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At a Glance...
Top Stories
NADA Convention Features Former U.S. Presidents and Inspirational Speakers
Carville and Matalin to Headline AFSA's 2009 Vehicle Finance Conference
Bush Speaks, Shoppers Hit Dealerships
Dealers May Have the Upper Hand as Automakers Look to Consolidate
Foreign Automakers in the U.S. Cut Back
GM Prepares Ground for Post-Holiday Talks With UAW
U.S. Gets Big Bite of GM
Downturn Will Test Obama's Vision for an Energy-Efficient Auto Industry
Opinion: It Would be a Nice Christmas Present
NADA Update
Federal Reserve Approves NADA-Backed Initiative Aimed at Increasing Inventory Financing
NADA Extends Online Registration for its Convention to Jan. 5
NADA Convention to Focus on Future of the Industry
NADA Offers Virtual Seminar to Help Dealers in 'Tough Times'
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Hardware Based Systems
Lenovo Offers Holiday Savings
Top Stories
NADA Convention Features Former U.S. Presidents and Inspirational Speakers

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has assembled a lineup of leading political figures and inspirational speakers—including former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton—to deliver remarks at its 92nd annual Convention & Exposition in New Orleans next month. “This year’s lineup is one of the most impressive in NADA’s history,” said Convention Chairman and auto dealer Jeff Carlson. “In line with NADA’s convention theme of ‘Committed to Community,’ former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton join us in highlighting nationwide efforts to give back to the New Orleans community.” Earlier this year, the NADA Charitable Foundation made a $400,000 contribution to the Brees Dream Foundation—founded by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wife, Brittany—to help rebuild the athletic fields at the Lusher Charter School, the largest public high school in New Orleans. Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally will deliver the keynote address during the General Assembly on Saturday, Jan. 24, following NADA Chairman Annette Sykora. Archie Manning, former Saints quarterback and National Football League Most Valuable Player, and Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” will offer motivational talks. On Sunday, Jan. 25, incoming NADA Chairman John P. McEleney will outline his priorities for the coming year, the chief among which is to expand the availability of credit for vehicle purchases.
Source: NADA Newswire

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Carville and Matalin to Headline AFSA's 2009 Vehicle Finance Conference

Political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin will give the keynote presentation at the American Financial Services Association’s (AFSA) 13th Vehicle Finance Conference and Exposition scheduled Jan. 21-23 at The Sheraton New Orleans. The husband and wife duo, who have sharply different political views, will discuss the new presidential administration during a presentation on Friday, Jan. 23. The vehicle finance conference, held just prior to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) annual convention, also will feature a panel of top industry leaders who will share their views about the current market environment as well as the traditional “Straight Talk with Dealers” session featuring the NADA leadership: John McEleney, incoming NADA chairman; Ed Tonkin, incoming NADA vice chairman; and Mike Martin, NADA director from Virginia. Michael Brown from the Atlantic Auto Group will also speak. Additional sessions and round tables will focus on Risk Management, Legal and Legislative Issues, Maximizing Human Capital, the New Generation of Auto Finance Companies, Profitability Management Analytics and Operational Effectiveness and Dealing with Fraud. To register for AFSA’s meeting, visit www.vehiclefinanceconference.com.
Source:  AFSA

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Bush Speaks, Shoppers Hit Dealerships

The Bush administration bailout had an immediate impact at some General Motors and Chrysler LLC dealerships around the country. Nervous shoppers forged ahead with deals they had delayed out of fear that the automakers would skid into bankruptcy. "I had an elderly man and his wife who loved this new Impala," said Alan Starling, owner of Starling Chevrolet in St. Cloud, Fla., near Orlando. "They were going to buy it, but wouldn't until they knew President Bush was going to make this bridge loan to General Motors." The dealership delivered the new car late last week. Chuck Eddy, the National Automobile Dealers Association representative for Chrysler Dodge and Jeep, welcomed the loan. "It's excellent news," he said. "It shows our government believes in its dealers and our manufacturing sector. If it wasn't for the efforts of car dealers and their letters, phone calls and personal appearances on Capitol Hill, this wouldn't have happened." Eddy, owner of Bob and Chuck Eddy Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Austintown, Ohio, said he visited Washington five or six times in the past 60 days to lobby on behalf of the industry.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Dealers May Have the Upper Hand as Automakers Look to Consolidate

