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Top Stories
Chrysler Financial Hikes Dealer Floorplan Fees
Opinion: Give Carmakers a Little Respect -- and a Loan
Study: 15% of Wrecked Autos Got Washed Titles
It's Brake Time for Leasing of Vehicles
GM Reduces Leases, Spares Cadillac
Compacts Aid BMW, Daimler
NADA Used Car Guide Adds New Wholesale Condition Categories to Better Determine Values
Committed to Community: Auto Group Reaches Out to Support Student Community
NADA Update
NADA Convention: 'Full Speed Ahead' to New Orleans in January
Sign Up Today to Become a Green Checkup Dealer
NADA Virtual Seminar Archives Now Available
Registration Open for Pre-Convention Charity Golf Tournament
Did You Miss the First Virtual Seminar on the Red Flags Rule?
STAR Answers Dealers Questions about Dealership Data Security
Save up to 42% on Select ThinkPad Notebooks
Top Stories
Chrysler Financial Hikes Dealer Floorplan Fees

DETROIT -- A month after its sudden withdrawal from the leasing business, Chrysler Financial has told dealers that it will jack up their floorplan interest rates and force them to pay off older, unsold vehicles. In an Aug. 27 letter to dealers, Chrysler Financial CEO Thomas Gilman called the moves "unprecedented actions for unprecedented times." Gilman told dealers that the new charges are a result of "a significant increase in cost" that Chrysler Financial incurred when it renewed its package of loans on Wall Street on Aug. 1. Under their previous floorplan agreement with Chrysler Financial, dealers paid interest on unsold vehicles. But the lender did not charge fees for aged inventory. While Chrysler Financial wanted dealers to pay off inventory more than a year old, the policy was not enforced. Now it will be. Dealers aren't happy about the charges. The fees will "kill dealers' cash flow," said George Benson, owner of Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep of White Oak in White Oak, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. Chuck Eddy, the Chrysler dealer council representative to the National Automobile Dealers Association, cited the example of heavy-duty pickups. Those tend to sit on dealer lots for longer periods. Dealers holding those pickups could feel some real "heartburn," he said. "You take 10 of those, and it's a $300,000 to $400,000 payoff," said Eddy, who owns Bob & Chuck Eddy Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Austintown, Ohio. Eddy said Chrysler Financial is "doing a good job trying to manage through this, but they need to be very, very careful." If dealers get too worried about controlling their inventories, he said, they will stop ordering cars altogether.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Opinion: Give Carmakers a Little Respect -- and a Loan
by Warren Brown

It's too bad that General Motors is little more than an American manufacturing company providing American jobs. It gets no respect from the U.S. government. The same can be said of Ford and Chrysler, beggars all -- and all of whom are being treated as such by the U.S. political and financial establishments. American politicians and regulators enabled Detroit's profligacy. The same politicians who made a big show of demanding that Detroit produce more fuel-efficient cars and trucks did next to nothing to create a market for their sale. In fact, federal economic policy, deeply soaked in cheap gasoline, did just the opposite. Now, the U.S. car companies find themselves in the lurch. They are asking the government for what amounts to a $25 billion loan at a very favorable interest rate -- about 4.5 percent per annum -- to help pull themselves up. They are being told to get lost. We bail out financial companies that knowingly made risky loans. We bail out oil-rich dictatorships that promise to embrace democracy. We eagerly give foreign manufacturers every conceivable tax break to set up a new plant here, put up a new facility there. But we punish American car manufacturers who are trying to turn themselves around and reduce our national demand for oil in the process. Those companies and their suppliers provide nearly 25 million American jobs. They spend $12 billion annually in research and development in the United States. "They make stuff. Companies that actually make stuff -- manufacture things -- don't get any respect in America," said Lou Ann Hammond, an automotive and energy writer living in California. It's crazy. American-owned once meant something.
Source:  The Washington Post

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Study: 15% of Wrecked Autos Got Washed Titles

