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Top Stories
NADA Convention Ready to Open at Critical Time for Industry
GM, Dealers to Discuss Closing Shops
NADA Study Finds Double Regulating Fuel Economy by States Harmful to Struggling Auto Industry
Fiat: Chrysler is a Good Fit
Chrysler Announces Employee Pricing, $6,000 Rebates
Report: Toyota Considers Job Cuts in North America
Hybrid Sales in U.S. Slip 9.9% in 2008
NADA Update
NADA, SBA and NAMAD Launch Campaign on Dealer Eligibility for SBA Guaranteed Loans
Tough Times, Tougher Dealers: Saving Your Dealership's Assets
NADA Insurance to Offer Long-Term Care Insurance
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
STAR Answers Dealers' Questions About Internet Content Systems
HP Offers Special Member Pricing
Top Stories
NADA Convention Ready to Open at Critical Time for Industry

NEW ORLEANS – Thousands of dealers are arriving in New Orleans today on the eve of the opening of NADA’s 92nd Convention and Exposition.

“Considering the challenges facing the auto industry, many of us believe this is the most important convention ever,” says NADA Chairman Annette Sykora.

More than 20 automaker-dealer franchise meetings have been scheduled. Rick Wagoner, General Motors chairman and CEO; Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA; Jim Press, Chrysler vice chairman and president; and Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., are all planning to attend.

Mulally will deliver the industry keynote address on Saturday. Also on Saturday, outgoing NADA Chairman Annette Sykora will discuss challenges the industry faced in 2008.

The convention, which runs Jan. 24-27 at the Morial Convention Center, is offering more than 40 workshops 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.

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 on Monday. Also on Monday, incoming NADA Chairman John McEleney will outline his priorities for the coming year of economic uncertainty.

Archie Manning, former quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1978, will speak on Saturday and Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” will present a motivational talk on Sunday.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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GM, Dealers to Discuss Closing Shops

Automaker plans to trim 30% of its franchisees by 2012
NEW ORLEANS -- General Motors Corp.'s dealers, who've privately been making decisions about whether to try to stay open in the suffering economy or just close shop, will get their chance to meet with the automaker this weekend about its plans to slash dealerships by nearly 30% over the next three years. GM plans to hold closed-door meetings with its franchisees during the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention -- the first since the automaker received approval of $13.4 billion in federal loans that call for the company to make changes to several areas of the business, including its dealer network. "There's a concern," said John McEleney, a GM dealer from Clinton, Iowa, who is the incoming NADA chairman. "No matter what, there's going to be change." GM has told Congress it plans to eliminate 1,750 dealers by 2012 -- including as many as 500 this year -- and has indicated it would also reduce its U.S. focus from eight brands to four. That leaves uncertainty hanging over Hummer, Saab and Saturn dealers. "The market will deal with a lot of it," [Paul Melville, a dealership-consolidation expert with Grant Thornton LLC] said. "The liquidity problems will force a lot of dealers to hand back the keys to GM. There are a number of dealers who are going to decide they don't want the franchise anymore ... because they can't make any money out of it."
Source: The Detroit Free Press

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NADA Study Finds Double Regulating Fuel Economy by States Harmful to Struggling Auto Industry

Industry Needs Single National Standard, Not Patchwork of State Regulations
WASHINGTON — A comprehensive analysis released today by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) on a California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) rule that would allow individual states to regulate  fuel economy standards finds numerous unintended consequences that will cause economic harm and provide little or no environmental benefit over the proposed federal standards. “With new national fuel economy standards expected to be finalized by the Obama administration by April 1, complying with the additional state standards would create a regulatory patchwork that would undermine the national fuel economy program at a time when the auto industry needs regulatory certainty and stability,” says David Regan, NADA vice president of legislative affairs. “Separate and apart from the stringency of standards set by the federal government or California, the establishment of 13 state-based fuel economy regimes would cause irreparable harm to an already struggling automobile industry.” Regan added that a major slump in auto sales forced 900 dealerships to close their doors in 2008 and put the domestic automakers in the difficult position of needing billions in bridge loans from the federal government to prevent bankruptcy.  GM and Chrysler have already received $17.4 billion in loans. Ford has yet to ask for assistance.  “It makes no sense for the federal government to aid the auto industry with one hand, and then burden it with a duplicative rule that regulates fuel economy completely differently than the federal government,” Regan continued. Click here for the report, "Patchwork Proven: Why A Single National Fuel Economy Standard Is Better for America Than A Patchwork of State Regulations."
Source:  NADA Newswire

