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Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top Stories
Fewer Houston Dealerships Open in Wake of Ike
Lawmakers Talk Strategy on Auto Loans
GM's Next Tests May be Toughest Yet
Quality Crucial to Chrysler Recovery
GM to Unwrap Volt at Celebration Today
Chrysler Introduces New Web-Marketing Program for Dealers
BMW Wants Insights from Dealers for 7 Series
Opinion: Why the Gasoline Engine Isn't Going Away Any Time Soon
NADA Update
NADA Job Board Off to a Strong Start
NADA Insurance Adds New Benefit for Members: Life Insurance for Dealership Employees
Sign Up Today to Become a Green Checkup Dealer
NADA Convention: 'Full Speed Ahead' to New Orleans in January
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
Fewer Houston Dealerships Open in Wake of Ike

Most of Houston’s auto dealerships appeared to be closed [yesterday] as a lack of power kept employees and customers home while the nation’s fourth-largest city began cleaning up after Hurricane Ike struck Saturday, Sept. 13. Only a few dealerships had power and could operate. Two of Houston-based Group 1 Automotive’s nine area dealerships were open, said Mike Chan, manager of Sterling McCall Acura in southwest Houston. And only one of Gillman Cos.’ three Houston area complexes had power, said Rod Hall, south complex general manager for the dealership group. “They’re telling us it could be anywhere from two days to a month closer to the coast” to restore power, Hall said. As dealers continued assessing damage, Chan and Hall said they felt lucky to have suffered little inventory damage.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Lawmakers Talk Strategy on Auto Loans

WASHINGTON -- Michigan lawmakers will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today to map plans for votes on funding $25 billion in loans for the auto industry, while Detroit automakers step up their lobbying efforts. The turmoil in financial markets only served to emphasize the bid by Detroit automakers and parts suppliers for some aid toward retooling factories. As the Free Press reported Saturday, the Congressional Budget Office said it now estimated that the government's cost of last year's $25-billion program would be $7.5 billion, double the previous estimate.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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GM's Next Tests May be Toughest Yet

Automaker needs cash fast to stay afloat while meeting new fuel rules
DETROIT -- As GM enters its second century, the obstacles are potentially daunting, analysts say. Among the biggest challenges facing the world's largest automaker are raising cash to keep its global operations afloat in a weakening market and curtailing the expense of costly new government mandates. Meanwhile, GM and its domestic rivals are reeling from high gas prices and a consumer shift away from once-profitable trucks and sport utility vehicles to cars and crossovers. "The biggest worry is the tendency for politicians to want to come up with quote 'solutions,' which are ill-advised and show a poor understanding of the problem," said Bob Lutz, the automaker's vice chairman.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Quality Crucial to Chrysler Recovery

Nardelli sends staff memo on mission
Improving quality and working more closely with dealers will be key factors to Chrysler LLC's turnaround, Cerberus Capital Management Chairman John Snow said Monday. In Auburn Hills, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli sent employees a memo about the company's mission, highlighting a "one-pager that expresses our strategic framework for future success." "It starts with a vision -- to provide cars and trucks that customers will want to buy, will enjoy driving and will want to buy again. Chrysler veterans will recognize these words, because our vision -- or our purpose -- for the most part, does not change. Those 20 words capture the concepts of attracting, satisfying and keeping our customers with great products. That's why we're in business. That's what we come to work to do."
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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GM to Unwrap Volt at Celebration Today

Analysts, executives believe Chevy plug-in can be 'game-changer' for Detroit automaker
General Motors Corp. will officially unveil a near-production version of Chevrolet Volt today during its 100th birthday celebration -- a milestone after more than 18 months of developing a vehicle faster than any other vehicle in recent memory. The long-awaited reveal gives people a look at GM's most important future product and one that analysts and auto executives alike agree can be a "game changer." While the Volt has captured the imagination of thousands like no other GM vehicle in recent years after the concept was introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, it hasn't been without its challenges. They company is dealing with engineering hurdles that exist and the pressure to deliver.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Chrysler Introduces New Web-Marketing Program for Dealers

