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Tuesday, July 8, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top Stories
GM Denies Any More Brands Under Review
Honda's Flexibility Shows Widening Gap Over Toyota
Study: Dealership Service Shops Extend Their Hours
Mired Minivans: Efficient Vehicles Make More Sense, But Sales Lag
Ford Won't Comment on Report Chery Wants Volvo
BMW Sales Drop on U.S., Japan Slump
Renault CEO Makes Plans to Mass Produce Electric Cars
G-8 Endorses Halving Global Emissions by 2050
More Cars Sing With Digital Radio
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
GM Denies Any More Brands Under Review

DETROIT -- A General Motors spokesman [yesterday] denied the automaker is reviewing any more brands besides Hummer for possible sale. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported today that GM could shed thousands of white-collar jobs and sell or cease producing certain brands as part of a strategy reevaluation. The management may also suggest options for raising additional cash to help GM make it through the downturn, and may discuss cutting certain brands, the sources said. GM denied the report. "No other GM brand (besides Hummer) is under strategic review, GM spokesman Tony Cervone said in an e-mail to Automotive News [yesterday.] GM's sales chief Mark LaNeve, made similar comments to journalists last week.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Honda's Flexibility Shows Widening Gap Over Toyota

As the average U.S. price of regular gasoline has risen 39 percent in a year ... Honda's flexible North American factories have been running at full tilt. Japan's second-biggest automaker is shifting production from trucks to automobiles to keep up with surging demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, while larger Toyota is closing its San Antonio plant for 14 days between now and the end of October to reduce output of Tundra pickups. It might take Toyota a year or more to convert the truck plant to auto production, said Michael Robinet, an analyst with automotive consulting firm CSM Worldwide Inc. in Northville, Michigan. Toyota's pickups, unlike Honda's, don't share basic design structures with its cars. Honda's assembly lines can switch models in as little as 10 days, spokesman Sakae Uruma said. That lets the company build fewer 20-mpg Ridgeline trucks in favor of Civic compacts. Nimbleness and a longtime focus on small cars have made Honda the only one among the six biggest automakers in the U.S. to increase production in North America this year, according to data from each company.
Source:  Bloomberg

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Study: Dealership Service Shops Extend Their Hours

As new-vehicle sales drop, franchised auto dealerships are keeping their service departments open longer in an effort to boost service and parts revenue. In 2007, the average new-vehicle dealership operated its shop a record 56 hours a week, up from 55 hours in 2006 and 54 hours in 2005, the National Automobile Dealers Association says in a new report. Nearly three out of four dealerships surveyed by NADA said they offer evening hours, weekend hours or both. Last year, NADA says, the average dealership reported $4.0 million in service and parts sales, a 5.7 percent increase from 2006. Service and parts department profits accounted for 81 percent of the typical dealership's total operating profits in 2007, up from 77 percent the previous year, NADA adds. Some dealerships say they were turning away service business before they added evening and weekend hours. "We were saying no to customers when they wanted Saturday afternoon service," said Allen Hubbard, parts and service director at Bruce Bennett Nissan in Wilton, Conn. "The service business is always about convenience."
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Mired Minivans: Efficient Vehicles Make More Sense, But Sales Lag

In these days of record-high gas prices, the minivan would seem a likely choice for SUV-weary families looking for better gas mileage as well as space to haul kids and their gear -- but minivan sales are sliding. Minivans, which can get up to 25 miles per gallon and carry seven passengers, still have that lingering soccer mom image and that has some gas-conscious buyers instead choosing vehicles in emerging segments such as crossovers and hybrids. Others, who aren't switching, are holding on to their minivans longer than before thanks to the slumping housing market and sour economy. So far this year, minivan sales are down nearly 19 percent, continuing a decade-long trend, in a shrinking market that has prompted segment leader Chrysler LLC to close a Fenton, Mo., plant that produces the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Ford Won't Comment on Report Chery Wants Volvo

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. isn't commenting on a Chinese business journal report that China's Chery Automobile Corp. is interested in buying Ford's Volvo unit. Caijing Magazine quotes unidentified sources as saying Chery is looking for bank and equity investor help for a possible bid for Volvo, Ford's Swedish nameplate. Ford spokesman Mark Truby said Monday the automaker won't comment on the report. He says Ford decided last year to concentrate on improving Volvo's business performance, rather than selling it.
Source:  Associated Press

