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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Chrysler's Press Downplays Sale Talk
Cerberus Looks for 'Fresh Air' at GM
G.M. and Chrysler Plan More Cutbacks
Lawmakers Consider Stock Warrants for Emergency Loans
Veteran Will Head Auto Loan Program
Ford Called Most Reliable of U.S.-Brand Cars, Trucks
GM Expands Employee Discount Program
San Antonio Auto Dealer Looks Back on His Meeting with President Bush
NADA Update
Red Flags Enforcement Delayed Six Months
NADA to Eliminate Duplicate Versions of NADA Headlines on Oct. 28
Player Slots for Pre-Convention Charity Golf Tournament Filling Up
Two New Legal Compliance Publications Now Available Online
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Access Methods
HP Offers NADA Members Small Business 'Smart Deals'
Top Stories
Chrysler's Press Downplays Sale Talk

DETROIT -- Reports that Chrysler LLC is being shopped for sale by its owners are just speculation, a top Chrysler executive said Wednesday night. Vice Chairman and President Jim Press said Chrysler would "be here," saying he had confidence in the company. "There's not a lot of reason to talk about mergers and things like that because it's all speculation. We've been doing fine," he told reporters after speaking to a Society of Automotive Engineers' conference on vehicle electronics. "The best thing we can do is focus on our business at hand and try to match and beat the competitors," he said, telling the engineers that they would lead the U.S. auto industry out of its slump.
Source:  Associated Press

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Cerberus Looks for 'Fresh Air' at GM

Private-Equity Firm Seeks New Approaches, 'Meaningful' Ownership in a GM-Chrysler Combo
Cerberus Capital Management LP would look to retain a "meaningful stake" in the company that would emerge from a combined Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp., and would likely push to breathe "fresh air" into its top management, people familiar with the matter said. If a deal materializes, GM would be expected to lead the combined company. But Cerberus and other investors who pump money in the new entity would want to keep significant equity and have the ability to appoint members to its board and influence its management, these people said. Cerberus's position suggests GM could be in for a shakeup of the nonconfrontational culture that has developed between its 14-member board and its management team, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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G.M. and Chrysler Plan More Cutbacks

DETROIT — General Motors and Chrysler announced plans for more cutbacks Thursday as they continued to shrink their operations ahead of a possible merger. Chrysler said it would lay off about 1,825 workers at the end of this year by eliminating one of two shifts at an Ohio plant that builds Jeeps and by closing a sport utility vehicle plant in Delaware nearly a year sooner than planned. The announcement came as Chrysler revealed that it lost about $660 million in the second quarter, including $570 million from its automotive business. G.M. told its division heads in an e-mail message that the company would lay off an unspecified number of salaried workers, even though more people than expected had agreed to take buyouts. “The global economic outlook remains very concerning,” [G.M.’s chief executive, Rick Wagoner and its president, Frederick A. Henderson] said in a message. “As a result, actions are being taken throughout G.M.’s global operations to address our increasing need to conserve cash.”
Source:  The New York Times

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Lawmakers Consider Stock Warrants for Emergency Loans

Michigan delegation says industry needs federal money to maintain operations
WASHINGTON -- Senior Michigan lawmakers [yesterday] opened the door to the federal government acquiring rights to ownership stakes in troubled automakers and suppliers. The remarks came in a telephone news conference held by the lawmakers to publicize their request for prompt action by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to ease financial distress in the automotive sector. Asked about the stock warrants the government got in 1979 when it provided loan guarantees to the then nearly bankrupt Chrysler Corp., House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) said this: “We are after all servants of the broad public interest, and if [stock] warrants are of value, or other steps to assist or protect taxpayers, we would have no choice but to be supportive.” Together the lawmakers painted a grim picture, beyond the concerns they have voiced before about the need to thaw credit markets so that dealers can buy inventory and customers can purchase cars and trucks. They suggested that at least some automakers and suppliers need government loans to maintain operations.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Veteran Will Head Auto Loan Program

A senior adviser in the Treasury Dept. will oversee the writing of rules for $25B allocation
WASHINGTON -- A senior U.S. Treasury official has been named to head the Energy Department's $25 billion loan program for automakers and auto suppliers. Lachlan W. Seward, the senior adviser to the Treasury Department's Fiscal Assistant Secretary, was named director of the auto retooling program funded by Congress and signed into law by President Bush on Sept. 31. In the early 1980s, Seward served as director of the Treasury's Office of Chrysler Finance and was head of the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Board. The Energy Department is trying to meet a congressional deadline of Nov. 30 to write the regulations for the program and has sought information from Detroit's Big Three automakers.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Ford Called Most Reliable of U.S.-Brand Cars, Trucks

