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Thursday, April 24, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
CAFE to Save Billions in Gas
Editorial: New Fuel Economy Rules Unfair to Auto Industry
What Might $4-Per-Gallon Gas Spark Among Drivers?
GM Says Toyota Has Lead in Global Sales Race
Ford Posts $100M in First Quarter Profit
Some Car-stereo Makers See Drivers Ditching CDs for iPods
Trying to Connect in a Crowd
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
CAFE to Save Billions in Gas

Automakers will comply by producing more hybrids and vehicles with smaller engines
McLEAN, Va. -- Federal regulators said a dramatic proposal unveiled Tuesday to boost the fuel efficiency of the nation's cars and trucks to 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015 will save 55 billion gallons of fuel -- or $100 billion at the pump -- and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 521 million metric tons over the life of the new vehicles. As it stands, the regulation proposes 4.5 percent yearly increases -- about 25 percent above the minimum Congress required in an energy bill passed in December that mandates a minimum industry fleet average of 35 mpg by 2020 for cars and trucks combined. The proposal outlined Tuesday is the first step toward that and would boost passenger car fleet efficiency to 35.7 mpg, from 27.5 mpg -- the first increase since the program was created in 1975. Truck fleet efficiency would rise to 28.6 mpg by 2015, from 22.2 mpg. Auto companies supported the regulation but vowed to offer comments over the next two months to improve the proposal. The proposal will cost automakers at least $47 billion to comply beginning in the 2011 model year and running through 2015, including $31 billion for light trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the proposed regulation would add $979 per light truck and $650 per car. Under one NHTSA scenario, total vehicle sales would decline 145,000 in model year 2011, increasing to a 563,000-vehicle decline in model year 2015. GM could see the largest decline, losing 48,600 unit sales in model year 2011 and 148,000 by model year 2015.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Editorial: New Fuel Economy Rules Unfair to Auto Industry
The Detroit News

The federal government keeps moving the goal post on fuel economy standards -- imposing billions of dollars in costs on auto manufacturers. Yet it will not take the political risk of conserving oil by raising taxes on gasoline. The Transportation Department Tuesday proposed new fuel economy rules that would require cars to average 35.7 miles per gallon by 2015 and light trucks to average 28.6 miles, for a combined fleet average of 31.8 miles per gallon by that year. This new requirement calls for annual increases in fuel economy of 4.6 percent annually, up from the 4 percent demanded in last year's congressional legislation. The new requirements will cost the auto industry an estimated $47 billion over the next seven years or so. As the experience of the last few months and the oil shocks of the 1970s have demonstrated, gasoline prices are far more effective than fuel economy rules in shifting consumer demand toward more fuel efficient vehicles. Europeans have known this for years, which is why their fuel taxes are far higher than this nation's. We have suggested that if Congress were really interested in conserving fuel and helping the environment, it would raise federal gasoline taxes by a dollar, rather than imposing the burden of fuel conservation solely on the auto industry.
Source:  The Detroit News

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What Might $4-Per-Gallon Gas Spark Among Drivers?

CHICAGO — If consumers have to pay $4 per gallon of gas for an extended period of time, the vast majority of them say they will buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle, according to a new Cars.com survey regarding gas prices and their effect on car-buying decisions. The survey results showed that 85 percent of consumers said a prolonged period of $4 gasoline prices would prompt them to buy a more fuel-efficient car. Of that 85 percent, 28 percent said they would buy a more fuel-efficient car immediately and 57 percent said they would buy a more fuel-efficient car the next time they purchased a car, the survey also revealed. However, there is a threshold to how much consumers are willing to pay to get better gas mileage, the survey showed. According to officials, the survey asked consumers, all things being equal, how much more they would pay for a car that got 40 miles per gallon versus a car that got 25 miles per gallon. More than 60 percent said they would pay $2,000 or less and 21 percent said they wouldn't pay any more for it, the results revealed. "Clearly, when it comes to fuel-efficiency, there is a contradiction between what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for," [said Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief at Cars.com.] "That puts a bigger burden on auto makers who claim that they will have to add thousands of dollars to the cost of each vehicle to meet the fuel-economy standards of 35 miles per gallon by 2020."
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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GM Says Toyota Has Lead in Global Sales Race

