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At a Glance...
Top Stories
As Car Sales Slump, What's Still Selling
Honda Says June U.S. Auto Sales Rising on Civic, Fit
GM to Adjust Output at Nearly Half of its N.A. Plants
Chrysler Borrows $2B, Despite Having Money
Nissan CEO Braces for Worst in U.S.
Kia Plans More Small Cars for U.S. as Truck, SUV Demand Slumps
Big Safety Gains for Small Cars
White House Refused to Open Pollutants Email
Obama Calls McCain Idea a 'Gimmick'
Study Finds Hybrids Popular with Consumers Until They Know Costs
NADA Update
Enroll Now for NADA's Executive Education Program
NADA and EPA to Recognize Energy Star Efficient Dealerships
Dealers Urged to Apply for the 2008 ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About PC Equipment
Go Green With HP ENERGY STARŪ Desktops
Top Stories
As Car Sales Slump, What's Still Selling

The latest auto-sales data, released earlier this month, show a glum market -- sales of cars and light trucks were down 11 percent in May from a year earlier. But a few cars have bucked the downward trend. A number of them are small... But there are also some surprising winners -- including a handful of gas guzzlers. Sales of the Toyota Sequoia, a large SUV, rose 29 percent to 14,100 in May from a year earlier, making it the only vehicle in the "large utility" segment for which sales have grown this year, according to J.D. Power & Associates. Still, any boost in sales is surprising as consumers focus increasingly on fuel economy and car makers like General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. scramble to adjust their mix of vehicles. The market for large vehicles is being supported not only by high-income consumers but also by families. Many of these shoppers are turning to midsize "crossover" vehicles like the Ford Edge, driving the segment up 7.1 percent. Crossovers with three rows of seats, like the Mazda CX-9 and the GMC Acadia, have also sold well, appealing to people who want a big vehicle that's more efficient than a Chevy Suburban or other traditional large SUVs. The Mazda5 is the only vehicle in the midsize-van segment whose sales are up this year, apparently because it is smaller and cooler-looking than other minivans -- and it has better fuel economy. "Realistically, who would want a large car when you can have a crossover," says Tom Libby, analyst with research company J.D. Power & Associates. "Midsize crossovers have emerged as the sweet spot of the industry."
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Honda Says June U.S. Auto Sales Rising on Civic, Fit

Honda Motor Co., the second-largest Japanese automaker, told analysts that its June U.S. sales in the first 20 days were ahead of last year's pace on a 37 percent gain for cars. Total U.S. sales for the Tokyo-based automaker rose 16 percent in the period, according to the e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News. Chris Martin, a spokesman for Honda in Torrance, California, said he couldn't confirm the e-mail. An increase by Honda this month would solidify its place as the sole automaker among the top five in U.S. sales volume to grow in the weakest market in more than a decade. Gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, a slack economy and falling home values have cut demand for big pickups and sport-utility vehicles, which Honda doesn't sell, and buoyed sales of small, fuel-efficient cars and light trucks that are the company's specialty. "Civic, Accord and Fit continue to perform very strong," according to the e-mail, signed by Taku Kitamura of Honda's investor relations office in New York. "All the light-truck models were down due to the record high level of gas prices."
Source: Bloomberg

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GM to Adjust Output at Nearly Half of its N.A. Plants

DETROIT -- General Motors, grappling with the dramatic shift in sales from pickups and SUVs to smaller vehicles, said it will adjust production at almost half of its North American assembly plants. The automaker is adding overtime and speeding up lines where its cars and crossovers are made and temporarily closing plants making trucks and SUVs for as long as 12 weeks in the second half of the year. GM is cutting production even after slowing or idling up to 30 plants during the three-month UAW strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. On Monday, June 23, GM said it plans to reduce pickup and SUV production by 170,000 units in the second half of the year, while increasing the output of cars. The company plans to increase car and crossover production by 47,000 vehicles. “With the continuing shift of consumer demand moving from trucks and SUVs to cars and crossovers, we need to balance our production to meet the shift in demand,” the company said in a statement.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Chrysler Borrows $2B, Despite Having Money

Analysts say funds may be needed to reshape car lineup, compete globally
Chrysler LLC tapped a $2 billion loan Tuesday -- partially funded by its former parent Daimler AG -- giving the Auburn Hills automaker an infusion of cash amid plummeting sales and difficult-to-access credit markets. Chrysler was contractually obligated to take the funds before Aug. 3, the one-year anniversary of Cerberus Capital Management LP's purchase of Chrysler from Daimler. Daimler, which maintains a 19.9 percent stake in Chrysler, secured $1.5 billion of the $2 billion loan; Cerberus holds the rest.  ... but analysts say the automaker may need the cash as it seeks to revamp its product lineup, which leans heavily on the trucks and SUVs that consumers are now shunning in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. "Chrysler is merely meeting their legal obligations by drawing down that money," Cerberus managing director Tim Price said in a statement. Falling automotive sales were not a factor in Chrysler obtaining the loan Tuesday, said spokeswoman Shawn Morgan.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Nissan CEO Braces for Worst in U.S.

YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said industrywide sales in the United States could fall well below 15 million vehicles this year as high gas prices and a sluggish economy sap demand, and warned of another push by steelmakers to hike prices. Ghosn also said Japan's No. 3 automaker would likely lift car prices in Japan, as it has already done in Europe, the United States and most other markets to offset a surge in the price of raw materials such as steel. "If we take the trend of the market in May and June it looks like we are going to be much below 15 million. Now I'm not sure if this is going to continue for the rest of year," Ghosn told a news conference. "We are preparing ourselves for the worst." Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's largest automaker, warned again on Tuesday that it could fall short of its sales target for the United States as it grapples with weak demand for trucks. But Ghosn said Nissan was well positioned to take advantage of a shift in market demand to sedans and fuel-efficient cars. It has been increasing capacity for passenger cars like the Maxima sedan and the Versa subcompact, he said.
Source:  Reuters

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Kia Plans More Small Cars for U.S. as Truck, SUV Demand Slumps

Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest automaker, said it's readying new small vehicles for its U.S. lineup as demand for large truck and sport-utility vehicles declines because of record fuel prices.  "We have an advantage in small cars," Chung Eui-Sun, the company's president, told reporters in Irvine, California, yesterday at the opening of the Seoul-based company's new U.S. headquarters. Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor Corp., is among the few brands to boost U.S. sales this year, posting a 1 percent gain through May amid an 8.4 percent drop in overall sales. 
Source: Bloomberg

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Big Safety Gains for Small Cars

As soaring gas prices push consumers to consider buying smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles, questions about whether small cars offer enough protection on roads filled with large vehicles are cropping up once again. But in the years since the last oil shock, automakers have worked to make small cars safer than ever. Their occupants still aren't as protected as those in many larger vehicles, but the latest statistics show small cars have made big gains in safety. As a result, the death rate for drivers of the smallest cars dropped to 106 per million registered vehicles in 2006 from 165 a decade earlier, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That means the smallest cars are now safer than small pickups, a category with 116 fatalities per million vehicles. Still, the driver death rate for very small cars is significantly higher than fatality rates for drivers of vehicles in the safest categories -- the largest sedans, with 41 deaths per million vehicles, and the biggest SUVs, with 33 deaths. "There's an advantage to being larger and heavier," said Adrian Lund, president of Arlington, Va.-based Insurance Institute, an organization funded by auto insurers. "Those are the laws of physics, and they still hold."
Source:  The Detroit News

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White House Refused to Open Pollutants Email

The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week. The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said. Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, refused to comment on discussions between the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency. Asked about changes in the original report, Mr. Fratto said, “It’s the E.P.A. that determines what analysis it wants to make available” in its documents. The new document, a road map laying out the issues involved in regulation, is to be signed by Stephen L. Johnson, the agency’s administrator, and published as early as [today].
Source:  The New York Times

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Obama Calls McCain Idea a 'Gimmick'

Ill. senator blasts GOP candidate's proposal to offer $300 million prize for advanced car battery
Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday ridiculed a proposal by his presidential rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, to offer a $300 million taxpayer-funded cash prize to boost advanced battery research. "When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win -- he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people," the Illinois senator said in a speech in Las Vegas. "That's the kind of effort we need to achieve energy independence in this country, and nothing less will do." Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, reiterated his plans to seek a new boost in fuel economy standards. "I have a plan to raise the fuel standards in our cars and trucks with technology we have on the shelf today," Obama said. He has called for doubling fuel economy standards by 2027 to a combined fleet-wide average of 50 mpg. While Obama called McCain's idea a "gimmick," he also used a cash prize as part of his plan. Obama's energy plan posted on his Web site calls for using cash prizes to speed the development of cellulosic ethanol. Obama "will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies."
Source:  The Detroit News

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Study Finds Hybrids Popular with Consumers Until They Know Costs

Almost three-quarters of U.S. consumers are interested in having hybrid technology in their next vehicle, but the added cost seems to be too high for many, a study shows. In J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, 72 percent of consumers surveyed said they were interested in the technology before they learned how much it costs — placing it fifth among the technologies ranked. When they were told the $5,000 price, though, that number dropped to 46 percent and the technology fell to eighth place. The annual survey showed that Americans continue to be most interested in such optional safety technologies as blind-spot detection, backup assistance and active-cornering headlights. But entertainment and information features are gaining ground. Mike Marshall, the study’s director, said the main reason is that young consumers are entering the market. “Up until last year, safety features dominated,” he said.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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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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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. Applications must be submitted by June 30.

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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

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Quotable
 
"Midsize crossovers have emerged as the sweet spot of the industry."

    -- Tom Libby, analyst with research company J.D. Power & Associates, The Wall Street Journal, June 25


"Those who want a truck, and need a truck, will make compromises to buy it."

    -- Mike Crowley, Ford's group marketing plans manager for trucks and SUVs, referring to the company's plans to market the new F-150 pickup amidst $4-gallon gas prices, Detroit Free Press, June 25


"When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win -- he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people."

    -- Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, responding to Sen. John McCain's proposal to offer a $300 million prize for an advanced car battery, The Detroit News, June 25


"We are preparing ourselves for the worst."

   
-- Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, referring to industrywide U.S. sales falling below 15 million vehicles as high gas prices and a sluggish economy sap demand, and warned of a possible price increase of steel, Reuters, June 25
Video Highlights
 
 

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


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