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At a Glance...
Top Stories
GMAC Awaits a Lifesaving Debt Swap to Help Avert Bankruptcy
Toyota Weighs a Leadership Change
UAW Vows to Fight Wage Concessions
VW Dumps Used-Car Leases, 84-Month Loans
Cerberus, Not Chrysler, Owns Firm's Headquarters
Committed to Community
YWCA Receives CPR Donation
Monument Chevrolet's Smith named PISD's Distinguished Citizen
NADA Update
NADA Convention Features Former U.S. Presidents and Inspirational Speakers
Federal Reserve Approves NADA-Backed Initiative Aimed at Increasing Inventory Financing
NADA Extends Online Registration for its Convention to Jan. 5
Carville and Matalin to Headline AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference in New Orleans
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
GMAC Awaits a Lifesaving Debt Swap to Help Avert Bankruptcy

DETROIT — One minute before midnight Friday is GMAC's deadline for bondholders to swap $38 billion in debt for new bonds that are worth less money — a deal that could help the finance company avert bankruptcy and qualify to become a bank holding company. Becoming a bank holding company would give GMAC access to financing under the $700 billion government bank rescue fund. If it fails to meet that target, bankruptcy looms as a real threat for GMAC, which once was General Motors' crown jewel. Martin NeSmith, a Georgia dealer and member of GM's national dealer council, estimates that a bankruptcy filing by GMAC would drag about 2,000 to 2,500 dealers under. NeSmith says many dealers have remained loyal to GMAC over the years, and without those loans, they'd be unable to find financing at other banks. "If GMAC goes under, it's going to be really not good for dealers," says NeSmith, who is concerned about his own financing situation. He has floorplan loans — the loans that finance the cars and trucks that sit on dealers' lots until they are sold to customers — only through GMAC. "The government needs to help them in some sort of way."
Source:  USA TODAY

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Toyota Weighs a Leadership Change

DETROIT — Facing its worst year in decades, and with no sign of a global recovery in sight, Toyota Motor is set to make a change in top management next year, people with knowledge of the plans said Tuesday. Katsuaki Watanabe, the company’s president, is expected to be named chairman next June, clearing the way for new day-to-day leadership at a time when Toyota expects to report its first operating loss in 70 years. Possible successors include Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, or Mitsuo Kinoshita, Toyota’s executive vice president for finance, these people said. If Mr. Toyoda gets the Toyota presidency, it would be the first time in over a decade that a member of the company’s founding family was at the helm. Yet, Mr. Toyoda, who is something of a corporate star in Japan, would most likely draw more attention to Toyota, often considered Japan’s most conservative car company, if he is elevated to the president’s office. He earned an M.B.A. at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and spent time at the beginning of his career as a management consultant in New York.
Source:  The New York Times

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UAW Vows to Fight Wage Concessions

The nation's automakers are preparing to ask for wage and benefits concessions from their workers in early January to meet the conditions of a $17.4 billion federal aid package, but labor officials say they will seek to renegotiate the terms of the bailout rather than make those sacrifices. The remarks by union leaders have set up yet another contentious battle in the auto industry. In agreeing to provide federal assistance to General Motors and Chrysler, the White House demanded the firms cut worker compensation to the levels paid at the U.S. divisions of Toyota, Nissan and Honda. But Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers, said earlier this week that he would seek to remove the wage-reduction provision of the loan, calling it "an undue tax on the workers" who have already made "major" sacrifices for the benefit of the auto industry. "We'll really start the heavy lifting as soon as the calendar turns over," he said. "We've been working very closely with them to get our costs in a much more competitive line, and we have every confidence that that collaboration is going to continue and that we are going to meet the terms of this loan agreement."
Source:  Washington Post

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VW Dumps Used-Car Leases, 84-Month Loans

Volkswagen Credit will stop offering leases and balloon loans on certified used VW vehicles next month. The new restrictions are designed to reduce VW Credit's losses in the volatile credit market. Volkswagen's captive finance company also will stop offering 84-month loans on new vehicles. The policy changes, introduced in letters to dealers Friday and Monday, take effect Jan. 6. Kevin Kelly, president of VW Credit, and Horst Meima, vice president of sales and marketing, said in the letters that the changes "will minimize severity of future losses."
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Cerberus, Not Chrysler, Owns Firm's Headquarters

DETROIT -- One question that would arise from a sale or merger of Chrysler LLC is what would happen to the auto maker's headquarters complex in Auburn Hills, Mich., one of the largest office buildings in the country. The headquarters, it turns out, is owned not by Chrysler but by Cerberus Capital Management LLC, Chrysler's majority owner. As part of its 2007 takeover of the auto maker, the private-equity firm bought the 458-acre campus itself from Daimler AG, Chrysler's former owner, public records show. As a result, if Cerberus sells Chrysler or merges it with another car company, the auto maker's new owner or partner would have to buy or lease the headquarters from Cerberus, or move Chrysler's operations to a new location.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Committed to Community
YWCA Receives CPR Donation

The YWCA has received a donation of four CPR mannequins from the National Automobile Dealers Association through Bill Underriner at Underriner Motors. This donation will help the YWCA achieve its goal of providing in-house CPR/first-aid training to staff...
Source:  BillingsGazette.com

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Monument Chevrolet's Smith named PISD's Distinguished Citizen

Carroll Smith, president of Monument Chevrolet, has been selected as the Pasadena Independent School District’s Distinguished Citizen for 2008. Smith will be formally honored at a special ceremony at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 29, at the district’s Administration Building. Smith is a longtime supporter of Pasadena ISD and its Automotive Youth Education Systems (AYES) program at the L.P. Card Career and Technical Center. Pasadena ISD’s Director of Career and Technical Education Sarah Wrobleski describes Smith as “a true advocate for students in this program.” In addition to his work with the district, Smith is a board member of the National Automobile Dealers Association and a director with the Houston Automobile Dealers Association. Smith is also a director of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association and a Salvation Army board member.
Source:  The Pasadena Citizen

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

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 floor plan securitizations in a new $200 billion credit facility the Federal Reserve is establishing.

The Federal Reserve on Friday clarified the eligibility requirements under the new Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) and, in doing so, for the first time included securities backed by dealer inventory loans 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, a $200 billion program designed to facilitate the issuance and sale of securities backed by auto loans. However, at the time the TALF was announced, it was unclear whether it would include securities backed by loans for dealers at the wholesale level. That uncertainty has now been resolved.

In addition to confirming the eligibility of securities backed by floor plan 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 floor plan 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 securities backed by floor planning 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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Carville and Matalin to Headline AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference in New Orleans

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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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
 
"If GMAC goes under, it's going to be really not good for dealers. The government needs to help them in some sort of way."

    -- Martin NeSmith, a Georgia dealer and member of GM's national dealer council, estimating that a bankruptcy filing by GMAC would drag about 2,000 to 2,500 dealers under, USA TODAY, Dec. 24


[Carroll] Smith [is] “a true advocate for students in this program.”

    -- Sarah Wrobleski, director of Career and Technical Education for the Pasadena (Texas) Independent School District. Smith was named PISD's Distinguished Citizen of the Year, The Pasadena Citizen, Dec. 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) 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.