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Top Stories
NADA: New VIN Database Helps Combat Title Washing, But Not Enough
Big 3 Deals Fight Slump
Honda Grows While US Auto Industry Falters
GM May Sell Mini-Cars to Fuel-Conscious U.S. Buyers, People Say
Daimler's U.S. Sales Rise on Small Cars; BMW's Mini Has Gain
Chrysler May Have to Shut Truck Plant
Opinion: GM, Economy Share Troubles
NADA Update
NADA Offers Consumer Tips to Avoid Flooded Vehicles
Runoff Election to be Held for NADA Director from N. Calif.
Applications for NADA's Executive Education Program due July 16
NADA and EPA to Recognize Energy Star Efficient Dealerships
Nomination Ballots for NADA Director from Kansas due July 18
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Wireless Networks
Lenovo Offers NADA Members Savings on ThinkPad Notebooks
Top Stories
NADA: New VIN Database Helps Combat Title Washing, But Not Enough

WASHINGTON -- A new insurance industry service provides some -- but not all -- of the information needed to end title-washing of vehicles severely damaged by crashes or floods, the National Automobile Dealers Association said [Tuesday.] A searchable database of vehicle identification numbers established by the National Insurance Crime Bureau is a good step, NADA said. But it falls short of NADA's goal of full disclosure of all cars and trucks that insurers declare total losses. NADA will continue to push for federal legislation that requires reports of all total-loss vehicles, said Ivette Rivera, the association's executive director of legislative affairs. NADA and others warn that this year's Midwestern floods increase the risk that more damaged vehicles with washed titles will be resold.
Source: Automotive News

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Big 3 Deals Fight Slump

Consumer incentives on SUVs and pickups are expected to stay high throughout the summer.
Detroit's Big Three are battling sagging vehicle sales by extending and ramping up consumer incentives, deals some analysts predict will get sweeter this summer as automakers look to move more trucks. Chrysler LLC this week extended its $2.99 gas guarantee on most of its 2008 lineup through the end of July and added $1,000 rebates on four SUVs -- Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander. Ford Motor Co. is extending its employee pricing on F-series pickup trucks until July 7. And General Motors Corp. will continue its zero percent financing for 72-month offers through the holiday weekend. The GM incentive, introduced at the end of June, is credited with staving off an even deeper decline in June sales for the Detroit automaker and the industry as whole. The best deals will come on slow-selling SUVs and pickup trucks. Rebates on cars, especially hot-selling compact and hybrid models, are expected to remain small, which has helped curtail overall incentive spending. Last month, carmakers spent an average of $2,812 per vehicle on incentives -- a 4.4 percent hike from a year ago, said Autodata Corp. Manufacturers spent big on trucks, up 14.8 percent from a year ago, and cut spending on cars, down 2.1 percent.
Source: The Detroit News

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Honda Grows While US Auto Industry Falters

DETROIT -- When consumers astonished the U.S. auto industry two months ago by quickly shunning trucks and going for gas mileage, the biggest beneficiary ended up being Honda Motor Co. The No. 2 Japanese automaker, with the most fuel-efficient model lineup in the industry, never put both feet into the U.S. truck market, instead focusing on slow-but-steady growth with popular cars like the Civic and Accord. It paid off in June. Its car sales were up almost 20 percent from the same month last year, and the Civic and Accord were among the industry's top sellers. Industry analysts say Honda has managed to avoid the sales crisis that has hit the Detroit Three and even Toyota Motor Corp. for two reasons. Although it makes SUVs and a small pickup, it has a strong lineup of cars that get good gas mileage. And its factories are so flexible that it can quickly make more of the vehicles that are in demand.
Source: Associated Press

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GM May Sell Mini-Cars to Fuel-Conscious U.S. Buyers, People Say

