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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Auto-Finance Firms Seek a Hand
Automaker Loans Appear Imminent
Credit-Crunched
Ford Sales Chief Says Customers Feel Pinch
Is the Health of the Used-Vehicle Market Getting Better?
Honda's Flexible Plants Provide Edge
Ford Motor Can Manufacture Small Cars Profitably, Kuzak Says
Chrysler May Use Batteries by A123
Car Dealerships Ready to Roll
NADA Update
ALERT: Be Sure to Work with NADA-Approved Convention Vendors
Red Flags Rule Seminar Today
Two New Legal Compliance Publications Now Available Online
Sign Up Today to Become a Green Checkup Dealer
NADA Convention: 'Full Speed Ahead' to New Orleans in January
STAR Answers Dealers Questions about Dealership Data Security
Save up to 42% on Select ThinkPad Notebooks
Top Stories
Auto-Finance Firms Seek a Hand

WASHINGTON -- As Congress crafts a $700 billion federal government plan to buy up financial companies' troubled assets, auto-finance-company lobbyists are pressing for specific language including them in the plan, according to a lobbyist for one of the Big Three auto makers. So far, Congress hasn't agreed to include auto-industry finance companies in the bill specifically. Companies are "working to make it happen," said the auto-industry lobbyist. "The finance companies want language to that effect. They feel that if they are going to be included, they should be specifically included." "In general we support any activity that would help bring stability to these markets," said Gina Proia, spokeswoman for GMAC Financial Services LLC.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Automaker Loans Appear Imminent

WASHINGTON -- Congress appears ready to approve funding for $25 billion in loans to the U.S. auto industry, but the fate of automakers' push to use the loans for a broader range of projects was uncertain Monday. A draft copy of the budget resolution that Congress is to consider later this week includes $7.5 billion to pay for the loans, which were passed but not paid for in last year's energy bill. It also includes $10 million to pay for administering the loans, in part to speed the process of writing the rules that will govern how automakers and suppliers apply for the money. But the brief section does not change any of the underlying rules that Detroit automakers had sought, such as lowering the 25% fuel economy improvement that new models would have to meet in order to qualify for loan money. Industry officials and allies on Capitol Hill said they were still pushing for changes.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Credit-Crunched

Costs soar, funds are scarce — and the pain looks long-term
Dealers surveyed by Automotive News report greater difficulty and expense financing their inventories. They say it's getting harder and more expensive to find financing for buyers — even those with good credit. And in this shaky market, the credit crunch is dividing automakers' captive finance companies and dealer networks into haves and have-nots. The credit crunch is giving well-capitalized captives a growing advantage in their ability to finance inventories and make consumer loans. Toyota Financial Services, with its AAA debt rating, has no trouble borrowing money at a low interest rate, said CEO George Borst. Toyota Financial has passed GMAC Financial Services as the largest U.S. auto lender, according to Experian Automotive. Meanwhile, GMAC faces a credit squeeze.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Ford Sales Chief Says Customers Feel Pinch

The credit crisis pummeling Wall Street is going to make an already tough car market that much more challenging, said Jim Farley, head of sales and marketing for Ford Motor Co. "The credit issue is becoming a big deal for them as consumers," he told reporters during a dinner Monday night. "It will affect our industry." Many consumers have seen their credit scores fall even though nothing about their finances has changed, Farley said. Leasing is no longer an option for many customers, and they can't access their home equity to help finance auto purchases. "It's just more pressure on the customer," he said.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Is the Health of the Used-Vehicle Market Getting Better?

BANDON, Ore. — Despite having a rather gloomy year, the used-vehicle market appears to be showing some signs of improvement as autumn arrives. According to the latest report from CNW Research, retail prices are up slightly through the first half of September and the decline in sales is expected to be less steep than in previous months. Specifically, September's retail transaction prices are on a 2.6-percent upswing compared to August. Franchised dealers have climbed 2.64 percent in average price so far this month, while independents showed a 1.43-percent increase. According to officials, the average franchised dealer was selling used units for 92.89 percent of original asking price during the first half of the month, while independents were receiving 90.43 percent.
Source:  Auto Remarketing

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Honda's Flexible Plants Provide Edge

Company Can Rejigger Vehicle Output to Match Consumer Demand Faster Than Its Rivals
East Liberty, Ohio -- One recent morning, the Honda Motor Co. plant here churned out 120 Civic compacts. Then the production line came to a halt and workers in white uniforms swept in to install new hand-like parts on the giant gray robots that weld steel into the cars' frames. About five minutes later, the line roared back to life, and the robots began zapping together a longer, taller vehicle, the CR-V crossover. The manufacturing dexterity of Honda's plants, now the most flexible in North America, is emerging as a key strategic advantage for the company. In an era of volatile gasoline prices, Honda can adjust production to inventory levels faster than its competitors.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Ford Motor Can Manufacture Small Cars Profitably, Kuzak Says