Nearly 15 percent of the 1.3 million vehicles that were severely damaged by collisions, bad weather or fire in the first half of 2008 now have clean titles that do not identify that damage, a new study concludes. More than 185,000 cars and trucks that were issued titles indicating their damage had those brands removed when the vehicles were retitled in another state, says Experian Automotive. Edie Hirenstein, senior product manager of Experian's AutoCheck vehicle history service, said the number of title-washed vehicles in the first six months of this year was about the same as in the year-ago period. As the country enters the peak hurricane season, she says, the industry must redouble its vigilance about rebuilt flood cars and other wrecks.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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It's Brake Time for Leasing of Vehicles

Leasing an automobile isn't the deal it used to be — assuming a lease is even available. Although auto leases are still available, consumers can expect higher monthly payments than in the past and they had better show up with a good credit score, experts caution. "Some dealers were putting upwards of 30 percent to 40 percent of their new cars on leases," said Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. Leases accounted for 35 percent of the sales at Christopher Dodge World in Golden, [Colo.] said dealer Christopher Hall. That was until Aug. 1, when Chrysler stopped making leases. Chrysler's sales plunged by 34.5 percent last month compared with August 2007, the largest of any manufacturer, and Hall hasn't escaped the pain. "You are going to lose sales until people get used to it," he said of not having a lease option to offer customers.
Source:  The Denver Post

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GM Reduces Leases, Spares Cadillac

While automakers have cut back on lease incentives, General Motors Corp., at least this month, is not doing that with Cadillac. GM on Friday informed Cadillac dealers of new lease incentives, through its GMAC financing arm, on 2009 Cadillacs, as well as the Saab 9-7X SUV, to last through Sept. 30. That makes the Cadillac lineup and one Saab model GM's only vehicles in the United States with discounted leases through GMAC, said GM spokesman John McDonald. GM, which still is scaling back on its leasing incentives, is singling out Cadillac and Saab as a competitive move because leasing tends to be popular in luxury segments. In August, 40% of the vehicle transactions for luxury brands were leases, according to J.D. Power and Associates. For Cadillac, 11.5% of transactions were leases last month.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Compacts Aid BMW, Daimler

Core Lines Struggle As Gloom Lingers For U.S., Europe
FRANKFURT -- BMW AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz Cars unit both posted rising sales for their compact brands in August, though their core larger cars experienced lackluster demand. The consumer shift toward smaller cars ... comes amid sluggish demand in major markets such as the U.S. and Western Europe and a gloomy economic outlook, which are increasingly clouding the perspectives for global car makers. Total sales at Mercedes-Benz fell 12% in August from a year earlier to 84,400 vehicles as improved sales of the Smart two-seater failed to offset a 16% decrease at the core Mercedes-Benz brand to 75,200 cars. Sales of the Smart minicar rose 29% to 9,200 vehicles. BMW eked out a 2% sales rise to 101,673 cars, driven by strong demand for the compact Mini brand as well as growth in Asia and Eastern Europe. Sales of the Mini rose 11% to 16,257 vehicles, but sales at the core BMW brand were virtually flat at 85,315 cars. In the U.S., BMW's biggest market, sales of the core BMW brand fell 4% to 25,462 cars.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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NADA Used Car Guide Adds New Wholesale Condition Categories to Better Determine Values

McLEAN, Va. -- In order to help the wholesale industry more accurately assess the condition of trade-ins and determine pricing, the NADA Used Car Guide has added two new value categories to trade-in analysis. The company announced Friday that it began including "Rough Trade-In" and "Average Trade-In" values in its electronic products earlier this month. In October, those values will be included in the print guidebook, as well. "These enhancements provide our customers — dealers, lenders and insurance and remarketing professionals — with more information for assessing used-vehicle values in the wholesale market," explained Mike Stanton, vice president and chief operating officer of NADA Used Car Guide. According to officials, roughly 50 percent of vehicles in the wholesale market are "Average" in condition. "Clean" units represent 15 percent of the industry and 20 percent are considered "Rough." The remaining 15 percent are either "Extra Clean" or "Salvage." Moving on, NADA AuctionNet also shared August's wholesale value trends. In particular, large trucks and SUVs have made significant gains since June, thanks largely to the recent dip in gas prices, the company indicated. For more information, visit www.nada.com/b2b.
Source: Auto Remarketing

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Committed to Community: Auto Group Reaches Out to Support Student Community

