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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Car Loans: Looser Credit Frees Buyers to Return to Showrooms
U.S. Automakers Told to Draft Viability Plan
Detroit 3 Viability Plans to be Heard Dec. 5
Nardelli: Revival Info. to Come
Auto Crisis Tests Family's Hold on Ford
GM Cancels Franchise Make Meetings at NADA
Now is the Time to Find Good Deals on New Cars
Judge Says Automakers Can't Block Emissions Rules
Used-Vehicle Demand Shrivels
Economic Reality to Take Some Pizzazz Out of Auto Show
NADA Update
NADA to Host Virtual Seminar on Changes to Telemarketing Rules
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Hardware Based Systems
Lenovo Extends Employee Pricing to NADA Members
Top Stories
Car Loans: Looser Credit Frees Buyers to Return to Showrooms

DETROIT — Tuesday's move by the Treasury Department to boost auto lending could improve sales, if consumer confidence also rises enough to get buyers back in showrooms. "We believe that this is a major step providing greater access to liquidity and freeing up the credit market," says Amber Gowen, spokeswoman for Chrysler Financial. "This will increase credit availability to provide auto loans." Access to auto loans tightened in recent months, meaning dealers lost some sales they might have closed when credit was easier to get. "This is great news for consumers and auto dealers alike," says Annette Sykora, chairman of auto dealer trade group NADA. "Dealers will be making sure that their customers are fully aware of the new opportunities they have when it comes to auto financing."
Source:  USA TODAY

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U.S. Automakers Told to Draft Viability Plan

Bush Administration Gives Big Three Until Tuesday to Defend Crisis Loans
The Bush administration yesterday said Detroit's Big Three automakers must show they have a plan to ensure their financial viability if they are to win support for emergency loans to help them through the current financial crisis. In a letter addressed to Democratic leaders in Congress, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said firms requesting bridge loans "must have a product mix and cost structure that is competitive in the U.S. marketplace." "A satisfactory plan for viability, therefore, should address the factors that drive overall competitiveness," including labor, management and legacy costs; debt structure; dealership network costs; capacity; fuel efficiency; and plans for new and existing vehicles, the letter said. In less than a week, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler must submit to Congress their restructuring plans, demonstrating they are worthy of receiving loans. The plans are due Tuesday, and Democrats hope to push for a vote Dec. 8. But where the $25 billion would come from remains unclear. Democrats advocate carving a slice from the $700 billion financial rescue package, while the Bush administration supports redirecting money from a $25 billion program to retool factories to build fuel-efficient vehicles.
Source:  The Washington Post

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Detroit 3 Viability Plans to be Heard Dec. 5

WASHINGTON -- A congressional committee has scheduled a Dec. 5 hearing on the plans the Detroit 3 must submit to qualify for emergency federal aid. Democratic leaders in Congress have demanded that the plans show the companies’ viability before lawmakers will consider $25 billion in federal loans. The House Financial Services Committee said its hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. The committee did not release a witness list, but it is expected that the CEOs of General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC will appear. If the plans are acceptable, the leaders said, Congress will consider legislation to provide the loans the week of Dec. 8.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Nardelli: Revival Info. to Come

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli told workers late Tuesday to expect more information next month on how the struggling automaker will reorganize "to adapt to its new realities." At the moment, the Auburn Hills automaker is "totally focused on putting together our loan request presentation as we concentrate on the critical business issues at hand," the chief executive told workers in a message obtained by the Free Press. In his memo, Nardelli said Chrysler is prepared "to meet the 'accountability and viability' criteria requested and is ready to share our plans for returning Chrysler to profitability." In the short term, Nardelli said, Chrysler needs the federal aid to support ongoing operations. "Our goal is to emerge as a company that is leaner and more agile, and committed to relentlessly improving the quality of our products and our focus on customers," he said.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Auto Crisis Tests Family's Hold on Ford

