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Top Stories
GM, Toyota, Ford Won't Follow Chrysler With Gas Subsidies
Frustrated Massachusetts Drivers Try to Sell Their Gas-Guzzlers
Environmentally Friendly Cars Focus of Auto Expo
Rachor to Join Forces with Michael Dell
GM Suspends Big Truck Orders Because of American Axle Strike
Ford Heirs Mull Kerkorian Risk
NADA, NAAA Partner for Remarketing Course
NADA Update
NADA Insurance Launches New Site for Hole-in-One Insurance
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
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions
Save Up to 35 Percent on ThinkPad Notebooks Through May 19
Top Stories
GM, Toyota, Ford Won't Follow Chrysler With Gas Subsidies

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. have no plans to match Chrysler LLC's offer to subsidize the cost of gasoline for car and truck buyers, the companies said Tuesday. The Auburn Hills-based automaker on Monday night announced an offer that caps the price of gasoline at $2.99 a gallon for three years for people who buy or lease new vehicles from Wednesday through June 2. The customer will be billed $2.99 a gallon, and Chrysler will pay the rest. General Motors tried a gas payment promotion two years ago in Florida and California with little impact on sales, company spokesman John McDonald said Tuesday. GM instead is focusing on making vehicles more fuel efficient because that's what customers are demanding, McDonald said. Ford spokesman Jim Cain said the company has tried similar programs regionally but also has decided to focus on more efficient engines and transmissions and other measures. "We know that fuel economy is important to consumers," he said. "It'll be important whether gas is $2.99 a gallon or $4.99 a gallon."
Source:  The Associated Press

Frustrated Massachusetts Drivers Try to Sell Their Gas-Guzzlers

Sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks - symbols of Americans' obsession with horsepower, size, and status - are falling out of favor as consumers rich and poor encounter sticker shock at the pump... The sale of new SUVs and pickup trucks has dropped precipitously in recent months amid soaring gas prices and a weakening economy: SUV sales for the month of April alone fell 32.3 percent from a year earlier and small car sales rose 18.6 percent. This fundamental shift comes against a backdrop of relentless gas increases, and growing concerns over the environment and US oil consumption, according to auto analysts and car dealers. "The SUV craze was a bubble and now it is bursting," said George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University whose research focuses on the automotive industry. Some desperate car dealers and consumers, are willing to lose thousands of dollars just to get rid of their SUVs. Meanwhile, midsize and small domestic 4-cylinder vehicles have fetched higher used prices during this period of high gasoline prices, according to Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association. For example, wholesale prices of used small cars increased from $8,480 to $9,240 between December and March as gas prices rose from $2.98 to $3.22 per gallon. The growing popularity of crossover vehicles, which offer SUV features on a car platform, is putting a dent in SUV sales and reshaping the focus of the auto industry toward the more fuel-efficient crossovers. In March, twice as many crossovers were sold compared to SUVs, according to the auto dealers association.
Source:  The Boston Globe

Environmentally Friendly Cars Focus of Auto Expo

Area auto dealers [recently] showed off the latest in high-mileage, alternative-fuel vehicles ... The Maryland Automobile Dealers Association and Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association hosted a "Green Vehicle Expo" ... at FitzWay Used Car City in Gaithersburg, [Md.] The event featured sedans, sport utility and other models, including E-85 ethanol vehicles, diesel and gas-electric hybrid vehicles. "Maryland is fifth in the nation in hybrid vehicles," with 24,087 sold last year, said Charles J. Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. He called the state a leader in providing incentives to buy alternative-fuel vehicles. Gerard N. Murphy, president of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association said, "This is to showcase what's here now and what's in the pipeline. What we want is for lawmakers to be able to see some of this alternative fuel technology up close ... we look at it as a prototype that can be rolled out in other states."
Source:  Maryland Gazette

Rachor to Join Forces with Michael Dell

New firm would invest in premier auto dealers
Jeffrey Rachor, the former president of dealer group Sonic Automotive Inc., is joining with computer mogul Michael Dell to form a privately held dealership group. According to a knowledgeable source, Rachor and Dell’s MSD Capital LP, a New York investment firm, soon will announce the formation of MSD Automotive Partners LLC. The size and scope of the firm’s investment pool is unknown. Rachor joined Pep Boys last year after leaving Sonic Automotive, where he was president and COO for three years. While at Sonic, he restructured the company, expanded it and shifted its product mix toward luxury and import brands. Two years ago, Dell was rumored to be considering an investment in the Asbury Automotive Group...
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