Dearborn automaker said to be gaining fast on Japanese rivals
Ford Motor Co. builds the most reliable American-brand cars and trucks. So said Consumer Reports, in its respected Annual Car Reliability Survey, which was released Thursday... "Ford is doing exceptionally well," David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Division, said during a presentation at the Detroit Athletic Club. "Nearly all Fords are average or above," he said. "They are extremely close to Toyota and Honda." Despite Ford's strong performance, Consumer Reports, which is based in Yonkers, N.Y., said the top 10 most-reliable brands sold in America are all owned by Asian automakers. One of the study's more interesting findings, though -- especially in these economically trying times -- is that fuel-efficient models, such as the Smart ForTwo, which gets an estimated 39 miles per gallon, are also the most reliable. That includes hybrids, despite industry concerns that batteries and other new technology might not hold up.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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GM Expands Employee Discount Program

General Motors Corp. is letting employees extend their vehicle discount to the public in a move aimed at boosting sales, which have fallen 18.1 percent this year. The discount program, which lets employees give the discount to two people, started Wednesday and ends Nov. 3. "It's been proven to be popular in the past with employees and dealers and if we can sell some more cars and trucks, we're happy to do it," GM spokesman John McDonald said.
Source:  The Detroit News

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San Antonio Auto Dealer Looks Back on His Meeting with President Bush

SAN ANTONIO – Auto dealer Marc Cross and two other small business owners recently sat down with President George Bush at a private meeting in a San Antonio diner outlining their concerns about how the credit crunch was affecting their retail operations. The meeting was initiated by a call from the White House to Phil Brady, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). The White House asked Brady to recommend a dealer in the San Antonio area to meet with President Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush about how the nation’s auto dealers were coping with the credit crisis.

“A staff member from the White House called me a day before the meeting and said the president wants to know at the grassroots level from a local, small businessman how the credit squeeze is impacting the retail auto industry,” said Cross, co-owner of Jordan Ford in San Antonio. Cross told Mr. Bush that the credit crisis was affecting his business on two levels—both on a wholesale and retail level. From a wholesale level, Cross explained that rising floor plan and interest rate costs were resulting in less vehicle inventory and increasing the cost to do business.

Sitting next to the president at the diner, Cross told Mr. Bush how his dealership helped get financing for a wounded soldier returning home to San Antonio from the Iraq War. The soldier was having difficulty getting loan approval from other financial sources to purchase a new Ford F-150 Super Crew. “We don’t believe a bad credit customer should get a loan,” Cross recalled telling the president. “That’s how the housing industry got into the mess it’s in. But our good credit customer is getting squeezed, too.”

“It’s clear that these small business owners are dealing with the effects of a credit crunch,” Bush told reporters outside the diner after the meeting. “And by that I mean that they’re having trouble getting money to be able to continue to either expand their business or to be able to help their consumers be able to buy their products.” The $700 billion rescue plan was signed into law in early October. It is now in the process of being implemented by the Bush administration. “I told them one of the reasons why I was so strongly for this rescue package was to free up credit and get money moving,” Bush said.

Cross and his business partner own one of the oldest dealerships in Texas. Their dealership, founded in 1919, is the 25th largest Ford dealership in the nation and employs 219 people.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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NADA Update
Red Flags Enforcement Delayed Six Months

The FTC has announced a six-month “delay of enforcement” of the Red Flags rule. Dealers and other creditors now have until May 1, 2009 to develop and implement a written identity theft prevention program (“ITPP”). This does not affect the address discrepancy rule, which continues to have an effective date of Nov. 1, 2008.

Dealers who have already drafted and implemented their ITPP are not required to do anything. NADA encourages those dealers who have not yet finalized their ITPP to complete their work as soon as possible in advance of the new deadline. 

All NADA members received a copy of A Dealer Guide to the Red Flags and Address Discrepancy Rules: Protecting Against Identity Theft (http://eseries.nada.org/scriptcontent/ProductDetail.cfm?pc=MEDPRL50E) in August 2008. For more information, see http://ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/redflags.shtm and http://ftc.gov/os/2008/10/081022idtheftredflagsrule.pdf.

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NADA to Eliminate Duplicate Versions of NADA Headlines on Oct. 28

Members are urged to subscribe to e-newsletter and cancel printed versions.
If you are currently receiving NADA Headlines in both the weekly fax and the daily e-mail formats, you will no longer get the fax version after Oct. 28. NADA Headlines fax version is more condensed than the daily e-mail and also does not offer the top industry news stories or NADA-TV video reports found in the e-mail version. This move will help cut paper waste as well as fax costs for NADA and its members. To cancel your fax or mail subscription, contact NADA Membership at membership@nada.org.

