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At a Glance...
Top Stories
January Leading Indicators Up; Recession's Intensity to Ease
New-Car Dealers Look for Upside
Saturn Spin-Off Possible, Customers Told
Saab, Cut Loose by G.M., Files Bankruptcy
Hyundai Sweetens Incentive That Covers Job Loss
NADA Update
Union Legislation Addressed in New Virtual Seminar
Seminar Takes 'Deeper Dive' into FTC Red Flags Rule
2010 Convention Workshop Proposals Now Being Accepted
Top Stories
January Leading Indicators Up; Recession's Intensity to Ease

WASHINGTON -- Economic weakness will continue through this year, though the recession's intensity could ease over the next few months, the Conference Board said Thursday. For the second consecutive month, the index of leading economic indicators rose, gaining 0.4% in January, following a downwardly revised 0.2% in December. "The second half of 2009 may see a period of anemic growth," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. "In fact, a return to robust growth may not occur until well into 2010, even if the long climb starts a few months from now." The recent gains are due, in part, to the Federal Reserve's huge injections of cash into the money supply. Despite the rise in January, widespread weakness remains as the troubled job and housing markets continue to take their toll.
Source: MarketWatch

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New-Car Dealers Look for Upside

Factory workers, parts makers jittery over restructurings
Dramatic restructuring plans proposed by General Motors and Chrysler have heightened anxiety for those who work on the industry's front lines. That's especially true for dealers, plant workers and parts suppliers whose livelihoods are tied to endangered brands such as Saturn and Hummer ... "We just have to get out of the swamp we're in right now," said Chris Haydocy, co-owner of Haydocy Pontiac Buick GMC on the West Side, of the prospects for GM and the industry. Tom Carpenter, co-owner of Saturn of Columbus, said his greatest challenge is assuring customers that he's not going anywhere. "We're open for business," he said. "We will continue to be aggressive." Carpenter learned about the GM plan yesterday in a teleconference with other dealers. His first reaction was that Saturn probably has a loyal enough following to be viable as a separate company. He thinks the brand's fate will be known within months, not years. "We have plenty of time and we have plenty of resources, and in some respects this could be a terrific opportunity," he said. GM's plan was described as "strong" and "achievable" in a statement by John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. But, he added, "We are, of course, exceedingly disappointed that a viable solution has not yet been found for Saturn, Saab and Hummer."
Source: The Columbus Dispatch

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Saturn Spin-Off Possible, Customers Told

General Motors Corp. and its Saturn franchise holders are exploring a spin-off of the brand that could lead to dealers selling vehicles made by other manufacturers, the automaker is telling customers. "An independent Saturn would still have its great retailers, and it would continue to source current products from GM through 2011," Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak told owners of Saturn vehicles in a message sent out Wednesday. "There's still opportunities that the Saturn distribution network could survive if the industry comes back," GM CEO Rick Wagoner said Tuesday. "There could be an opportunity for someone who wants to distribute in the U.S." Saturn dealers told the Free Press that a subcommittee of the Saturn dealer council, which is called the Franchise Operations Team, is studying options and they expect to know more within 60 days.
Source: The Detroit Free Press

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Saab, Cut Loose by G.M., Files Bankruptcy

FRANKFURT — Saab, the Swedish maker of road-hugging sports cars and sedans, filed for bankruptcy on Friday as it was cut loose by General Motors as part of the American company’s sweeping restructuring plan. Unmoored from its parent, Saab went to a Swedish court for protection from its creditors, and said the company would — with assistance from the Swedish government — reorganize to pave the way for private investors to buy all or part of the company. “We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab, and it was determined a formal reorganization would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment,” the managing director of Saab, Jan-Ake Jonsson, said in a statement. Saab lost about 3 billion Swedish crowns or $343 million in 2008 and said it would lose a similar amount this year.
Source: The New York Times

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Hyundai Sweetens Incentive That Covers Job Loss

LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai Motor America is making its successful Hyundai Assurance sales incentive even more attractive. Hyundai Assurance, which was launched in January, allows consumers to return their new Hyundai vehicles within a year of purchase if they lose their jobs. Now, with Hyundai Assurance Plus, Hyundai also will pay the vehicle loan or lease for 90 days during the year while the owner looks for work. If the owner keeps the car, the payments do not need to be repaid. Hyundai Assurance Plus will be offered from Feb. 23 to April 30.
Source: Automotive News

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NADA Update
Union Legislation Addressed in New Virtual Seminar

The so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) could become law in 2009 and usher in the most dramatic pro-union shift in federal labor law in U.S. history. The EFCA would eliminate the secret ballot in union representation elections, escalating labor union membership, returning traditional labor issues to the forefront—and forcing dealerships to bargain with unions.

