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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top Stories
GM Targets Bill to Block Auto Dealership Closings
'Cash-For-Clunkers' Vote May Open Path for $4,500 U.S. Vouchers
Cash for Clunkers May Take a While, Feds Say
Neb. AG Accusing GM of Circumventing State Law
G.M. Sells Saab to Swedish Automaker
GM Wants U.S. Saab Dealerships to Sign a New Deal by Friday
Chrysler Resumes Production
Fiat Hopes Second U.S. Try Is Winner
Houston Mother Learns Value of Car Safety-Seat Inspection
Top Stories
GM Targets Bill to Block Auto Dealership Closings

Automaker asking remaining dealers to help lobby Congress
WASHINGTON -- Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president for North American sales, service and marketing, sent a letter Friday to GM dealers not on its hit list, asking them to fight efforts in Congress to overturn plans by GM and Chrysler Group LLC to shutter hundreds of sales outlets. GM gave its dealers talking points -- and even a telephone script to use while talking to their members of Congress to oppose the measure.
Source: The Detroit News

Editor's Note: Bipartisan support continues to grow for the Maffei-Kratovil bill. With a total of 132 cosponsors, the legislation will restore dealers’ rights under state franchise laws. The weakening of state automotive franchise laws under an automaker bankruptcy filing affects every dealer’s rights. All dealers are strongly urged to contact their Representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 2743, "The Automobile Dealer Economic Rights Restoration Act.” House members can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

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'Cash-For-Clunkers' Vote May Open Path for $4,500 U.S. Vouchers

U.S. consumers may be able to collect as much as $4,500 by September on vehicle trade-ins under “cash-for-clunkers” legislation up for a vote in the House today. Approval of the $1 billion subsidy is likely because House and Senate negotiators agreed to incorporate the provision into a broader measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The important thing is to get the program under way so we can start getting the benefits,” Rep. Betty Sutton, an Ohio Democrat who crafted the plan, told reporters June 12.
Source: Bloomberg

Editor's Note: The future of cash for clunkers legislation is in question because of an upcoming procedural vote in the Senate. Passage of fleet modernization legislation will benefit all dealers. With a vote expected as soon as today, all dealers are strongly urged to contact their senators IMMEDIATELY and ask them to support the cash for clunkers legislation. Senators can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Information on the cash for clunkers proposal can be found here.

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Cash for Clunkers May Take a While, Feds Say

WASHINGTON -- With legislation establishing a "cash for clunkers" car trade-in program poised to pass Congress this week, car dealers and federal regulators are telling potential buyers not to rush out for that cash -- at least not yet. Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the National Auto Dealers Association, said the group is telling dealers the program won't be available until sometime in July. Dealers would be key to the process. They would process requests for the program, credit the vouchers toward a down payment on a new car, and then apply for reimbursement from the government.
Source: The Detroit News

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Neb. AG Accusing GM of Circumventing State Law

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is accusing General Motors of trying to circumvent state consumer protection laws. In a letter Monday to all other states' attorneys general, Bruning says GM is claiming states' laws protecting consumers and dealerships can be ignored. "What GM is trying to do in Nebraska and other states is unconscionable," Bruning said in a late Monday afternoon release. Bruning says in the letter that he will file an objection with the bankruptcy court this week and urged other states' attorneys general to do the same.
Source: The Associated Press

Editor's Note: The Attorney General of Texas also filed an objection on Friday in GM's pending bankruptcy case in federal court in New York.

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G.M. Sells Saab to Swedish Automaker

General Motors announced Tuesday that it had reached a tentative agreement to sell its Swedish unit, Saab Automobile, to a consortium led by the sports car maker Koenigsegg Automotive. The companies said they had signed a memorandum of understanding, contingent on $600 million of financing from the European Investment Bank that is to be guaranteed by the Swedish government. “This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of G.M. and its European operations,” the G.M. Europe president, Carl-Peter Forster, said in the statement.
Source: The New York Times

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GM Wants U.S. Saab Dealerships to Sign a New Deal by Friday

The proposed agreement, which GM sent to Saab dealerships on Friday, June 12, will allow for two possibilities: The first would be continuing to sell Saabs under the new ownership. The second would occur if GM can't close a deal on Saab. The dealerships would then follow an orderly wind down and GM would offer a payout.
Source: Automotive News

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Chrysler Resumes Production

DETROIT -- Chrysler Group LLC began building vehicles again when it reactivated one of its Detroit assembly plants Monday. The Conner Avenue plant started operations Monday morning, Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said. The plant is the only factory to return to production since Chrysler temporarily halted all output when it filed for bankruptcy on April 30. The plant employs about 115 people and produces the hot-rod Dodge Viper brand.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Fiat Hopes Second U.S. Try Is Winner

When Fiat SpA entered the U.S. market in the late 1970s, the Italian auto maker thought it had the answer to that decade's gas crisis: a fleet of small, fuel-efficient cars. The debut, however, became a debacle as Fiat struggled to set up an efficient dealer network and complaints about quality piled up. Nearly three decades later, Fiat is readying its second attempt to crack the U.S.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Houston Mother Learns Value of Car Safety-Seat Inspection

As one Houston mother recently learned, having a child safety seat properly installed can make a life-and-death difference. After having car seats for her two daughters installed at Monument Chevrolet in Pasadena, Texas, Stacy Martin was in an accident involving several vehicles that left her Chevy Tahoe with considerable damage. Thanks to the work of Safe Kids of Greater Houston and the generosity of Monument Chevrolet owner Carroll Smith, Martin's daughters were unharmed. "I am most certain that without last month's inspection by your team, my daughters would have been injured," Martin wrote in a thank-you letter to the team of volunteers. Auto dealers all over the country have inspected more than a million child safety seats as leaders of a national campaign to keep children—our most vulnerable passengers—safe.
Source: NADA Newswire

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Quotable
 
"Saab is a highly respected automotive brand with great potential. Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company."

    -- G.M. Europe President Carl-Peter Forster, in a statement announcing GM had reached a tentative agreement to sell Saab Automobile to a consortium led by the sports car maker Koenigsegg Automotive, The New York Times, June 16
Video Highlights
 
 
Car Dealers Trying to Buy More Time (NBC)

 
John McEleney's Testimony to Senate Committee (CNBC)



Fighting the Dealers' Fight (CNBC)


 
Cutting Dealers a Mistake (Fox Business Network)



Vice Chairman Tonkin on Chrysler Closures (Bloomberg)


 
Should Government Decide Dealers' Fate? (CNBC)



The Case Against Closing Dealerships (CNBC)



In-Depth Look - Pent Up Auto Demand (Bloomberg)



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)
 NADA Tackles Industry Crisis (NADA-TV)
 McEleney Speaks at NADA Convention (NADA-TV)
 Demise of Dealerships Leaves Big Dent (NBC)
NADA on the Front Lines  (NADA-TV)


Click here for more video reports.

 


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