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Tuesday, May 13, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
California May Alter Emission Controls
Opinion: Car and Driver
McCain: Boost Funding for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles
UAW Strikes Sting GM Dealers
Toyota Delays New U.S. Auto Plant Due to Economy
Nissan Plans Electric Car in U.S. by '10
Factories Punish Rogue Exporters
Jag, Land Rover Dealers Ready for Life with Tata
Longtime Car Dealer Sees Gains in Giving Back
NADA Update
Director Nominations Mailed to NADA Members
Looking for a Competitive Edge? Check Out NADA's Used-Vehicle Seminar
NADA Insurance Launches New Site for Hole-in-One Insurance
NADA to Provide Members with Free Red Flags Educational Guide
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Content Filtering
Save Up to 35 Percent on ThinkPad Notebooks Through May 19
Top Stories
California May Alter Emission Controls

State is willing to consider regional approach rather than state-by-state regulations
WASHINGTON -- The head of California's Air Resources Board said she was willing to talk with automakers about modifying one aspect of the state's landmark tailpipe emissions regulations. Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, speaking to reporters at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Government/Industry meetings on Monday, said she was open to discussing setting "regional" rather than state-by-state standards for tailpipe emissions. The consideration comes after California auto dealers expressed concerns that automakers could be forced to stop selling larger less-efficient vehicles there because of the state's proposed strict regulations, which could encourage customers to buy larger vehicles in another state. A regional approach would largely protect California from this issue. The National Automobile Dealers Association said 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," said Andrew Koblenz, NADA vice president for legal and regulatory affairs. In December, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson rejected California's request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to impose the rules. [Other] states have sued to overturn the waiver and bills have been introduced in Congress to overturn it as well.
Source:  The Detroit News

Opinion: Car and Driver
The Washington Post

Plummeting Auto Sales Teach a Lesson in the Value of Putting a Price on Carbon
The dismal April car sales data out of Detroit illustrated an important lesson about what it will take to reduce U.S. consumption of foreign oil and to cut greenhouse gas emissions. With the reality sinking in that high gas prices ... are here to stay, American car buyers ended their nearly two-decade love affair with the sport-utility vehicle and other gas guzzlers. Meanwhile, fuel-efficient cars were rolling off the lots. Had Congress the courage to impose a price on carbon, these positive changes could have been achieved years ago -- and without the side effect of pouring fresh money into the government coffers of Iran, Venezuela and Russia. Instead, the financial squeeze at the pump brought on by global increases in oil prices finally brought about the change in behavior in the driving public that could not be achieved by appealing to citizens' better natures. The next attitude adjustment should come in Detroit, where the free fall of bottom lines ought to prompt a decisive shift away from the production of SUVs and other gas guzzlers. With a carbon tax, the price of gas might be even higher than it is now. But as we have seen, high prices encourage less driving and a demand for more efficient vehicles and energy alternatives, which result in reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Yes, we know: A carbon tax is a non-starter on tax-averse Capitol Hill. But with debate on a cap-and-trade bill from Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) starting next month, some price on carbon may be coming. Finally.
Source:  The Washington Post

McCain: Boost Funding for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

WASHINGTON -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain today will call for more funding of advanced technology vehicles -- but also promises more accountability over government research spending. "We will add to current federal efforts to develop promising technologies, such as plug-ins, hybrids, flex-fuel vehicles, and hydrogen-powered cars and trucks," McCain will say in a speech on the environment this afternoon in Portland, Ore., according to advance excerpts of his remarks released by the campaign. "We will also establish clear standards in government-funded research, to make sure that funding is effective and focused on the right goals." McCain and his two Democratic rivals, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have all said they support a move by Calfornia and 12 other states to impose their own 30 percent reduction in vehicle tailpipe emissions by 2016.
Source:  The Detroit News

UAW Strikes Sting GM Dealers

They feel pinch over parts shortage, lack of diverse inventory as clients wait indefinitely for custom cars.
Dealers and customers are beginning to feel the pinch from the labor strife that's ensnared GM in recent months, from the 10-week-old United Auto Workers strike at American Axle to UAW walkouts at two critical GM factories. GM says the strikes, while costly, have yet to broadly impact individual retail sales to customers, but frustration is mounting among the growing ranks of people who buy and sell vehicles GM can no longer build. Among them is a dealer in Dearborn who is pretty sure that four GM crossovers he sold to customers last month were left stalled on an assembly line near Lansing when workers building them went on strike. A Minnesota man still has no idea when he'll get the customized, top-of-the-line Chevy pickup he ordered in February as a retirement gift to himself. And dealers say their days have become an unending scramble of Internet searches and calls to other shops to hunt down the vehicles their customers want.
Source:  The Detroit News