To hear auto industry analysts tell it, one thing General Motors must do to survive is eliminate Conrad Holt’s business and many others like it. Holt owns Saturn of DFW, the three Tarrant County dealerships that sell GM’s relatively small, unprofitable Saturn brand, which many analysts say should probably just go away. Not Holt. He wants to see the Saturn brand and his business survive. "I feel like Saturn is part of the solution, not part of the problem," Holt said. And as long as Holt, and dealers like him, want to stay in business, it’s going to be hard for manufacturers to shut them down. Many states have franchise laws that protect dealers; Texas has some of the strongest. Auto manufacturers must be licensed to sell vehicles in Texas and can only sell them through franchised, licensed dealers. There’s good reason for that, says Roger Williams, former Texas secretary of state, probable U.S. Senate candidate and owner of a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealership in Weatherford. "You’ve got a small-business person that’s invested their own capital" into the dealership, Williams said. "You don’t want to wake up one morning and they [the manufacturer] decide they don’t like you." The difficult economic times are already reducing the number of new car dealerships as owners shut down unprofitable locations. "Something like 25 percent of dealerships are losing money in any given quarter," said Paul Taylor, economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association. "The number has been drifting up for the Detroit Three." If 900 a year close, Taylor says, it won’t take too many years to cut the 3,000 to 4,000 Big Three dealerships that analysts say are no longer needed.
Source:  Star-Telegram.com

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Foreign Automakers in the U.S. Cut Back

SAN ANTONIO — Sales are off and production is down, so workers at the Toyota Tundra truck factory here are taking classes: how to handle tools safely, how to get along better with colleagues of varying backgrounds. Some have even cleaned local parks and fed the hungry while collecting Toyota paychecks. “We’d rather be building trucks,” said Mike Goss, a Toyota spokesman. “I’m trying to imagine how many trucks we would be selling, with gas prices where they are now, if people were spending money.” But people are not spending money these days, and sales of the Tundra and other Toyota vehicles have hit a wall. The sales slowdown, and some of the accompanying business problems, that have engulfed the Detroit automobile makers are rapidly spreading to the world’s strongest auto companies. To cope, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai are all slowing American production, and many foreign auto companies are putting off plant expansions.
Source:  The New York Times

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GM Prepares Ground for Post-Holiday Talks With UAW

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp., while holding preliminary discussions now with key constituents, is expected to wait until early January to begin deep talks with the United Auto Workers union, bondholders and the coming Obama administration, in an effort to work out agreements to comply with the terms of the bailout President George W. Bush announced last week. GM and Chrysler LLC are supposed to get $13.4 billion in coming months, but are required, among other things, to cut labor costs and reduce their debt. If they make progress on their restructurings, they could get an additional $4 billion in February.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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U.S. Gets Big Bite of GM

Government can buy stock equal to all outstanding shares
As GM goes, so goes the nation. That saying has never been more true than now, as the government stands to become a big owner of General Motors Corp., with its new stock warrants for a financial rescue package worth nearly as much as all of the automaker's outstanding stock. The warrants allow the government to buy about 20% of the value of the loans to GM in nonvoting shares. If GM receives $9.4 billion in federal loans, the U.S. Treasury is entitled to buy $1.88 billion worth of stock. If GM receives $13.4 billion, the U.S. Treasury is entitled to $2.68 billion. On Monday, GM's market capitalization -- the value of all of its outstanding shares -- was $2.15 billion. And the U.S. government isn't the only one obtaining warrants. Canadian provincial and federal governments also have obtained warrants to acquire nonvoting shares as a condition of a $3-billion package of loans for GM. That entitles Canada to $600 million in stock. And Germany and Sweden also have signaled they might make loans. The warrants are intended to allow the governments to profit if GM makes a successful turnaround, and provides them seniority over most of the automaker's other debt if it fails.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Downturn Will Test Obama's Vision for an Energy-Efficient Auto Industry

DETROIT — President-elect Barack Obama leveled a stern warning at General Motors and Chrysler last week after the federal government promised them billions to help them survive: “The auto companies must not squander this chance to reform bad management practices.” Once he takes office, the bailout will give him a tool to prod the industry to change, but it will also test his resolve as he pushes it in new directions. Mr. Obama, after all, has been thinking out loud about the future of the American automobile industry for years, well before his presidential campaign began. He co-sponsored two bills in 2006, during his second year as a United States senator — one to raise fuel economy standards, and the other to encourage the use of alternative fuels. But with Detroit in a fragile financial state, it is unclear how many compromises he will have to make in pursuing his agenda for the auto industry, as he juggles other priorities like providing a stimulus program for the broader economy. And the car companies, which have long lead times to develop products, will need sales of big trucks and sport utility vehicles, which may pick up again as gas prices fall, to bring in much-needed revenue.
Source:  The New York Times

