For optimal viewing through your web browser or PDA, click here.

SPONSORED BY
 
NADA.org
Friday, May 2, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Home | AdvocacyAffiliates | Convention | Jobs | Programs | Publications | Training | Services
At a Glance...
Top Stories
Small Cars Post Gains, Trucks Fall as Gas Prices Rise
GM's LaNeve: Vehicle Prices Will Rise
Auto Industry Opposes Holiday for Gas Tax
Will Sales Stimulate You to Spend?
New Chrysler Aims for Profits, Quality
Electric Nissans Planned in U.S. by 2010
Jerry York: I'd Sell Volvo, Mercury if I Were Ford Chief
Lawmakers Being Forced to Give up Gas-guzzling Cars
NADA Update
NADA to Provide Members with Free Red Flags Educational Guide
New Seminar Focuses on Tax Issues Affecting Dealers
Automotive Careers Online Offers Job Postings at a Discount
IRS to Issue Guidance on Special 50-Percent Depreciation Allowance
Dell Deals Available to NADA Members for Limited Time
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions
Top Stories
Small Cars Post Gains, Trucks Fall as Gas Prices Rise

DETROIT -- Small cars were the big winners in April, as high gas prices accelerated U.S. consumers' rush away from trucks and sport utility vehicles and makers of fuel-efficient models scored gains despite the weak economy. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all saw double-digit U.S. sales declines compared to last April. But Nissan's sales were up 7 percent on the strength of its car sales, while Toyota's sales edged up 3 percent. Honda's sales figures were delayed because of a technical problem, but the automaker said April sales were likely to be up at least 6 percent. Pickup sales have been falling for months because of the slowdown in housing construction, and the trend away from SUVs began several years ago as Baby Boomers aged and roomy but more fuel-efficient crossover vehicles gave consumers more choice. But automakers and industry watchers said gas prices are speeding the trend. George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst, said retail ... sales of passenger cars exceeded trucks and sport utility vehicles combined for the first time in at least 20 years. Pipas said a full-size truck is on the list of the top ten vehicles being traded in for every small car in the industry. "So this requires a big shift in our culture, in our training and our thinking. Not only for Ford but our dealers," [Pipas said.]
Source: The Associated Press

[back to top]
GM's LaNeve: Vehicle Prices Will Rise

DETROIT -- In the wake of dramatic sales declines in high-profit, full-sized SUVs and pickups, General Motors marketing chief Mark LaNeve says prices for cars and crossovers will rise. “The challenge for the industry from a revenue standpoint is -- revenue has disappeared due to the truck market declines, higher commodity prices, the cost to develop technology to meet CAFE and other regulations,” said LaNeve, GM’s vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, during a conference call today. “So prices are going to have to come up over time, and I believe we’re already seeing it. We’re seeing similar moves from our competition.” LaNeve wouldn’t predict how much vehicle prices might rise or when all automakers might boost prices. GM has 14 launches coming in the next 18 months, 13 of which are cars and crossovers, said Mike DiGiovanni, GM’s executive director of global market and industry analysis.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

[back to top]
Auto Industry Opposes Holiday for Gas Tax

Automotive industry leaders have begun to speak out firmly against proposals Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton are promoting to suspend the 18.4-cents-a-gallon federal excise tax on gasoline. The U.S. presidential hopefuls say the move would ease financial pain for Americans who are paying nearly $4 a gallon for regular gas as they cope with an economy ravaged by a housing slump, tight credit and rising food prices. But Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Officer Bob Nardelli ... and others say that the nation needs the high gas prices to encourage consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles -- which the federal government has mandated that automakers build -- and to make responsible decisions for the world at large. Nardelli told the Free Press that although he empathized with the pain high gas prices cause for consumers, the nation must have an energy policy that is aligned with the country's larger goals. Lower gas prices could create a disincentive for consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, Nardelli said. He suggested the government should offer an incentive for consumers who buy efficient vehicles that are built in the United States. He said a move like that might boost the sagging economy. A representative for Ford Motor Co. declined to comment on the proposed summer tax break, and General Motors Corp. said it didn't want to weigh in on a speculative proposal.
Source:  The Detroit Free Press

[back to top]
Will Sales Stimulate You to Spend?

Retailers roll out specials, hoping folks don't bank government checks
Retailers are trying to benefit as consumers get their hands on "extra money" in the form of economic stimulus payments from the government. Retailers that sell basic goods are best suited for stimulus-related promotions, with so many consumers focused these days on necessities like groceries, rent and gasoline. In the automobile industry in upcoming weeks, a likely scenario for stimulus payment promotions will be service specials, said Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association. He said some motorists have deferred vehicle maintenance because of financial stress. In subsequent weeks some car dealers will also conduct used and new car promotions related to stimulus payments, Taylor predicted.
Source:  The Houston Chronicle

