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Top Stories
EPA is Upbeat on Fuel Efficiency
Consumer Groups Push Higher Fuel-economy Rules
GM Confident in Volt Battery Launch
Stars Test the Waters with Hydrogen Cars
Honda Says Fuel-Cell Cars Face Hurdles
Dealers: Give Us Crossovers, Fewer Big SUVs
GM Small Car Sales Swell
Ford to Increase Exports to China
New Ad May be a 'Dear John' Message to Big Oil
NADA Update
Enroll Now for NADA's Executive Leadership Program
Dealers Urged to Apply for the 2008 ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award
Hire an AYES Intern Today
NADA Insurance Announces Gains in its Hole-in-One Insurance Program
Shop the NADA Expo Floor - Online
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About PC Equipment
Go Green With HP ENERGY STARŪ Desktops
Top Stories
EPA is Upbeat on Fuel Efficiency

WASHINGTON -- Cars and trucks could be even more fuel-efficient than currently required by law and achieve fuel efficiency better than the automaker fleet average of 35 miles per gallon required by 2020, according to a draft copy of an Environmental Protection Agency regulatory initiative. It isn't clear that this EPA staff conclusion will be reflected in the Bush administration's final rule-making. The planned release Monday would come after a U.S. House panel is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to hold Mr. Johnson in contempt of Congress for failing to respond to subpoenas about ozone rules issued earlier this year that were weaker than recommended by the EPA's own outside scientific advisers. In the document related to vehicle fuel economy, the EPA staff concludes that, based on advanced technologies such as plug-in hybrid vehicles, vehicle fuel efficiency could be well above 35 miles per gallon between 2020 and 2025. A 2007 energy law that has been hailed by the Bush administration mandated an average vehicle fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The document will be the agency's first response to an April 2007 Supreme Court decision that found that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and that the EPA can regulate them.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

Consumer Groups Push Higher Fuel-economy Rules

WASHINGTON -- A coalition of consumer groups wants federal regulators to boost proposed fuel-economy rules for vehicles through 2015 and hold public hearings this summer before putting those rules into place. The request comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rushes to finish the rules before the end of the Bush administration. Its original proposal -- for cars and trucks to average 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015 -- was well-received after it was unveiled in April, but was based on a forecast for gasoline prices of $2.30 per gallon through 2020. The proposals "fail to put technology to work for consumers because NHTSA ties its proposed standards to low fuel prices," the Consumer Federation of America, the Consumers Union, Public Citizen and several other groups said in a letter dated Thursday. It added that the use of more realistic fuel prices makes "more technology cost-justified and will result in higher standards."
Source:  Detroit Free Press

GM Confident in Volt Battery Launch

DEARBORN, Michigan -- General Motors Corp. is confident it will be able to deliver the all-electric Chevrolet Volt as planned and is close to naming a supplier for the vehicle's crucial battery, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said on Monday. "I would say there's almost no reasonable doubt in our minds anymore that this is going to work," said Lutz, who heads vehicle development for GM. GM is designing the Volt to run on battery power alone for 40 miles, but some industry rivals and even some of the automaker's executives have questioned whether next-generation lithium-ion batteries could be ready for production of the highly anticipated vehicle in 2010. Lutz, who was speaking to Reuters after an address to a Detroit-area business group, said GM engineers had shown the battery packs now being tested could power vehicles to the company's target mileage and beyond.
Source:  Reuters