NEW YORK -- DCH Auto Group, a network of 34 dealerships in the Tri-State area and southern California, announced it is lending its support to Students Against Destructive Decisions to establish or strengthen chapters at school areas that have recently been impacted by risky or impaired driving. SADD and DCH hope to educate teens about making responsible driving decisions in order to reduce tragedies on the road. Teens tend to be some of the most erratic drivers. "DCH Auto Group is committed to the communities in which our businesses operate, so our partnership with SADD is a natural fit," commented Susan Scarola, DCH president and chief executive officer.
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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NADA Update
NADA Convention: 'Full Speed Ahead' to New Orleans in January

New Orleans Hospitality Industry Coming Back Strong after Gustav
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans city officials say that damage caused by Hurricane Gustav this week is "minor and easily repairable." A statement issued by the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) reported little to no disruption in meetings, conventions and special events scheduled over the next two weeks. The Convention Center, New Orleans Superdome and major hotels suffered only minor damage such as window breaks. There is no mid-range or long-term impact of any kind, the CVB reported.

"We're pleased to hear that the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas are making such progress,” says Steve Pitt, NADA vice president of conventions and expositions. "Residents and workers from across the region already have begun returning to their homes and businesses. And for us, it’s full speed ahead for the NADA convention’s return to New Orleans in January."

The NADA convention will return to New Orleans in about five months. The convention dates are Jan. 24-27. Registration is open. Several hotels already have sold out. Registration fees and hotel rates have remained unchanged, and discounted airfare is available. More than 700 exhibitors, 150 dealer workshops, a heavy-weight lineup of speakers and an additional half-day of workshops, including "Lifeline to Profit$" (offered both Friday and Tuesday) are scheduled. Since Katrina, more than $1 billion has been spent on hotel renovations and 913 restaurants are open.
Source:  NADA Newswire

For more updates, click here to go directly to the New Orleans CVB Web site.

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Sign Up Today to Become a Green Checkup Dealer

NADA is urging its members to offer free Green Checkups at their dealerships during the month of September. The Green Checkup focuses on the things that have the greatest effect on fuel economy, such as oil and air filters, engine performance, tire pressure and emission controls. Participating dealers can refer to the Green Checkup Guidelines, which provide the estimated tech hours to perform a Green Checkup.

Already, dealers in 45 states have signed up to become Green Checkup Dealers. (Click here to sign up to become a Green Checkup Dealer.) Dealers may decide to provide the Green Checkup along with inspections of child passenger safety seats that are also offered at many dealerships in September. “While customers wait in line to have their child safety seats inspected, we will offer them the option of having the Green Checkup,” says Annette Sykora, NADA chairman.

Although NADA is promoting Green Checkup Month in September, the program is designed for dealers to offer checkups as part of their routine service year-round.

To help dealers raise public awareness of how the auto industry is increasing fuel economy through innovation and new technologies, NADA created the Toolkit “A New Car is a Green Car.” The toolkit is designed to highlight how easy it is to be green. It includes tips on hosting green driving events, participating in the Green Checkup program and case studies that offer “greenprints” for success.

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NADA Virtual Seminar Archives Now Available

The complete audio and video content of 19 NADA Management Education virtual seminars from the past year is now available. Each seminar archive contains the original presentation from 2007 or 2008, and can be accessed for up to six months. The cost of each seminar is $99.

Archived virtual seminars are available for the following topics:

  • Variable operations
  • Fixed operations
  • F&I
  • Legal issues
  • Business management
  • Trucks

For a complete list of archived seminars or to place your order, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call (800) 252-6232, Ext. 2.

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Registration Open for Pre-Convention Charity Golf Tournament

Registration for the "Dealers for Charity" golf tournament in New Orleans is now open. The tournament, hosted by ACECO, NADA’s hole-in-one insurance program, is slated for Friday, Jan. 23, 2009. All proceeds will benefit the Brees Dream Foundation, a charitable organization founded by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The shotgun scramble tournament will be held at the Pete Dye-designed TPC Louisiana, the only PGA TOUR golf course in the state. Fees for the event are $300 per person. Participation is limited to the first 144 NADA members who register. Visit www.ACECOinsurance.com and click on the "Dealers for Charity" logo to register.

