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Top Stories
Bailout Pact of GM, U.S. Would Block a UAW Strike
Ford's Mulally Suggests Cash-Burn Rate is Slowing
GM Sees No Potential Buyers for Saab
Recession Putting the Brakes on Auto Jobs
Consumer Credit Falls by Record Amount in November
Toyota, Ford Spar Over Hybrid M.P.G. Claims
Detroit Automakers Urged to Enter X Prize Race
NADA Update
Reminder of New FTC Restrictions on Automated Telemarketing Calls
Convention to Host 21 Automaker Franchise Meetings at Critical Time for the Industry
NADA Convention Features Former U.S. Presidents and Industry Leaders
Carville and Matalin to Headline AFSA's Vehicle Finance Conference in New Orleans
NADA Convention to Focus on Future of the Industry
Understanding the TALF
NADA Offers Virtual Seminar to Help Dealers in 'Tough Times'
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Content Systems
Lenovo Offers New Year Savings
Top Stories
Bailout Pact of GM, U.S. Would Block a UAW Strike

DETROIT -- The bailout agreement between General Motors Corp. and the federal government includes terms aimed at blocking the United Auto Workers from going on strike while the union negotiates wage and benefit cuts with the auto maker over the next few weeks. The terms are part of the agreement GM and the U.S. Treasury Department hammered out in December. They surfaced late Wednesday in a regulatory filing by GM and surprised union leaders, including President Ron Gettelfinger, people familiar with the matter said. Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said that the no-strike provision was "included as a taxpayer protection" and that it could be waived if the government determines that was appropriate. The chances of a UAW strike are small because both sides are under orders from the government to work quickly to cut costs to help GM get on the path to recovery. The company and the union have until Feb. 17 to negotiate cuts. If they do, GM could be in line for additional loans.
Source:  The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required.)

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Ford's Mulally Suggests Cash-Burn Rate is Slowing

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co., the only U.S. automaker operating without federal loans, has about $15 billion on hand, CEO Alan Mulally said [Thursday] -- suggesting the company has slowed the rate at which it’s burning through its cash reserves. Ford ended the third quarter with $18.9 billion in cash after seeing its supply shrink by $7.7 billion during the period, or about $2.57 billion each month. Starting 2009 with $15 billion indicates that Ford limited the monthly erosion to about $1.3 billion while U.S. auto sales plunged to their lowest levels in a quarter century. Mulally said in November and again last month that he expected the burn rate to slow in the fourth quarter. “We’re very conscious of cash,” Mulally told [the] Fox [Business Network.] "... we’re working very closely with our suppliers and our payables, and we are managing that cash -- because cash right now is so important to finance this transformation.”
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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GM Sees No Potential Buyers for Saab

DETROIT -- General Motors has found no interested buyers for Saab, sources familiar with efforts to sell the Swedish brand say. GM put Saab under “strategic review” as part of the long-term viability plan submitted to Congress last month. GM has not announced a decision to sell the brand, but has quietly shopped it around, the source said. Corporations typically consider whether potential buyers exist for a business when conducting strategic reviews. The lack of interest makes Saab the second brand GM has been unable to shed as the global financial crisis curbs merger and acquisitions. The automaker has also failed to find a buyer for Hummer, which was put under review in June.
Source:  Automotive News (Subscription required.)

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Recession Putting the Brakes on Auto Jobs

The automotive industry is dumping jobs faster than a NASCAR racer can accelerate. Car sales are reeling from tight credit and declining consumer confidence. As a consequence, the industry – from auto dealers to parts suppliers to the big three car manufacturers – have made major cuts in their workforce, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Such layoffs especially affect minority workers, since car manufacturing has traditionally offered minorities an entry path to solid high-paying blue-collar jobs.
Source:  HispanicBusiness.com

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Consumer Credit Falls by Record Amount in November

Consumers cut back on their borrowing by a record amount in dollar terms in November, another sign of trouble for the rapidly weakening economy. The Federal Reserve reported yesterday that borrowing through credit cards and other consumer loans dropped $7.94 billion in November, the biggest decline in 65 years of record-keeping. That also was much larger than the $500 million decline economists expected, and left total consumer credit outstanding at $2.57 trillion. The drop represented a decline of 3.7 percent at an annual rate from October, the biggest fall in percentage terms since a 4.3 percent plunge in January 1998. Analysts are worried the economy's troubles could trigger a major retrenchment by consumers that will make the current recession, already the longest in a quarter-century, even worse. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of total economic output.
Source:  Associated Press

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Toyota, Ford Spar Over Hybrid M.P.G. Claims

A feud is simmering between Ford and Toyota over Ford's claim that its Fusion gasoline-electric hybrid out this spring will be the most fuel-efficient midsize car at 41 m.p.g. in town, 36 on the highway. Toyota says its higher-mileage Prius hybrid (48/45 m.p.g.) also is midsize -- as defined by the U.S. government. U.S. emissions and fuel-economy regulations judge a car's size category by its combined passenger and cargo space. The brewing dust-up is significant because it threatens a key point that Ford wants to use to market the car, as well as to improve the company's environmental image. And it signals that auto industry competition is intensifying, as companies fight for slices of an evaporating sales pie.
Source:  USA TODAY

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Detroit Automakers Urged to Enter X Prize Race

