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Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top Stories
GMAC Gets $6 Billion From Treasury to Revive Lending
Government Readies First $8 Billion for GM, Chrysler
Credit Unions: Where Car Loan Funding is Found
Economic Crisis Has Small Car Sales Making a U-Turn
Toyota to Stay Top Seller in U.S.
Detroit Car Show Hit by Industry's Gloom
NADA Update
Understanding the TALF
NADA Convention Features Former U.S. Presidents and Inspirational Speakers
Online Registration for NADA Convention Ends 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 Gets $6 Billion From Treasury to Revive Lending

The U.S. Treasury committed $6 billion to support GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors Corp., widening the government’s effort to keep the largest U.S. automaker out of bankruptcy. The Treasury will purchase a $5 billion stake in GMAC and lend $1 billion to GM so the automaker can contribute to the lender’s reorganization as a bank holding company, according to a statement issued yesterday. The loan is in addition to $13.4 billion the Treasury agreed earlier this month to lend to GM and Chrysler LLC. The fresh capital will enable GMAC to expand lending to car buyers and help save GM. The automaker’s U.S. sales plunged 22 percent this year through November after GMAC ran short on cash and limited loans to people with only the best credit. The Treasury stepped in after Congress failed to pass an auto- industry bailout earlier this month. In a statement, GMAC said it “intends to act quickly to resume automotive lending to a broader spectrum of customers to support the availability of credit to consumers and businesses for the purchase of automobiles.” The lender financed about 35 percent of GM’s retail customers last year. GMAC will modify its credit criteria for auto loans to include customers with a credit bureau score of 621 or above, relaxing a 700 minimum score put in place two months ago, the company said in a statement today. GMAC said it still doesn’t plan to finance higher risk transactions for buyers with credit scores of 620 or less. “The majority of GMAC’s auto financing has been in the prime arena,” GMAC President Bill Muir said in the statement. “Therefore, opening access to credit for those with CB scores of 621 or better will allow us to return to more normal levels of financing volume, and should help in efforts to stabilize the U.S. auto industry." 
Source:  Bloomberg 

[Editor's Note: The National Automobile Dealers Association says the actions of the federal government to support GMAC Financial Services will bring stability to consumer and dealer lending and help restore consumer confidence on Main Street. “Credit is the lifeblood of the auto industry, both for consumers at the retail level and dealers at the wholesale level," says Annette Sykora, NADA chairman and owner of two domestic-brand dealerships near Lubbock, Texas. "Lowering minimum credit scores from 700 to 621 will expand credit availability to thousands of potential car buyers and further increase consumer confidence at this critical time in the auto industry.” GMAC's application to become a bank holding company was approved by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on Dec. 24. The company received a $6 billion aid package from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Click here for the complete statement from GMAC Financial Services.] 

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Government Readies First $8 Billion for GM, Chrysler

WASHINGTON -- General Motors, Chrysler LLC and the government [Monday] were making final arrangements to transfer the first installments of federal emergency loans to the automakers. “We’re making good progress finalizing the automaker loans and are committed to closing them on a timeline that will meet their individual near-term funding needs,” Treasury Department spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said in an e-mail to Automotive News. Under terms of a deal announced Dec. 19 by President Bush, GM and Chrysler are to receive $4 billion each from the government [Monday]. Ford Motor Co. is not seeking an emergency loan but wants to be able to tap a $9 billion government line of credit if necessary.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Credit Unions: Where Car Loan Funding is Found

As other lenders backed away, credit unions stepped up to fill the gap.
New-auto sales have fallen hard this year, dropping an unprecedented 37 percent in the 12 months through November. If credit unions hadn't stepped into the financing gap left after other lenders backed away, the decline probably would have been much worse in Colorado, auto dealers say. "Credit unions are holding up the Colorado auto market," said Tom Wilber, finance director at O'Meara Ford in Northglenn. In past years, credit unions financed about 20 percent of the vehicles the dealership sold. In recent months, they have funded half or more, Wilber said. "A lot of people who haven't used credit unions are starting to use them," said Jeff Strizich, sales manager with H.M. Brown & Associates, an auto broker...
Source:  Denver Post

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Economic Crisis Has Small Car Sales Making a U-Turn

Sales of small cars have taken the wildest ride in the auto business this year — first up, then down — and the gyrations may not be finished. Though gas prices tumbled, some automakers are trying to juice sales of fuel-thrifty economy cars by slashing starting prices to less than $10,000. Small-car sales doubled during the first half of the year as gas topped $4 a gallon. By the end of November, sales levels had tumbled 63% from the peak. Even with the drop, the segment is holding up better than others because overall vehicle sales are so weak. "It's surprising," says Ford Motor analyst George Pipas. No other vehicle segment saw such sales volatility in 2008. First, it was falling gas prices that slowed small-car sales. Now, it's the inability of recent college graduates and other price-conscious drivers to qualify for loans. "The credit market is squeezing first-time buyers out. They are getting laid off and being exposed to the economy more than others in their careers," says General Motors spokesman John McDonald.
Source:  USA TODAY

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Toyota to Stay Top Seller in U.S.

