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Top Stories
Obama Auto Panel Backs Legislation to Spur Sales
Pelosi Backs New Car Sales Incentive Plan
GM Tries a New Tack to Win Aid
Jaguar, Buick Dethrone Lexus in Auto-Reliability Study
Graduation Nears for First NADA Dealer Executives Enrolled at Babson College
AutoNation to Cover Car Payments for Job Loss
Committed to Community: Local Auto Dealers Win Points of Light Award
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
Top Stories
Obama Auto Panel Backs Legislation to Spur Sales

President Barack Obama’s auto task force supports giving consumers incentives to buy vehicles after sales fell to a 27-year low last month, U.S. Representative Candice Miller said. “They did specifically say they’re looking forward to working with Congress on a piece of legislation that would help to incentivize buyers,” Miller, a Michigan Republican, said today on a conference call with reporters. The task force didn’t say whether it backed a “cash for clunkers” bill introduced yesterday, which would give new- vehicle discounts to those trading in older cars and trucks, she said. Task force representatives also said in a meeting with lawmakers yesterday that they may indicate next week whether the panel is inclined to back more aid to the U.S. auto industry, according to Miller. The task force may announce something “very illuminative, is the word they used, next week, which could give us a bit of a road map of where their recommendations may lead,” she said.
Source: Bloomberg

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Pelosi Backs New Car Sales Incentive Plan

WASHINGTON -- A proposal to boost auto sales by offering government-funded discounts to consumers who trade in old cars for new, more efficient models got a boost Wednesday from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But the proposal, which also is supported by Detroit auto makers and the United Auto Workers, is coming under fire from some foreign auto makers critical of a provision limiting the vouchers to vehicles built in North America. That limitation would exclude some of the most fuel-efficient cars and trucks sold in the U.S., including the Prius from Toyota Motor Corp. A bill introduced Tuesday by Rep. Betty Sutton (D., Ohio) would provide on-the-spot vouchers between $3,000 to $7,500 to consumers who trade in old vehicles for new cars and trucks, Ms. Sutton said. The amount of the voucher would vary depending on the fuel economy of the car being purchased. "The Speaker is supportive of this concept and looks forward to reviewing the details of Rep. Sutton's legislation," Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi (D., Calif.), said in an email.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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GM Tries a New Tack to Win Aid

DETROIT — When Rick Wagoner, General Motors’ chairman, tried to explain the automaker’s financial crisis during testy hearings with members of Congress last fall, many of his answers raised more questions about G.M.’s problems. Since then, however, G.M. has been uncharacteristically transparent about its finances, as it tries to convince the Obama administration’s auto industry task force that it can prosper in the future if the federal government helps it stave off insolvency. By coincidence, G.M. now appears as an open book compared to financial companies like A.I.G. that continue to serve up surprises. “We have been more forthcoming on our plans and our future than any corporation,” Mr. Wagoner said in an interview on Wednesday. “People have things they can measure us against, for better or worse, in a most visible way.” ... G.M., long considered arrogant and secretive, is now more humble, bowing to all requests for more information in the hope that it will be rewarded with more government assistance. “We made the decision to go ahead and put it all out there,” Mr. Wagoner said. “That was done with some consternation, because we’re revealing stuff about our future product plans. But we made the decision that it was the right way to go.”
Source: The New York Times

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Jaguar, Buick Dethrone Lexus in Auto-Reliability Study

NEW YORK -- British luxury car maker Jaguar jumped to the top of J.D. Power and Associates' closely watched vehicle dependability study this year, tying Buick for the No. 1 spot and dethroning Lexus for the first time since the Japanese luxury brand has been a part of the survey. "Buick and Jaguar both lead the industry in nameplate performance," said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis at J.D. Power. "In terms of individual model performance, Lexus and Toyota still do very, very well." The annual study measures problems experienced by the original owners of vehicles after three years. Suzuki owners reported the most problems among the 37 brands assessed by J.D. Power. Despite losing its crown to Jaguar and Buick, Lexus still swept top awards in four segments, while Toyota's namesake brand took five awards. General Motors Corp.'s Buick LaCrosse was J.D. Power's top midsize car, while Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand took two awards. Chrysler LLC, which took no segment awards last year, won top honors for its Dodge Caravan in the van segment.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Graduation Nears for First NADA Dealer Executives Enrolled at Babson College

Apply today for new class scheduled to begin in July
The charter class of NADA’s Dealer Executive Education partnership with Babson College, located outside Boston, is slated to graduate in July. The new MBA-like program focuses on leadership, management and entrepreneurship and offers dealers and managers information to help survive the current challenging times.

