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Top Stories
GMAC Loosens Credit to Make Vehicles Easier to Buy
GM Offers 0 Percent Loans, Cash Incentives
Auto Dealers Offer Cash Back, Low Rates, 2-for-1 Sales
Chrysler to Suspend Dealer Reward Program to Cut Costs
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 Loosens Credit to Make Vehicles Easier to Buy

A $5 billion government bailout aimed at reviving General Motors Corp.'s ability to make car and truck loans has dealers hopeful that cash-strapped consumers will return to their showrooms. GMAC Financial Services, the automaker's troubled financing arm, on Tuesday loosened its tight lending standards, which in recent months have made it more difficult for would-be car buyers to get loans. GMAC's move marks the first time that a financial institution has said it will use money from the $700 billion bank bailout to offer more affordable credit to consumers. The government funds, on the heels of the $17.4 billion automaker bailout approved by the Bush administration earlier this month, could provide relief to auto dealers. They have blamed the industry's steep drop in sales partially on a lack of affordable credit. Michael Martin, who owns Chevrolet and Saturn brand dealerships in Manassas, Va., said he thinks the loans will be key to turning around the auto industry, adding that GMAC's lifting of credit restrictions sets an example for banks that have yet to use their bailout funding to free up consumer loans. "I think these things really spur consumer confidence too," said Martin, who had already seen customer traffic pickup at his dealerships on Tuesday. "People are saying it's good to see GMAC back in the marketplace. Whether it's just a euphoric feeling or not, at least it's a positive." GMAC said Tuesday that as a result of the government aid it will resume offering automotive financing to customers with credit scores as low as 621, eliminating restrictions put in place two months ago as a result of the tight credit markets that mandated a minimum score of 700.
Source:  Associated Press

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GM Offers 0 Percent Loans, Cash Incentives

DETROIT -- Just hours after GMAC LLC accepted a $6 billion government bailout package designed to enable more consumer car loans, General Motors announced new incentives. GM said [Tuesday] it is offering 0 percent financing through Monday, Jan. 5, on the discontinued Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X SUVs and on two Saab sedans, the 9-3 and 9-5. GM also is offering new cash incentives with other vehicles. Both 2008 and 2009 models are covered under the incentive program, which also runs through Monday. GM might expand the incentives starting Tuesday, Jan. 6, Mark LaNeve, GM’s North American vice president of sales, service and marketing, told reporters during a conference call... LaNeve said this year’s credit crunch and other financial problems -- which saw GMAC exit auto leasing and only offer loans to consumers with credit scores of 700 or higher -- hurt dealers’ ability to close sales. “We’ve been trying to hold onto market share with one arm tied behind our back,” LaNeve told reporters.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Auto Dealers Offer Cash Back, Low Rates, 2-for-1 Sales

As the worst sales year in more than a decade draws to a close, auto dealers are sweetening deals this week in a last-ditch effort to unload acres of cars. Cash back, 0% interest rates and even wackier deals, such as buy-one-get-one-free, are being tried to squeeze out a few last sales. "For bargain hunters, it's probably the best time in the last 10 years at least," says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. The widespread deals result from pressure on automakers to move inventory. All these discounts have some dealers getting creative to try to stand out in the crowd. Peterson Super Center in Boise, for instance, has a "two-for-the-price-of-one" sale this week: Buy a full-size Cadillac or Chevy SUV or Chevy diesel pickup at full price and get a free 2009 Chevy Cobalt sedan. Interest in the deal has been "really good," ad director Sharon Potter says.
Source:  USA TODAY

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Chrysler to Suspend Dealer Reward Program to Cut Costs

DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC, looking to cut costs, will suspend its lavish dealer reward program for the first time since 1963. The reward - given to the auto maker's top 100 best selling dealers in 2008 - was to be an all-expenses paid trip to the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Mexico from March 15 through March 19. Chrysler decided to suspend the program shortly after receiving word that it, along with General Motors Corp. would receive $17.4 billion in federal government short-term loans to survive one of the worst sales downturns in more than 25 years. "We hate to see the reward go but its probably a smart move given the times," said one dealer who asked not to be identified because there has been no official announcement. "In the spirit of shared sacrifice, Chrysler and its dealer council have decided that Chrysler would not hold this year's "The Club" national dealer meeting," Chrysler spokesman Stuart Schorr said in an interview. "We will continue to measure, and honor locally, our top performing dealers for their accomplishments."
Source:  Dow Jones Newswires

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NADA Update
Understanding the TALF

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
Now that U.S. automakers have received bridge loans, attention has shifted to the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in New Orleans Jan. 24-27 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
Economic turmoil and uncertainty form the backdrop to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention in New Orleans. "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
 
"People are saying it's good to see GMAC back in the marketplace. Whether it's just a euphoric feeling or not, at least it's a positive."

   
-- Michael Martin, owner of Chevrolet and Saturn dealerships in Manassas, Va., thinks the loans will be key to turning around the auto industry, adding that GMAC's lifting of credit restrictions sets an example for banks that have yet to use their bailout funding to free up consumer loans, Associated Press, Dec. 30


"It's like being back in business."

    -- Russ Shelton, owner of Shelton Pontiac Buick GMC Inc. in Rochester Hills, Mich., referring to GMAC making loans available to more car buyers, Detroit Free Press, Dec. 31


"We're on the phones calling everybody back whose credit may have been marginal and can offer much better monthly payments than we could just a few days ago. And that's going to help us sell cars."

   
-- Jerry Seiner, a Salt Lake City GM dealer, referring to GMAC's announcement that it will begin financing vehicles for customers with a credit score of 621 or higher, Detroit Free Press, Dec. 31


"Any tool [dealers] can get to make credit available and put deals together is a good thing. Anytime you can make credit available to a wider spread of buyers, that's a good thing. Not everyone has perfect credit. It brings a lot more customers into play for us."

   
-- Mark LaNeve, GM’s North American vice president of sales, says dealers are happy to have GMAC writing more car loans and dealers now can offer loans through GMAC to consumers with credit scores in the 620 range, Automotive News, Dec. 30


"For bargain hunters, it's probably the best time in the last 10 years at least."

   
-- Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com, referring to deals on new cars, USA TODAY, 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.