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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Movie and TV Crews Help Louisiana Recover
Forecasts See Tougher '09 for Auto Sales
Survey: Auto Bankruptcy Would Drive Away Buyers
Volkswagen Expects 2008 U.S. Sales Gain on New Models
Car Buyers Downsize, but Spend Big on Options
Survey: Consumers Hot for Hybrids, but Not E85
NADA Update
Auto Dealers Invited to SEMA Show to Learn about $38 Billion Accessory Market
NADA Director Receives Award from Minority Dealer Association
Ballots for NADA Directors from Kansas and N. Calif. due Friday
Lenovo Offers NADA Members Savings on ThinkPad Notebooks
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Dealership Data Security
Top Stories
Movie and TV Crews Help Louisiana Recover

NOTE: The recovery of New Orleans, the site of the next NADA convention, has been speeded up by an injection of hundreds of millions of dollars from an unlikely source: the film industry. Hollywood is providing a major economic boost this year, with a record number of major movies currently being filmed in New Orleans that feature stars like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and others.

NEW ORLEANS — A record number of major feature films and television pilots are being filmed in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, creating an economic boost to a region rebuilding from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina three years ago. The number of film, TV and video projects throughout the state with budgets of at least $300,000 climbed from 31 in 2004 to 56 last year, according to the Louisiana film and television development office. This year, there have been 55. New Orleans also saw 14 major features filmed in the city last year, a record number, says Jennifer Day, director of the city's film and video office. Production companies have been drawn by tax breaks and the support of Hollywood titans such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and director Tony Scott, Day says. Film production companies spent an estimated $400 million throughout Louisiana last year, up from $3.5 million in 2002, says Amber Havens of the Louisiana film and television development office. A boost came in 2006, when Scott brought the $100 million film production "Deja Vu" to Louisiana, Day says. Still reeling from Katrina's destruction, the state was able to accommodate the film, a thriller starring Denzel Washington, she says. "It sent a message to Hollywood: We are back and open for business," Day says.
Source:  USA TODAY

[Editor's Note: NADA will hold its 2009 Convention & Exposition in New Orleans January 24-27. As part of NADA's commitment to New Orleans, Chairman Annette Sykora, presented Saints quarterback Drew Brees with a $400,000 donation from the NADA Charitable Foundation to help restore athletic fields at the city's largest public high school. "This contribution demonstrates NADA's long-term commitment to the recovery of New Orleans," Sykora said. "New Orleans has been one of NADA's convention cities for more than 30 years. And we are pleased to return here next January for our 92nd annual convention." The NADA Foundation, established in 1975, is the philanthropic arm of NADA.]

 Click here to see "New Orleans is Back," a video that shows just how much progress New Orleans has made since Katrina.

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Forecasts See Tougher '09 for Auto Sales

The nation's auto makers, mired in a downturn, appear headed for a tougher year in 2009, two new forecasts say. Global Insight recently lowered its forecast for U.S. vehicle sales this year to 14.4 million cars and light trucks, down from a previous 14.7 million vehicles. At the same time it cut its outlook for 2009, to 14.2 million vehicles from 14.7 million. The move is significant because it suggests the industry recession hasn't hit bottom. Until now, many forecasters and auto makers had been expecting 2009 to bring some improvement in sales, or little worsening of conditions. Similarly, Standard & Poor's Corp. said it lowered its sales forecasts. It now expects 2008 sales of 14.4 million vehicles, and a drop in 2009 to 14.1 million. It had previously expected sales in 2008 and 2009 of 14.6 million and 14.5 million, respectively. "We don't see any recovery in the housing market," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Global Insight. "We don't see any recovery in the oil market. We don't see any recovery in consumer confidence."
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Survey: Auto Bankruptcy Would Drive Away Buyers

DETROIT -- More than 80 percent of Americans who intend to buy a new car would abandon their plans if the automaker behind the brand filed for bankruptcy, according to a study released on Wednesday. The study of 6,000 people who intend to buy new vehicles by auto market research firm CNW Research found the sales losses from bankruptcy would be highest for the U.S. automakers. The blow would be hardest on privately held Chrysler LLC, with about 91 percent of those who intend to buy a new car within six months abandoning the automaker's brands for rivals, CNW said. Similarly, about 80 percent of car shoppers said they would drop plans to buy a vehicle from General Motors or Ford Motor Co. in the event of a bankruptcy. "Admitting defeat, as bankruptcy would do in the minds of consumers, sends shoppers other places," the research firm said in its report. "There is no loyalty to the brand."
Source:  Reuters

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Volkswagen Expects 2008 U.S. Sales Gain on New Models

Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest carmaker, expects to increase U.S. sales "significantly" in 2008 on new models even as auto demand dwindles. Market share and sales should increase after the vehicles debut later this year, Stefan Jacoby, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America Inc., said in a Bloomberg Television interview. He didn't say how large any gains might be. "We expect to have growth this year in spite of the market decline," said Jacoby, 50. "In the first half of the year we have gained market share and increased volume slightly." New products are part of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen's plan to return to profit in North America, a goal Jacoby said should be reached in 2010. Yesterday, the company said it would invest almost $1 billion to open a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to make mid-size sedans.
Source:  Bloomberg

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Car Buyers Downsize, but Spend Big on Options