General Motors Corp., the automaker that popularized the Hummer, may sell a mini-car four feet (1.2 meters) shorter than its biggest offering and more than a foot shorter than anything else it markets in the U.S. to win back buyers scared off by high fuel prices. GM may bring the production version of the Chevrolet Beat to the U.S., people familiar with the plan said. The car, which would normally be reserved for Asia and Latin America, gets as much as 40 miles a gallon, a fuel efficiency topped in the U.S. only by hybrids. The possible American introduction of the Beat would be one step in a fleet downsizing and shift away from fossil fuel-based vehicles that the people said is already under way at Detroit-based GM. Resigned to $4-a-gallon gasoline and stricter pollution rules, the largest U.S. automaker has recognized that its response must go beyond the mothballing of large truck plants... Besides the Beat, GM is weighing a list of options for refocusing its auto lineup on fuel efficiency rather than performance. They include the U.S. introduction of a small pickup popular in Latin America and an expansion of the number of versions of the Volt plug-in electric car... GM is also trying to increase production and speed up availability of the successor to the Chevy Cobalt sedan and develop a fuel-efficient alternative to the Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicle... 
Source: Bloomberg

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Daimler's U.S. Sales Rise on Small Cars; BMW's Mini Has Gain

Daimler AG's June U.S. sales rose because of its new Smart two-seat car, while Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's Mini small cars posted a gain as the company sold fewer luxury vehicles amid a worsening economy. U.S. sales for Daimler were up 13 percent from a year earlier to 22,121, including 2,545 Smart cars, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement. Its Mercedes-Benz luxury brand reported a drop of less than 1 percent to 19,576. Mini sales climbed 25 percent to 5,211 cars, Munich-based BMW said in a statement. The company's total fell 11 percent to 26,155 vehicles, as the BMW brand slid 17 percent to 20,994. BMW has only a four-day supply of Mini Cooper cars, said Andrew Cutler, a BMW spokesman in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. A 60-day inventory is typical for the industry. Prices for the cars start at about $18,000, and a Mini Cooper with manual transmission gets about 37 miles per gallon. The waiting list for Daimler's Smart cars, which began U.S. sales in January, averages about a year. The model gets 41 mpg in highway driving and has a starting price of $11,590, said Jessica Gamarra, a Smart USA spokeswoman in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Source: Bloomberg

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Chrysler May Have to Shut Truck Plant

Analyst firm says falling sales spell doom for Ram factory in St. Louis
Eroding pickup sales could lead to the closure of Chrysler LLC's St. Louis truck plant by next year, a leading industry analyst firm predicted Wednesday. The prediction comes after Chrysler's announcement Monday that it is reducing production at the pickup factory and shuttering a nearby minivan plant in response to sputtering industry sales of trucks and SUVs. "Projected lack of demand to support Ram output at the north plant is expected to result in an earlier closure date, possibly as soon as mid-2009. All light-duty Ram production would then transfer to Warren Truck to increase utilization," Joe Langley, senior analyst of North American vehicle forecasts at CSM Worldwide, said in a note. U.S. auto sales are quickly dropping to long-ago record lows, and Chrysler is among the hardest hit. So far this year Chrysler's truck sales are down 24 percent. Later this year, Chrysler is to launch its redesigned Ram. Chrysler executives maintain they believe there is a market for pickups, noting certain people still need such a vehicle. "I'd rather go into a tough market like this with a brand new Ram -- that we're going to be introducing this fall -- than trying to compete with a warmed-over version or even a carry-over," Jim Press, a Chrysler president and vice chairman, said this week.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Opinion: GM, Economy Share Troubles
by David Gaffen

Need for Capital, Weary Shoppers, Tight Lending Hurt Both; Car Maker's Shares Hit Lows Last Seen in Eisenhower Days
The 50-year-old, long-misquoted mantra has been that what was good for General Motors Corp. was good for America. But if America's fortunes are still shadowing GM's -- well, look out. After all, when was the last time a Wall Street analyst mused publicly about the possible bankruptcy of a company that was, at one time, the largest in America? Merrill Lynch analysts, in a commentary Wednesday, suggested that bankruptcy is "not impossible if the market continues to deteriorate and significant incremental capital is not raised." GM shares fell 15 percent to $9.98 in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange composite trading Wednesday, after hitting an intraday low of $9.96, which hasn't happened since the Eisenhower administration. Merrill analyst John Murphy highlighted a number of factors hurting GM, all of which aren't good for America right now, either: The need for more capital, which is certainly true of the nation's banking coffers and consumer balance sheets; the decline in sales, mirrored in U.S. consumer spending habits, and the stress in capital markets, which has resulted in risk-averse financial institutions declining to lend money to many borrowers, from individuals to big companies. What's good for General Motors may no longer be good for America -- but what's bad for America is probably bad for General Motors.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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NADA Update
NADA Offers Consumer Tips to Avoid Flooded Vehicles

The record-setting floods in the Midwest have left a large number of flood-damaged vehicles. NADA urges consumers, even in unaffected areas, to remain alert to the possibility that some individuals may attempt to sell or trade flood-damaged used vehicles in the months to come. “Through awareness and education, dealers and consumers can make sure severely damaged vehicles remain off of the nation’s roads,” says David Regan, NADA vice president of legislative affairs.

