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Top Stories
U.S. May Set Greenhouse Gas Standard for Cars
UAW, Ford Cut Deal On Health Benefits
Obama Sets GM, Chrysler Talks
Auto Loan Adviser Rattner Not a Car Czar, But Insider Knows D.C.
Sweden Demands 'Sound Security' on Saab Loans Before Giving Aid
Opinion: Auto Dealers a Pillar of Colorado's Economy
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
U.S. May Set Greenhouse Gas Standard for Cars

The Obama administration is considering establishing national rules for regulating greenhouse gas emissions for automobiles, according to White House officials, a move backed by both auto manufacturers and some environmentalists. For weeks, administration officials have been meeting with car companies as well as green groups and representatives from California -- which is awaiting word on whether it will receive a federal waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles -- to try to broker a deal on the issue. On Sunday, Carol M. Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate, said she and others backed the idea of a single standard for cars and trucks. "The hope across the administration is that we can have a unified national policy when it comes to cleaner vehicles," Browner said at the Western Governors' Association meeting in Washington. Meanwhile, several auto industry officials said they backed the idea of a universal fuel-efficiency standard aimed at curbing greenhouse gases, even if it is stricter than the country's current goal of achieving a fleetwide average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Greg Martin, General Motors' Washington spokesman, said automakers and consumers are seeking "certainty and consistency" when it comes to fuel efficiency. "We've been supportive of a strong national standard, rather than having to comply with the burden of a patchwork of standards state by state," he said.
Source: The Washington Post

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UAW, Ford Cut Deal On Health Benefits

The United Auto Workers and Ford have reached a new agreement on how to fund health benefits for retirees, possibly creating a model settlement for the other two major U.S. automakers as they battle to fend off bankruptcy. The deal, announced yesterday, would allow Ford to pay as much as half of its $13.2 billion obligation to retirees with stock rather than cash, a bargain that essentially relieves the company of the cash requirement but makes health care a far riskier proposition for retirees. The agreement must still be ratified by union members and win court approval. "The modifications will protect jobs for UAW members by ensuring the long-term viability of the company," UAW President Ronald A. Gettelfinger said in a statement. GM has estimated that it owes $20 billion to the health trust; Chrysler $10 billion; and Ford $13.2 billion. Federal officials urged GM and Chrysler to modify those obligations so they can pay as much as 50 percent in stock rather than cash as part of a deal giving them $17.4 billion in government loans. The demand is effectively what Ford and the UAW agreed to do in the deal announced yesterday.
Source: The Washington Post

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Obama Sets GM, Chrysler Talks

Officials say president's auto team to meet with execs this week
WASHIINGTON -- The Obama administration's auto team will hold face-to-face talks with top executives from both General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC this week, even as the automakers face down a March 31 deadline to win key concessions from the UAW and bondholders. GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson and Chief Financial Officer Ray Young are to have a lengthy meeting Thursday with key members of the administration's auto restructuring team, people familiar with the meeting said Monday. One of the urgent issues under discussion is the immediate cash needs of both automakers. GM and Chrysler last week asked for billions in new loans by next month, warning they will have to file bankruptcy protection without another infusion of cash. GM said it needs $2 billion in March and $2.6 billion in April on top of the $13.4 billion the automaker has already received in loans from the federal government. Chrysler said it needs another $5 billion on top of the $4 billion it has received in government aid. The National Automobile Dealers Associations, which represents nearly 20,000 dealers, said its top officials will meet with the Obama administration auto team this week, as well. "NADA realizes this task force is critical to the industry and we appreciate the fact that we get the opportunity to sit down to talk about the retail side of the business," said Bailey Wood, a spokesman [from NADA's legislative office].
Source: The Detroit News

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Auto Loan Adviser Rattner Not a Car Czar, But Insider Knows D.C.

WASHINGTON -- They're not calling him the car czar, but New York financier Steven Rattner will help the Obama administration decide on whether to loan billions of dollars more to General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and auto suppliers. Obama's auto task force is to meet later this week with several industry officials, including GM Chairman Rick Wagoner, sources told the Free Press. It's the first time the task force has gathered information from the industry since GM and Chrysler submitted their viability plans last week. In addition to Wagoner, the task force is to meet with the National Automobile Dealers Association. Spokesman Bailey Wood said the panel was "critical to the industry, and we appreciate the opportunity to sit down with them." Rattner, a successful and politically well-connected private equity manager who has overseen dozens of corporate deals, was named to head the staff advising Obama's Task Force on the Auto Industry. He also will serve as counselor on economic and financial matters to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers. He joins Ron Bloom, a former adviser to the U.S. Steelworkers, among those giving guidance to the 10-member panel on how to respond to GM and Chrysler's request for $7 billion in loans before the end of March, and up to $21.6 billion in additional aid. Rattner also is to consider the auto suppliers' bid for up to $25.5 billion to survive the recession.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Sweden Demands 'Sound Security' on Saab Loans Before Giving Aid

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the government needs “sound security” before it commits to guaranteeing loans that will aid Saab Automobile. Reinfeldt, speaking in Bratislava late yesterday after meeting his Slovakian counterpart, Robert Fico, reiterated that Saab parent General Motors Corp. cannot count on Swedish taxpayers for help. Saab filed for protection from creditors last week after GM said it will cut ties. Saab is now seeking state guarantees to back a European Investment bank [EIB] loan. “Either GM changes the decision on the exit, or secondly, a new owner, or a group of owners, will come to be able to fulfill a part of the engagement with the EIB,” Reinfeldt said. Reinfeldt said the state is more willing to aid Ford Motor Co. in its search for financial aid at the Volvo Cars subsidiary because the U.S. manufacturer is “interested in looking for a new owner” for Volvo, Sweden’s largest carmaker.
Source: Bloomberg

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Opinion: Auto Dealers a Pillar of Colorado's Economy
By Tim Jackson

Automobile dealers and automobile manufacturers have a symbiotic relationship. Put simply, neither could survive without the other. The automobile dealers need the manufacturers to succeed or they won’t have any product to sell. Meanwhile, the dealers provide the manufacturers a huge distribution network and the necessary link to the consumers. The last thing we would want to do is undermine the industry that is so vital to our success and the nation’s economy. But these are extremely tough times for auto dealers, as well. Nationally, about 900 franchised dealerships closed in 2008, reducing the U.S. total to about 19,000. Another 1,100 dealerships are expected to close in 2009. Closer to home, five Colorado dealerships closed in 2008 and one more has closed already this year. That translates to lost jobs — and lost careers — for Colorado citizens. Automobile dealers are a critical part of Colorado’s economy. But, in these tough times, their success can’t be taken for granted. It’s understandable that legislators would want to ensure auto dealers get treated fairly so they can continue to contribute to the economic vitality and well-being of the state.
Source: The Colorado Statesman

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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
 
"The hope across the administration is that we can have a unified national policy when it comes to cleaner vehicles."

    -- Carol M. Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate, The Washington Post, Feb. 24


"NADA realizes this task force is critical to the industry and we appreciate the fact that we get the opportunity to sit down to talk about the retail side of the business."

   
-- Bailey Wood, a spokesman from NADA's legislative office, on the Obama auto team's plans to hold face-to-face talks with top executives from GM, Chrysler and NADA this week, The Detroit News, Feb. 24


"Everybody says you can't get credit. Well that's not true. We're getting people loans to buy cars every single day. All people need is a bit of confidence that the sky is not going to fall."

   
-- Thomas A. Barton III, president of Beach Ford in Virginia Beach, Va., The Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads, Va.), Feb. 22
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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