DETROIT — Consumers used to buy small cars for a simple reason: they were cheap. A decade ago, many budget-minded shoppers turned down even options like air-conditioning, power windows and compact disc players to keep the price low. Now people of all income levels are buying small cars to pinch pennies at the gas pump, but they are not scrimping on creature comforts. Instead, they are spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on options, like heated leather seats and high-end entertainment systems, usually found in luxury cars. Small-car buyers often pay $600 for a sunroof, $500 for satellite radio or $400 for a hands-free phone system. Some even spend $300 for colorful interior lights. In this new math for the auto industry, gas mileage often trumps sticker price for consumers. “Affordability is not so much the issue as fuel economy,” said George Pipas, Ford’s chief sales analyst. “Just because you want more fuel efficiency doesn’t mean you don’t want a moonroof or leather interior.” Many dealers, having realized that small-car shoppers are willing to buy higher trim levels and optional features, are stocking their lots with more upgraded vehicles. That is particularly true for hot sellers that have waiting lists, such as the Toyota Prius hybrid and the Honda Civic.
Source:  The New York Times

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Survey: Consumers Hot for Hybrids, but Not E85

Consumers have a growing hankering for hybrids. That’s according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Alternative Powertrain Study, released Tuesday, July 15. Of more than 4,000 consumers planning to buy a new vehicle in the next two years, 62 percent are considering a hybrid. That figure is up from 50 percent last year. “Lack of education is becoming less of an issue,” [said Mike Marshall, Power’s director of automotive emerging technologies.] “People are becoming more comfortable with the technology.” The main reason consumers weren’t considering hybrids last year was lack of familiarity with the technology, Marshall says. The number of respondents citing that reason is down 6 percent in this year’s study, and no longer the top concern. Now the No. 1 issue for consumers, Marshall says, is the “premium of the powertrain.” Customers want to know whether a hybrid will pay for itself based on their driving styles, whether they’re leasing or buying, and other factors. The study found that fewer consumers this year are interested in E85 vehicles. This year, 43 percent of consumers said they were interested, down from 47 percent last year. The concern among consumers is that E85 vehicles, which can run on as much as 85 percent ethanol, may affect agricultural production.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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NADA Update
Auto Dealers Invited to SEMA Show to Learn about $38 Billion Accessory Market

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. -- While the nation’s new-car and -truck dealers continue to make major investments in their dealerships to improve sales and customer satisfaction, one area of potential new business has remained relatively untapped—the $38 billion accessory market. That’s why Phil Brady, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), and Chris Kersting, president and CEO of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), announced [last week] a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive “Dealer Day” program designed exclusively for NADA members at the 2008 SEMA Show. “Dealer Day” is designed to give dealer principals several ideas, tools and resources on how to integrate a strong and successful accessory program at their dealerships. The half-day program is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s the first time the SEMA Show will dedicate an exclusive program just for NADA members. There is no cost to attend “Dealer Day. “At a time when many dealers are looking for new ways to generate additional revenue and sales, this program will provide dealers with new ideas and strategies to help improve their bottom-line performance by creating profitable accessory programs,” says Brady. “Through a series of activities and presentations, dealers will learn about what’s happening in the specialty industry and discover how profitable an accessory program can be, and they will learn how to successfully incorporate such a program at their dealerships,” Kersting says. As an added feature, participating dealers will have an opportunity to meet directly with proven experts who will share real-world case studies. To register or receive more information about the program, e-mail dealerlink@sema.org.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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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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Ballots for NADA Directors from Kansas and N. Calif. 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.

Also, runoff ballots mailed to members in Northern California 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.

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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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Featured Video
 

Iowa Dealership Endures Extensive Flood Damage

More Video Highlights
Quotable
 
"The heart and the core of New Orleans, its commercial and its cultural core and its tourism and hospitality industry looks better than it did before the storm. We put nearly $700 million into new hotel renovations and restorations."


   
-- Stephen Perry, president and CEO, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, "New Orleans is Back," a NADA-TV report that shows just how much progress New Orleans has made since Katrina.


"Admitting defeat, as bankruptcy would do in the minds of consumers, sends shoppers other places. There is no loyalty to the brand."

   
-- CNW Research said in its latest report, Reuters, July 17


"Affordability is not so much the issue as fuel economy. Just because you want more fuel efficiency doesn't mean you don't want a moonroof or leather interior."

    -- George Pipas, Ford’s chief sales analyst, responding to a recent trend of consumers buying small cars to pinch pennies at the gas pump, but not scrimping on creature comforts, The New York Times, July 17


"Lack of education is becoming less of an issue. People are becoming more comfortable with the technology."

    -- Mike Marshall, J.D. Power and Associate's director of automotive emerging technologies, explaining why people are becoming more interested in hybrids, Automotive News, July 17


"We expect to have growth this year in spite of the market decline."

    -- Stefan Jacoby, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Bloomberg, July 17


"In a recovery economy, it's amazing to see what this industry has done for us." 

    -- Jennifer Day, director of the New Orleans film and video office, referring to the recent boom of major feature films and television pilots being filmed in the city. It has created an economic boost to a region rebuilding from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina three years ago, USA TODAY, July 15

Video Highlights
 
 

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


NADA's New Orleans Project
NADA's Return to New Orleans
NADA Chief Economist Forecasts a Challenging '08
Click here for more NADA-TV reports.
 
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