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Opinion: It Would be a Nice Christmas Present
by Keith Crain

I hope that by the end of the year, General Motors and Chrysler LLC will have something in their checking accounts to tide them over for a couple of months. In case anyone forgot, there is quite a lot left to do after the new president is in office and there is a new Congress. Congress is going to demand changes, and there will be a czar or a panel of czars with plenty of advice for the car companies. The idea that a bunch of politicians will be able to dictate what those companies will have to do in the future may be the most dangerous provision of any federal assistance. I hope the new administration understands the importance of this industrial sector. The amount of gross domestic product that the automobile business contributes is significant by any measure, whether it's wholesale or retail. I also hope that the U.S. automobile dealers start to play hardball with the new Congress. Just about the only auto people that the members of Congress listen to are their local automobile dealers. It's time to put that great influence to work once again. The process will take longer this time, but perhaps there will be an audience that will listen and act more sympathetically.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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NADA Update
Federal Reserve Approves NADA-Backed Initiative Aimed at Increasing Inventory Financing

WASHINGTON – Following President Bush's announcement Friday to provide $17.4 billion in bridge loans to General Motors and Chrysler, the Federal Reserve Board, in a related action, addressed a key request from the National Automobile Dealers Association by including floorplan securitizations in a new $200 billion credit facility the Federal Reserve is establishing. On Friday afternoon, the Federal Reserve clarified the eligibility requirements under the new Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) and, in doing so, for the first time included loans for dealer inventory financing as a qualifying asset class.

"This move meets a key need that NADA had identified for greater liquidity in the auto retailing marketplace," said Andy Koblenz, NADA vice president of legal and regulatory affairs. The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Nov. 25 that the Fed would be establishing the TALF credit facility, a $200 billion program designed to facilitate the issuance and sale of securitized auto loans. However, at the time the TALF was announced, it was unclear whether it would include loans for dealers at the wholesale level. That uncertainty has now been resolved. 

In addition to confirming the eligibility of floorplans loans, the Federal Reserve also extended the term of TALF loans from one to three years and provided that TALF loans could have fixed or floating interest rates. These changes will make it easier for auto finance companies to use the TALF to issue floorplan securitizations.
 
“NADA’s goal all along was to restore liquidity in the credit markets for all dealers and their customers,” Koblenz added. “By working with the Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury to ensure that floorplanning loans were included, NADA was able to give creditors confidence to once again make loans available to dealers to finance the inventory on their lots. This will, in turn, help ensure that dealers have at their dealerships the selection of vehicles that consumers want to buy.”
Source:  NADA Newswire

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NADA Extends Online Registration for its Convention to Jan. 5

Convention to host 21 automaker franchise meetings at critical time for the industry
McLean, Va. -- Now that U.S. automakers will receive emergency bridge loans, attention has shifted to the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in New Orleans next month when dealers will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the top leadership of the auto manufacturers. NADA’s Industry Relations Group has announced that 21 separate manufacturer franchise meetings have been confirmed at the convention. To handle what is expected to be a renewed interest in the convention, NADA has extended online registration until 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 5.

“NADA is pleased that nearly all of the automakers’ CEOs and presidents plan to attend these important meetings,” said Annette Sykora, NADA chairman. General Motors’ Rick Wagoner, Toyota’s Jim Lentz, Chrysler’s Jim Press and Ford’s Alan Mulally are all planning to attend. Mulally will deliver the keynote industry address at the convention’s opening session on Saturday, Jan. 24. “There could not be a more important time for a dealer to attend an NADA convention and hear directly from their manufacturer,” Sykora added. “Franchise meetings offer dealers the opportunity to hear from NADA, dealer councils and the automaker’s leadership, as well as ask questions of their manufacturers directly."

“These meetings come at a critical time,” Sykora said. “Automotive retailing is going through historic changes, and there is no better place for dealers to meet and discuss the future of their industry than at the NADA convention." Pre-registration and housing for the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition Jan. 24-27 can be completed—online only—until 3 p.m. EST, Monday, Jan. 5.  (All registrations and housing reservations must be processed online. Fax registrations will not be accepted. After Jan. 5, dealers will have to register on site in New Orleans. If changes need to be made to hotel reservations, Experient can be contacted until Jan. 5 at (800) 974-3084. After Jan. 12, dealers will have to contact hotels directly to make changes.) Information, registration and a complete list of scheduled franchise meetings can be found by visiting www.nada.org/convention.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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NADA Convention to Focus on Future of the Industry

Now is the time to attend the industry event of the year and ensure your dealership’s success
McLean, Va. -- Economic turmoil and uncertainty form the backdrop to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention in New Orleans next month. "This is a must-attend convention if there ever was one," says Steve Pitt, NADA vice president of conventions and expositions. “The fate of the industry is hanging in the balance. All of the top manufacturer executives will be there, and dealer franchise meetings are more important than ever. We're also providing new ideas and information and a series of workshops designed to help dealers get through these tough times."
 