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Fiat: Chrysler is a Good Fit

Italians see very little overlap in products
Fiat SpA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said Chrysler LLC is worth saving and is a good fit for the Italian automaker as both companies see partnerships as key to global profitability. Marchionne has seen Chrysler's books and is personally devoting many hours to help Chrysler prepare its restructuring plan to justify as much as $7 billion in government loans. But he said he does not want a leadership role in Auburn Hills and hopes to avoid a trip to Capitol Hill to present the viability plan that's due by Feb. 17 under the terms of Chrysler's loan package. "The business itself (Chrysler) is worth saving," said Marchionne, who provided a glimpse of the tie-up. Though he is already having a say in the future of Chrysler, he added: "I have absolutely no intention of running Chrysler." Marchionne does not see any "terminal dents" in Chrysler that adversely affect its ability to compete in a healthy marketplace.
Source: The Detroit News

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Chrysler Announces Employee Pricing, $6,000 Rebates

Chrysler LLC, reeling from plunging U.S. sales and bulging inventories, will offer all customers the same prices paid by employees and boost rebates to as much as $6,000. The program, called "Employee Pricing Plus Plus," begins Monday on Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler models. It will include a national advertising campaign, the automaker said late Thursday. The $6,000 rebates apply to 2008 models. Vehicles from the 2009 model year will carry rebates of as much as $3,500. Interest-free financing will be available for as long as 48 months. Chrysler will use the incentives to reduce one of the industry's highest stocks of unsold vehicles. The company had a 115-day supply of cars and light trucks at the start of the month, about twice the level considered normal, after U.S. sales dropped more than 50 percent in December.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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Report: Toyota Considers Job Cuts in North America

TOKYO/DETROIT -- Toyota is considering cutting full-time employees in North America and the United Kingdom, a company source familiar with the matter said. Toyota is cutting production as the global financial crisis sends sales plummeting and puts the carmaker on course for its first ever operating loss in the year ending March 31. Its U.S. sales in December fell 37 percent. The Japanese business daily Nikkei said Toyota was considering cutting up to 1,000 full-time jobs in North America and Britain, as shoppers stop buying cars and the pressure to cut fixed costs mounts. Toyota is considering going beyond cutting temporary and contract staff to ease out regular employees in North America and the United Kingdom, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public. The decision on job reductions and possible pay cuts would likely be made as early as next week, the Nikkei said on its Web site, without citing any sources.
Source: Reuters

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Hybrid Sales in U.S. Slip 9.9% in 2008

U.S. sales of gasoline-electric hybrids fell 9.9 percent in 2008, after rising with gasoline prices early in the year and falling along with fuel costs and a collapsing auto market at the end. Automakers sold 315,761 hybrids last year, 2.4 percent of the total vehicle market. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. again sold about three of every four hybrids in the United States, despite new entries from General Motors. The segment-leading Toyota Prius reflected the topsy-turvy year: It tallied 91,440 sales in the first half and 67,444 in the second. "At $1.50 a gallon, the American public is not willing to pay for fuel-saving technology," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said at last week's Detroit auto show. Consumers changed their buying habits when gasoline prices passed $3.50 a gallon in April, Fin O'Neill, president of the market research firm J.D. Power and Associates, said in a speech last week in Detroit. After topping $4 in July, fuel prices tumbled to an average of $1.62 per gallon last month. "Cheap gasoline combined with fuel efficiency mandated by the government is an economic and environmental disaster for America," [AutoNation Inc. CEO Mike Jackson] said. "When the cost per mile driven goes down, people buy bigger, faster" cars and trucks, he said.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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NADA Update
NADA, SBA and NAMAD Launch Campaign on Dealer Eligibility for SBA Guaranteed Loans

NADA, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have developed a joint Motor Vehicle Dealer Loan Guaranty Campaign to inform small new-car and -truck dealers about their eligibility for SBA 7(a) guaranteed loans. Small dealers who’ve been affected by recent economic conditions may benefit from the program. The SBA guarantees loans made by local lenders for small business applicants who cannot obtain credit on a conventional basis. SBA staff will be available at NADA’s Federal Regulatory Outreach Pavilion at the NADA Convention to answer dealers’ questions about the program. Questions may also be directed to the NADA Hotline at (888) 672-5147 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. When calling, mention that you are seeking assistance in applying for or obtaining a SBA-guaranteed loan. Click here for the campaign fact sheet.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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Tough Times, Tougher Dealers: Saving Your Dealership's Assets

In response to the challenges facing dealers during uncertain times, NADA is offering a workshop on dealership survival, Tough Times, Tougher Dealers: Saving Your Dealership’s Assets, at the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans. Hundreds of dealers have already participated in virtual seminars presented on the topic in December and January.