“Based on what’s going on with the economy right now, the Babson program has prepared me,” says Chris Zammito, co-owner of Zammito Automotive in Dartmouth, Mass. “You have to react to what’s going on. What you’re doing today may not be what you have to do three months from now. It’s happening that quickly.”

Babson is a leading provider of executive education and management-development programs. Its MBA program has been ranked No. 1 in entrepreneurship for 13 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.

“I am really impressed with the quality of the professors who we’ve been able to work with,” says Christine Caron, general manager of Honda Village in Newton, Mass. “Babson has really come to the table and offered up the ‘best of the best.’ It’s such an entrepreneurial think tank, that it’s really been a tremendous gift to ... learn from them.”

The charter class began in March 2008. Students have completed five of the six one-week sessions, which are spaced about three months apart and are held on the campus of the Executive Education Center at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. Upon completion of the sixth session in July, the students will become the program’s first graduating class. NADA is now accepting applications for the next class which is set to begin in July.

“I highly recommend [Babson] to anyone in the industry who wants to find out a little more about themselves ... and bring in some fresh ideas,” Zammito says. “And really bring their business to the next level.” Click here for more testimonials on the program.

New details about the program, along with the current brochure and application form, are available at www.DealerExecEd.org. For more information or questions, contact Allan Jones, Dealer Academy director, at (703) 821-7210 or ajones@nada.org.
Source: NADA Newswire

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AutoNation to Cover Car Payments for Job Loss

DETROIT -- AutoNation Inc. rolled out a new incentive program on Wednesday that covers up to six months of car payments on new or used vehicles for consumers who lose their jobs. The program, "Payment Protection," will cover the payments as the buyer looks for a new job, said Mike Maroone, president of AutoNation, the country's largest dealership chain, in an interview. "It is especially timely in this environment," he said. "There are really two big issues in retailing, availability of credit and consumer confidence." "This attacks the consumer confidence issue," Maroone added. The program, launched at 33 South Florida dealerships on Wednesday, excludes business purchases and may launch nationwide, Maroone said.
Source: Reuters

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Committed to Community: Local Auto Dealers Win Points of Light Award

DAYTONA BEACH -- Local auto dealers Jon Hall Chevrolet and Ritchey Cadillac Buick Pontiac GMC recently received Daily Point of Light awards from the Points of Light Institute for their volunteer efforts with the Stewart-Marchman Center Inc. Employees of the car dealerships donated their time and funds the last eight years for Christmas dinners and parties for members of the center's Women Assisting Recovering Mothers project, including Christmas presents for the children and a visit from Santa. Mary Flynn Boener, resource coordinator of Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare, said, "For the past eight years this generous group of salespeople has impacted over 500 individuals with their generosity, bringing hope to our clients battling poverty and addiction, and more important to their children. It has grown into an event that has extended into their own family participation."
Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal

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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 today 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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Quotable
 
"They did specifically say they're looking forward to working with Congress on a piece of legislation that would help to incentivize buyers."

   
-- U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., referring to the support of President Barack Obama's auto task force to give consumers incentives to buy vehicles, Bloomberg, March 18


"Based on what's going on with the economy right now, the Babson program has prepared me. You have to react to what's going on. What you're doing today may not be what you have to do three months from now. It's happening that quickly."

   
-- Chris Zammito, co-owner of Zammito Automotive in Dartmouth, Mass., touting lessons learned at NADA's Dealer Executive Education partnership with Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., NADA Newswire, March 19
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
 
 

Need Some Low-Cost Consulting? NADA's Dealer Hotline is Free

While new-car and truck dealers face unprecedented challenges today, NADA is offering free professional advice to help dealers meet them. NADA is helping members prioritize their dealership's top financial and operational challenges and identify areas of opportunity. Then, NADA will provide recommendations and suggestions for improvement. Free phone consultations are scheduled by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, visit www.nada.org/lifeline.

 
Lenovo Madness Sale

Lenovo is offering all NADA members up to 35 percent off select notebooks. Enter eCoupon USXTHINKMADNESS at checkout. Great savings are available on all ThinkPad and IdeaPad notebooks along with all computing accessories. Free shipping is available on all Web orders. This offer ends March 31. 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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