Organizers of event aimed toward 100-mpg mark say they're creating division for major automakers
WASHINGTON -- The $10 million Progressive Automotive X Prize wants Detroit's Big Three automakers and other major companies to take part in its road race next year to see who can build a vehicle that gets 100 miles per gallon. So far only Indian automaker Tata Motors, which bought Land Rover and Jaguar, has agreed to take part in the competition among large automakers. More than 120 companies and individuals -- including [rock star Neil Young] -- from 18 countries signed letters of intent to participate, but no major U.S., Japanese or European automaker has signed up. The group plans to announce Sunday at the North American International Auto Show that it is creating a "Demonstration Division" for major automakers, hoping they will take part in the competition next year, though they wouldn't get a prize for winning in that division. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, said automakers are wary of competing. He praised the effort to "engage the auto industry" and said they could advise the participants even if they didn't take part. "But the auto industry has got a lot on its plate. Job One is pretty clear," Cole said, adding that the struggling auto industry needs to turn itself around.
Source:  The Detroit News

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NADA Update
Reminder of New FTC Restrictions on Automated Telemarketing Calls

An “Existing Business Relationship” Will Not Be Enough
In 2008, the FTC adopted an amendment to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) that, among other things, prohibits prerecorded telemarketing calls without a consumer’s express written agreement to receive such calls.

As of Dec. 1, 2008, sellers and telemarketers (including dealers that make such calls) are required to provide a keypress or voice-activated opt-out mechanism promptly at the outset of any prerecorded message call. This requirement applies to calls delivering prerecorded messages, whether answered by the recipient in person, or answered by an answering machine or voicemail service, and requires that any prerecorded message call promptly disclose at the outset a toll-free number that a consumer may use to assert a request not to receive such calls. The rule also requires that automated calls allow the telephone to ring for at least fifteen seconds or four rings before disconnecting an unanswered call.

Under the new rule, sellers and telemarketers may, for the time being, continue to place calls that deliver prerecorded messages to consumers based on an existing business relationship (“EBR”) with that customer -- provided they do so in compliance with the new requirement that prerecorded message calls include an automated interactive keypress or voice-activated opt-out mechanism.

However, as of Sept. 1, 2009, sellers and telemarketers may not make such prerecorded calls unless they have a prior express written agreement from the recipient to receive such calls. That written agreement: (1) cannot be required (directly or indirectly) of customers as a condition of purchasing any good or service; (2) must “evidence the willingness” of the recipient to receive such calls; and (3) must include the recipient’s telephone number and signature (although such signature may be electronic in compliance with ESIGN).  

Note that this amendment differs in some regards from current FCC restrictions regarding prerecorded telemarketing calls.  If you have any questions about the FCC restrictions consult nada.org or contact our office. Click here for the amendment to the TSR.

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Convention to Host 21 Automaker Franchise Meetings at Critical Time for the Industry

Now that U.S. automakers are receiving bridge loans, attention has shifted to the NADA Convention & Exposition 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.

“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." Information and a complete list of scheduled franchise meetings can be found at www.nada.org/convention.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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NADA Convention Features Former U.S. Presidents and Industry Leaders

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 Jan. 24-27. “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.” Last 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 Monday, Jan. 26 for the coming year.
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.”
Source:  NADA Newswire

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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 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 is being presented both as a virtual seminar and as a convention workshop at the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans.

The first virtual seminar, held Dec. 18, drew more than 200 participants and lasted more than an hour, followed by a lively and informative Q & A session. As participants were not identified by name or dealership, discussion was extremely candid. NADA is offering only one more virtual seminar to be held Jan. 13 from 1–3 p.m. EST. The registration fee is only $50 per computer connection. Don't miss out! Register now at www.nada.org/seminars.

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

In Tough Times, 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 the tough environment, both legally and financially.

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STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Content Systems

Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) has developed new guidelines to help dealers evaluate their dealership data security. Visit STAR's Dealer Infrastructure Guidelines (DIG) publication to learn more. To read the answer to the question "What are the things that a dealer should look for when considering any type of Internet Content System?" click here.

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Lenovo Offers New Year Savings
NADA members can now save up to 34 percent on select notebooks and all ThinkPad and IdeaPad notebooks along with all computing accessories. The discounts are available to dealership employees too. This is a limited-time offer. 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. Enter eCoupon USXNEWYEAR at checkout to receive the NADA discount. Free ground shipping is available on all Web orders.

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Featured Video
 
  
Click here to see why New Orleans is still America's premier convention city.



More Video Highlights

Quotable
 
"We're very conscious of cash. ... we're working very closely with our suppliers and our payables, and we are managing that cash -- because cash right now is so important to finance this transformation."

   
-- Ford CEO Alan Mulally, speaking on the Fox Business Network, indicating that the company's cash-burn rate is slowing, Automotive News, Jan. 9
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) Seven Powerful Principles to Reshape Your Strengths in Service

(2) How to Instantly get High Survey Scores, High Customer Retention, and Outstanding Product

(3) Blueprint for Hiring Top Performers

Powerful Principles speaker Ted Ings of Auto University will identify principles for strengthening service and delivering a superior customer experience. Participants will learn timely, easy-to-implement processes, best management practices, and real-world solutions for boosting service profits under all retail conditions.

Survey Scores speaker Jeff Cowan of Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk, Inc. will teach dealership personnel how to build rapport and establish long-lasting relationships with customers. Attendees will learn what product benefits interest customers most, when and how to present these benefits to them, and what type of close works best.

Blueprint speaker Ricky Wolfe of EFG Companies will cover the behavioral traits of top performers in the retail automotive industry and outline a 7-step system to identify, recruit, hire, and retain top performers.

Advance registration for the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition is now closed. Register onsite beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 23.

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



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.