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Player Slots for Pre-Convention Charity Golf Tournament Filling Up

Registrations for the "Dealers for Charity" golf tournament in New Orleans are starting to roll in, reports Lin Peacock, vice president of NADA Insurance. The tournament, hosted by NADA’s hole-in-one insurance partner, ACECO, is slated for Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 before the opening of the NADA Convention and Exposition. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Brees Dream Foundation, a charitable organization founded by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The tournament will be held at TPC Louisiana, the only PGA Tour course in the state. The event is open exclusively to NADA members. Registration fees are $300 per player. Participation is limited to the first 144 golfers who sign up. The registration deadline is Nov. 9. Visit www.ACECOinsurance.com and click on the "Dealers for Charity" logo to sign up.

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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. NADA Management Education is also 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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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Access Methods

 

Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to to help dealers evaluate their Internet Access Methods. 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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HP Offers NADA Members Small Business 'Smart Deals'

NADA members can save up to 30 percent on HP's dc5750 desktop PCs or $791 on HP's Compaq 2710p. This offer is valid on call-in orders only. To take advantage of this offer, call (800) 888-0365 and mention passcode "NAD1." To see more "Smart Deals," visit NADA's PC Purchase Program online at www.nada.org/Technology/PCpurchaseprogram (member login required), then click on www.hp.com/go/promos/nad1 then "Smart Deals" on left navigation bar.

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Featured Video
 

Registration for the NADA convention in New Orleans Jan. 24-27 is open. Click here to see just how much progress New Orleans has made since Katrina.


More Video Highlights

Quotable
 
"Actually, I think there are a lot of sources of financing that local dealers can use. And we've got a half a billion dollars of incentive money in the market."

   
-- Jim Press, Chrysler vice chairman and president, says the current market is "really really tough" for its dealers, in part because of consumer fears that car loans are not available, Detroit Free Press, Oct. 24


"There's not a lot of reason to talk about mergers and things like that because it's all speculation. We've been doing fine." 

    -- Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Jim Press downplaying reports that the automaker is in talks with GM about a possible merger, Associated Press, Oct. 24


"We are after all servants of the broad public interest, and if [stock] warrants are of value, or other steps to assist or protect taxpayers, we would have no choice but to be supportive." 

    -- House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) opening the door to the federal government acquiring rights to ownership stakes in troubled automakers and suppliers in exchange for emergency federal loans, Automotive News, Oct. 24


"The global economic outlook remains very concerning. As a result, actions are being taken throughout G.M.’s global operations to address our increasing need to conserve cash." 

    -- GM's chief executive Rick Wagoner and president Frederick A. Henderson in an e-mail message to division heads, The New York Times, Oct. 23


"Ford is doing exceptionally well. Nearly all Fords are average or above." 

    -- David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Division, in describing Ford as one of the most reliable American-brand cars and trucks, Detroit Free Press, Oct. 24
NADA Convention 2009 
 
  
Convention Workshops Keyed to Today’s Economy

Now more than ever, dealers need to meet, talk and learn how to survive in tough times. In that spirit, workshops planned for NADA’s upcoming convention in New Orleans will focus on recession-proof business operations. NADA Headlines will spotlight three convention workshops each week.

(1) The Credit Crisis: Implications and Opportunities for Your Business
(2) Leveraging the Social Web: Build Your Brand, Grow Your Business
(3) Lifeline to Profit$

Credit Crisis speaker Erin Kerrigan of AutoStar will update dealers on the credit crisis and help them understand it. She will discuss how to manage through the crisis, explaining the implications of limited credit and the corresponding business model changes required for survival. She will also address opportunities for auto retailing.

Social Web will feature Jared Hamilton of DrivingSales.com, who will explain which social networking mediums can affect dealers’ businesses and provide actual case studies. Attendees will learn how to use social networking to build their brands, amplify their messages and increase sales.

Lifeline will reveal how to increase profitability in all departments, taking a candid look at each. Presenting the workshop will be Randy Brenckman of NADA Dealer Academy and Brad Lawson and Mark Rogers of NADA 20 Group. Participants will develop action plans so they can better prepare to guide their management teams. Lifeline will cover cash flow, absorption, inventory management, and operational drivers of fixed and variable departments.

Join us in New Orleans at the 2009 NADA Convention and Exposition Jan. 24–27. Click here to register.

Video Highlights
 


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.


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


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.