Stars Test the Waters with Hydrogen Cars

Automakers are lining up celebrities to promote the technology, but the clean fuel isn't ready for prime time.
Oscar-winning writer and director Paul Haggis owns four Toyota Priuses and is high on the waiting list to buy a $100,000 Tesla electric roadster. But when he heard about the new Honda FCX Clarity, a hydrogen-powered car that gets 270 miles on a tank and emits nothing but water, he was desperate to drive it. A step ahead of Haggis was Joely Fisher, star of Fox's "'Til Death" TV show. She arranged for BMW to lend her a sleek metallic blue Hydrogen 7 Series -- one of just 20 such experimental sedans in the country. The fad is a boon for carmakers, which are leveraging the enthusiasm of the stars and their attendant paparazzi to boost their image as environmentally friendly companies. The cars aren't for sale -- and won't be for years -- but automakers are using celebrities to promote the technology and build support for the infrastructure needed to make hydrogen cars commercially viable. General Motors Corp., meanwhile, has put Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger, "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera and former Laker Magic Johnson behind the wheel of its $1-million Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell. Honda said 50,000 people had signed up online to lease the Clarity, which rolls out in July. In the realm of celebrities and cars, no one is more visible than Jay Leno. The "Tonight Show" host has driven GM's Equinox, Honda's Clarity and other hydrogen cars and wrote an article for Popular Mechanics based on 10 days in the BMW. Leno is currently commuting in the Equinox. "The pickup is very, very good, very smooth. It doesn't make any noise," he said.
Source: Los Angeles Times 

Honda Says Fuel-Cell Cars Face Hurdles

TOCHIGI, Japan -- Honda Motor Co. President Takeo Fukui said prices have to fall further for fuel-cell cars to reach the mass market, even as the Japanese car maker unveiled the latest generation of fuel-cell vehicle. A lack of hydrogen service stations, among other factors, is limiting demand for the cars, and therefore car makers can't mass produce them, keeping production costs high. Honda said Monday that it will begin leasing the third generation of a fuel-cell model called FCX Clarity in the U.S. in July. The company plans to lease the new zero-emission car in Japan this autumn. Mr. Fukui said the new fuel-cell car costs tens of millions of yen, significantly less than the several hundred million yen it cost to make previous models. The price would need to fall to below 10 million yen, or about $92,000, for fuel-cell cars to be a mass-market product, he said. "I think it wouldn't take 10 years" for his company to slash the price of its fuel-cell car to this level, he said.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

Dealers: Give Us Crossovers, Fewer Big SUVs

LOS ANGELES — Crossovers, cars with four-cylinder engines and hybrids are topping dealer orders for the next model year. Mark Parkinson, a Buick, Pontiac, GMC and Hummer dealer in suburban Los Angeles, says he must factor in rapidly rising gasoline prices, and consumer response to them, as he develops his order strategy. Parkinson said he continues to order GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave crossovers. He also is stocking up on Pontiac G5 small cars and G6 and Vibe mid-sized cars with four-cylinder engines. Even though gasoline prices nationwide exceed $4 a gallon, some Ford and Dodge dealers say they have high hopes for the brands' redesigned full-sized pickups, the 2009 Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram. "The farmers are doing quite well," says Pat Walsh, a Ford dealer in rural Atwater, Minn. "They want trucks." Walsh predicts the redesigned F-150 will prompt customers who otherwise wouldn't buy a new truck to "take some action." Mark Harding, general manager of Santa Monica Toyota in suburban Los Angeles, says he wants every Corolla small car the factory will send him. He has a desk drawer full of orders for the 2009 Prius, he adds, but thinks he will be unable to get enough of the hybrids to meet demand. "People will start looking at four-cylinders since they can't get hybrids," Harding says. Dealers told Automotive News that automakers aren't forcing big trucks on them. Dave Perricone, general sales manager of King O'Rourke Auto Group in suburban New York, says GM is asking him to take some slow-selling full-sized trucks as a favor. At the same time, Perricone says, GM is covering a larger share of dealers' inventory financing costs on many models. "GM listened to what the dealers wanted," he says.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