[back to top]
New Chrysler Aims for Profits, Quality

Carmaker’s top leaders say it will be smaller, partner with others, and have higher quality products
Chrysler LLC's top executives have a vision for the automaker that in some ways defies much of what has defined being one of Detroit's Big Three. Their Chrysler will be smaller. It will forge more alliances with other automakers and parts suppliers to gain access to new technology and to make better use of its manufacturing capacity. It will build fewer, but better, cars and trucks that meet changing consumer demands. And it will be profitable. "Just tonnage is not the measurement anymore," Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said Thursday in a wide-ranging interview with The Detroit News that included Jim Press and Tom LaSorda, who share the title of vice chairman and president. "It's not about bragging rights. It's about financially delivering." This vision of a new Chrysler comes as the U.S. auto industry faces severe headwinds. Vehicles sales are down 7.7 percent through April and Nardelli doesn't expect a turnaround later in the year. Still, he said Chrysler is making progress. The company finished 2007 with $1 billion more cash on hand than expected and is on track to restore profits and positive cash flow, though he did not provide a timetable. Chrysler has "a long way to go" but is on the road to profitability, Nardelli said.
Source:  The Detroit News

[back to top]
Electric Nissans Planned in U.S. by 2010

CASCAIS, Portugal -- Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said he is preparing to take advantage of a "mass market" in electric vehicles he expects to emerge by 2012. Nissan, an alliance partner of Renault SA of France, will launch electric vehicles in the U.S. and Japan in 2010, and globally by 2012, Mr. Ghosn said... He said he expects the market for electric vehicles to grow strongly due to high oil prices, a new awareness of environmental issues and breakthroughs in battery technology. Mr. Ghosn said battery-technology advances have given the electric car sufficient range to make it a viable mode of transport for the shorter journeys often made by commuters in big cities. Globally about 10 million vehicles are being used in this way, he said. High oil prices and the willingness of governments to give tax incentives for so-called zero-emission vehicles can change the economics of owning an electric car and make it "cheaper than gasoline," Mr. Ghosn said.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

[back to top]
Jerry York: I'd Sell Volvo, Mercury if I Were Ford Chief

DETROIT -- Jerry York, a former auto executive who represents Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp., isn’t shy about sharing his opinion. York said he thinks Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will hold on to the Lincoln brand but sell Volvo and Mercury -- and that Mulally would be right to do so. "I’m very confident that (Mulally’s plan) is the answer, and I think you’ll see that he’ll put Volvo on the market within the next year and a half," York said in an interview. York told Automotive News that Mulally is “highly focused” on the Ford brands. “The margins on Lincolns are terrific, and my guess is that’s where he’s headed -- he’ll probably keep Lincoln,” York said. When asked whether York would sell Mercury, he said: “Mercury, as a matter of principle, I would (sell it). But first I’d want to understand the likely cost savings versus the value loss, and that’s always a difficult analysis. You have to see how many Ford customers would stick with Ford if you closed Mercury.” This week, Kerkorian’s Tracinda announced that it plans to make a cash tender offer for as many as 20 million shares of Ford stock at $8.50 a share. Tracinda already owns 100 million shares, representing 4.7 percent of Ford’s shares outstanding.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

[back to top]
Lawmakers Being Forced to Give up Gas-guzzling Cars

A little-noticed amendment to last year's energy bill requires House members who lease vehicles to select those that emit low levels of greenhouse gases.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley likes his taxpayer-funded Ford Expedition. He isn't worried that it's not the most fuel-efficient car. It's reliable, suits his mountainous district and is cheaper to lease than many other vehicles. But like it or not, Gallegly and other lawmakers will have to give up gas-hungry SUVs and luxury sedans for leased vehicles that are more eco-correct, such as Toyota's Prius. And some are in a high-octane fit about it. Congress has been bearing down to do more about global warming. But a little-noticed amendment to last year's energy bill has hit especially close to home. It requires House members who lease vehicles through their office budgets to drive cars that emit low levels of greenhouse gases. The effort to steer lawmakers into vehicles that get better mileage comes as Congress has mandated more fuel-efficient vehicles for the public and pump prices have surged. Under the legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency will determine which vehicles lawmakers will be allowed to lease, a list that's expected before the end of the year. Senators are not allowed to use their office budgets for long-term vehicle leases. A number of lawmakers scoffed at the requirement, saying that forcing them into less-polluting vehicles would do almost nothing to affect climate change, and suggested that Congress could take more significant action to reduce oil imports.
Source: Los Angeles Times

[back to top]
NADA Update
NADA to Provide Members with Free Red Flags Educational Guide

Dealers and other creditors and financial institutions must comply with the FTC Red Flags Rule by Nov. 1, 2008.  To assist dealers with this new requirement, NADA will mail to its members a free educational guide by August 1, 2008 that will explain dealers' responsibilities under the new rule and provide a template to assist dealers in preparing the required written Identity Theft Prevention Program. Additional information will be available from fee-based webinars that NADA will conduct from 1 - 3 p.m. EST on August 26, 2008 and Sept. 23, 2008 (registration information will be announced soon).

