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Thursday, July 10, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Big Three Lobby for MPG Break
Toyota Plans Changes to U.S. Manufacturing Operations
GM Refocuses Ads on Fuel Efficiency
BMW Intends to Test 'Several Hundred' Electric-Powered Minis
GM's Lordstown Plant to Build Global Cruze
Used-truck Prices Plunge in June
Hybrids May Not Be the Answer For Everyone
Porsche One Step Closer to VW Takeover on Sept. 2
NADA Update
NADA Hole-in-One Insurance Boosts Dealership Visibility at Low Cost
Applications for NADA's Executive Education Program due July 16
Nomination Ballots for NADA Director from Kansas due July 18
Lenovo Offers NADA Members Savings on ThinkPad Notebooks
Top Stories
Big Three Lobby for MPG Break

GM tells NHTSA not to base assessments on high volume of Chevy Volt, Saturn Vue hybrid
WASHINGTON -- Detroit's Big Three automakers urged federal regulators to roll back proposed 4.5 percent annual increases in fuel efficiency requirements between 2011-15 and said the new rules will force them to slow the rollout of some advanced vehicles. In filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automakers sought specific changes to make it easier to comply with the new fuel rules. General Motors Corp. lowered its expectations on how quickly it would produce large numbers of its extended-range Chevrolet Volt and its Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid, both of which are set for production in late 2010. Congress passed a bill in December telling NHTSA to set "maximum feasible" requirements and a minimum industry fleetwide average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. To get there, NHTSA proposed in April increasing fuel economy requirements to a fleetwide average of 31.6 mpg -- including 35.7 mpg for passenger cars and 28.6 mpg for light trucks starting in the 2011 model year. That translates to an average 4.5 percent annual increase, which is expected to cost Detroit's automakers $46.7 billion through 2015. GM said in its filing that it wouldn't produce a high volume of Chevy Volt vehicles before 2015. "GM's game-changing (extended range electric vehicle) technology should be treated as a low-volume application" through the 2015 model year, GM said in its filing, adding that it "strongly discouraged" NHTSA from assuming large numbers of vehicles would be built before then. It urged NHTSA to drop its yearly increase to 3 percent per year.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Toyota Plans Changes to U.S. Manufacturing Operations

DETROIT -- Toyota [Motor Corp.] officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Japanese company will likely soon announce a series of moves in the U.S. Among key moves, they said, Toyota will scrap plans to produce the Highlander car-SUV crossover vehicles in a plant it is building near Tupelo, Mississippi, starting in mid-2010. Instead, sometime in 2010, the company will produce there the Prius... As part of the planned move, Toyota also is expected to consolidate production of the big Tundra pickup truck to a single site in San Antonio, Texas, these executives said. The planned move comes at a time when Toyota is struggling for the first time with the problem that plagued its U.S. rivals for years: too much North American manufacturing capacity. With the U.S. credit-crunch and soaring gas prices, Toyota officials have admitted the amount of idle capacity in the U.S. exceeds capacity in a whole assembly plant. Toyota is still likely to generate substantial profits in North America, thanks to booming sales of cars such as the Camry sedan and the Prius hybrid. But Toyota earlier this year had slowed production significantly at two of its truck plants in North America, in Texas and Indiana. It also had delayed the launch of the Mississippi plant by half a year until mid-2010.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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GM Refocuses Ads on Fuel Efficiency

Promotions for Buick, GMC and Pontiac show the vehicles' edge over competing models
General Motors Corp. will shift its 2008 advertising for Buick, GMC and Pontiac to promote their fuel-economy edge over competitors after the three brands' U.S. sales fell 25 percent last month. New commercials single out Toyota Motor Corp.'s Tundra pickup and 4Runner sport utility vehicle and other models as having lower efficiency than GM models. "The market is flooded with fuel-economy messages, and we needed to tell our story," [a GM spokesperson] said. The "pump less and drive more" commercials emphasize the range and fuel economy of the models, [the spokesperson] said.
Source:  Bloomberg

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BMW Intends to Test 'Several Hundred' Electric-Powered Minis

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ... said it will outfit "several hundred" Mini cars with electric motors to test the technology for future models. "This step will allow the BMW Group to gain an initial knowledge of how mobility can be achieved efficiently using purely electrically powered vehicles," Norbert Reithofer, chief executive officer of the Munich-based carmaker, said today in a statement. BMW has put more effort into researching hydrogen-combustion engines, rather than electric motors because of electric-powered vehicles' limited range and performance. The test is scheduled to last 12 to 18 months and comes as other carmakers are readying vehicles for production.
Source:  Bloomberg

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GM's Lordstown Plant to Build Global Cruze

Fuel-efficient compact car to replace Chevrolet Cobalt
The first Chevrolet built on a new global platform will be called the Cruze and get 45 miles per gallon, General Motors Corp. said Wednesday. The compact car, which replaces the Chevy Cobalt, will be built around the world including at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant.  "This is one of the first global vehicles GM has talked about and it will be a Chevrolet Cruze no matter where it's sold," said Nancy Libby, a Chevrolet spokeswoman. Built on what is being called GM's Delta 2 architecture -- the Cobalt and Pontiac G5, also made at Lordstown, are original Delta cars -- the Cruze first will go into production in Europe, with sales starting next spring. The Cruze is one of GM's responses to $4-per-gallon gasoline. The manual transmission model will boost fuel efficiency by 9 miles per gallon over the current Cobalt XFE, also a stick-shift model that can achieve 36 mpg, said Nick Daniels of GM's global product development.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Used-truck Prices Plunge in June