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BMW Sales Drop on U.S., Japan Slump

FRANKFURT -- BMW AG said Monday its sales fell 2.8 percent in June from a year earlier to 146,138 cars as the auto maker felt the pinch from lackluster economic trends in crucial markets such as the U.S. and Japan. However, in the first six months of the year, BMW's sales were up 4.7 percent from a year earlier at 764,874 cars, and the maker of the world's best-selling premium autos confirmed it expects to post a sales record for 2008. "In the first half of the year we were able to report solid growth, as planned," said BMW executive board member Ian Robertson. "Despite difficult economic conditions in certain automobile markets, the BMW group aims to improve on last year's sales level for the year as a whole." While the company enjoyed rising sales in Europe and Asia in the first half of the year, demand in the U.S. -- its single biggest market -- fell 4 percent to 157,913 cars.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Renault CEO Makes Plans to Mass Produce Electric Cars

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France -- Renault SA Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Saturday the company is getting ready to mass produce electric cars to offset rising energy prices. "We're getting ready for mass production of electric cars," Mr. Ghosn said at an economic conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence. "Energy will remain expensive." Mr. Ghosn, who is also CEO of Nissan Motor Co., said in May that the Japanese company intends to bring a fully electric, zero-emissions car to the mass market in 2012, in an attempt to cash in on a market for urban cars that he estimates at about 10 million vehicles annually. When batteries become the centerpiece of a new electric car, the current wave of delocalization, which has left western European car production stagnating in the past 15 years, may reverse. "Batteries you can produce them on the Champs Elysees, or anywhere close to Paris," Mr. Ghosn said, because that kind of production doesn't need much labor input.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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G-8 Endorses Halving Global Emissions by 2050

RUSUTSU, Japan - The Group of Eight leading industrial nations on Tuesday endorsed halving world emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, edging forward in the battle against global warming but stopping short of tough, nearer-term targets. The G-8 countries — the United States, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Italy — also called on all major economies to join in the effort to stem the potentially dangerous rise in world temperatures. "This global challenge can only be met by a global response, in particular, by the contributions from all major economies," the G-8 said in a joint, five-page communique on climate. The United States hailed the agreement as substantial progress, and a top European Union official called it a "new, shared vision" by wealthy nations on climate. Tuesday's statement, however, addressed total world emissions rather than just those produced by wealthy countries, and critics attacked it for failing to go much beyond the G-8 statement last year. The communique also did not set a base year from which emissions would be cut.
Source:  Associated Press

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More Cars Sing With Digital Radio

More carmakers are adding digital radio tuners in their bid to woo audiophiles and add electronics. The latest is Hyundai, which this month will offer digital radio — known as HD Radio — in a package on its new Genesis sedan. Among others, BMW already offers an HD tuner as a stand-alone option, and Volvo is going to offer HD Radio standard on most models early next year. "Some of the automakers known for innovation are picking up on this," says Diane Warren, executive vice president of the radio industry's HD Radio Alliance. "The rest of the industry will follow." More than 1,700 AM and FM stations also broadcast an HD digital signal, as well as traditional analog signal, up from 11 in 2002, the alliance says. Because digital uses less of a station's allotted bandwidth, many also air second or third signals of specialized shows. Built-in capability for free digital radio could boost the format's acceptance, because the car is a major radio venue. That could make HD a bigger threat to $12.95-a-month XM and Sirius satellite radio. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin cited HD Radio's "significant strides" in congressional testimony for federal approval of the pending XM-Sirius merger.
Source:  USA Today

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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. Dealers and consumers -- through awareness and education -- can make sure severely damaged vehicles remain off of the nation's roads, says Ivette Rivera, NADA executive director 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

NADA is now 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
 

"No other GM brand (besides Hummer) is under strategic review."

    --  GM spokesman Tony Cervone said in an e-mail to Automotive News, July 7


"We're getting ready for mass production of electric cars. Energy will remain expensive."

    -- Renault SA Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, The Wall Street Journal, July 8 

Video Highlights
 
 

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


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