[back to top]
New Seminar Focuses on Tax Issues Affecting Dealers

Online discussion offers rare opportunity to hear directly from the IRS

NADA is offering dealers an opportunity to get up-to-the-minute, practical information on IRS issues affecting the retail business through a Web-based seminar addressing breaking news on dealer tax issues.

“This is a rare opportunity to learn directly from the IRS about dealer-specific tax developments that have occurred even since our last IRS seminar held in February at the NADA Convention,” said Paul Metrey, NADA director of regulatory affairs, who will moderate the online discussion.

Terri Harris, IRS motor vehicle technical adviser, will present information on breaking tax developments applicable to dealers—including the latest on UNICAP, the new Vehicle Pool Method for LIFO accounting, recent IRS tool and equipment plan enforcement, and just-released technical guidance on cost segregation studies.

Dealers, CFOs, controllers, CPAs, and others involved in tax planning for auto dealerships are encouraged to participate in the seminar from 1-3 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, May 8. About half the time will be set aside for dealer-related tax questions from participants.

Cost of the seminar is only $199 per computer connection. An unlimited number of attendees may participate in the seminar using a single computer connection. Registrants will have access to the seminar recording for up to six months.

Register online at www.nada.org/seminars or call 800-248-6232, ext. 7273.

[back to top]
Automotive Careers Online Offers Job Postings at a Discount

Automotive Careers Online is NADA’s dedicated job board—and the automobile retailing industry’s exclusive resource for online employment connections.

Just launched, Automotive Careers Online is a brand new benefit of NADA membership. Only NADA members may post jobs—for a fraction of the cost of commercial boards and newspapers that don’t necessarily reach the dealership audience.

Job posting packages start as low as $200 for a 30-day listing. Email alerts advise you when candidates matching your skills criteria post their resumes.

The job board is open to all job seekers, who can post their resumes and search available jobs absolutely free. Since this is a dedicated service, candidates are looking specifically for dealership jobs and are likely to be highly qualified.

To learn more, post jobs, and search listings, visit www.automotivecareersonline.com.

[back to top]
IRS to Issue Guidance on Special 50-Percent Depreciation Allowance

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 includes more than direct payments to individuals.  It also provides several incentives to businesses, including a special 50-percent depreciation allowance for 2008 purchases, an increase in the depreciation limits on business vehicles, and an increase in the "Section 179" small business expensing limitation.

The 50-percent "bonus depreciation" allowance for qualifying purchases is available to all businesses and applies to most types of tangible personal property and computer software acquired and placed in service in 2008.  It allows taxpayers to deduct 50 percent of the cost of qualifying property in addition to the regular depreciation allowance that is normally available.  

The IRS recently announced that it will issue guidance on how the special 50-percent depreciation allowance can be used to make capital investments this year (as well as guidance on the new increased businesses expensing limitation.)  Recognizing that there will be questions in the meantime, the IRS stated that businesses may rely on the regulations previously issued regarding bonus depreciation (found at Treas. Reg. Sec. 1.168(k)-1) until the guidance is issued.

[back to top]
Dell Deals Available to NADA Members for Limited Time
Dell is offering NADA members discounts from 17 percent to 40 percent on select desktops, laptops and printers, and most include free shipping. These discounts will be available for a limited time only. Call 1-888-506-3355 or go to www.nada.org/ProductsServices/PC+Purchase+Program (member login required) and click on the Dell link to take advantage of this offer. NOTE: To receive the NADA discount you MUST call 1-888-506-3355.
[back to top]
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions
Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to help dealers evaluate Internet Content Filtering. To learn what is recommended for general maintenance of a hardware based system, click here. To download STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG), click here.
[back to top]
Quotable
 
"I will start driving a green car once Pelosi starts ballooning back and forth from coast to coast to save jet fuel."

    -- Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has made climate change a top priority, The Los Angeles Times, April 30

"...this requires a big shift in our culture, in our training and our thinking. Not only for Ford but our dealers."

    -- George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst, referring to U.S. consumers' rush away from trucks and sport utility vehicles, The Associated Press, May 2

In the automobile industry in upcoming weeks, a likely scenario for stimulus payment promotions will be service specials. Some motorists have deferred vehicle maintenance because of financial stress. In subsequent weeks some car dealers will also conduct used and new car promotions related to stimulus payments.

     -- NADA Chief Economist Paul Taylor, The Houston Chronicle, May 1

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

On the Lighter Side
 
S A F E T Y   L A S T ?

“In New Hampshire, they have a slogan—‘Live Free or Die’—and they do.”

    -- National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker on why New Hampshire is the last state without a safety belt law, NADA's AutoExec magazine, April 2008

Search Back Issues | Unsubscribe/Manage your subscription | email us
NADA For more information on NADA, visit www.nada.org or contact NADA, 8400 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102. This email may contain an advertisement of NADA products and services. Any opinions or statements contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views of NADA. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication. If you are a franchised new-car or -truck dealer and would like to become a member of NADA, please visit the Join NADA section of www.nada.org. Questions or comments concerning NADA Headlines content may be directed to media@nada.org.