To help dealerships understand the issues and meet the challenges they present, NADA has asked D. Gerald Coker, a partner in the law firm Ford & Harrison LLP, to conduct a virtual seminar on March 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EST. In “Responding to Organized Labor: Defending Workplace Democracy,” Coker will discuss the current and proposed federal labor legislation, analyze how the EFCA would affect union organizing strategies at dealerships and present a 10-Point Strategic Action Plan for dealerships to reduce potential vulnerability and improve employee relations. Participants’ questions will be addressed during the final 15 minutes of the seminar.

The fee for this important virtual seminar is $199 per computer connection. To register, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call (800) 252-6232, ext. 2.

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Seminar Takes 'Deeper Dive' into FTC Red Flags Rule

Attorneys from the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection—which drafted and enforces the Red Flags Rule—will present a virtual seminar “A Deeper Dive into the FTC Red Flags Rule” on March 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. EST.

With the revised May 1 enforcement date approaching, dealers should ensure that their required Identity Theft Prevention Programs incorporate all of their covered accounts, include all relevant Red Flags, contain effective response and detection procedures, address all the Rule’s other requirements, and are tailored to their particular operations. It's a daunting task in view of the Rule’s general provisions that encompass all types of financial institutions and creditors.

To assist dealers in understanding how the Rule applies to dealership operations, FTC attorneys will join NADA Regulatory Affairs Director Paul Metrey to recap the required elements of the Red Flags and Address Discrepancy Rules and examine implementation considerations for dealers—and then, we’ll open the phone lines so dealers can present their questions directly to the FTC attorneys. Dealers should consider attending the “Deeper Dive” seminar even if they attended one of the previous Red Flags Rule virtual seminars. If you still have any questions, now is the time to ask. We’ll have a great team to answer your questions. And be sure to bring your copy of NADA's A Dealer Guide to the FTC Red Flags and Address Discrepancy Rules.

The fee for this important virtual seminar is $199 per computer connection. To register, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call (800) 252-6232, ext. 2.

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2010 Convention Workshop Proposals Now Being Accepted

Proposals are now being accepted for speakers who are interested in presenting a workshop at the 2010 NADA Convention & Exposition in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 13-16. Topics that are applicable to the current state of the U.S. automobile industry are strongly preferred. To download the proposal, go to www.nada.org/workshops. Completed proposals should be postmarked by midnight, April 30, 2009. For more information, contact NADA Management Education at (703) 821-7227 or workshops@nada.org.

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Featured Video
 
 

 NADA Tackles Industry Crisis


More Video Highlights

Quotable
 
"... a return to robust growth may not occur until well into 2010, even if the long climb starts a few months from now."

    -- Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board, predicting the recession's intensity could ease over the next few months, MarketWatch, Feb. 19


"We have plenty of time and we have plenty of resources, and in some respects this could be a terrific opportunity."

    -- Tom Carpenter, co-owner of Saturn of Columbus, on the possibility of a Saturn spin-off, The Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 19


"We continue to look for ways to help consumers in this challenging economic environment."

    -- Joel Ewanick, Hyundai's marketing vice president, announcing Hyundai Assurance Plus, Automotive News, Feb. 19
Member Products & Services
 

Save Big with Lenovo
Lenovo is offering NADA members up to $815 off select ThinkPad notebooks. Great savings are available on all ThinkPad and IdeaPad notebooks along with all computing accessories. Free ground shipping is available on all Web orders. This is a limited-time offer. To take advantage of these savings, visit NADA's PC Purchase Program online (login required), click the "Lenovo" link, then "Special Offers," or call (800) 426-7235, Option 1, Ext. 4838.
Video Highlights
 
  

 
"The next two months are critical to the future of our industry as we know it," says NADA Chairman John McEleney, addressing a crowd of about 5,000 at the general session of the NADA convention in New Orleans.

NBC: "Demise of local car dealerships leaves big dent."
2009 Convention in New Orleans
NADA on the Front Lines


Click here for more NADA-TV reports.

 

 

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