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Thursday, March 12, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Company Gets Employees Revved Up to Buy Cars
Task Force Holds Fate of Auto Industry
Local Car Dealers' Inventories Pile Up
European Dealers Plan to Buy Stake in Opel/Vauxhall
Ford Pact To Even Out Labor Costs With Toyota's
Saab Cuts 750 Jobs, Says It's Being Courted By Swedish Investor Group
NADA Update
COBRA Subsidy Compliance Addressed in New Virtual Seminar
NADART 401(k) Named Preferred Provider for National Independent Auto Dealers Association
Seminar Takes 'Deeper Dive' into FTC Red Flags Rule
Top Stories
Company Gets Employees Revved Up to Buy Cars

WASHINGTON - One company is trying to do its part to spur sales in the sagging auto industry and help stimulate the overall economy. Allbritton Communications -- which owns Channel 7, NewsChannel8 and Politico in the Washington area -- announced a program to grant every employee $2,000 toward the purchase of a new car and $1,000 for a used car. "Our friends in the auto industry were among the first to feel the downturn of the economy. The auto industry is hurting right now and we want to do our part to help promote a recovery," says Fred Ryan, president of Allbritton Communications. "We have had a long relationship with our local auto dealers and we believe the recovery of our country's economy depends on a healthy auto industry." The Car Partner program will go beyond the D.C. area, and be implemented at all Allbritton-owned television stations around the country.
Source: WTOP (Washington)

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Task Force Holds Fate of Auto Industry

Fed officials sorting out who will win and who will lose -- by March 31
WASHINGTON -- With just about every sector of the U.S. auto industry pleading for help, the White House auto task force bears the enormous responsibility of deciding who deserves money and how much, effectively selecting the winners and losers. After a three-week crash course filled with meetings and presentations from executives, suppliers, consultants, dealers, analysts, prospective merger partners and politicians -- sometimes at the rate of six or seven a day -- task force members appear to have a solid grasp of the extent and complexity of the industry's difficulties. The task force, headed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, is scheduled to approve or reject the restructuring plans that GM and Chrysler submitted to the government by March 31. Sources close to the task force discussions say the panel will meet the March 31 deadline, refuting speculation it may use an option set out in the automakers' loan terms to delay a decision for up to 30 days. "Given the makeup of that committee, they've probably got their arms around the industry dynamics," said John Casesa of the Casesa Shapiro Group LLC in New York. "Now, the process is in the realm of politics. The solution will be the product of a compromise between what's politically acceptable to the White House, and what Congress will fund."
Source: The Detroit News

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Local Car Dealers' Inventories Pile Up

Dealers Say It's A Good Time To Buy
HONOLULU - Local car dealers said they do have excess inventory. They also said it's a great time to buy a car, and they're hopeful sales will make a U-turn. The slump in new cars sales in Hawaii went from more than 70,000 sold in 2005 to a projected low of 36,000 this year, down nearly 50 percent. Car sales are the largest driver of the retail economy after tourism and when car sales slow the economy slumps, auto industry officials said. "Well the auto industry is a key part of any economy, sort of the harbinger of what's to come. So, when auto sales percent up then you can start to see the economy return," said Dave Rolf, Hawaii Auto Dealers Association. Dealers said it's a great time to buy a new car. A part of the president's economic recovery bill may give Hawaii car buyers a tax break of up to $300 or $400.
Source: MSNBC.com

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European Dealers Plan to Buy Stake in Opel/Vauxhall

Goal is to raise 400 million euros, or $511 million
Opel/Vauxhall dealers plan to raise 400 million euros ($511 million) to buy a minority stake in the troubled General Motors-owned brands. Euroda, which represents 4,000 Opel/Vauxhall dealers in 25 European countries, plans to establish a fund to take a stake in the brands. Each dealer would pay 150 euros into the fund from profits on each car they sell over the next three years in return for a stake in a new Opel/Vauxhall company. Euroda acknowledged that its fund would only raise enough cash to finance a minority stake in the automaker but said its plan would give a clear signal of support to governments, Opel/Vauxhall workers, and -- above all -- customers. Opel/Vauxhall dealer associations in different countries will vote on the proposal in the coming weeks and a final vote will be held at the next Euroda meeting on May 15.
Source: Automotive News

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Ford Pact To Even Out Labor Costs With Toyota's