Toyota Delays New U.S. Auto Plant Due to Economy

TOKYO — A senior Toyota executive said Monday that plans for a new auto assembly plant in Mississippi are being delayed by worries about slumping U.S. auto sales and a broader U.S. economic slowdown. The assembly plant being built in Blue Springs, near Tupelo, Miss., was to be up and running by late 2009 or early 2010, said Toyota Motor Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita. That has now been pushed back to mid-2010 after Toyota reviewed the plans and considered signs of a slowdown in the U.S. market, Kinoshita told a small group of reporters at a Tokyo hotel. Toyota, neck-and-neck with General Motors for the title of No. 1 automaker in the world, has been on a roll with its offerings of small cars and gas-electric hybrids as gasoline prices soar. It took the first-quarter global automotive sales lead from GM, selling 2.41 million vehicles to GM's 2.25 million.
Source:  The Associated Press

Nissan Plans Electric Car in U.S. by '10

DETROIT — The Nissan Motor Company plans to sell an electric car in the United States and Japan by 2010, raising the stakes in the race to develop environmentally friendly vehicles. The commitment — expected to be announced Tuesday by Nissan’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn — will be the first by a major automaker to bring a zero-emission vehicle to the American market. Nissan also expects to sell a lineup of electric vehicles globally by 2012. In an interview Monday, Mr. Ghosn said Nissan decided to accelerate development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gasoline prices and environmental concerns, not just because of the need to meet stricter fuel-economy standards. “What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing,” he said. Mr. Ghosn said Nissan envisioned a broad range of electric vehicles, starting with small cars, and added: “It’s not only about a small city car or a small minivan. It can also be about a small commercial vehicle and a small crossover.” Mr. Ghosn was not always enthusiastic about alternative-fuel technology. In a 2005 speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association, he called gas-electric hybrids “niche products” useful only to meet strict fuel-economy and emission standards in states like California.
Source:  The New York Times

Factories Punish Rogue Exporters

As the weak dollar continues to make U.S. goods a bargain, automakers are cracking down on U.S. dealers who are exporting a growing number of new cars and trucks to foreign customers on the gray market. In some cases, though, dealers say they're unwitting and unwilling participants who have no idea the vehicles they sell are going overseas. Gray-market exports are a growth industry. According to the North American Automobile Trade Association, 60,000 new gray-market vehicles were exported from the United States last year, up 68 percent from 2006. Werner Schumacher, a major Mercedes-Benz dealer in Phoenix, was penalized $18,000 after his dealership sold a dozen new vehicles that later were exported. Schumacher, who chaired Mercedes' dealer council last year, says he didn't know the vehicles had gone to foreign buyers. Exporters hired straw purchasers, he says. Other dealers are protecting themselves from export penalties by demanding written agreements from buyers that they won't resell vehicles outside the United States. Dealers also are lobbying for state laws to limit the factories' ability to punish them. Exporters typically buy vehicles from a U.S. dealer, then ship them to foreign clients or to brokers. Those foreign consumers often can import new vehicles from the United States more cheaply than they can buy them at home.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

Jag, Land Rover Dealers Ready for Life with Tata

Ford Motor Co.'s sale of the Jaguar and Land Rover U.K. luxury brands to India's Tata Motors will affect 353 franchises in the U.S. — 179 handling Jaguar cars and 174 selling Land Rover SUVs. Of those, 90 Land Rover dealerships are in exclusive one-brand buildings and 41 are Jaguar-only outlets. Jaguar dealer Irma Elder, whose Ford store in the Detroit suburb of Troy, is one of Michigan's largest in volume, led the nation in Jaguar sales for many years until the sales dip in 2007. “Jaguar was a shining star for Ford,” says Elder, who also owns dealerships in Florida. “I have every confidence it will retain the same luster for Tata. “They're a top player in the India market and could add several of their truck, SUV and car brands when they begin exporting to the U.S,” she says. Jaguar and Land Rover dealers were concerned about Ford Motor Credit Co.'s future role with their brands under the Tata umbrella. As part of the purchase agreement with Tata, Ford Credit will continue financing dealer floorplanning and customer loans and leases for a year. Based in Mumbai (Bombay), Tata Motors produced a record 375,869 vehicles in 2007. At the Geneva auto show in March, Tata introduced an all-new, no-frills Nano mini-car priced at $2,500.
Source:  Ward's Dealer Business