GM Small Car Sales Swell

General Motors Corp., in the midst of another major downsizing, can't move quickly enough to keep up with demand in one area of the U.S. auto market that's actually growing. The automaker said Monday it will add an extra shift a month earlier than initially planned at a Lordstown, Ohio, factory that builds the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars. A third shift of about 1,000 workers will start Aug. 4 rather than Sept. 1. Demand for small cars is surging as consumers react to the reality of $4-per-gasoline and a sagging U.S. economy. "Sales were through the roof -- we're having a problem keeping in stock like everyone else," said Barry Gonis, general manager of Spitzer Autoworld in North Jackson, Ohio, just miles from the Lordstown factory. "People are coming in and they're looking for these Cobalts that are inexpensive and have great gas mileage." GM has an anemic 27 days' supply of Cobalts on dealer lots, compared with the industry norm of 70 days supply, according to trade publication Automotive News. The supply is barely half what it was a month earlier.
Source:  The Detroit News

Ford to Increase Exports to China

Ford Motor Co. is planning a significant increase in the number of vehicles it exports to China as part of a new trade pact that takes advantage of the favorable currency rate for building cars and trucks in North America and shipping them for sale overseas. The trade agreement signed Monday in Washington hinges on reducing some environmental and safety standards that have made it difficult in the past to make North American-built vehicles conform with Chinese regulations, Ford officials said. Ford will start exporting about 10,000 vehicles a year in 2009 but did not say Monday which nameplates would be sold in China, where it currently assembles a variety of small cars for the domestic market. It currently exports about 1,000 vehicles made in North America for sale in China. "Currency is significantly more friendly today," said Stephen Biegun, Ford's vice president for international governmental affairs. "And we don't have to engineer the same kind of significant design changes as we did before."
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

New Ad May be a 'Dear John' Message to Big Oil

WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp. is considering running a TV commercial that sends a "Dear John" letter to the nation's oil companies as part of the automaker's effort to tout its green credentials. "Dear Oil," an ad produced by McCann Erickson in Birmingham, says: "We've had this great relationship for many years. We think we will both be a lot happier and healthier if we see less of each other." Oil companies have been the target of criticism from consumers paying $4 or more a gallon for gas, Washington politicians and others. At the same time, GM has been emphasizing its commitment to alternative fuels and powertrains. The automaker has been steadfastly promoting its flex-fuel cars and trucks, which run on 85 percent ethanol -- GM built more than 1 million flex-fuel models last year -- and the Chevy Volt, a vehicle that can travel up to 40 miles on electric battery power and is expected to be available in late 2010. Mark LaNeve, GM vice president for North American sales, service and marketing, said Monday that an ad has not yet been produced and the concept was a "creative exploration." "The idea does not in any way take on oil companies," he said. "It is a fuel economy idea. It could easily be 'Dear fuel pump' and, in fact, if we ever produce an ad that is probably how we will shoot it."
Source:  The Detroit News

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NADA Update
Enroll Now for NADA's Executive Leadership Program

Ranked No. 1 for Entrepreneurial Education
Applications are now being accepted for NADA's Dealer Executive Education program at Babson College, which meets at Babson's Wellesley, Mass., campus from Sept. 21-26. Launched in March, the program offers a six-part, 16-month curriculum designed to enhance the leadership skills of dealership employees. "Ideal candidates for the program are individuals who are in a position to effect change within the dealership," says Allan Jones, director of the NADA dealer academy. Instructors lead students through a series of interactive learning activities, including group activities, role-play and video. Students gain insight into leadership traits, decision-making processes, communication skills and "opportunity obsession" -- a term coined by Babson. "This is a lot more than just changing your dealership. This is about making myself a better leader," said Jared Hamilton of Henry Day Ford in Sandy, Utah. "If I become a more effective leader, I can ... articulate our dealership's vision." The program teaches you how to "think like an entrepreneur and how to think beyond the four walls of the dealership," said Matthew Haiken of Prestige Volvo in East Hanover, N.J.  Babson College has been ranked No. 1 in entrepreneurship for 13 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. For more information on NADA's Executive Education, visit www.DealerExecEd.org.

Click here to see why NADA's executive leadership program is No. 1 for executive education.