The first virtual seminar, held Dec. 18, drew more than 250 participants and lasted more than an hour, followed by a lively and informative Q&A session. Participants were not identified by name or dealership, which resulted in candid discussion. More than 150 people participated in the second session, held Jan. 13.

The convention workshop, presented by Michael Charapp, Esq. of Charapp & Weiss, LLP and Bradley Nicklin, CPA of Beers + Cutler, will discuss 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.

Tough Times, Tougher Dealers: Saving Your Dealership’s Assets will be held Saturday, Jan. 24 at 11 a.m. and Monday, Jan. 26 at 8:30 a.m. in rooms 208–209 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Dealers, managers and other dealership personnel attending the NADA convention are encouraged to attend one of the two sessions. The workshop will offer up-to-date economic information and peer interaction, as well as Q&A for all participants.

For more information on this and other workshops at the NADA convention, visit www.nada.org/convention or call NADA Management Education at (800) 252-NADA, ext. 2.
Source: NADA Newswire

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NADA Insurance to Offer Long-Term Care Insurance

To help dealers protect their loved ones and financial assets, NADA will be offering a new, long-term care insurance program with exclusive discounts to members. Through a partnership with CoolLTC, NADA members can work with long-term care specialists to design a protection program for their individual needs. Along with a choice of eight insurance companies, members can create a free living will – a savings of $350. Members can also access Care Options OnLine, which is the most comprehensive Web-based care planning and resource center designed to assist members in finding services they need to cope with disabilities or other challenges of assisted living.

“Now more than ever, wealth preservation is a major issue for our members,” said Lin Peacock, vice president of NADA Insurance. “A Wall Street Journal columnist recently cited the 10 biggest mistakes that investors make with their retirement savings. Number one on the list is failing to prepare for long-term care. Long-term care insurance is a crucial part of any sound financial plan,” Peacock added. “After all the hard work dealers put into building a business and other investments and savings, protecting assets and family welfare is the next critical step.” By partnering with CoolLTC, NADA members now have access to a choice of carriers and valuable planning tools.

“During this time of unprecedented concern over retirement savings and the financial viability of social programs such as Medicare and Social Security, we are honored to be the group that NADA has chosen to assist their members with understanding the role long-term care insurance can play in protecting them and their families against the devastating costs associated with long-term care,” said David Schaeffer, managing director of CoolLTC. The program will launch at the NADA Convention & Exposition in New Orleans Jan. 24–27.

BENEFITS FOR NADA MEMBERS -- Exclusive Discounts on Long-Term Care Insurance

  • Choice of LTC insurance plans from eight top-rated carriers that provides flexibility and a wide array of benefits and options
  • Plans that allow cash payments to family and friends for providing care
  • Discounted premiums for members and their families
  • The most accurate and up-to-date information available with all of the facts necessary to make an informed decision
  • Easy to navigate, intuitive Web site resource to answer all of your questions related to long-term care needs

For more information on the latest innovations in long-term care insurance solutions, contact Scott Lilja, NADA Insurance, (703) 749-4711 or David Schaeffer, CoolLTC, (866) 966-6558.
Source:  NADA Newswire

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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

NADA has assembled a lineup of leading political figures, industry 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 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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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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HP Offers Special Member Pricing

Take advantage of super discounts with NADA Member Pricing on the HP 2133 MiniNote PC and HP Compaq 6735b  Purchase a Total Care Access Card for discounts from, HP, McAfee, Intuit, Quick Books and more. To take advantage of these savings, visit NADA's PC Purchase program online (member login required) and click HP/Compaq.

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



More Video Highlights

Quotable
 
"Considering the challenges facing the auto industry, many of us believe this is the most important convention ever."

    -- NADA Chairman Annette Sykora, NADA Newswire, Jan. 23 
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.

Onsite registration for the 2009 NADA Convention & Exposition begins 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.