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Did You Miss the First Virtual Seminar on the Red Flags Rule?

If you weren’t among the 500 individuals and several dealer association groups who logged on this past week for our first virtual seminar on complying with the new FTC Red Flags Rule, you have another chance: The seminar will be repeated on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008 from 1-3 p.m. EST.

Like the first one, the seminar will be presented live and online, inviting participation by attendees. Questions are encouraged, which will be answered by presenters, Bert Rasmussen, author of A Dealer Guide to the FTC Red Flags and Address Discrepancy Rules: Protecting Against Identity Theft, and Paul Metrey, NADA director of regulatory affairs. The seminar will address what you need to do by Nov. 1, 2008 to comply with the Red Flags Rule, such as:

  • Preliminary risk assessment
  • Construction of a written Identity Theft Prevention Program
  • Knowing the indicators of identity theft (Red Flags) and how to detect and respond to them
  • Training requirements
  • Service provider oversight
  • Involvement of a dealership’s board of directors

Dealers, general managers, CFOs, controllers, finance managers, sales managers, IT managers and outside compliance professionals are encouraged to participate. The fee is $199 per computer connection.

To register online, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call (800) 248-6232, Ext. 7061. To order A Dealer Guide to the FTC Red Flags and Address Discrepancy Rules: Protecting Against Identity Theft, visit www.nada.org/RedFlags.

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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 Dealership Data Security. Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication. for more information. To find out "How Often Should a Dealership Back Up Data?" click here.

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Save up to 42% on Select ThinkPad Notebooks

  

NADA members can save three ways:

  • Instant savings with discounted Web pricing;
  • Save even more with your NADA discount; and
  • Enter eCoupon USXLABORDAY at checkout.

Visit www.nada.org/Technology/PCpurchaseprogram (member log-in required), then click www.lenovo.com/shop/deals/nada or call (800) 426-7235, Option 1, Ext. 4838 to take advantage of these savings. Enter eCoupon USXLABORDAY at checkout. Free ground shipping is available on all Web orders.

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Featured Video
 
 
NADA-TV Reports on the Launch of the 'Green Checkup' Campaign. Pictured above is NADA Chairman Annette Sykora with Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter at a news conference in Denver.


More Video Highlights

Quotable
 
The [floorplan] fees will "kill dealers' cash flow."

   
-- George Benson, owner of Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep of White Oak in White Oak, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, referring to Chrysler Financial's plan to increase floorplan interest rates, Automotive News, Sept. 8


"This is not about benefiting Wall Street. This is benefiting Main Street, the working men and women. The auto industry is part of the backbone of the U.S. economy."

    -- Ford Motor Co.'s President of the Americas Mark Fields making an analogy between government loans for U.S. automakers and recent federal support for the investment firm Bear Stearns and troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The Detroit News, Sept. 8


"We eagerly give foreign manufacturers every conceivable tax break to set up a new plant here, put up a new facility there. But we punish American car manufacturers who are trying to turn themselves around and reduce our national demand for oil in the process. It's crazy."

   
-- Warren Brown, columnist, referring to efforts of the Big 3 automakers to secure federal loans, The Washington Post, Sept. 8


"These enhancements provide our customers — dealers, lenders and insurance and remarketing professionals — with more information for assessing used-vehicle values in the wholesale market."

   
-- Mike Stanton, vice president and chief operating officer of NADA Used Car Guide, referring to the addition of two new wholesale-condition categories to better determine values, Auto Remarketing, Sept. 8
Video Highlights
 
  
Registration for the NADA convention in New Orleans Jan. 24-27 is now open. Click here to see just how much progress New Orleans has made since Katrina.


NADA's New Orleans Project: Lusher Charter School
NADA's Return to New Orleans
NADA and 'SeeMore's Playhouse' Promote Child Passenger Safety Month in September


Click here for more NADA-TV reports.

 
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NADA For more information on NADA, visit www.nada.org or contact NADA, 8400 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102. This email may contain an advertisement of NADA products and services. Any opinions or statements contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views of NADA. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication. If you are a franchised new-car or -truck dealer and would like to become a member of NADA, please visit the Join NADA section of www.nada.org. Questions or comments concerning NADA Headlines content may be directed to media@nada.org.