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Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Opinion: Agent of (Climate) Change
NADA Chairman Says Next Two Months Are Critical to the Future of Auto Industry
Incentives Help Chrysler Market Share
Chrysler Talks to Others in Case Feds Veto Fiat Deal
Elena Ford to Direct Global Sales
Ford preps Volvo Sale
NADA Update
NADA Study Finds Double Regulating Fuel Economy by States Harmful to Struggling Auto Industry
NADA, SBA and NAMAD Launch Campaign on Dealer Eligibility for SBA Guaranteed Loans
Understanding TALF
Top Stories
Opinion: Agent of (Climate) Change
The Washington Post

President Obama ends White House inaction -- but there's a better way to tackle greenhouse gas emissions
President Obama this week made an initial break from the frustrating inaction of President Bush on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This reflected a welcome change in attitude at the White House. Unfortunately, the regulatory action that Mr. Obama set in motion is not the best, or even the second-best, approach to curbing climate change. It risks creating conflicting standards across the country and further stressing the domestic auto industry while accomplishing less than could be achieved with a simple tax increase on gasoline. He ordered the Transportation Department to issue interim fuel-efficiency targets for automakers to meet by the 2012 model year. This is a step toward achieving a national fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, as mandated by the 2007 energy law. He also told the Environmental Protection Agency to review a request from California to grant it a waiver to implement its stringent tailpipe emissions law. The District of Columbia, Maryland and 12 other states have adopted the California standard. Six others are considering adopting it. Together they account for more than 45 percent of the sales of new vehicles in the United States. It is a relief that talk of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is giving way to action. But there is a more effective way to reduce such emissions than to order Detroit to start making cars that people may not want to buy, or to let states issue such orders. The answer is to change the incentives so that people want to buy fuel-efficient vehicles; then companies will make such cars, even without commands from Washington. We saw this principle in action last summer when gas prices rose; rail ridership and small-car purchases also increased, while SUVs went begging on dealers' lots.
Source:  The Washington Post

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NADA Chairman Says Next Two Months Are Critical to the Future of Auto Industry

NEW ORLEANS -- With 2009 expected to be one of the toughest years yet for auto retailing, John McEleney, NADA chairman, issued a call-to-action Monday, urging dealers to make their voices heard in the debate over how to return the industry to economic viability and how new emission standards should be implemented. "The next two months are critical to the future of our industry as we know it -- the future of GM and Chrysler, availability of credit and the return of stability to our economy," he said. "In a 17-million-sales year, it may be enough for us to share that we sponsor Little League teams or that we helped to fund the new wing at the local hospital," McEleney said. "In a 12-million-sales year, we've got to tell how we contribute to our community's bottom line. ...it's our money we invest in buildings and staff and training, not the manufacturers. It's our investments that are on the line to get their products distributed to buyers."
Source:  The Auto Channel

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Incentives Help Chrysler Market Share

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. -- Chrysler LLC's new incentives have given it more market share this month, even as the auto industry's sales remain depressed, Chrysler President Jim Press said. In a roundtable with reporters Tuesday, Press also said the company needed an additional $3 billion in federal assistance to survive the first quarter, and that the deal with Fiat SpA would help Chrysler make the case that it can survive a withering recession. "We're starting to get some traction on our products," Press said, adding that buyers were shifting back to trucks given the low gasoline prices. He estimated total U.S. vehicle sales were running at an annual rate of about 10 million vehicles this month, in line with the weak pace from December.
Source:  Detroit Free Press

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Chrysler Talks to Others in Case Feds Veto Fiat Deal

Although defending proposed alliance, top exec says automaker is also exploring 'other alternatives'
LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md . -- Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman and President Jim Press said the automaker is in talks with other possible partners if the U.S. Treasury Department rejects a tie-up with Fiat SpA, and defended the proposed alliance saying it would help preserve U.S. jobs. "If it doesn't work out with Fiat, we still have had other conversations with other potential partners and alliances and those obviously can continue, so we have other alternatives," Press told reporters Tuesday, saying some of those talks have not been made public. "It's a little bit like dating: nobody knows who we're dating. We don't need the paparazzi to follow us around and put pressure on the dates." Chrysler already has an alliance with Volkswagen AG to produce a minivan for VW and with Nissan Motor Co. to build a pickup for the Japanese automaker in exchange for Nissan building a small car for Chrysler. Chrysler plans to sell a 35 percent stake to Fiat in a non-cash deal that needs Treasury Department approval under the terms of Chrysler's $4 billion government loan. Fiat could later purchase an additional 20 percent. "It will make the government a lot more confident that the repayment is going to occur on schedule," Press said of a tie-up with Fiat.
Source:  The Detroit News

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Elena Ford to Direct Global Sales

Henry Ford's great-great-granddaughter Elena Ford is taking a key position at Ford Motor Co. to lead the automaker's efforts to coordinate marketing activities worldwide. As director of global marketing, sales and service, a newly created position, Elena Ford will be in charge of identifying the best practices of the company's far-flung marketing operations and streamlining them for the entire company's benefit. Under the "One Ford" strategy outlined by Chief Executive Alan Mulally, Ford already has brought together its regional development and manufacturing operations to produce global models such as the new Ford Fiesta and Focus cars. "We need to take the One Ford vision and execute it into a global marketing process as well," Elena Ford said in a joint interview with Ford's chief marketing officer Jim Farley. "This is a really big deal for Ford," Farley said. "Marketing has always been a regional activity."
Source:  The Detroit News

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Ford preps Volvo Sale

Financial specialists are making 'strategic review'
Ford Motor Co. is expected to begin entertaining offers for its Volvo Car Co. unit next month, and Chinese automakers could be among the bidders, say people familiar with the situation. Finance specialists for the Dearborn automaker are in Gothenburg, Sweden, for a "strategic review" of their Swedish carmaker in advance of a sale. Ford is hoping to fetch between $5 billion and $10 billion for Volvo. Sources in Sweden say the actual selling price will be much less, given the prevailing economic conditions.
Source:  The Detroit News

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NADA Update
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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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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Understanding 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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"It is a relief that talk of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is giving way to action. But there is a more effective way to reduce such emissions than to order Detroit to start making cars that people may not want to buy, or to let states issue such orders. The answer is to change the incentives so that people want to buy fuel-efficient vehicles; then companies will make such cars, even without commands from Washington. We saw this principle in action last summer when gas prices rose ... and small-car purchases ... increased..."

   
-- The Washington Post opinion, published Jan. 28


"In a 12-million-sales year, we've got to tell how we contribute to our community's bottom line. ...we had to inform people about the model of our business. ...it's our money we invest in buildings and staff and training, not the manufacturers. It's our investments that are on the line to get their products distributed to buyers."

    -- 2009 NADA Chairman John McEleney, calling on dealers to speak up about the critical role dealers play in the auto retailing industry, The Auto Channel, Jan. 28
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