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Top Stories
GM Slates Sweeping Rebates as Toyota Closes in on No. 1
Toyota May Cut Sales Goal as U.S. Truck Demand Slumps
McCain Challenges Auto Makers on Fuel Efficiency
GM: Volt Buyers Deserve Tax Credit
Citibank Hired to Explore Hummer Options
More Ford Workers to Lose Their Jobs Soon
NADA Update
Enroll Now for NADA's Executive Education Program
NADA and EPA to Recognize Energy Star Efficient Dealerships
Automotive News to Host 'Green Dealership' Webinar
Dealers Urged to Apply for the 2008 ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award
Hire an AYES Intern Today
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About PC Equipment
Go Green With HP ENERGY STARŪ Desktops
Top Stories
GM Slates Sweeping Rebates as Toyota Closes in on No. 1

On the verge of ceding its crown as America's best-selling car company, General Motors Corp. announced further production cuts as well as sweeping new incentives on many 2008 models -- a reversal of recent strategy and a fresh sign of how badly rising gasoline prices are slamming auto makers. GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC have been trying for over two years to back away from heavy incentives, which eat into profit margins and tarnish brands in the eyes of some consumers. But a worsening of the slump in car and light-truck sales this month is forcing the Detroit companies to go all out to halt sales declines. Through the first half of June, normally a strong period, U.S. auto sales were running at an annualized rate of about 12.5 million vehicles, according to J.D. Power & Associates. It was the lowest level for June in decades and a huge drop from the year-ago rate of 16.3 million vehicles. For GM, the June swoon has an added peril: Without a sales surge in the next few days, it risks losing its U.S.-sales crown to Toyota Motor Corp. for the month. That would be a first and a powerful symbol of Detroit's long decline. While offering incentives on 2008 models, GM said it intends to raise prices on 2009 vehicles an average of 3.5 percent to help offset a surge in steel prices and rises in the costs of other materials. In hopes of spurring vehicle sales, GM said it would offer zero-percent loans for up to 72 months or cash rebates of up to $7,000. In a conference call, GM's top marketing executive for North America, Mark LaNeve, said the offers should help dealers move some of the pickups and SUVs they have in inventory, which have become hard to sell and are rapidly falling in value. "A lot of customers are out of equity, and zero percent helps [with] that issue," [Mr. LaNeve said.] GM now expects to produce 170,000 fewer light trucks -- a category that includes pickups and SUVs -- in the second half of this year than in the second half of 2007. It plans to increase car production by 47,000 from the total in the second half of 2007.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Toyota May Cut Sales Goal as U.S. Truck Demand Slumps

Toyota Motor Corp., the world's second-largest carmaker, may cut its 2008 sales target as higher gasoline prices reduce demand in the U.S. Meeting the company's forecast of selling 2.64 million vehicles in the U.S., its biggest market, this year will be difficult, Executive Vice President Tokuichi Uranishi said at a shareholders meeting in Toyota City, Japan today. The company will review its overall target next month, he said. Toyota's lead in fuel-efficient cars hasn't been sufficient to shield it from a slump in U.S. sales of larger vehicles. The company has cut production of Tundra trucks twice because of a 22 percent drop in sales of large pickups including Ford Motor Co.'s F-150 and General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet Silverado through May this year. "The U.S. market is really severe right now," said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. in Tokyo, which oversees $28 billion in assets. "Even Toyota can't get away from the U.S. car market slump."
Source: Bloomberg 

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McCain Challenges Auto Makers on Fuel Efficiency

Republican presidential contender John McCain challenged auto makers to increase fuel-efficiency and create a zero-emissions vehicle. Sen. McCain's speech Monday at Fresno State University in California expanded on his broader energy policy, which is aimed at reducing dependence on foreign oil and helping the ailing U.S. economy. "Whether it takes a meeting with auto makers during my first month in office or my signature on an act of Congress, we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil," Sen. McCain said. "We will do it, and we can." Auto companies, already struggling to stay afloat, expressed exasperation over Sen. McCain's challenge and his criticism that some auto makers were unable to meet emissions standards. "All of the companies are going full-steam ahead. We are all investing to try to figure out the answer and get there," said Jake Jones, who heads Daimler AG's Washington office. Sen. McCain proposed two incentives to help Americans move to more-fuel-efficient vehicles. To the consumer, he offered a "Clean Car Challenge," proposing a $5,000 tax credit to drivers who buy a zero-emissions car. He also said that as president, he would offer a $300 million "prize" -- about $1 for every person in the country -- to the auto maker that developed a new car battery that would do better than the existing electric and hybrid options.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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GM: Volt Buyers Deserve Tax Credit