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — There's little doubt that tapping into online resources has become a valuable way for the auto industry to attract more customers, especially in times of soft sales. With this in mind, Chrysler is launching a new set of online marketing tools to help its dealers drive profits. During the first phase of this program, Chrysler is providing its dealers with new Web sites and an Internet lead service. "The way people shop has changed dramatically in recent years. Chrysler understands today's consumers well. These new tools represent a fundamental shift in the way we go to market," stated Deborah Meyer, vice president and chief marketing officer for Chrysler.
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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BMW Wants Insights from Dealers for 7 Series

MUNICH -- BMW is launching a worldwide sales contest to motivate dealers for the launch of the new 7 series upper-premium sedan. The car, the fifth generation of BMW’s range-topping sedan, will go on sale in Europe in November and early next year in the US market. Karsten Engel, BMW’s manager for the development of sales channels, said the contest will help dealers and sales staff in different countries to learn best practices from one another. “An international exchange of best-practice examples, especially on the level of the sales organization, is new for the auto industry,” Engel said. “In this way, we will expand the strengths of our sales organization for the long term.”
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Opinion: Why the Gasoline Engine Isn't Going Away Any Time Soon
by Joe White

Blame it on technology, cost -- and the American way of life
An automotive revolution is coming -- but it's traveling in the slow lane. With all the glitzy ads, media chatter and Internet buzz about plug-in hybrids that draw power from the electric grid or cars fueled with hydrogen, it's easy to get lulled into thinking that gasoline stations soon will be as rare as drive-in theaters. The idea that auto makers can quickly execute a revolutionary transition from oil to electricity is now a touchstone for both major presidential candidates. That's the dream. Now the reality: This revolution will take years to pull off -- and that's assuming it isn't derailed by a return to cheap oil. Anyone who goes to sleep today and wakes up in five years will find that most cars for sale in the U.S. will still run on regular gas -- with a few more than today taking diesel fuel. That will likely be the case even if the latter-day Rip Van Winkle sleeps until 2020.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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NADA Update
NADA Job Board Off to a Strong Start

In less than six months, jobs posted on Automotive Careers Online have accrued nearly 10,000 views and as many as 250 views for a single job posting. “That’s a solid return on investment for employers registered for the site,” says John Lyboldt, NADA vice president of dealer operations. “More than 500 job seekers have registered for the site and many have applied for dealership jobs.”

Automotive Careers Online is a dedicated job board exclusively for NADA members to post openings. Job posting packages start at $200 for a 30-day listing, which is a fraction of the cost of other commercial job boards and classified ads. Employers set the skills criteria for openings. Email alerts notify an employer of matching candidates once a resume is posted. Automotive Careers Online is free for job candidates, who can post resumes and search for dealership careers. To sign up, visit www.AutomotiveCareersOnline.com.

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NADA Insurance Adds New Benefit for Members: Life Insurance for Dealership Employees

To help NADA members keep and attract a high-quality staff, NADA Insurance has created a new life insurance plan for dealership employees. The plan has a basic group option at a flat 21 cents per thousand dollars ranging in coverage from $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 to $100,000. All full-time employees at the dealership must participate in the group plan to receive the highly competitive rates. The second option is a voluntary employee life plan, starting at $150,000 of coverage to a maximum of $500,000. “This is a very effective way to build on your dealership’s employee benefits package and help employees protect their families and assets,” says Lin Peacock, vice president of NADA Insurance. For more detailed information on the employee life plans or to apply, go to www.nadainsurance.com or call (888) 461-6232.

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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 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 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. The Convention Center, 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 have returned 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 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.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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

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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
 
"Anyone who goes to sleep today and wakes up in five years will find that most cars for sale in the U.S. will still run on regular gas -- with a few more than today taking diesel fuel. That will likely be the case even if the latter-day Rip Van Winkle sleeps until 2020."

   
-- Wall Street Journal Columnist Joe White explaining why he thinks the gasoline engine isn't going away any time soon, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 16


"It starts with a vision -- to provide cars and trucks that customers will want to buy, will enjoy driving and will want to buy again. Chrysler veterans will recognize these words, because our vision -- or our purpose -- for the most part, does not change."

   
-- Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli in a memo to employees detailing the importance of quality to Chrysler's recovery, Detroit Free Press, Sept. 16


"The biggest worry is the tendency for politicians to want to come up with quote 'solutions,' which are ill-advised and show a poor understanding of the problem."

    -- Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman, referring to the company's challenges caused by high gas prices and a shrinking market for its trucks and SUVs, The Detroit News, Sept. 16
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.