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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Administration Seeks a Quicker Increase in Fuel Standards
Toyota Takes World Sales Lead from General Motors
Ford's Recovery Gaining Traction
Hyundai Motor Earnings May Jump Most in Two Years
Volkswagen Profit Rises 26 Percent on Job Cuts, New Models
Purves to Become CEO of Rolls-Royce
NADA AuctionNet Finds Used Vehicle Prices Decline, Volume Increases in First Quarter '08
NADA Update
Girl Scouts Promote Automotive Careers
Survey of NADA Members Shows Commitment to Community
NADA Joins with AutoTrader.com for Seminar Series
NADA to Members: Beware of Subpoena Email Scam
NADA Headed to New Orleans
Top Stories
Administration Seeks a Quicker Increase in Fuel Standards

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, acting as gasoline prices are setting records, proposed on Tuesday to raise car and truck fuel economy standards substantially faster than required by the energy law passed by Congress last December. The Transportation Department backed an increase of 4.5 percent a year beginning in 2011 and continuing through 2015. That change would add nearly $1,580 to the cost of a car in 2015, and nearly $3,100 to the cost of a light truck. Assuming that the price of gas was about $2.50, the department said it would take vehicle owners a little more than four years to break even with savings from reduced fuel use. At a higher price, officials said, the payback would be faster. Mary E. Peters, the secretary of transportation, said in her announcement that the standards were “historically ambitious, yet achievable.” They would produce a 25 percent improvement by 2015; Congress required 40 percent by 2020. The pace she laid out is nearly 50 percent faster than what would be required to meet the law passed last December. The car manufacturers’ main trade association praised the proposal as “good for both consumers and energy security.”
Source:  The New York Times (Registration required.)

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Toyota Takes World Sales Lead from General Motors

DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp. has taken the first-quarter global automotive sales lead from General Motors Corp., selling 2.41 million vehicles to GM's 2.25 million over the first three months of the year. GM said Wednesday its first-quarter sales dropped across the globe by less than 1 percent, but Toyota said its sales were up 2.7 percent during the January-through-March period. A record 64 percent of GM's sales came from outside the United States. Strong demand in Europe supported Toyota's worldwide sales. "While the challenges of the U.S. economy continue to put pressure on the automotive industry there, we saw nearly 20 percent growth in the Latin America, Africa and Middle East, and 6 percent growth in the Asia Pacific region," John Middlebrook, GM vice president of global sales, said in a statement. Toyota said output of popular, fuel-efficient small cars such as the Corolla model grew strongly in China, while production of pickup trucks rose steadily in Thailand during the quarter. Some analysts say it's only a matter of time before Toyota — which built its business in the decades after World War II by imitating American automakers — overtakes GM in terms of annual global sales as well as production.
Source:  The Associated Press

 

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Ford's Recovery Gaining Traction

Against the odds, Mulally pushes cultural change on all fronts to move carmaker to profitability
Whoever says Ford Motor Co. is not changing under CEO Alan Mulally should start paying attention. The numbers Ford releases Thursday will likely reveal the company's sixth consecutive year-over-year improvement. Another quarter of better-than-expected gains would be surprising, given Ford's demonstrated inability to halt sliding market share, the state of the U.S. automobile industry, and a weakening national economy that has undermined car and truck sales. But it speaks to the progress Ford is making on Mulally's turnaround plan, as well as his effort to forge "One Ford" out of the company's often warring fiefdoms. For Mulally himself, nothing drove that home more than the standing ovation he received from Ford dealers during their annual convention in Las Vegas earlier this month. During an interview with The Detroit News on Tuesday, he proudly showed off some of the messages of support he got from many of them, notes that speak to a renewed confidence in the future of the company whose products they depend on for their livelihood.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Hyundai Motor Earnings May Jump Most in Two Years

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest automaker, may report the biggest increase in profit in at least two years because of demand for the Genesis premium sedan and gains from a weaker won. First-quarter net income probably surged 83 percent to 561.7 billion won ($565 million) from 307.4 billion won a year earlier, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 analysts. Sales likely rose 22 percent to 8.19 trillion won. Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong Koo boosted vehicle sales 14 percent in the period as the Genesis lured domestic customers from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz. A weaker won also boosted the value of overseas sales and helped Hyundai compete with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which are suffering from a strengthening yen.
Source:  Bloomberg News

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Volkswagen Profit Rises 26 Percent on Job Cuts, New Models

Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest automaker, said first-quarter profit rose 26 percent after the company cut jobs in Germany and lured buyers with the new Tiguan compact sport-utility vehicle and an upgraded Audi A4 sedan. Net income increased to 929 million euros ($1.48 billion) from 740 million euros a year earlier, the Wolfsburg, Germany- based carmaker said in a statement today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had predicted 924 million euros, based on 13 estimates. Sales advanced 1.4 percent to 27 billion euros. Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn boosted profit after adding models and cutting the VW-brand workforce in western Germany by 20 percent. The carmaker forecast record sales this year after first-quarter deliveries rose 7 percent to 1.57 million vehicles on demand from China and Brazil.
Source:  Bloomberg News

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Purves to Become CEO of Rolls-Royce

DETROIT -- Tom Purves on July 1 will become the new CEO of BMW's Rolls-Royce -- the ultraluxury carmaker where he started his career as an apprentice engineer. Purves, 59, will succeed Ian Robertson, 49, who last month was named BMW's head of sales and marketing to replace the departing Stefan Krause. Purves, a native of Scotland, has led BMW's North American sales subsidiary since 1999. He joined BMW in 1985 as sales director of the automaker's British operation. Purves also ran Land Rover, Mini, MG and Rover before he went to the United States. For Purves, leading Rolls-Royce will be a homecoming. He spent the first 17 years of his career there. According to his company biography, his role at Rolls-Royce evolved to include several management positions in various fields, including sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. During that time, Purves was based in the Middle East and Switzerland, according to the biography.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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NADA AuctionNet Finds Used Vehicle Prices Decline, Volume Increases in First Quarter '08

Market reacts to tight economy, spring prices soften
McLEAN, Va. -- The average prices of used vehicles sold at auctions declined in the first quarter of 2008 from the fourth quarter of last year, reflecting a tightening economy and shift in demand by dealers and consumers, according to AuctionNet® data released by NADA Used Car Guide -- the industry standard in used-vehicle valuation and information. Prices in all used-vehicle segments were down or flat in the first quarter, contrary to the typical pattern of increasing prices at auctions in the January-through-March period, when dealers stock their lots for the spring buying season. Consistent with past trends, the overall sales volume of used vehicles sold at auctions rose in the first quarter this year – up 15 to 25 percent across all segments.  “The lack of a typical spring rebound is significant, especially when you consider how soft prices were in the fourth quarter of 2007,” Terrence W. Wynne, director of editorial and data services for NADA Used Car Guide.  “The wholesale market is reacting to challenging economic times. If you look deeper into the data, you see a shift in demand toward less-costly vehicles, helping deflate these segment averages.  Higher-priced vehicles -- those over roughly $15,000 -- are softening while those below it are firming up or increasing." Wynne added, “This trend is similar to the one witnessed in 2002.” 
Source:  NADA Newswire

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NADA Update
Girl Scouts Promote Automotive Careers

Fast-Track to Automotive Careers: A Girl’s Guide is a 12-page booklet about automotive careers produced by the Girl Scouts of the USA with funding from the Department of Labor. In it, AskPatty.com founder Jody Devere says, “Dealerships want to hire more women, but they just aren’t applying for the jobs. Go visit a dealer! They hire a lot of young people and many jobs don’t require a four-year degree.” Consider inviting local Girl Scouts to your next career event, visit a troop meeting to make a career presentation or give a copy of an NADA career video, Take the Ride of Your Life or From Trucks to Bucks to a local troop.

For more information about Girl Scouts of the USA’s automotive programming, e-mail Lesley Williams at lwilliams@girlscouts.org. To order NADA’s career videos, visit www.nada.org/mecatalog.

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Survey of NADA Members Shows Commitment to Community

Even as U.S. auto sales continue to drop, dealers across the country are still highly supportive of charitable events in their local communities. A March 2008 survey of NADA dealers indicated that 82 percent of the 479 respondents sponsor charitable golf tournaments by offering hole-in-one prizes, most often a new vehicle.

NADA’s hole-in-one insurance program, ACECO, scored well on the survey. It was cited as being one of the least expensive and most convenient programs available. NADA's hole-in-one insurance program is available only to NADA members. As spring arrives, there is no better time to generate greater community awareness and new sales. Go to www.acecoinsurance.com to obtain a free quote.

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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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Quotable
 
"We are especially pleased to see this national approach to fuel economy start to take shape; it should be given a chance to succeed. This stands in stark contrast to the California approach which is untested, fails to look at the impact on the national economy, limits consumer choice and ignores concerns about passenger safety."

   
-- Andrew Koblenz, NADA vice president for legal and regulatory affairs, NADA Newswire, April 22
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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