Ford Motor Co. expects to cut its hourly labor costs to the levels of Toyota Motor Corp. and other foreign rivals with U.S. plants in two years thanks to union contract changes ratified this week. The concessions, which trim benefits, change work rules and eliminate some pay increases, could save Ford as much as $375 million this year and $500 million or more in subsequent years, company officials said Wednesday. Under the new UAW terms, Ford said it will pay compensation of about $55 a hour, including benefits, pensions and bonuses. That's down from about $60 and moves Ford closer to the estimated $48 an hour Toyota and other foreign auto makers pay employees at their U.S. plants, said Ford's group vice president of global manufacturing, Joe Hinrichs. Over the next two years, Ford should lower the rate further as it is allowed to replace retiring workers with new hires costing about $30 an hour. The auto maker says it expects to bring its rate down to $50 by 2011.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Saab Cuts 750 Jobs, Says It's Being Courted By Swedish Investor Group

STOCKHOLM -- Saab today announced 750 job cuts as it tries to stay afloat and said that a group of Sweden-based investors was interested in buying the brand. General Motors has said it will shed loss-making Saab at the latest by 2010. Saab was granted creditor protection in February while it restructures and tries to find a buyer for the company. "I cannot disclose who they are, but I can confirm that there is a group of investors in Sweden which has shown interest," Saab spokesman Eric Geers said, adding Saab was being courted by six to eight "very large" companies in total.
Source: Reuters

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NADA Update
COBRA Subsidy Compliance Addressed in New Virtual Seminar

Dealers with former employees and certain beneficiaries eligible for continuing health insurance coverage may need to issue a new COBRA notice indicating that they may be eligible for a 65 percent reduction in premiums. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides temporary, taxpayer-funded premium relief for people otherwise eligible to elect to continue an employer's health plan coverage under the Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, known as COBRA.

As of Feb. 17, 2009, the ARRA program applies to people who become eligible for COBRA between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009. Those who choose to continue coverage may receive a 65 percent plan continuation premium discount. In other words, employees who normally would pay 100 percent of their COBRA plan premiums may need to pay only 35 percent, with employers or the health plan picking up the difference.

To help dealerships comply with the Act, NADA has asked Penny Wofford, an employment law specialist and partner in the law firm Ford & Harrison, LLP, to conduct a virtual seminar on Thursday, March 19, from 1-2:30 p.m. EST. In “Employer Requirements for New COBRA Subsidy,” Wofford will discuss Assistance-Eligible Individuals (AEIs), employer notices and their timing and the payroll tax credit. She will outline the steps dealerships need to take to comply and to coordinate the subsidy administration with COBRA administrators, insurers and other service providers. Participants’ questions will be addressed during the final 15 minutes of the seminar.

The fee for this timely virtual seminar is $50 per computer connection. To register, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call (800) 252-6232, ext. 2.

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NADART 401(k) Named Preferred Provider for National Independent Auto Dealers Association

McLEAN, Va. -- NADA Retirement Administrators, Inc. (NADART) was selected as the preferred retirement plan provider for the National Independent Auto Dealers Association (NIADA), a trade group representing about 20,000 members. "NADART was chosen for its ability to provide a quality retirement plan to its members at a cost they can afford," said Stephen Johnson, director of marketing for NADART. "Our products as well as our commitment to the auto industry will prove to be a good fit for NIADA and their members."
Source: NADA Newswire

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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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Quotable
 
"The auto industry is hurting right now and we want to do our part to help promote a recovery. We have had a long relationship with our local auto dealers and we believe the recovery of our country's economy depends on a healthy auto industry."

    -- Fred Ryan, president of Allbritton Communications, which announced a program to grant every employee $2,000 toward the purchase of a new car and $1,000 for a used car, WTOP, March 12

Video Highlights
 
 

NADA-TV: McEleney Says Meeting With Obama Auto Task Force Was Productive

 

NADA-TV: McEleney Testifies at EPA Hearing on Fuel Economy Rules

 NADA Tackles Industry Crisis


NADA Chairman Speaks at the Convention in New Orleans
NBC: "Demise of Local Dealerships Leaves Big Dent"
2009 Convention in New Orleans
NADA on the Front Lines


Click here for more NADA-TV reports.

Member Products & Services
 
Lenovo Celebrates  St. Patrick's Day

NADA Members can save up to 41 percent off the Web price on select Lenovo PCs and notebooks by entering the eCoupon USXSTPATSSALE at checkout. Great savings also are available on all ThinkPad and IdeaPad notebooks along with all computing accessories. Shipping is free on all Web orders. This offer ends March 17. To take advantage of these savings, visit NADA's PC Purchase Program online (login required).

NADA Used Car Guide Unveils Used-Vehicle Appraisal Product for Dealers

NADA Used Car Guide is introducing a unique and affordable new appraisal product called NADA AppraisalPRO, which provides a complete picture of the used-vehicle market in one location. The online tool provides dealers with the flexibility to define the market area and customize each appraisal by making adjustments to determine the best number for each and every trade-in. NADA AppraisalPRO is available at a low introductory monthly subscription rate of $150 for unlimited lookups per location. For more information, visit www.nada.com/appraisal. To place an order, call (866) 974-6232.

 
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