NADA offers 10 inspection tips -- available online in both English and Spanish -- that may be used to detect significant water damage. While these inspection suggestions will not detect flood damage in every case, they do provide some information that may help to protect consumers from purchasing a vehicle damaged by water or flood. Mechanics at dealerships or repair shops can also be helpful in inspecting used vehicles. Along with offering tips to consumers, NADA continues to urge insurers to publicly disclose the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) of flooded and totaled vehicles on a more complete and timely basis, citing safety and consumer protection concerns. For more information about NADA’s campaign to permanently red flag flooded vehicles, visit www.nada.org/tld.

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Runoff Election to be Held for NADA Director from N. Calif.

Two nominees have received at least 10 percent of the votes for the position of NADA director from Northern California forcing a runoff election. Election ballots have been mailed to members in Northern California and are to be returned postmarked by Friday, July 18. The winner, who will serve a 3-year term beginning Jan. 27, will be announced at the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans.

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Applications for NADA's Executive Education Program due July 16

Over the next three weeks, NADA will be accepting applications for the new Dealer Executive Education class scheduled to begin in September at Babson College. Applications must be submitted by July 16.

Babson is the leading provider of entrepreneurial executive education training in the U.S. It has been ranked No. 1 in entrepreneurship for 13 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. The customized six-module program focuses on leadership, management and entrepreneurship for the retail side of the automotive and truck industry. All six week-long classes are being held on campus at the Babson Executive Education Center in Wellesley, Mass., over a 16-month period.

Click here to enroll and find out more about the program or contact Dealer Academy Director Allan Jones at (703) 821-7210 or ajones@nada.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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Nomination Ballots for NADA Director from Kansas due July 18

Ballots for nominating members to serve as the NADA director from Kansas have been mailed to members in that state. Current director Dale Willey will be leaving the board effective Jan. 26, 2009. Nomination ballots must be returned postmarked by Friday, July 18. The newly-elected director, who takes office Jan. 27, will be announced at the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans.

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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Wireless Networks

 

Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to help dealers evaluate their wireless network. Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication. To learn "What version of wireless should I use?" click here.

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Lenovo Offers NADA Members Savings on ThinkPad Notebooks

 

NADA members can save up to $650 on ThinkPad notebooks by using the eCoupon USXSUMMERHEAT at checkout until July 29. To take advantage of the discount, visit NADA's PC Purchase Program Web site (member login required), then click on the link for Lenovo or call 1-800-426-7235, Option 1, Ext. 4838. Enter eCoupon USXSUMMERHEAT at checkout. Free ground shipping is available on all Web orders.

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Featured Video
 

Iowa Dealership Endures Extensive Flood Damage

More Video Highlights
Quotable
 
"You won't see fire sales on small cars because consumers have an appetite for those. Across the industry, larger models that are not selling will continue to see mega rebates and mega low interest rates."

    -- Ford sales analyst George Pipas, The Detroit News, July 3


"They'd like to give more, but they can't -- there is already $6,000 on the hood of an F-150. I've put my own money and gas cards into deals."
   

    -- Martin "Hoot" McInerney, who operates several dealerships including Star Lincoln-Mercury in Southfield, Mich., said as money gets tight for financially struggling automakers, they are less willing to spend on incentives, The Detroit News, July 3


"We are looking at and reviewing our entire portfolio, not just because gasoline is $4 but because of stricter government fuel economy regulations."


    -- GM spokesman Dee Allen referring to U.S. requirements that automakers reduce fuel use 40 percent by 2020, Bloomberg, July 3


"I'd rather go into a tough market like this with a brand new Ram -- that we're going to be introducing this fall -- than trying to compete with a warmed-over version or even a carry-over."

    -- Jim Press, Chrysler president and vice chairman, said this week, Detroit Free Press, July 3
Video Highlights
 
 

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


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