NASHVILLE — General Motors wants a tax credit of up to $7,000 for buyers of the Chevrolet Volt, GM's vice president for global program management told a congressional caucus here last week. That would jump-start plug-in hybrid sales when the Volt comes to market in late 2010. "What we favor is actually a sliding scale depending on how much battery you have on board," said Jon Lauckner. "When I talk about $6,000 to $7,000, we're talking about a battery that's at least two times the size of a typical conversion plug-in or even a plug-in hybrid that we would offer." Early buyers of the Toyota Prius got a $3,150 credit. Tax credits can boost consumer demand until economies of scale bring down retail prices, Lauckner said. "Customers will have to pay a price premium for these vehicles, at least initially," he said.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Citibank Hired to Explore Hummer Options

General Motors Corp. has hired Citibank to help it review the options for the Hummer brand, the automaker told dealers [yesterday] in a conference call held by the automaker’s head of North American sales, service and marketing. GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced on June 3 that the company is considering “all options” for the brand, including a complete revamp of its product lineup, a joint venture or its sale. Sales of the Hummer brand fell 62 percent in May compared with a year earlier. January through May, sales of the brand were off 36 percent.
Source:  The Detroit Free Press

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More Ford Workers to Lose Their Jobs Soon

Ford Motor Co. has begun dismissing salaried workers as part of an effort to shed 15 percent of its salaried-related costs by Aug. 1 in the face of a toughening U.S. economy. The struggling market has resulted in an 11.2 percent sales decline for the automaker, with a disproportionate amount of the decline, 14 percent, hitting the profitable truck lineup. As the Free Press previously reported, the company started the dismissals earlier this month, when it let go of more than 200 contract employees. Another round of contract-employee cuts is expected Thursday. Ford spokesman Mark Truby confirmed Monday that the dismissals have spread to Ford's regular white-collar workforce. However, the bulk of the dismissals are expected in the weeks ahead, as the Aug. 1 deadline approaches. In an effort to reach its objectives, the automaker is also forgoing filling many open positions and cutting benefits, such as tuition and scholarship programs for employees. Ford posted a $100-million profit in the first quarter of this year, but that small gain followed a $2.7-billion loss in 2007 and a record $12.6-billion loss in 2006.
Source:  The Detroit Free Press

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NADA Update
Enroll Now for NADA's Executive Education 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.

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NADA and EPA to Recognize Energy Star Efficient Dealerships

  

As part of NADA's Energy Stewardship Initiative, both NADA and EPA’s Energy Star program are eager to recognize dealerships that have met or exceeded the Energy Star Challenge by improving their energy efficiency by at least 10 percent.

NADA will award these “green” dealers with a certificate, a press release distributed to the dealership’s local media, and coverage on www.nada.org, as well as recognition at NADA’s annual Washington Conference in September.

If you have improved the energy efficiency of your dealership or dealerships by at least 10 percent and you can show us, please send an email to RegulatoryAffairs@nada.org. Candidates for recognition will be asked to submit their dealership’s energy information. For more on NADA’s partnership with Energy Star, visit www.nada.org/energystar.

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Automotive News to Host 'Green Dealership' Webinar

Dealers are encouraged to participate in an online seminar hosted by Automotive News on June 24 at 1 p.m. EST. The focus of the seminar is environmentally friendly dealerships and how dealers are gaining an advantage by going green. Editor Dave Sedgwick will interview dealers who have gone green, and the experts that helped them. Joining Sedgwick will be Pat Lobb, owner of Pat Lobb Toyota of McKinney, Texas; Justin Doak of the U.S. Green Building Council; and Douglas Greenhaus, director of environmental health and safety for NADA.

Participants can post a question in advance by emailing asktheexpert@autonews.com with the subject line "Green Dealerships." To register for the Webinar, click here.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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
 

Iowa Dealership Endures Extensive Flood Damage

More Video Highlights
Quotable
 
"A lot of customers are out of equity, and zero percent helps [with] that issue."

   
-- GM's top marketing executive for North America, Mark LaNeve, said the automaker plans to offer zero-percent loans up to 72 months or cash rebates up to $7,000, The Wall Street Journal, June 24


"All of the companies are going full-steam ahead. We are all investing to try to figure out the answer and get there." 

   
-- Jake Jones, head of Daimler AG's Washington office, referring to automakers' efforts to produce fuel-efficient vehicles, The Wall Street Journal, June 24


"Whether it takes a meeting with auto makers during my first month in office or my signature on an act of Congress, we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil."

   
-- Presidential candidate John McCain, The Wall Street Journal, June 24


"Customers will have to pay a price premium for these vehicles, at least initially."

   
-- Jon Lauckner, GM's vice president for global program management, referring to Volt buyers, Automotive News, June 23


"We are struggling in the U.S. at the moment. Higher fuel prices and the subprime loan crisis have cut demand." 

    -- Toyota Executive Vice President Tokuichi Uranishi speaking to about 3,200 shareholders today at the company's annual meeting in Toyota City, Japan, Bloomberg, June 24
Video Highlights
 
   

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


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