinks Auto Sales
Ford Broadens its Diesel Strategy
Chrysler Moving to Stand-alone Service Stores
Opinion: Last Week, I Got a Glimpse of the Future
NADA Update
NADA Joins with AutoTrader.com for Seminar Series
NADA to Members: Beware of Subpoena Email Scam
NADA Headed to New Orleans
Lenovo Offers NADA Members Discount on Thinkpad Notebooks
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About DMS Vendors
Top Stories
Automakers Rally Against States' Fuel Standards

WASHINGTON -- In a rare show of industry solidarity, automakers and their dealers pressed [Friday] for Congress to block any attempt at allowing states to set their own fuel economy standards, laying a marker ahead of a new administration and Congress. The action by the major domestic and international auto companies, as well as domestic and foreign-brand dealers, comes as more states consider whether to adopt California’s standards, which call for a fuel economy target of 42.5 miles per gallon average by 2020. The industry backed the bill approved by Congress last year setting a lower nationwide standard of 35 m.p.g. by 2020, with terms that favored the industry’s approach to reaching the goal.
Source: Detroit Free Press

[Editor's Note: The National Automobile Dealers Association and the American International Automobile Dealers Association support federal rules to decrease fuel consumption and green house gas emissions. These efforts are in response to state attempts to set up separate fuel economy programs in more than a dozen states across the country. NADA supports the single, national fuel economy standard of 35 mpg by 2020 signed into law last year which balances consumer choice, vehicle availability and passenger safety. “By rejecting a confusing multi-state approach, the EPA recognized the need for a single national solution to address energy security, tailpipe emissions and global climate change.  Dealers would face significant adverse consequences such as cross-border sales and disruptions to product mix under a state-by-state system,”  said David Regan, NADA vice president of legislative affairs. Dealers should continue to urge their legislators to support the national fuel economy compromise signed into law, and reject efforts in Congress to implement multi-state fuel economy (S. 2555, H.R. 5560, S. 2806).  For more information visit www.nada.org/CAFE.]

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US Hybrid Sales up 38 Percent in 2007; Prius Leads the Pack

DETROIT -- Kim Fenske drives a bus in Colorado by day, but when he's not working, he zooms around the mountains in a 2007 Toyota Prius. A growing number of buyers feel like Fenske. U.S. registrations of new hybrid vehicles rose 38 percent in 2007 to a record 350,289, according to data to be released [today] by R.L. Polk & Co. ... Hybrids made up just 2.2 percent of the U.S. market share for the year, but they were growing steadily even as overall sales declined 3 percent. The Prius remained the best-selling hybrid in 2007, commanding 51 percent of the hybrid market, up from 43 percent in 2006 despite the influx of new hybrids. California remained the top state for hybrid sales in 2007. Twenty-six percent of all hybrid registrations were in California, up 35 percent from 2006. Florida, New York, Texas and Washington followed.
Source: Associated Press

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Credit Crunch Sinks Auto Sales

Loan market, economic woes force automakers to lower forecasts
Auto sales are falling harder and faster this year than anyone anticipated because of a toxic combination of factors not seen since the oil shock of the 1980s. In addition to a weak economy and sagging consumer confidence, gasoline prices have risen to record highs and credit is hard to come by, forcing dealers to turn away prospective customers. These rough conditions are prompting many auto executives to rethink their assumptions that sales would rebound in the second half of 2008 after a short-lived slump. Banks are taking no risks after getting burned by the subprime mortgage crisis that has ravaged the housing industry and wiped out billions of dollars of homeowners' equity. As part of the credit tightening, many banks are suspending home-equity lines of credit that had become a common source of money for auto purchases.
Source: The Detroit News

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Ford Broadens its Diesel Strategy

Ford Motor Co. will outfit a variety of pickups, vans and SUVs with a diesel engine the company is developing. Details about the 4.4-liter, turbocharged V-8 were leaked to the Internet after being revealed at a dealer show this month in Las Vegas. Ford had confirmed that a new diesel would be installed in the F-150 pickup truck and Expedition SUV starting in 2010. But Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealers at the show learned that the engine also will be used in the Lincoln Navigator SUV and Ford E-series vans and in the Super Duty version of the F-series pickup. The new diesel has about the same 0 to 60 mph acceleration but gets 20 percent better fuel economy.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Chrysler Moving to Stand-alone Service Stores

DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC will create stand-alone service stores as part of its dealership consolidation plans, says Steven Landry, Chrysler executive vice president of North American sales. The stand-alone service centers will be created in some metropolitan markets as one Chrysler dealer buys another, Landry said following a speech ... late Thursday. The strategy is designed to meet customer demand for vehicle service as the number of dealerships shrinks. “If we all of a sudden go from 80 stalls to 40 stalls we don’t want to do our customers a disservice,” Landry says. “We want them to be handled just as quickly as they were before.”
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Opinion: Last Week, I Got a Glimpse of the Future
by Keith Crain

Last week, during the SAE World Congress in Detroit, I had the chance to drive a BMW 7 series — nothing remarkable except it was powered by hydrogen. Actually it was a dual system that allowed me to switch back and forth between hydrogen fuel and gasoline. It was completely seamless. Aside from the rather large bold lettering across the side of the car announcing to the world that it is a hydrogen vehicle, you would never have any idea what its power source might be. It was impressive because it was so well done. That hydrogen car uses a BMW piston engine that also runs on gasoline. Now there might be a huge problem in changing the world around to offer hydrogen on every street corner, but the automobile companies would continue to use the same manufacturing plants to build engines. There will be no single winning fuel in the future. It's going to take all of them to fuel our world.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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NADA Update
NADA Joins with AutoTrader.com for Seminar Series

New in May, NADA is joining with AutoTrader.com to offer a special 8-week virtual seminar series, Automotive Internet Marketing: A Traditional Approach to Non-Traditional Media. The series covers a variety of relevant Web-related topics, including building a Web site, advertising online and tracking Web traffic.

Each workshop is designed to provide new information about the changing online marketplace and presents a specific step to developing an Internet marketing plan.

The following virtual seminars are included in this series:

  • The 21st-Century Dealership
    –David Kain, Kain Automotive; May 21
  • Maximizing Your Web site’s Potential
    –Dean Evans, Dealer.com; May 28
  • Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing
    –Adrian Madland, Google; June 4
  • Online Advertising
    –Jaime Lomas, AdReady, Inc.; June 11
  • Direct/Targeted Advertising
    –Bruce O’Brien, @utoRevenue; June 18
  • Lead Management
    –Jennifer Suzuki, e-Dealer Solutions, Inc.; June 25
  • Tracking and Measurement for Success
    –Howard Polirer, AutoTrader.com; July 2
  • Evolving with the Marketplace
    –Chip Perry, AutoTrader.com and Kevin Fossett, NADA; July 9

Participants can access the archives for every seminar, including any seminars missed, for up to six months. To learn more about this series, visit www.nada.org/InternetMarketing or call 1-888-667-0482.

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NADA to Members: Beware of Subpoena Email Scam

NADA is warning its members to be aware of a recent e-mail "phishing" scam that involves an email with an official-looking subpoena sent from subpoena@uscourts.com requesting your appearance in front of a grand jury. This is not a legitimate message and should not be opened. Once opened, it asks the recipient to click a link and download the case history and associated information. DO NOT CLICK ON SUCH LINKS. If you do, you will have downloaded "malware" which may crash your computer and do untold amounts of damage to your system both now and potentially in the future. Be advised that federal courts do not effect service of subpoenas via e-mail. If you have any doubts about a subpoena, call the clerk of court or an attorney.

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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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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
 
“There would be one car but there would be 50 (corporate average fuel economy) standards. We cannot conceive of a more chaotic market result.”

    -- David Regan, NADA vice president of legislative affairs, acknowledged that approval of the California waiver would result in chaos, CongressDaily, April 18

"This is one of the only times I ever remember having the entire industry, manufacturers and dealers, together on an issue."

    -- Mike Stanton, head of the Alliance of International Automobile Manufacturers, in support of a national standard to improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases, Detroit Free Press, April 18


"Credit is the No. 1 issue. It used to be that, in a month, if you had 1,000 contracts, you could get 850 financed. Now, it's 750 or 775 applications that are accepted."


    -- Dan Frost, owner of five Chrysler and Hummer dealerships in Michigan, The Detroit News, April 21

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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