Falling SUV sales help automaker pad lead
For the second year in a row, Toyota Motor Corp.'s namesake brand likely will beat Chevrolet and Ford as the top seller in the United States. Prior to 2004, Ford had been the top-selling U.S. brand for 18 years, and Ford and Chevy have jockeyed for the top spot since then. But both domestic brands lost it last year when Toyota topped Chevy by 41,296 vehicles in 2007, selling 2.3 million vehicles. Plummeting SUV sales that came with spiking gas prices earlier this year helped widen Toyota's margin over Ford and Chevy. Through November, Toyota sold 1.8 million cars, 185,200 more vehicles than Chevrolet. Even when excluding Toyota's Scion brand -- which sold 109,777 vehicles through November and is included in Toyota brand sales -- Toyota leads the industry, with 1.7 million car and truck sales.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Car Show Hit by Industry's Gloom

Like the Auto Makers, Annual Event Is Downsized; Nissan Won't Attend, GM Cancels Fashion Show
The North American International Auto Show usually gives this downtrodden city an annual chance to celebrate with glitzy parties and celebrity sightings. But with two of the three U.S. auto makers on financial life-support from Washington, 2009's show is shaping up to be a scaled-back affair. The show, which opens to the media Jan. 11, comes amid further signs of gloom in what already ranks among America's most depressed cities. Cultural institutions are cutting back. Charities are facing bleak times as big backers including Detroit's car manufacturers become pinched for cash. Detroit's struggling local newspapers plan to stop home-delivery soon on most days of the week. A down-in-the-mouth Detroit is slimming down what's typically a marquee event for the Motor City. A leaner, less showy auto show is in order with the area's economy in bad condition. But perhaps the most visible sign of drearier times will come in January at the car show. Carpenters and caterers are feeling the brunt as manufacturers scale back exhibits and parties. The show's economic impact on Detroit will be about $350 million -- some $100 million less than 2008's show, predicted David Sowerby, portfolio manager and market analyst for Loomis, Sayles & Co., an investment-management firm. Tony Hines, a 54-year old carpenter from Detroit's west side, lamented the city's troubles during a break from preparing auto-show exhibits at the Cobo Hall convention center. "We had like 700 tradesmen here last year. This year, we have maybe 200," he said. "You see your job just kind of dwindling away." General Motors Corp., which like Chrysler LLC has won loans from the government, plans to use more carpet instead of more-costly tiles and hardwood floors for its exhibit. The company also will use reuseable aluminum wall supports instead of steel, said Timothy Peters, GM's assistant director of auto shows and operations.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal

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NADA Update
Understanding the TALF

McLEAN, Va. -- A new Web page on nada.org explains in greater detail what the Federal Reserve Board's Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) program means to dealers and how they will benefit from the action taken on Dec. 19 to include securities backed by dealer floorplan loans as a qualifying asset class. The information is helpful in explaining this action to dealers and the media. Click here for "Understanding the TALF."
Source:  NADA Newswire

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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 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 NFL Most Valuable Player, and Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” will offer motivational talks. Incoming NADA Chairman John P. McEleney will outline his priorities Sunday, Jan. 25 for the coming year.
Source: NADA Newswire

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Online Registration for NADA Convention Ends 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 chairman; Ed Tonkin, incoming vice chairman; and Mike Martin, 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
 
"Credit is the lifeblood of the auto industry, both for consumers at the retail level and dealers at the wholesale level. Lowering minimum credit scores from 700 to 621 will expand credit availability to thousands of potential car buyers and further increase consumer confidence at this critical time in the auto industry."

   
-- Annette Sykora, NADA chairman and owner of two domestic-brand dealerships near Lubbock, Texas, referring to GMAC Financial Services resuming auto financing for a broader spectrum of customers as a result of expanded access to funding as a bank holding company, NADA Newswire, Dec. 30
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.