For optimal viewing through your web browser or PDA, click here.

SPONSORED BY
Click Here
NADA.org
Thursday, April 16, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
nada.orgAdvocacyAffiliates | Convention | Jobs | Programs | Publications | Services | Training
Top 10 Stories
U.S. Investor Group Approaches GM on Saturn
GM Said to Study Dropping Pontiac, GMC in Savings Bid
Fiat CEO Sees Chrysler Deal By April 30 Deadline
Fiat Chief's Mixed Messages
Banks Getting TARP Cash Aren't Paying It Forward
Fed Offers Look at How Dealers are Faring Throughout Districts
As Old Auto Brands Fade, New Ones Appear
Study Says Minicar Buyers Sacrifice Safety
Many U.S. Consumers Continue to Steer Away from Eco-Friendly Vehicles
Opinion: Cash for Clunkers: Buy a Car, Save the Planet
Top 10 Stories
U.S. Investor Group Approaches GM on Saturn

DETROIT -- An investor group including private equity firm Black Oak Partners has approached General Motors about buying its Saturn brand assets and dealership network, both sides said on Wednesday. The investment group, which includes some Saturn dealers, said its goal was to set up an independent distribution network that would first sell GM vehicles and then branch off into products -- including electric vehicles -- from its rivals.
Source: Reuters

[back to top]

GM Said to Study Dropping Pontiac, GMC in Savings Bid

General Motors Corp., facing a June 1 U.S.-backed bankruptcy, may drop its Pontiac and GMC brands as part of broader cost-cutting moves... GM’s Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick brands are likely safe... GMC and Pontiac are being studied as part of talks with an Obama administration task force assessing whether GM can be restructured without bankruptcy... Shedding Pontiac or GMC would mean a deeper bite into GM’s portfolio of eight U.S. brands than in its Feb. 17 blueprint for keeping $13.4 billion in federal loans. GM said then it would keep Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC and retain Pontiac as a niche line while selling or closing Hummer, Saab and Saturn.
Source: Bloomberg

[back to top]

Fiat CEO Sees Chrysler Deal By April 30 Deadline
The chief executive of Fiat SpA said Wednesday he doesn't see obstacles to closing a deal with Chrysler LLC by an April 30 deadline, adding he would do what it takes to fix the ailing U.S. car maker. "There is not a single reason why Fiat can't close (the deal by) April 30," Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of a shareholders' meeting of UBS AG, of which he is board member. "I'm ready to do whatever is necessary to turnaround the company," Marchionne said when asked if he would be ready to take the helm of Chrysler.
Source: Dow Jones Newswires

[back to top]

Fiat Chief's Mixed Messages

Statements on Chrysler Deal Add Uncertainty as Deadline Approaches
Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne is sending mixed signals about his company's potential tie-up with Chrysler. First, he said Fiat's alliance with the U.S. automaker would crumble if Chrysler's unions refused to cut labor costs. "Absolutely we are prepared to walk. There is no doubt in my mind," Marchionne said in a Toronto Globe and Mail report yesterday. "We cannot commit to this organization unless we see light at the end of the tunnel." Then he told reporters, as he was leaving a meeting at Swiss bank UBS in Zurich yesterday, that there's no reason why a deal can't be reached: "The objective of everybody who is involved in this project is to avoid a Chapter 11 filing," he said. "Our preference obviously is to find a solution."
Source: The Washington Post

[back to top]

Banks Getting TARP Cash Aren't Paying It Forward

The largest bank recipients of U.S. government aid are offering less credit to businesses and consumers, the Treasury Department said Wednesday... In a monthly snapshot of lending by the 21 largest banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, the Treasury said credit being offered fell 2.2% across all commercial-lending and consumer-lending categories in February, compared with the prior month. Particularly problematic: continued deterioration in ... general business lending, as well as the credit being made available for ... auto loans. Dan Carl, who owns ... several car dealerships in Michigan, said Fifth Third Bancorp, Cincinnati, refused to renew some of his company's credit lines when they came due earlier this month. The lack of affordable credit was one factor prompting Mr. Carl's company to recently lay off 20% of the work force and close at least one dealership. Lenders such as Fifth Third are punishing "the good customers to make up for the banks' mistakes," he said. Fifth Third received $3.45 billion through TARP.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

[back to top]