Dealers Urged to Apply for the 2008 ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award

The 2008 ENERGY STAR Small Business and Congregations Awards are open to any small business, congregation, or non-profit which has increased the energy efficiency of its facility through upgrades or energy-management improvements during the last two years. It can be a large project or small improvement in energy efficiency, a retrofit or new construction. In 2007, EPA’s ENERGY STAR program honored three dealerships: Pat Lobb Toyota of McKinney, Texas; Planet Subaru, Hanover, Mass.; and Sendell Motors, Inc., Greensburg, Pa. Each received an ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award, which recognized these dealerships as “examples of financial and environmental stewardship” for achieving greater energy efficiency at their facilities. To download an application, click here.

Hire an AYES Intern Today

More than 2,000 qualified students are available in the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) program, and all are available for summer internships. NADA is a long-time, active supporter of the AYES program, which is designed to help train young people as automotive technicians, and prepare them for careers at new-car and -truck dealerships. "NADA encourages dealers to participate with their local AYES-affiliated schools," said NADA Chairman Annette Sykora. "As a school to career partnership, it's a tremendous way to grow your own workforce. Hiring an AYES student also supports local schools and the community, and can increase the productivity of your dealership's service department." To find an AYES school near you, call (888) 339-AYES, e-mail info@ayes.org or visit http://maps.ayes.org. Additional information on AYES can also be found at at www.ayes.org.
Source: AYES

NADA Insurance Announces Gains in its Hole-in-One Insurance Program

NADA Insurance announced that its hole-in-one insurance program, ACECO, earned 36 percent more in premiums in May 2008 compared to the same month a year ago. The number of policies written increased as well, jumping 23 percent. The reason for the impressive gains, despite the recent downturn in the auto industry, is because of several factors, says Lin Peacock, NADA Insurance vice president.  "We've made a number of positive changes to the program last quarter," Peacock said. "We surveyed our members to determine their needs; we created new services to meet those needs; and we revamped our Web site to make it easier to use. It all adds up to satisfied customers." NADA's hole-in-one insurance will provide a no-obligation quote to any NADA dealer. Just call (888) 828-8540 or visit www.NADAinsurance.com and click on "Hole-in-One."

Shop the NADA Expo Floor - Online

The 2008 NADA Convention & Expo is over, but the virtual exhibit floor is open 24/7 with our new online exhibit directory. Browse more than 700 exhibitors and search by company name or category of interest. Click here for direct access to the 2008 NADA Exhibit Directory.

STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About PC Equipment

 

Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to help dealers evaluate their PC Equipment.  Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication for more information. To learn "What is Key When Selecting Client Hardware?"  click here.

Go Green With HP ENERGY STARŪ Desktops

Save up to 44 percent on computer power consumption when you choose HP ENERGY STAR® qualified HP desktops with 80 PLUS® power supplies. Look for HP Compaq dc7800 Ultra Slim Desktop at www.nada.org/ProductsServices/PC+Purchase+Program/, click www.hp.com/go/promos/nad1 (member log-in required).

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Featured Video
 

Click Here to see why NADA's executive leadership program is No. 1 for executive education. 

More Video Highlights
Quotable
 
 "I would say there's almost no reasonable doubt in our minds anymore that this is going to work."

    -- GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said of GM's confidence in the Volt battery, Reuters, June 17


"I want to do everything I can to make sure that people know that the technology is available and we are not far off from having this on the road."

    -- Joely Fisher, star of Fox's "'Til Death" TV show, arranged for BMW to lend her a Hydrogen 7 Series -- one of just 20 such experimental sedans in the country, Los Angeles Times, June 15


"People will start looking at four-cylinders since they can't get hybrids."

    -- Mark Harding, general manager of Santa Monica Toyota in suburban Los Angeles, Automotive News, June 16

Video Highlights
 
   

New Orleans is Back!


 NADA's New Orleans Project
 NADA's Return to New Orleans 
 NADA Chief Economist Forecasts a Challenging '08
Click here for more NADA-TV reports.
 
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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.