GM Suspends Big Truck Orders Because of American Axle Strike

DETROIT -- General Motors has told its dealers it has suspended production of some 2008 full-sized trucks and SUVs because of the American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings strike. GM says it already had all the orders it could process at this time because the strike is preventing GM from getting parts. If the strike continues, there might be additional production cuts, GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos says. In a notice to dealers, GM said: “The allocation volume for the Dealer Order Submission Process cycles beginning May 8, 2008, and May 15, 2008, have been canceled.” Dave Grundstrom is on GM’s National Dealer council. He says some dealers fear they will lose commercial fleet business because they can’t get big trucks. But he says no business has been lost yet. “The truck business is so slow in general right now it’s hard to measure it,” says Grundstrom, president of Marvin K. Brown Auto Center in San Diego, which sells Cadillac, Saab, Hummer, Buick and GMC.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

Ford Heirs Mull Kerkorian Risk

Ford Jr. urges family unity with company, board
Days after billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian unveiled his plan to become Ford Motor Co.'s largest private shareholder, the heirs of Henry Ford gathered Saturday near Dearborn for their spring meeting. Several generations of Fords were briefed by CEO Alan Mulally on the company's progress with its turnaround plan, reviewed the newest car and truck offerings, and discussed Kerkorian's bid to bolster his 100-million-share stake by at least another 20 million shares, according to people familiar with the meeting. Family members expressed concern that Kerkorian might pose the first serious challenge to their control of the company in its 104-year history. [Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr.] said it was important at times like these to remain unified behind Mulally and the board of directors. It was a message family members are said to have heard loud and clear, but their concern is understandable. Kerkorian's plans for Ford remain to be seen. But his entry into the fray adds new complexity to deliberations inside the family...
Source:  The Detroit News

NADA, NAAA Partner for Remarketing Course

The National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Auto Auction Association are teaming up to present a course designed to help industry professionals get the most out of auction sales. Southern Auto Auction in East Windsor, Conn., is hosting the course, which runs from June 2-4. The program is an extension of the NADA Dealer Candidate Academy and focuses on appraising, merchandising, inventory control and reconditioning, officials indicated. It features a mock auction where dealer representatives can get out in the auction lanes and receive guidance from NADA Academy administrators and auction managers.
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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NADA Update
NADA Insurance Launches New Site for Hole-in-One Insurance

NADA Insurance announced the launch of a new Web site for its hole-in-one insurance program, ACECO. The redesigned site includes new graphics, improved interactivity, navigation and FAQ page. The new site can be accessed by visiting www.nadainsurance.com and clicking on “NADA Hole-in-One.”

“We redesigned the site to make it even easier for members to find the information they need about our hole-in-one insurance program,” said NADA Insurance Vice President Lin Peacock. “ACECO offers very competitive premiums combined with excellent service. I strongly encourage dealers who sponsor golf tournaments to give us a try.”

ACECO guarantees a 24-hour turnaround on all their no-obligation quotes. Visit www.nadainsurance.com today to obtain a quote for your next golf tournament sponsorship.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

Save Up to 35 Percent on ThinkPad Notebooks Through May 19

NADA members can save in three ways:

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

Visit www.nada.org/ProductsServices/PC+Purchase+Program/ (member log-in required), then click on www.lenovo.com/shop/deals/nada or call 800.426.7235, Option 1, Ext. 4838 to take advantage of these savings.  Enter eCoupon USXSAVE4SPRING at checkout. Free ground shipping is available on all Web orders.

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Quotable
 
"The SUV craze was a bubble and now it is bursting." 

    -- George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, The Boston Globe, May 6

"This is to showcase what’s here now and what’s in the pipeline. What we want is for lawmakers to be able to see some of this alternative fuel technology up close ... we look at it as a prototype that can be rolled out in other states.”

    -- Gerard N. Murphy, president of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association, referring to the recently held Green Vehicle Expo, which featured a variety of E-85 ethanol vehicles, diesel and gas-electric hybrid vehicles, The Maryland Gazette, May 6

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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