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Tuesday, May 12, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 10 Stories
Car Dealers Push to Save Their Stores
Opinion: Firing Dealers is No Job for an Amateur
Opinion: The Reckoning, Thousands of Dealers to be Cut This Week
Fiat Said to Decide Which Chrysler Dealerships to Keep in U.S.
Chrysler Dealerships Worry About What's Next
Car Dealers Covet Competitors as Cuts Loom
Ford Reduces Urban Dealers, Lincoln-Mercury Outlets
G.M. Says Bondholders Have Its Final Offer on Debt Exchange
Nissan Reports First Annual Loss in a Decade
Ford to Sell 300M Shares to Cut UAW Obligation
Top 10 Stories
Car Dealers Push to Save Their Stores

More than 150 car dealers plan to descend on Capitol Hill starting today, in a lobbying push aimed at saving their sales outlets as General Motors and Chrysler move to sharply pare back operations. John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said the plight of dealers has not been getting enough attention in the wrenching consolidation being pushed by the Obama administration's autos task force. "We need lawmakers to speak to the White House and try to explain that this process needs to be slowed down," McEleney said, explaining the lobbying campaign. "We need a more orderly transition."
Source: The Washington Post

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Opinion: Firing Dealers is No Job for an Amateur
By Peter Brown

Yes, the Detroit 3 have a lot of stores. And yes, those stores on average sell a lot fewer cars than do Toyota or Honda dealerships. But will a precipitous closing of 1,000 Chrysler LLC stores help a new Chrysler prosper after bankruptcy? Surely not in the short or medium run. Memo to U.S. government: Car dealers buy the cars from the carmakers. And many consumers like to buy cars from dealerships close to home. Be careful that you don't kill the patient while trying to cure him.
Source: Automotive News


[Editor's Note: Peter Brown is associate publisher and editorial director of Automotive News.]

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Opinion: The Reckoning, Thousands of Dealers to be Cut This Week
By Steve Parker

The people losing their jobs and paychecks are not fantasies, the owners who can't find a place nearby to get their cars serviced are being ignored, the thousands of dealerships which will soon turn into empty lots or "attractive nuisances" where kids can play and get hurt and the cities and towns losing, in many cases, a majority of the tax dollars they need for their budgets --- these are all those "other shoes" which are just beginning to drop.
Source: The Huffington Post

[Editor's Note: Steve Parker is a journalist and broadcaster who has covered the auto industry and auto racing for 35 years.]

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Fiat Said to Decide Which Chrysler Dealerships to Keep in U.S.

Fiat SpA, not Chrysler LLC, will decide which dealers will be brought along to the new company to be formed under the U.S. automaker’s bankruptcy process, people familiar with the situation said. An initial list of the retailers to be retained will be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by May 14, according to documents in those proceedings. The automaker hasn’t said which outlets it will cut, and President Jim Press told dealers on a May 8 call that the list was evolving.
Source: Bloomberg

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Chrysler Dealerships Worry About What's Next

... There's evidence at dealerships around the country that people are still willing to shop for Chrysler vehicles. Still, dealers are nervous. Like any good salesman, though, dealers are trying to put an optimistic spin on the situation. "America loves an underdog," says Alan Wilson, president of Howard Wilson Chrysler-Jeep-Suzuki in the Jackson, Miss., metro area. "America has always rallied to people when they are down on their luck."
Source: USA TODAY

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Car Dealers Covet Competitors as Cuts Loom

JACKSON, Mich. -- As Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. compile lists of dealers that will be eliminated, thousands of owners of these businesses tensely await announcements expected later this week. But some car dealers see opportunity amid the industry's wreckage, aiming to grab market share and boost profits by buying up struggling competitors. "Some guys aren't going to make it through. When my peer group is wringing their hands, I set up another line of credit. I think there is huge opportunity," [said Wes Lutz, owner of a Dodge store in Jackson, Mich.]
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Ford Reduces Urban Dealers, Lincoln-Mercury Outlets

Ford Motor Co., the only U.S. automaker forgoing federal aid, said it’s making targeted cuts in dealers while General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC slash retail outlets to shave costs. “We are working in a collaborative way, but not a forced way with our dealers,” [Ken Czubay, vice president of sales and marketing] said today in an interview. “We have no ‘Go Away,’ no consolidation letters planned to send to anyone.”
Source: Bloomberg

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G.M. Says Bondholders Have Its Final Offer on Debt Exchange

Bondholders, who hold more than $27 billion in G.M. debt, have until May 27 to decide whether they will swap their bonds for shares of a reorganized G.M. The company has said it needs 90 percent of the bonds to be exchanged to meet Treasury Department guidelines to receive billions of dollars in additional loans. If not enough bondholders agree to the terms, G.M. is expected to file for bankruptcy protection by June 1.
Source: The New York Times

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Nissan Reports First Annual Loss in a Decade

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co., Japan's No. 3 automaker, reported a 233.7 billion yen ($2.4 billion) annual net loss, its first yearly loss in a decade -- but expects the red ink to lessen in the current fiscal year. "We are beginning to see some signs of improved access to credit, the impact of government stimulus packages and a gradual return in consumer confidence," said Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, while remaining cautious about the future.
Source: The Associated Press

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Ford to Sell 300M Shares to Cut UAW Obligation

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said today that it would sell 300 million common shares and use part of the proceeds to pay off its health-care obligations to the UAW under the terms of a recently concluded deal with the union. "Today's equity offering is another example of the fast, decisive action we are taking as we build momentum on our plan, including further progress on improving our balance sheet," CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.
Source: Reuters

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Quotable
 
"We need lawmakers to speak to the White House and ... explain that this process needs to be slowed down. We need a more orderly transition."

   
-- NADA Chairman John McEleney, on NADA's lobbying push to stop drastic cuts in the dealer network, The Washington Post, May 12


"Memo to U.S. government: Car dealers buy the cars from the carmakers. And many consumers like to buy cars from dealerships close to home. Be careful that you don't kill the patient while trying to cure him."

   
-- Peter Brown, associate publisher and editorial director of Automotive News, May 11


 "We are working in a collaborative way, but not a forced way with our dealers."

   
-- Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of sales and marketing, Bloomberg, May 11

Video Highlights
 

The Case Against Closing Dealerships (CNBC)


NADA and the Obama Auto Task Force (PBS, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer)


 
NADA on Cash for Clunkers (NADA-TV)



NADA on Floorplan Credit Crisis (NADA-TV)


 
Senate Testimony on Floorplan Loans (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.

 
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