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Top Stories
GM Restructuring: GM Dealers Say They Aren't Worried Much
Congress Moves to Bar Mandatory Dealer-Consumer Arbitration
Report: Toyota to Cut 2008 Global Sales Target
McCain: GM Job Cuts 'Evidence that the American People are Hurting'
Obama: Auto Industry Faces 'Perfect Storm'
Want a Used 'Econobox'? Better Get in Line
Bush Administration Highway Safety Chief Resigning
Volkswagen Selects Tennessee for New Auto Plant
New Way to Access NADAGuides.com
NADA Update
Applications for NADA's Executive Education Program due Today
NADA Director Receives Award from Minority Dealer Association
Nomination Ballots for NADA Director from Kansas due Friday
Lenovo Offers NADA Members Savings on ThinkPad Notebooks
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Dealership Data Security
Top Stories
GM Restructuring: GM Dealers Say They Aren't Worried Much

Local auto dealers called General Motors Corp.’s Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner’s announcement this morning of cuts to production and white-collar staff expected and necessary. Paul Stanford, president of Les Stanford Chevrolet Cadillac in Dearborn, said he thinks the impact of the cuts on dealers will be minimal. "I think there’s adequate shift away from the sport utilities and large vehicles that are more susceptible to high fuel prices as we’re starting to gear toward more fuel-efficient brands,” he said. “As far as inventory, less is probably more as we’re going to tailor to marketplace (toward customer demand)." "It’s always a little bit heartbreaking to see there’s cuts, but I think Mr. Wagoner is doing an incredible job of keeping it all together,” said Irma Elder, CEO of the Elder Automotive Group... “He is doing what needs to be done for the company to survive, and I have no doubt it will survive.” “The introduction of new vehicles is great news for us,” [said Mike LaFontaine, president of Dearborn-based LaFontaine Automotive Group.] LaFontaine said GM continues to sell well across the board, despite declining SUV and truck sales, thanks to promotional offers. “The vast majority of people out there who do want SUVs and pick-up trucks, if they need it for their family or they use the truck for business, that business is still going to be there,” he said.
Source:  Crain's Detroit Business

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Congress Moves to Bar Mandatory Dealer-Consumer Arbitration

WASHINGTON -- A congressional panel [Tuesday] approved a bill that would prohibit auto dealers from forcing customers into binding arbitration to settle disputes. The voice vote by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee appeared to be along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. The bill is a long way from becoming law, and the partisan split indicates its chances this year are slim. But the subcommittee action could prepare a path toward enactment next year, especially if Democrats take the White House and increase their majorities in Congress in the November elections, as many forecasts suggest. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) who chairs the subcommittee on commercial and administrative law, is the chief sponsor of the bill. She noted that a 2002 law bars automakers from requiring dealers to accept binding arbitration in their franchise agreements. “It seems only fair that consumers receive the same protections,” Sanchez said. The National Automobile Dealers Association, which lobbied hard for the 2002 law, is officially neutral on the Sanchez bill. The measure is part of a broader push in Congress to eliminate requirements for mandatory binding arbitration from all kinds of business transactions.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

[Editor's Note: The Sanchez bill would not impact the NADA-backed law to protect dealers’ rights under state law. The NADA-backed 2002 law prohibits manufacturers from forcing dealers into mandatory binding arbitration in franchise disputes. During that fight, NADA went on record stating that it would not oppose future efforts by Congress to outlaw mandatory binding arbitration in consumer contracts. Also, NADA’s neutrality does not prevent state or metro associations or individual dealers from taking a position on this issue. NADA will keep dealers advised of new developments on this legislation.]

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Report: Toyota to Cut 2008 Global Sales Target

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor, in a close race with General Motors for the title of the world's top automaker, will lower its global sales target as U.S. demand slumps, a newspaper said today. The Japanese auto giant plans to forecast global sales of 9.5 million vehicles this year, down from a previous estimate of 9.85 million, the Yomiuri Shimbun said in its evening edition, quoting unnamed company sources. The downward revision was mainly due to a slump in sales of large vehicles in the United States amid soaring fuel prices, while sales were also down in Europe and Japan, the top-selling Japanese daily said. A Toyota spokesman said the company was now reviewing its target but was not in a position to unveil details. The Yomiuri said that Toyota would make a final revision by the end of July.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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McCain: GM Job Cuts 'Evidence that the American People are Hurting'