Fed Offers Look at How Dealers are Faring Throughout Districts

WASHINGTON — In the latest Beige Book issued on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board offered a glimpse into both new- and used-vehicle sale trends by district and how dealers are faring. More specifically, the report found that overall vehicle sales — hampered by weak demand and tight credit — were "sluggish" throughout all districts during the most recent time frame, even though used sales picked up in a few areas. As for new-vehicle sales specifically, they, unsurprisingly, continued to show weakness across the board.
Source: AutoRemarketing

[back to top]

As Old Auto Brands Fade, New Ones Appear

Even as Detroit reels, Chinese and Indian brands like Geely, Chery and Tata are looking to launch in the U.S.
Walking around the displays at this year's New York ... Auto Show, it is striking to see not only the number of new cars and trucks on sale, but the number of companies and brands for sale as well. Hummer, Saab, Saturn, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge are not only looking for buyers of new vehicles, but for their whole businesses. What is perhaps surprising in all this is that there are more brands, most of them unfamiliar to consumers, knocking on the door to get into the U.S. auto market even as old tried-and-true names head for the graveyard or auction block. Fiat ... is planning on reintroducing both its Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands to the U.S. ... Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra is planning on launching its diesel-powered pickup trucks and SUVs... Chinese automakers BYD, Chery, Geely and Brilliance all have designs on entering the U.S. market...
Source: BusinessWeek

[back to top]

Study Says Minicar Buyers Sacrifice Safety

WASHINGTON — Consumers who buy minicars to economize on fuel are making a big tradeoff when it comes to safety in collisions, according to an insurance group that slammed three minimodels into midsize ones in tests. In a report prepared for release on Tuesday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that crash dummies in all three models tested — the Honda Fit, the Toyota Yaris and the Smart Fortwo — fared poorly in the collisions. By contrast, the midsize models into which they crashed fared well or acceptably.
Source: The New York Times

[back to top]

Many U.S. Consumers Continue to Steer Away from Eco-Friendly Vehicles

DETROIT — Only about 10 percent of consumers are willing to spend more money for an eco-friendly vehicle. Furthermore, Strategic Vision [an automotive research firm] discovered that most Americans still put quality, brand strength and safety ahead of green features when choosing a vehicle... In order to educate manufacturers further about where these concerns rank compared to other consumer priorities, Alexander Edwards, Strategic Vision's president for automotive research, plans to offer his insight at the "Does Green Matter in a Try-to-Survive Market?" forum next week. Joining Edwards in the forum discussion will be Scott Miller, chief executive officer of Synovate Motoresearch, and Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: AutoRemarketing

[back to top]

Opinion: Cash for Clunkers: Buy a Car, Save the Planet

There's a little-noticed idea in Congress that could provide a big lift for the beleaguered car industry and help the environment at the same time: Give Americans cash vouchers to trade in older gas guzzlers for new fuel-efficient vehicles. The same "cash-for-clunkers" idea already has been taken for a successful test drive in Germany. The auto industry certainly needs the stimulus, and fast. Car dealers are struggling to survive across the country. This is a rare piece of legislation that would provide immediate benefits for the economy and the environment. President Obama already has endorsed the idea. Congress should get the cash-for-clunkers bill on the road, and fast.
Source: The Oregonian

[back to top]

 
Quotable
 
"I believe something like this is going to work, and will make Saturn better two years from now than it has been for the past 18 years."

   
-- C.M. "Bill" Gatton, owner of three Saturn stores in the Nashville area, as well as in Johnson City, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala., referring to an offer made by an investor group to acquire Saturn, The Tennessean, April 15


"The objective of everybody who is involved in this project is to avoid a Chapter 11 filing. Our preference obviously is to find a solution."

   
-- Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne, The Washington Post, April 16


Lenders ... are punishing "the good customers to make up for the banks' mistakes."

   
-- Dan Carl, owner of several car dealerships in Michigan, referring to his bank's refusal to renew some of his company's credit lines, The Wall Street Journal, April 15

Video Highlights
 
 
GM Bankruptcy Not Inevitable (msnbc.com)

 
Senate Testimony on Floorplan Loans (NADA-TV)



NADA and the Obama Auto Task Force  (NADA-TV)


 
Banks Turning on American Car Dealers? (WTNH-TV)


 
EPA Hearing on Fuel Economy (NADA-TV) 


 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 video reports.

 
Click Here
Search Back Issues | Unsubscribe | Subscribe | Manage your subscription | email us
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.