Longtime Car Dealer Sees Gains in Giving Back

Somewhere in its 81-year history of selling and repairing automobiles, Karl Chevrolet Hummer of New Canaan, [Conn.] took a detour. But the venerable auto dealer got sidetracked for a good reason or many good reasons -- also known as causes. Karl Chevrolet is among a growing number of businesses nationwide that have embraced cause marketing, which means cooperation among for-businesses and nonprofit organizations. The auto dealer aids nonprofit groups in several ways, including goods in kind. It has donated a Hummer H3, a Chevy TrailBlazer and a Chevy Avalanche to Safe Kids Fairfield County and its Safe Kids Buckle Up Program over the years. Karl also lends its facilities ... in New Canaan and ... in Old Greenwich to Safe Kids Fairfield County for child safety seat clinics and has a child passenger safety technician on its staff. Karl Chevrolet has been a sponsor of the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program for more than 30 years and has raised money for high school scholarship programs in lower Fairfield County for 23 years. Leo Karl III, 47, president of Karl Chevrolet, said the dealership his grandfather founded in 1927 has a long record of helping the public, which in turn supports the business. "We always tried to show our gratitude by giving back to the community at large and to organizations that fulfill a need," Karl said.
Source: The Stamford Advocate
 

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NADA Update
Director Nominations Mailed to NADA Members
Ballots for nominating members to serve as NADA directors have been mailed to members in Arizona, Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Metropolitan New York, New York State, Ohio, Eastern Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Metropolitan Washington, DC and West Virginia. All ballots should be returned postmarked by May 30. If two or more nominees receive at least 10 percent of the votes and agree to seek election, ballots will be mailed June 27 to be returned postmarked by July 18. Directors elected will take office on Jan. 27, 2009 at the convention in New Orleans.
Looking for a Competitive Edge? Check Out NADA's Used-Vehicle Seminar

NADA 20 Group consultant Steve Emery will present "Used-Vehicle Department Profit Accelerator," held May 21–22 in St. Louis, Mo. The seminar will explain the crucial elements of running a profitable used-vehicle operation, such as purchasing and managing inventory, reconditioning, financing, marketing and advertising, maintaining a business plan and more.

The 1½-day seminar will be held at the Hilton Ballpark Hotel. For more information, including member and non-member fees, visit www.nada.org/seminars. Dealers, general managers, used-vehicle managers and sales managers are encouraged to attend.

Want to log on from your own dealership? Take a look at NADA's upcoming Web-based seminars:

  • How to Prepare and Interpret a Cash Flow Statement (Steve Lane, May 13)
  • How to Drive Traffic in a Tough Market (Ron Wheeler, May 22)
  • Using All the Tools in Your F&I Toolbox (Ron Reahard, June 3)
  • Totally Trucks: Best Practices in Cost and Expense Management and Reduction (ATD) (Keith Ely, June 11)
  • Increasing Collision Repair Sales (Robert Rick, June 12)
  • Managing Fixed Operations from the General Manager's Desk (Randy Brenckman, June 24)

The fee for each virtual seminar is $199 per computer connection. Additional attendees can participate from the same connection at no additional cost.

For more information on upcoming seminars, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call 1-800-248-6232, ext. 7061.

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.)

STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Content Filtering

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 NADA's PC Purchase Program online (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 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, The Detroit News, May 13


"We will add to current federal efforts to develop promising technologies, such as plug-ins, hybrids, flex-fuel vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars and trucks."

    -- Republican presidential nominee John McCain, according to an advance copy of a speech on the environment he's scheduled to make this afternoon in Portland, Ore., The Detroit News, May 13


"What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing."

    -- Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, referring to Nissan's decision to accelerate development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gasoline prices and environmental concerns, The New York Times, May 13

Video Reports
 
NADA Data and Used Car Guide Show Decline in SUV and Truck Values.  [Source: WUSA-TV, Washington, DC]

 NADA data supports declining used vehicle values 

 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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