WASHINGTON -- Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign said General Motors Corp.'s restructuring announcement was "evidence that the American people are hurting and going through tough economic times." McCain's senior policy adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee "understands how hard this has affected Michigan and the country, and has spent considerable time in Michigan talking about his plan to grow the economy and create jobs." She said "higher energy prices are a root cause of many of these problems, including GM's decision to restructure and focus on more energy efficient vehicles. John McCain is committed to eliminating the threat to our economy posed by international oil markets," she said. "We need to keep America's domestic automobile industry strong." McCain plans to talk about GM's woes during a two-day trip to Michigan this week, including a visit Friday to GM's Technical Center in Warren, where he will get a look at the Chevrolet Volt, GM's extended range electric vehicle. McCain also holds a town hall meeting with auto workers at the Tech Center and will "highlight the good work that many are doing on energy efficient vehicles and development." McCain has called for a $300 million cash prize to speed battery development necessary for plug-in hybrids. He also supports a $5,000 per vehicle plug-in hybrid tax credit.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Obama: Auto Industry Faces 'Perfect Storm'

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama said [Tuesday] that the job cuts at General Motors Corp. were "a sober reminder of the difficult economic times we're facing," and said the U.S. auto industry was facing a "perfect storm" of trouble. Obama has reached out to auto industry executives in recent weeks, following a primary campaign where he frequently focused on the industry's opposition to tougher fuel economy rules. In his statement, Obama noted he had met with GM Chairman Rick Wagoner and Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally to talk about the industry's concerns, and said the industry's success was crucial to the U.S. economy. "When a mainstay of the American economy is forced to make a restructuring decision like the one General Motors is announcing today, it is a sober reminder of the difficult economic times we're facing and of why we need change and a new direction in Washington," Obama said. Obama and Republican rival Sen. John McCain have paid close attention to Michigan and the industry's troubles as the state appears to be one of a few key toss-ups.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Want a Used 'Econobox'? Better Get in Line

Prices of Fuel-Efficient Models Approach Those of New Cars; Is Trading Down Worth It?
The appeal of fuel efficiency is moving beyond the new-car market and creating a run on small used cars. Used economy cars that once could be difficult for dealers to move -- the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Aveo, for instance -- are now flying off the lots, and prices are rising. Some used cars' prices are even approaching the levels of new models. The average 2006 Honda Civic costs $16,118, or 86 percent of what a new 2008 model costs. The average price of a used 2006 BMW Mini Cooper is about 81 percent of what a new model costs. And the long-sought-after Toyota Prius costs 87 percent of the new-model price. Typically, three-year-old used cars cost between 50 and 60 percent of their new equivalents' prices. Sustained high gasoline prices are pushing more drivers out of their gas-guzzling SUVs and into what were once called "econoboxes." But because economy models haven't been big sellers for the past few years, car makers have built relatively few of them. The resulting tight supply and strong demand have driven up prices. Another change: Some of the so-called certified used-car programs run by manufacturers, which used to be associated with luxury cars, now focus more on small cars.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Bush Administration Highway Safety Chief Resigning

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's highway safety chief is resigning after leading the administration's efforts on auto safety and vehicle fuel economy standards for two years, officials said Tuesday. Nicole Nason, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and colleagues Tuesday that she plans to leave the agency in August, transportation officials said. Nason, who has led NHTSA since May 2006, promoted advanced safety technology and helped shape a proposal to increase gas mileage rules in response to an energy law requiring new cars and trucks to reach a fleetwide average of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Under her watch, NHTSA required automakers to install anti-rollover technology called electronic stability control on all new vehicles by the 2012 model year. The agency also required vehicles to provide head protection in dangerous side-impact crashes and recently upgraded the consumer crash test program for new cars and trucks.
Source:  Associated Press

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Volkswagen Selects Tennessee for New Auto Plant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Volkswagen picked Chattanooga over rival sites in two other states for a new U.S. assembly plant expected to create about 2,000 jobs. Volkswagen Group of America said it will produce a new midsize sedan designed specifically for the North American consumer and invest $1 billion in the economy. Sites in Alabama and Michigan were also considered for the plant, which is part of Volkswagen's strategy to increase its presence in America. VW picked Tennessee 25 years after Nissan Motor became the first foreign automaker in the South at Smyrna. "Chattanooga is an excellent fit for the Volkswagen culture, having an exceptional quality of life and a long manufacturing tradition," said Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
Source:  Associated Press

