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Monday, March 16, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Bernanke Sees Recovery Beginning in 2010
Obama Plans Small-Business Lending Boost
Recession Shifts Gears for Auto Dealers
Auto Tax Revenues Going in Reverse, Hurting Cities' Coffers
KATV Announces 'Car Partners' Program
NADA Update
New NADA Training Video Helps Dealers Find Additional Profits
COBRA Subsidy Compliance Addressed in New Virtual Seminar
Seminar Takes 'Deeper Dive' into FTC Red Flags Rule
NADART 401(k) Named Preferred Provider for NIADA
Top Stories
Bernanke Sees Recovery Beginning in 2010

“We’ll see the recession coming to an end probably this year.” With those words, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke staked a marker on what he believes will be the end of the malaise that has descended upon the United States economy. And, he said on a “60 Minutes” interview that ran Sunday evening, the country will begin to recover next year — “and it will pick up steam over time.” That recovery, however, is dependent on having the backing of lawmakers and the public.
Source: The New York Times

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Obama Plans Small-Business Lending Boost

WASHINGTON — Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner [today] planned to announce a broad package that includes reduced small-business lending fees and an increase on the guarantee to some Small Business Administration loans. "We know that small businesses are the engine of growth in the economy, and we absolutely want to do things to help them," [Christina Romer, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisers] said Sunday morning, speaking broadly on the outline of the plan. "There are already a lot of things to help them in the recovery package, and some of what will be coming out are the things that were in the recovery package: increasing the SBA loan guarantees, lowering fees." The new measures taking effect [today] focus on opening up small-business lending, seen as critical to cities' growth. Under the two-month-old administration's new initiative, the government will step in to buy these loans to help unlock the frozen credit market, using money from the recently passed bailout package in the range of between $10 billion to $20 billion, one official briefed on the plan said.
Source: The Associated Press

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Recession Shifts Gears for Auto Dealers

New Orleans-area automotive dealerships are reporting a slump in vehicle sales, as buyers have a harder time getting financing and some are holding on to their vehicles rather than buying new ones. As consumers try to keep their vehicles running, dealerships are reporting strong business in parts and service. At Ray Brandt’s showrooms, new and used car sales are down, but the parts and service sides of his business are growing. “We continue to do very well in those areas in spite of the recession,” Brandt said. Jay Bryan, owner and president of Bryan Chevrolet Inc., which has three side-by-side dealerships in Metairie, saw revenues drop last year... Sales of new cars “are doing terribly,” Bryan said, but other departments, such as used cars and parts and service, are at pre-Katrina figures or better, he said. “Eighty percent of our business is fine,” he said. “It’s just the 20 percent in new cars that’s slow.”
Source: New Orleans City Business

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Auto Tax Revenues Going in Reverse, Hurting Cities' Coffers

The High Desert community of Palmdale [Calif.] has been hit hard by the recession, as plummeting revenues forced the city to slash its work force by 20 percent and scrap its traditional Rose Parade float. But the situation could get even worse if scared consumers continue to steer clear of Palmdale Auto Mall, one of the city's biggest cash cows. So officials have come up with an idea they hope will jump-start stalled auto sales: They'll give a $300 gift card from the Antelope Valley Mall to anyone who buys a new car in town. "No one knows for sure if it's going to work, but it seems like it's driven more people to think about it," said Palmdale spokesman John Mlynar. The nationwide slump in auto sales - caused by the credit crunch, consumer anxiety and rising unemployment - has hit California particularly hard. Cities like Palmdale - where sprawling auto malls flank freeways and major thoroughfares - are feeling the pinch in their coffers. Glendale doesn't boast an auto mall, although dealerships are clustered along a stretch of North Brand Boulevard. Sales tax revenue from those companies brought in $1.6 million in 2007, but just $1.2 million last year. Anticipating dismal sales this year, Glendale trimmed its upcoming budget from $28 million to $25 million, enacted a hiring freeze and eliminated vacant positions.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News

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KATV Announces 'Car Partners' Program

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- These tough economic times have some employers getting creative when it comes to finding ways to help stimulate the economy--and KATV’s parent company, Allbritton Communications, is doing its part to help the auto industry. Allbritton is offering employees at KATV and the six other stations it owns cash to buy cars. KATV President and General Manager Dale Nicholson made the announcement in Little Rock Thursday morning at a staff meeting. “The company has told every regular, full-time and part-time employee that if they choose to purchase an automobile from a local dealer in the next 60 days, the company will pay $2,000 toward the purchase or lease of a new car--and $1,000 toward the purchase or lease of a used car.” The KATV Car Partners Program is aimed at helping car dealers get back on their feet. The Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association says now is a great time for the general public to buy a new car, because manufacturers are offering extra incentives. Also, the federal stimulus bill allows those who buy new automobiles in 2009 to deduct any state and local sales and excise taxes on their purchase from their taxable income.
Source: KATV (Little Rock, Ark.)

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NADA Update
New NADA Training Video Helps Dealers Find Additional Profits

You can tell a lot about a person by the vehicle he or she drives. For many, a car or truck is more than just a way to get from point “A” to point “B.” It is an extension of the self. It is a way for everyone to express his or her individuality. Accessorizing is as much about passion as it is about product. NADA Management Education’s new training DVD, Accessorizing Your Way to Additional Profits, is designed to help dealers tap into this passion and add dollars to every sale. Dealers and managers can learn how to launch an accessories operation from dealers who have actually done it, examining staffing, displays, marketing, warranties, and more. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) estimates that accessories sales top $38 billion, and that dealerships capture just 10–15 percent of this market. If this percentage were to increase significantly, U.S. dealerships as a whole could see billions in additional profits and build customer loyalty. Consumers who accessorize their vehicles spend, on average, up to $3,500 annually on accessories. This training package includes a four-part DVD and a 22-page study guide, complete with an accessories quiz and lists of established parts vendors. To order, visit www.nada.org/accessorizing or call (800) 252-6232, ext. 2. Order online to watch a free video preview!

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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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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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NADART 401(k) Named Preferred Provider for NIADA

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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Quotable
 
"We'll see the recession coming to an end probably this year."

   
-- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, on a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday evening, The New York Times, March 16
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 details, visit www.nada.com/appraisal. To order, call (866) 974-6232.

 
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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.