The collapse of wholesale prices for used light trucks accelerated last month. In June, used full-sized pickups sold at auction for an average price of $8,740 -- a 25.4 percent decline from June 2007, according to auction company ADESA Inc. The average wholesale price of large SUVs plunged 27.5 percent to $10,577. Tom Webb, chief economist for auction company Manheim, said the three "forces of evil" -- rising gasoline prices, tight credit and weak labor markets -- continued to depress used-truck prices. "The weakness in wholesale prices is being driven solely by weaker demand," Webb said in a conference call with analysts. Webb said wholesale prices of large SUVs appear to have reached bottom, while inventory of used large pickups needs to thin before prices stabilize.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Hybrids May Not Be the Answer For Everyone

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Even though hybrids appear to be solid investments with today's high gas prices, they don't make financial sense for everyone, according to recent study from NADAguides.com. Where a driver lives and the amount he or she drives each day — in addition to specific hybrid model — can influence whether or not it's smart to purchase one, the survey indicated. "For example, if a Houston-area commuter travels 12 miles one way to work, driving 10,000 total miles annually, while a Los Angeles-area commuter travels 25 miles one way, driving 15,000 total miles annually, the Los Angeles commuter recoups his investment almost 80 percent faster," [said Tara Baukus Mello, senior writer and lead market analyst for NADAguides.com.] However, the study considers only a "handful" of hybrids to be wise financial investments for consumers who drive an average amount per year and purchase new rides after five years or less. "Consumers who are thinking of purchasing a hybrid car solely to save money on gas should calculate the number of miles they drive per year and their typical per gallon gas price to make an educated decision," Baukus Mello advised.
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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Porsche One Step Closer to VW Takeover on Sept. 2

WALDACHTAL, Germany -- Porsche SE will be one step closer to acquiring majority control of Volkswagen AG on Sept. 2, when its deal to buy 4.9 pct of that company's ordinary shares takes effect. The VW takeover "will be executed piece by piece," Porsche Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking said ... on Wednesday evening. The purchase of another 4.9 percent of VW common shares was necessary before Porsche could proceed with gaining regulatory approval from the European Commission, which required further proof a takeover was indeed intended. Once Porsche has received the green light from various antitrust authorities, it plans to raise its voting stake in Volkswagen to over 50 percent.
Source:  Reuters

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NADA Update
NADA Hole-in-One Insurance Boosts Dealership Visibility at Low Cost

NADA Insurance announced that its hole-in-one insurance program, ACECO, continues to experience strong financial growth, despite the downturn in the automotive industry. The trend indicates that U.S. auto dealers are continuing to support charitable and invitational golf tournaments in their local communities. And, with the average hole-in-one insurance premium being just a few hundred dollars, golf tournament sponsorship is a very cost-effective way for a dealership to advertise.

"Many of our dealers are finding that golf sponsorship is a very effective advertising medium," said NADA Insurance Vice President Lin Peacock. "While wanting to scale back expenses, our dealers still want to continue to be a prominent part of their local business communities. ACECO hole-in-one insurance offers NADA dealers a way to sponsor highly visible golf tournaments — with zero risk and at very little cost."

To help dealers gain even more exposure, ACECO will provide any policyholder with a free press release template that can be filled out and sent to the local media to announce the dealership's support of the tournament. Visit www.nadainsurance.com today or call 888-828-8540 to obtain a quote for your next tournament sponsorship.

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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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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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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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Iowa Dealership Endures Extensive Flood Damage

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Quotable
 
"GM's game-changing (extended range electric vehicle) technology should be treated as a low-volume application" through the 2015 model year.

   
-- GM said in its filing with NHTSA on a proposal to increase fuel economy requirements to a fleetwide average of 31.6 mpg -- including 35.7 mpg for passenger cars and 28.6 mpg for light trucks starting in the 2011 model year, The Detroit News, July 10


"The weakness in wholesale prices is being driven solely by weaker demand."

   
-- Manheim Chief Economist Tom Webb, Automotive News, July 10


"This is one of the first global vehicles GM has talked about and it will be a Chevrolet Cruze no matter where it's sold."

   
-- Nancy Libby, a Chevrolet spokeswoman, The Detroit News, July 10


"The market is flooded with fuel-economy messages, and we needed to tell our story."

    -- GM, announcing that new ad campaigns will promote fuel economy of its Buick, GMC and Pontiac brands, Bloomberg, July 10


"Consumers who are thinking of purchasing a hybrid car solely to save money on gas should calculate the number of miles they drive per year and their typical per gallon gas price to make an educated decision." 

    -- NADAGuides.com senior writer and lead market analyst Tara Baukus Mello discussing whether hybrids are a wise financial investment, Auto Remarketing, July 10
Video Highlights
 
 

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


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