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New Way to Access NADAGuides.com

COSTA MESA, Calif. — NADAguides.com recently unveiled a new way for the industry to instantaneously connect with consumers, as new- and used-vehicle shoppers can now access the site through their iPhone products. By using their iPhone 3G, first generation iPhone or iPod touch, consumers can check out new- and used-vehicle prices at iphone.nadaguides.com, giving them detailed information while they're on the go. According to officials, iPhone and iPod touch users can view invoice and price information on 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles, tailoring pricing data to specific options, as well as exterior and interior colors. Additionally, consumers can access pricing information on vehicles from 1989 or newer. Moreover, photographs are available through the site for both new and used vehicles. "NADAguides.com knows how important it is for car shoppers to be able to access new and used car prices conveniently and easily and we are pleased to be able to provide technology to support the new iPhone 3G," stated Don Christy Jr., president and chief executive officer of NADAguides.com.
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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NADA Update
Applications for NADA's Executive Education Program due Today

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 today.

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 Director Receives Award from Minority Dealer Association

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Dale Early was the recipient of the Jesse Jones Visionary Award presented by the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers. Early is a director at-large of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The award, which recognizes an individual’s vision, vigilance and work initiatives that have increased opportunities for ethic minorities, was presented to Early at the 2008 NAMAD Annual Membership Conference held July 9-12 in La Jolla, Calif.

"I am honored to receive this award because Jesse Jones was my first dealer role model," said Early, owner of Deerbrook Forest Chrysler Jeep in Kingwood, Texas, and chairman of NADA's public affairs committee. "To be honored with an award that bears his name as well as the principles he stood for is extremely special."

NAMAD also recognized three longtime members with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The winners were Nathan Conyers, Mel Farr and William Shack. The award recognizes individuals for a lifetime of significant contributions to the automotive industry and to the spirit of diversity and inclusion.

"These three pioneers—who founded NAMAD—together have created opportunities for all minority dealers," said Damon Lester, NAMAD president. "Today, we are the beneficiaries of their achievements and foresight."

"They committed their resources to building an institution dedicated to creating opportunities for minorities especially in the automobile industry but not limited to this industry," Lester added.

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Nomination Ballots for NADA Director from Kansas due Friday

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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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Dealership Data Security

Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to help dealers evaluate their data security. Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication for more information. Also, to learn what features to look for in a good backup and recovery system, click here.

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Iowa Dealership Endures Extensive Flood Damage

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Quotable
 
"I think there's adequate shift away from the sport utilities and large vehicles that are more susceptible to high fuel prices as we’re starting to gear toward more fuel-efficient brands."

    -- Paul Stanford, president of Les Stanford Chevrolet Cadillac in Dearborn, responding to GM's announcement yesterday to cut back on the production of trucks and SUVs, Crain's Detroit Business, July 16

"It's always a little bit heartbreaking to see there's cuts, but I think Mr. Wagoner is doing an incredible job of keeping it all together. He is doing what needs to be done for the company to survive, and I have no doubt it will survive."

     -- Irma Elder, CEO of the Elder Automotive Group, referring to GM CEO Rick Wagoner's announcement yesterday to cut production and white-collar staff, Crain's Detroit Business, July 16


"The introduction of new vehicles is great news for us. GM continues to sell well across the board, despite declining SUV and truck sales, thanks to promotional offers. The vast majority of people out there who do want SUVs and pick-up trucks, if they need it for their family or they use the truck for business, that business is still going to be there." 

    -- Mike LaFontaine, president of Dearborn-based LaFontaine Automotive Group, Crain's Detroit Business, July 16


General Motors Corp.'s restructuring announcement was "evidence that the American people are hurting and going through tough economic times."

    -- Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, The Detroit News, July 16


"When a mainstay of the American economy is forced to make a restructuring decision like the one General Motors is announcing today, it is a sober reminder of the difficult economic times we're facing..."

    -- Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Detroit Free Press, July 16

Video Highlights
 
 

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


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