Ford Motor Co. ... will be able to produce a new line of small cars profitably, as the company shifts from a dependence on light trucks, the company's chief of product development said. "We need to deliver profitable small cars in North America," Derrick Kuzak told reporters at a media dinner last night in Detroit. The automaker said last month it will spend at least $75 million to convert a Michigan SUV factory to build small cars from 2010. Mulally wants Ford to sell more of its models worldwide. Ford traditionally has developed models regionally and retreated from previous attempts to market the same models worldwide. The company believes there are now fewer differences in regional markets, worldwide marketing chief Jim Farley said at the same dinner.
Source:  Bloomberg

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Chrysler May Use Batteries by A123

Chrysler LLC, in a rush to develop new, fuel-efficient vehicles, is in advanced talks about using batteries made by A123 Systems Inc. in an electric car due to be launched by 2011, people familiar with the matter said. A123, Watertown, Mass., is a seven-year-old company vying to break into the nascent market for lithium-ion battery packs for automobiles. A123 is in the running to supply batteries for the Chevrolet Volt, the electric car General Motors Corp. is developing.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Car Dealerships Ready to Roll

Just about everywhere Ryan Orewiler went on the island Monday, people stopped to ask him about buying a new car. “About 10 people told me they had lost their cars,” he said. Orewiler, manager of island-based Sand Dollar Autoplex, expects demand for vehicles to zoom after Hurricane Ike. So do other dealers in the county. With so many vehicles flooded by storm surge, dealers around the county are expecting a boost in sales as consumers receive insurance payouts on their cars. Workers Monday at the massive Sand Dollar dealership ... were cleaning out offices, removing water-damaged carpet and preparing for busy weeks ahead. “We’re going to open as soon as possible,” Orewiler said.
Source:  The Galveston County Daily News

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NADA Update
ALERT: Be Sure to Work with NADA-Approved Convention Vendors

Both exhibitors and attendees planning to attend the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans may receive email solicitations, phone calls, direct mail or other forms of communications from vendors and contractors claiming to be endorsed or approved by NADA, which many are not. Be on the lookout for these types of solicitations.

HERE IS A LIST OF OFFICIAL NADA VENDORS AND CONTRACTORS:              

  • Freeman (Service Contractor)
  • PSAV Presentation Services (Audio/Visual)
  • CCR Events (Computer Rental)
  • National Plant & Floral, Inc.
  • Experient (Lead Retrieval)
  • HMI – Holiday Models, Inc.
  • Oscar Einzig (Photography)
  • Marshall Robinson & Associates (Security)
  • Experient (Housing – Exhibitor & Attendee)
  • NADA's AutoExec Department (Advertising/Sponsorships)

Please use caution when dealing with any solicitations from companies that are not on this list. Contact NADA conventions at (703) 821-7141 if you have any questions.

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Red Flags Rule Seminar Today

The virtual seminar on complying with the new FTC Red Flags Rule will be repeated today from 1-3 p.m. EST. Like the first one, the seminar will be presented live and online. Questions are encouraged and 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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Two New Legal Compliance Publications Now Available Online

NADA has finalized two new publications aimed at helping dealers comply with several new federal legal requirements. All members will receive a free printed copy of A Dealer Guide to the FTC Affiliate Marketing Rule (L51) and Electronic Disclosure Rules for Dealership Online Commerce (L52) via mail. However, because the Oct. 1 compliance deadline for each of these new rules is approaching, NADA Management Education is making these two publications available immediately, in PDF form, free to members upon request.

The FTC’s Affiliate Marketing Rule specifies when certain credit-related information received from a company’s affiliates may be used for marketing purposes. The guide covering this new rule defines key terms, explains the new rule’s relationship to existing information-sharing restrictions under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and provides examples of the notices required under the new rule.

The Federal Reserve Board’s Electronic Disclosure Rules affect dealers who currently engage in certain online activities (such as advertising leases online, advertising credit online, or providing access to/accepting online credit applications), or envision doing so in the future. This publication explains the rules, discusses amendments to certain regulations—including Regulations B, M, and Z—and provides context and compliance considerations.

Members may obtain a free PDF copy of each publication by sending an email to me@nada.org with their requests and member identification numbers.

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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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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 through Sept. 30. 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 auto industry needs the free-flowing availability of credit. Let's hope that the federal government doesn't do anything to impede that."

    -- Keith Crain, publisher and editorial director, Automotive News, Sept. 22


"The credit issue is becoming a big deal for them as consumers." Many consumers have seen their credit scores fall even though nothing about their finances has changed. "It's just more pressure on the customer." 

    -- Jim Farley, head of sales and marketing for Ford Motor Co., The Detroit News, Sept. 23

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.