The 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition, which runs Jan. 24-27, is offering more than 40 workshops, many of which are designed to tackle today’s tough economic issues head-on, such as maintaining dealer profitability, improving cash flow, surviving the credit crunch and driving customers back to dealerships. “Convention participants will learn what they need to do back home at their dealerships for the good of their businesses,” Pitt added. “The convention will help dealers prepare for an upcoming year of uncertainty.”

For the first time ever at a NADA convention, two former U.S. presidents will take center stage. Former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton will deliver remarks during the general session. Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally will deliver the industry keynote address. Inspirational speakers Archie Manning, former quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1978, and Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” will offer motivational talks.

“This is our 92nd convention and, in many ways, it’s the most important one ever,” says Pitt. “If you’re a dealer, you have to be there.”

Pre-registration and housing for the convention has been extended to 3 p.m. EST, Monday, Jan. 5. Take a moment to register online now. Many hotel rooms are still available. Airline flights to and from New Orleans have been added, and airfares have been reduced.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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NADA Offers Virtual Seminar to Help Dealers in 'Tough Times'

In response to the challenges facing dealers during these uncertain times, NADA is offering a new seminar on dealership survival, Tough Times, Tougher Dealers: Saving Your Dealership’s Assets. The seminar will be offered as a workshop at the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans, and will also be presented online as a virtual seminar in January.

This seminar, presented by Michael Charapp, Esq. of Charapp & Weiss, LLP and Bradley Nicklin, CPA of Beers + Cutler, discusses the tough issues facing almost every dealer today. It is intended to help dealers and managers understand the steps required to protect their dealerships’ assets during these tough economic times.

In this workshop, participants will learn valuable information on cash management, expense control, and franchise rights issues. They will also learn how to deal with bankruptcy—both at the manufacturer and dealership level—as well as franchise terminations, brand terminations, and the legal ramifications of reducing a workforce. Additionally, the speakers will present other practical considerations for surviving this tough environment, both legally and financially.

The virtual seminar will be offered Jan. 13 from 1–3 p.m. The registration fee is only $50 per computer connection. For more information or to register, visit www.nada.org/seminars.

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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 Offers Holiday Savings

Lenovo is offering NADA members savings of up to 35 percent 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 -- is available at a discount with eCoupon USXHOLIDAY. This offer ends Dec. 31. To take advantage of these savings, visit NADA's Online PC Purchase program (log-in required), click www.lenovo.com/shop/deals/nada, then "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
 
"It's excellent news. It shows our government believes in its dealers and our manufacturing sector. If it wasn't for the efforts of car dealers and their letters, phone calls and personal appearances on Capitol Hill, this wouldn't have happened."

    -- Chuck Eddy, the National Automobile Dealers Association representative for Chrysler Dodge and Jeep and owner of Bob and Chuck Eddy Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Austintown, Ohio, referring to the auto industry loan, which had an immediate impact on sales at some General Motors and Chrysler LLC dealerships around the country, Automotive News, Dec. 22


"I also hope that the U.S. automobile dealers start to play hardball with the new Congress. Just about the only auto people that the members of Congress listen to are their local automobile dealers. It's time to put that great influence to work once again. The process will take longer this time, but perhaps there will be an audience that will listen and act more sympathetically."

    -- Keith Crain, calling on dealers to remain active when the new administration takes over in January, Automotive News, Dec. 22

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) How Smart Dealers are Changing the Way they Advertise

(2) Creating Superstar Salespeople

(3) Maximize Service Advisor Performance: Four Easy Steps to Enhance Performance

Smart Dealers speaker Dorthy Miller Shore of the Miller Agency will present a 360-degree approach to advertising that integrates all forms of media to drive business. Participants will learn a new media model that applies in today’s Internet world.

Superstar Salespeople speaker Mark Tewart of Tewart Enterprises, Inc. will give specific examples of sales skills, people skills, life skills, and marketing skills that can transform average sales performance to great performance.

Service Advisor speaker Jim Phillips of NADA will present dealers with a clear-cut plan for improving the performance of service advisors. Participants will learn the best approaches to the appointment process, the pre-work process (including homework), the walk-around and write-up, and interactive delivery.

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.