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Top Stories
House Approves $25 Billion Loan Program for Automakers
Nation's Biggest Chevy Dealer Closes Dealerships
GM to Accelerate its Cost-Cutting
Daimler in Talks to Sell Remaining Chrysler Stake
GM Store Count Down 226 So Far This Year
More Shoppers Consider Asian Vehicles First
U.S. Pickup Slump Will Run Through 2010
NADA Update
ALERT: Be Sure to Work with NADA-Approved Convention Vendors
Two New Legal Compliance Publications Now Available Online
Sign Up Today to Become a Green Checkup Dealer
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Access Methods
Save up to 42% on Select ThinkPad Notebooks
Top Stories
House Approves $25 Billion Loan Program for Automakers

DETROIT — The auto industry moved a step closer to winning the first of two battles it's been waging in Washington for the past few weeks: A $25 billion direct loan program for automakers and suppliers was attached to a broad government spending bill approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives. The bill, a "continuing resolution" that would continue to fund the federal government past the start of its new fiscal year on Oct. 1, includes the $7.5 needed to cover costs required to start the loans flowing. Approval by the Senate and the President's signature are expected in the next few days. The second battle, however, over rules governing how the loans will be doled out now won't be decided until after the Presidential elections. Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Global Insight, says the fact that the industry is getting the loans is a good thing, but not knowing who will be eligible and what projects it can be used on is still a big question. "It's like getting an early Christmas gift and not being able to use it until spring," she says.
Source:  USA TODAY

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Nation's Biggest Chevy Dealer Closes Dealerships

Bill Heard Enterprises Inc., the biggest Chevrolet dealer in the country, said Wednesday it is closing its 13 remaining dealerships, unable to survive in a weak economy with high gas prices and an inventory heavy on trucks and SUVs. The difficult sales environment was made worse by the ongoing banking and financial crisis, it said. The Heard operation was the single largest chain of Chevrolet dealerships in the country, said GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos. She would not comment on reasons for the chain closing other than to say it was an independent business with GM franchise agreements. "GM dealers are responsible for managing and financing dealerships," she said. The automaker is trying to reduce its dealership ranks as its U.S. market share has declined, and Garontakos said the closure opens an opportunity to look into whether any of the Heard outlets can be consolidated into nearby dealerships.
Source:  Associated Press

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GM to Accelerate its Cost-Cutting

General Motors Corp., struggling to stem more than three years of losses, said it plans to accelerate its $10 billion cost-cutting program and may sell a French parts plant. The company expects to send out marketing materials during October for the Strasbourg plant, as well as for the Hummer sport utility vehicle division, Treasurer Walter Borst said in a presentation posted Wednesday on GM's Web site. GM on Sept. 19 said it would draw the remaining $3.5 billion from a $4.5 billion revolving credit line. Citigroup analyst Itay Michaeli said in a Sept. 22 note to clients that the decision suggested GM's "second-half cash burn remains quite severe."
Source:  Bloomberg

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Daimler in Talks to Sell Remaining Chrysler Stake

DETROIT -- Maybe Daimler wants to cut its losses on Chrysler, or Cerberus Capital Management wants to own the U.S. automaker outright. Whatever the motivation, the companies confirmed Wednesday that talks are under way for Daimler to sell its remaining 19.9 percent stake in Chrysler to the private equity firm. Neither side would give further details, except Cerberus said it approached Daimler and if the transaction is successful, "all existing industrial relationships between Daimler and Chrysler would continue." Cerberus Capital Management LP bought 80.1 percent of Chrysler from Daimler AG in August 2007 in a $7.4 billion deal.
Source:  Associated Press

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GM Store Count Down 226 So Far This Year

DETROIT — Through August, General Motors trimmed its U.S. dealership count this year by 226 stores, to 6,550. And through year end, GM's U.S. sales chief expects the closure rate to quicken. The final toll for 2008? It could be 350 to 400 closed stores, said Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of North America vehicle sales, service and marketing. That's what GM expects, not a target, he said. That would compare with a reduction of 260 stores in 2007 and 87 stores in 2006. "We see (sales) recovering, but not immediately," he said. "In that kind of a market, you're going to have less dealer throughput, a lot of pressure on profitability."
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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More Shoppers Consider Asian Vehicles First

J.D. Power study also finds consumers are giving more weight to gas mileage when purchasing a car
A growing number of car buyers consider buying an Asian-brand vehicle first and fewer are considering buying domestic, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. And almost 20 percent of new buyers surveyed recently cited inadequate gas mileage as a reason for not buying a specific model -- up from almost 17 percent a year ago. That's the sharpest year-to-year jump in the study's history. "As shoppers move away from larger-vehicle segments in growing numbers, domestic manufacturers -- more so than Asian and European manufacturers -- must focus on rapidly aligning their U.S. product portfolios with this shift in consumer preferences," said Tom Gauer, senior director of automotive retail research at J.D. Power and Associates. According to Autodata Corp., the domestic brands' combined market share shrank to 45.3 percent in August, compared to 50.9 percent a year ago. But their share was above a low of 42.7 percent recorded in July.
Source:  The Detroit News

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U.S. Pickup Slump Will Run Through 2010

DETROIT -- U.S. sales of pickups will continue spiraling downward through 2009 and 2010, according to predictions released today by the forecasting group CSM Worldwide. Sales will bottom out at 1.7 million units, CSM predicted. Sales peaked at 3.3 million units in 1999 and had declined to 2.7 million in 2007, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Sales will recover only to 2.1 million units by 2014, CSM said. The forecasting company cited high gasoline prices and the struggling housing market, which is strongly tied to pickup sales. “Until there is a meaningful recovery in consumer confidence and housing, pickup sales will continue to be weak,” CSM senior economist Charles Chesbrough said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the housing correction has further to go.”
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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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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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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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Access Methods

 

Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to help dealers evaluate their Dealership Security. Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication for more information. To answer the question "How do I make sure I get a business-grade connection?" 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
 
"It's like getting an early Christmas gift and not being able to use it until spring."

    -- Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with Global Insight, referring to the $25 billion direct loan program for automakers, which passed the House yesterday, USA TODAY, Sept. 25


"We see (sales) recovering, but not immediately. In that kind of a market, you're going to have less dealer throughput, a lot of pressure on profitability."

    -- GM Vice President of North American sales Mark LaNeve, speaking about the company's consolidation efforts, Automotive News, Sept. 22
 

"As shoppers move away from larger-vehicle segments in growing numbers, domestic manufacturers -- more so than Asian and European manufacturers -- must focus on rapidly aligning their U.S. product portfolios with this shift in consumer preferences."

    -- Tom Gauer, senior director of automotive retail research at J.D. Power and Associates, responding to a report that shows consumers often consider Asian vehicles first, The Detroit News, Sept. 25

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.