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At a Glance...
Top Stories
Auto Stocks Rise With Market After Treasury Moves
Bailout Plan May Be Stricter Than GM, Chrysler Expected
After 95 Years, Auto Dealer Awaits Chrysler's Fate
EPA Presses Obama To Regulate Warming Under Clean Air Act
Tata to Start Selling World's Cheapest Car in July
Area Car Dealers: It's a Great Time to Buy
NADA Update
COBRA Subsidy Compliance Virtual Seminar to be Repeated March 31
NADA Member Handbook Now Available Online
New NADA Training Video Helps Dealers Find Additional Profits
Seminar Takes 'Deeper Dive' into FTC Red Flags Rule
Top Stories
Auto Stocks Rise With Market After Treasury Moves

Auto stocks rose with the market [Monday] after the Treasury Department announced its plan for removing toxic assets from bank balance sheets and expanding its program to thaw the market for asset-backed securities. But while the expansion of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, will have five times its original funding, [Monday's] announcement won't enlarge the group of eligible auto securities. The auto segment still benefited from the news. Several dealer groups and suppliers enjoyed a boost of more than 10 percent on the day. "Fear is a big factor affecting consumer confidence, and to the extent this action reduces fear, it is great for all of us," [David Cosper, vice chairman of Sonic Automotive Inc. and former vice chairman of Ford Motor Credit Co.] said in an e-mail. "Scared consumers tend not to make big ticket purchases. We like them calm and interested in new vehicles."
Source: Automotive News

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Bailout Plan May Be Stricter Than GM, Chrysler Expected

DETROIT — The Treasury Department will announce this week a preliminary plan to help General Motors and Chrysler that sets goals and deadlines that could be more ambitious than the companies themselves have proposed, according to a Capitol Hill staffer briefed on the plan but who wished to remain anonymous because the proposal is not yet public. Treasury's preliminary plan also could include a bridge loan to Chrysler that's less than the $5 billion the automaker wants, the staffer said. Treasury says details still are being finalized.
Source: USA TODAY

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After 95 Years, Auto Dealer Awaits Chrysler's Fate

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. -- One of Dorothy Bierlein's earliest memories is of her father shoeing horses in one half of his business while selling newfangled automobiles in the other half. "My father would beat the red hot horseshoes into shape, dip them in a bucket of water and then shoe the horses," said Bierlein, 88. "Then he'd teach a customer how to drive a car because no one knew how to drive then." Dorothy's son Randy, 58, now runs the auto dealership his grandfather added onto his blacksmith shop in 1914 after taking an auto repair course in Detroit. The business, Schaefer & Bierlein Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep [in Frankenmuth, Mich.], ranks as one of the world's oldest auto dealerships at a time when hundreds of the retailers are being forced out of business in the United States because of tight credit and plunging sales. Randy is the fifth generation of his family to run the business and is waiting to see the fate of Chrysler LLC -- the automaker his family has partnered with for 76 years and which has become part of his family -- as it struggles to survive the worst auto industry downturn in almost three decades.
Source: Reuters

[Editor's Note: NADA's Century Award recognizes dealerships that have been serving the transportation needs of their communities for 100 years or more. To date, more than 20 dealerships have been honored with the award. For more information, visit www.nada.org/centuryaward or call (703) 827-7411.]

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EPA Presses Obama To Regulate Warming Under Clean Air Act

The Environmental Protection Agency's new leadership, in a step toward confronting global warming, submitted a finding that will force the White House to decide whether to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the nearly 40-year-old Clean Air Act. Under that law, EPA's conclusion -- that such emissions are pollutants that endanger the public's health and welfare -- could trigger a broad regulatory process affecting much of the U.S. economy ... Interest groups and experts across the ideological spectrum described the EPA's proposal yesterday as groundbreaking. But ... business representatives warned that it could hobble the nation's economic recovery. The White House emphasized that the administration is simply fulfilling its legal obligations and will still press for a legislative solution to the question of curbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Source: The Washington Post

[Editor’s Note: The Obama administration is in the early stages of considering an “endangerment” finding which could eventually lead to the regulation of motor vehicle greenhouse gases (fuel economy) by EPA. NADA supports a single, national standard governing motor vehicle greenhouse gases and fuel economy, issued and administered by NHTSA pursuant to the Energy Independence and Savings Act of 2007 (EISA). NADA also believes that Congress, and not EPA, should take the lead on designing a comprehensive plan for greenhouse gas regulation that appropriately takes into account economy-wide impacts and passenger safety.]

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Tata to Start Selling World's Cheapest Car in July

Tata Motors Ltd., the owner of Jaguar and Land Rover, will begin sales of the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, from July as the company targets motorcycle buyers wanting to trade up to four wheels. The company will accept bookings for the Nano April 9 to April 25, Chairman Ratan Tata said [Monday] in Mumbai. Customers will need to pay almost the full price of the car as deposit, said Ravi Kant, managing director. The price of the car, which will be sold in three variants, will start at 123,360 rupees ($2,500) in showrooms in New Delhi, he said. Tata Motors may sell the Nano in the U.S. after 2 1/2 years while sales to Europe may begin in 2011. The company can produce as many as 60,000 Nanos a year at its factory in Pantnagar in northern India.
Source: Bloomberg

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Area Car Dealers: It's a Great Time to Buy

People with 'decent' credit can still get loans; incentives abound
PEORIA, Ill. — If you've been holding back buying a new car because you don't think you can get a loan, think again. That's the message many area auto dealers want the public to receive over the much-publicized trials and tribulations of the nation's auto industry. "We're feeling [the downturn] a little bit, but we're seeing traffic start to pick up," said Rod Dixon, general manager at Bob Lindsay Honda. Car dealers also cited unprecedented opportunities for new-car shoppers with the variety of rebates and specials now being offered to attract customers. Some buyers, depending on their income, can even deduct the sales tax and interest of a new car purchase, thanks to recently passed federal legislation, said Dixon.
Source: Peoria Journal Star

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NADA Update
COBRA Subsidy Compliance Virtual Seminar to be Repeated March 31

NADA's virtual seminar on the new COBRA subsidy will be offered again—still at the low price of $50 per computer connection—so that information can be disseminated to the widest possible audience. There were about 250 registrations for the first seminar.

As you may know, 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 Tuesday, March 31, 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. Douglas Greenhaus, NADA director of environment, health and safety, will facilitate 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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NADA Member Handbook Now Available Online

For the first time, NADA's member handbook is available online at www.nada.org/membership. The handbook includes department information and contacts. NADA has also mailed 2009 member packets to all members. The packets include: An updated leadership brochure, which has contact information for NADA's leadership and board of directors; a database update form for member companies to update their contact information; a NADA/ATD quick-reference benefits card; and a 2009 member window decal. Visit www.nada.org/membership for more information or membership@nada.org.

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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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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
 
"Fear is a big factor affecting consumer confidence, and to the extent this action reduces fear, it is great for all of us. Scared consumers tend not to make big ticket purchases. We like them calm and interested in new vehicles."

   
-- David Cosper, vice chairman of Sonic Automotive Inc. and former vice chairman of Ford Motor Credit Co., responding to auto stocks' rise after the Treasury Department announced its plan for removing toxic assets from bank balance sheets, Automotive News, March 23
Video Highlights
 

WTNH-TV: Are Banks Turning on American Car Dealers? (ABC affiliate, New Haven, Conn.)

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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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.