DETROIT — General Motors said on Wednesday that the slowdown in the United States market had led to a first-quarter sales decline that gave Toyota the early lead in this year’s global sales race. G.M. said its first-quarter sales fell less than 1 percent, leaving it about 160,000 vehicles behind its Japanese rival, whose sales grew 2.7 percent. Toyota sold 2.41 million vehicles to G.M.’s 2.25 million. Toyota outsold G.M. in the same period a year ago but ended the year about 3,100 vehicles short of G.M. “The big caveat is gas prices,” G.M.’s chief sales analyst, Michael C. DiGiovanni, said. “This is clearly a head wind we didn’t anticipate would be to this level.” Still, Mr. DiGiovanni said that G.M. remained upbeat about the latter part of the year, when it believed a recovery could begin. “The fundamentals are in place for a second-half recovery,” he said. “We’re starting to see the positive signs that we thought we would see.”
Source:  The New York Times (Registration required.)

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Ford Posts $100M in First Quarter Profit

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said today it posted net income of $100 million on total revenue of $43.5 billion during the first quarter. That's compared with a net loss of $282 million on revenue of $43.0 billion during the same period a year ago. In North America, the company said it posted a pre-tax loss of $45 million compared with a loss of $613 million a year ago. "The improvement reflected cost reductions of $1.2 billion, including lower structural and product costs," Ford said in a statement. "These improvements were partly offset by unfavorable volume and mix, and net pricing. First quarter revenue was $17.1 billion, down from $18.5 billion a year ago."
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Some Car-stereo Makers See Drivers Ditching CDs for iPods

First eight-track players slid off into history. Then that unruly stack of cassette tapes disappeared from glove compartments. Now, car-stereo makers are marketing units that threaten to boot compact discs into the auto audio graveyard. On Wednesday, Blaupunkt announced it's shipping a second-generation, $160 stereo and AM/FM radio that ditches the CD player in favor of ports for other digital music technologies including Apple iPods and other MP3 players, thumb drives or other USB devices or SD memory cards. Other makers have competing units that began appearing last year. All are aimed at the growing segment of music-loving auto enthusiasts who carry their tunes in their pockets. "We're very close to an age when we're not going to have to carry around a bunch of discs anymore," says Ben Oh, editor of Car Audio & Electronics Magazine.
Source:  USA Today

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Trying to Connect in a Crowd

Love is all you need, Subaru declares in a push for its 2009 models — along with all-wheel drive, a safety pedal system, low-emission engines and an environmentally correct plant. The first work for Subaru of America from its new creative agency for the general market, Carmichael Lynch, is to be shown to dealers on Thursday at a meeting in Salt Lake City. The campaign tries to add emotional reasons for buying a Subaru to the rational approach the brand has taken for many years, most recently in ads from a previous agency, DDB Worldwide. The theme created by DDB, “It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru” remains in the new ads. In front of those words is a new one, “Love.” Research shows that owners are ardent about their Foresters, Impreza WRXs, Outbacks, Tribecas and other Subarus. Subaru owners keep their vehicles longer than the average car owner, and talk about them approvingly to people they know. If we’re going to connect with customers, it will have to be at a more emotional level,” [said Tim Mahoney, the new chief marketing officer at Subaru of America.] “Certainly, rational reasons are important, but it has to be more of a blend to get people to put us on the list.”
Source:  The New York Times (Registration required.)

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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
 
"Clearly, when it comes to fuel-efficiency, there is a contradiction between what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for. That puts a bigger burden on auto makers who claim that they will have to add thousands of dollars to the cost of each vehicle to meet the fuel-economy standards of 35 miles per gallon by 2020."

    -- Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief at Cars.com, Auto Remarketing, April 24

“The fundamentals are in place for a second-half recovery. We’re starting to see the positive signs that we thought we would see.”

   -- G.M.’s chief sales analyst, Michael C. DiGiovanni, referring to sales of GM vehicles, The New York Times, April 24

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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