Federal aid package could jeopardize heir's control of storied automaker
DEARBORN -- When Bill Ford Jr. walked onto the factory floor at the Rouge plant last month to inaugurate production of the new Ford F-150 pickup, every worker in the building stood up and cheered -- a testament to the power the Ford family still has over the company that bears its name. But there are new threats to that power today. As Congress weighs a historic bailout of the U.S. automobile industry, some on Capitol Hill have suggested that bankruptcy is a better option. Detroit's Big Three automakers have bristled at those suggestions and repeatedly insisted that bankruptcy is not an option they would willingly consider. But Ford Motor Co. has even more reason than the rest to resist. A Chapter 11 filing would put the Ford family on par with other shareholders, stripping its Class B shares of the super-voting power that gives the family control of the company.
Source:  The Detroit News

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GM Cancels Franchise Make Meetings at NADA

DETROIT -- General Motors is canceling its franchise make meetings at the 2009 National Automobile Dealers Association convention to cut costs. Instead, GM will hold one general company meeting on Sunday, Jan. 25. The move harks back to GM’s practice from 1999 to 2002, when it stopped holding individual brand meetings in favor of a single session. “GM is cutting a lot of expenses and looking at every item,” said Michael Martin, the Virginia NADA director and GM line chair for industry relations. “We felt the franchise-specific meetings weren’t as important as the overall general meeting.” The convention runs Jan. 24-27 in New Orleans.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Now is the Time to Find Good Deals on New Cars

Right now could be the best time ever to buy a vehicle... "There are going to be fabulous deals. … It's a buyer's market," says Tom Libby of Power Information Network. "I've been doing this 15 years, for more than 101,000 customers, and I've never seen a time like now," says James Bragg of Fighting Chance, which helps car buyers get discounts. "This month is better than the week between Christmas and New Year's, historically the best time." Because of the economy, sales are falling faster than automakers can cut production, leaving dealers with a good selection. It's also a terrific time to buy what you're leasing. Automakers "really don't want that car back, so you can negotiate hard," says David Champion, senior auto tester at Consumer Reports magazine.
Source:  USA TODAY

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Judge Says Automakers Can't Block Emissions Rules

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Auto makers cannot sue to block Rhode Island from enforcing tighter standards on tailpipe emissions first adopted by California because the industry has already lost similar lawsuits elsewhere, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Court Judge Ernest Torres dismissed General Motors, Chrysler and two auto makers associations from the case, but his ruling permits several local car dealers to pursue the lawsuit for now. The automobile manufacturers have lost similar lawsuits in California and Vermont. "It is difficult to see what interest the public has in permitting the plaintiffs another bite of the apple in challenging regulations limiting the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," Judge Torres said in the ruling, which was signed Monday and made public Tuesday. Although Judge Torres allowed the auto dealers to continue with the lawsuit, the judge said lawyers for the state could still make arguments to have the firms dismissed from the case.
Source:  Associated Press

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Used-Vehicle Demand Shrivels

As recently as this summer, Larry Merriam bought about 60 used vehicles at auction each month to stock his three Hyundai and Mitsubishi dealerships in Connecticut. Today he buys no more than 10 a month. Even so, he says, the dealerships' supply of used vehicles has ballooned to 60 days, from 45 days. "By and large, I've put a moratorium on buying (used) cars until I reduce the inventory I have," Merriam told Automotive News. Blame the collapse of the credit market, says Terrence Wynne, director of editorial and data services for the NADA Used Car Guide, a unit of the National Automobile Dealers Association. "Credit is not available" for dealers or consumers, he says, adding, "That is killing demand."
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Economic Reality to Take Some Pizzazz Out of Auto Show

The mood will be sober, there will be fewer automakers in attendance, and there won't be as many off-site lavish parties at this year's North American International Auto Show given the dire economic cloud hanging over the auto industry. Historically low auto sales and a credit crisis have sucked the wind out of the auto market and are buffeting this country's largest auto show, with seven companies announcing they will save money by skipping it. But the event will go on, and remaining automakers say they are planning as few cutbacks as possible to their displays given the need to showcase their products to the world and take advantage of the Detroit show's abundance of media in attendance -- more than 6,000 from 60 countries, roughly the same as last year.
Source:  The Detroit News

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NADA Update
NADA to Host Virtual Seminar on Changes to Telemarketing Rules

Many new and amended federal telemarketing regulations have been issued since the National Do-Not-Call Rules were established in 2003, and dealers who haven’t kept up risk the possibility of very costly litigation. While not all of these mandates have received widespread press coverage, they deserve dealers’ utmost attention as they affect dealers’ ability to advertise their products and services by phone, fax and email.

To help dealers and managers comply with these regulations, NADA is hosting a virtual seminar next month presented by Erica McMahon, chief of the FCC’s consumer policy division, and moderated by Paul Metrey, NADA’s director of regulatory affairs.

The speakers will highlight many of the well-known and lesser-known telemarketing requirements that have been imposed since the 2003 Do-Not-Call Rules took effect. The seminar will cover regulations governing telephone solicitations, commercial emails and fax advertisements, and will allow time for questions. All dealership personnel and service providers who are involved in marketing to consumers or businesses are encouraged to attend.

Changes in Telemarketing Regulations Since the National Do-Not-Call Rules Took Effect will be held Dec. 9 from 1–3 p.m. EST. The fee for this seminar is $199 per computer connection. Additional attendees can participate on the same connection for no additional cost. For more information on this virtual seminar and other upcoming seminars, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call (800) 252-6232, ext. 2.

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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Hardware Based Systems

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. To learn "What is recommended for general maintenance of hardware based systems?" click here.

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Lenovo Extends Employee Pricing to NADA Members

Great savings are available on all ThinkPad notebooks and accessories. Lenovo's ThinkPad SL notebook built for small businesses with legendary ThinkPad reliability, plus advanced wireless and multimedia features, starts at only $449! (Offer ends December 1.)  To take advantage of these savings, visit NADA's PC Purchase Program online  (member login required), click www.lenovo.com/shop/deals/nada, then click "Special Offers," or call (800) 426-7235, Option 1, Ext. 4838. Free ground shipping is available on all Web orders.

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Featured Video
 
 
NADA Chairman Annette Sykora at a press conference with U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Click here for the NADA-TV report.


More Video Highlights

Quotable
 
"This is great news for consumers and auto dealers alike. Dealers will be making sure that their customers are fully aware of the new opportunities they have when it comes to auto financing."

   
-- Annette Sykora, chairman of auto dealer trade group NADA, responding to Tuesday's move by the Treasury Department to provide greater access to liquidity and free up the credit market, USA TODAY, Nov. 26


"GM is cutting a lot of expenses and looking at every item. We felt the franchise-specific meetings weren't as important as the overall general meeting."

    -- Michael Martin, the Virginia NADA director and GM line chair for industry relations, explaining why GM has decided to cancel its franchise make meetings at the 2009 NADA convention, Automotive News, Nov. 26


"There are going to be fabulous deals. … It's a buyer's market."

    -- Tom Libby of the Power Information Network, explaining why now could be the best time ever to buy a vehicle, USA TODAY, Nov. 26
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) Developing Strategies for Innovation and Growth

(2) “Happy Days,” “Family Feud,” or “Survivor”: Which Best Describes Your Estate and Succession?

(3) How to Convert Lost Opportunities and Increase Closing Ratios of Online Leads

Strategies speaker Jay Rao of Babson College will discuss innovation as a key to organic growth within the dealership. Participants will learn how dealers and managers can benefit from sharpening their focus on organizational innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset.

Happy Days speakers Hugh Roberts and Ricci Victorio of The Rawls Group will provide participants with practical solutions for resolving estate and succession-planning issues. Participants will examine actual case histories and learn how to avoid unnecessary tax issues and family disputes.

Online Leads speakers Peter Martin and Irish Carroll of Cactus Sky Communications, Inc. will provide insight on communicating with customers online, responding to leads and inquiries, and increasing and maximizing closing ratios. Participants will learn best practices for establishing online relationships with customers.

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

Video Highlights
 

'NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams' reports: "Demise of a local car dealership leaves a big dent."




 
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.


NADA's New Orleans Project: Lusher Charter School
NADA's Return to New Orleans


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.