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Monday, July 6, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 10 Stories
Court Ruling Clears Path for G.M. to Restructure
Hyundai Advances Dealers Cash for 'Clunker' Trade-ins
Chrysler to Sell 4 Fiat 500 Models in U.S., CEO Says
GM Dealers Fret as Inventories Shrink
Subaru Will Add a Few Dealers, Mainly in the Sun Belt
Toyota Plans to Spend $500 Million on Indiana SUV Plant Revamp
Hybrids Boost Toyota and Honda Car Sales
Lots of Cars and Now a Few Buyers
FTC Urged to Require Warnings on Chryslers
NADA, NHTSA Experts to Present Cash-for-Clunkers Webinar Tomorrow
Top 10 Stories
Court Ruling Clears Path for G.M. to Restructure

A federal judge approved a plan by General Motors late on Sunday to sell its best assets to a new, government-backed company, a crucial step for the automaker to restructure and complete its trip through bankruptcy court. With the approval of the restructuring plan, G.M. and the government are seeking to close the sale by Thursday afternoon, when a four-day stay of the judge’s order expires. The government ... had given G.M. until Friday to win approval for the sale or risk losing its bankruptcy financing.
Source: The New York Times

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Hyundai Advances Dealers Cash for 'Clunker' Trade-ins

Hyundai Motor Co. ... is advancing money to U.S. dealers so they can immediately take advantage of a “cash for clunkers” program. The payments cover new-vehicle credits for consumers until the federal government completes rules for the program later this month ... The National Automobile Dealers Association recommends dealers wait for the rules to come out before acting, said John McEleney, chairman of the McLean, Virginia-based group. Dealers could be fined $15,000 for each sale for violating the rules, NHTSA has said.
Source: Bloomberg

Editor's Note: NADA is strongly cautioning dealers from attempting any ‘cash for clunkers’ transactions until the Department of Transportation finalizes the program and implements the rules around July 24. Dealers not in compliance with the program may be held liable for any penalties and may have to fund the government’s incentive out of their own pockets if the sale does not meet the program’s requirements.

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Chrysler to Sell 4 Fiat 500 Models in U.S., CEO Says

Chrysler Group LLC, the U.S. automaker run by Fiat SpA, will sell four models of the Italian carmaker’s 500 subcompact in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said. Chrysler ... will eventually sell a convertible, wagon and sporty version called the “Abarth” in addition to the four-seat subcompact in the U.S., Marchionne said ... “All of those cars will be coming to the U.S.,” Marchionne said. “Fiat will be known in the U.S. purely in terms of its 500 car.”
Source: Bloomberg

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GM Dealers Fret as Inventories Shrink

Shutdowns create shortages of trucks and crossovers
DETROIT -- Some General Motors dealers fear they could run out of certain crossovers and full-sized pickups by mid-July. "We have about 14 Enclaves left, but we're selling that many a month," says John Pitre, general manager of Motor City Auto Center in Bakersfield, Calif. Because consumers shifted to cars and crossovers, GM was well stocked in pickups earlier this year, says GM spokesman Pete Ternes. But in the past two months, pickup sales have risen. He reads that as a sign that the economy is recovering.
Source: Automotive News

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Subaru Will Add a Few Dealers, Mainly in the Sun Belt

SEATTLE -- "We want to add a handful of new dealers, mainly in the South and along the Sun Belt," said Tim Colbeck, senior vice president for sales at Subaru of America. Colbeck said interest in Subaru is growing because the brand came in second, behind Lexus, in the National Automobile Dealers Association's latest dealer attitude survey, which measures how dealers feel about the brands they sell. Subaru was the only mainstream manufacturer to grow in 2008.
Source: Automotive News

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Toyota Plans to Spend $500 Million on Indiana SUV Plant Revamp

Toyota Motor Corp., grappling with excess North American plant capacity as sales wither, plans to spend about $500 million to upgrade an Indiana SUV-assembly plant, its biggest single such investment this year. The 11 year-old factory will build Highlander sport-utility vehicles, sales of which plunged 41 percent in the U.S. in the first half.
Source: Bloomberg

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Hybrids Boost Toyota and Honda Car Sales

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp's Prius hybrid was Japan's best-selling car in June while Honda Motor Co's rival Insight ranked fourth, helping the two hybrid leaders dominate the list of top-selling models. June was the third consecutive month in which a gasoline-electric model ranked No.1 among non-minivehicles thanks to a tax incentive introduced in April that benefits hybrids more than other cars.
Source: Reuters

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Lots of Cars and Now a Few Buyers

Helped by incentives and price cuts, auto sales may be ready to rebound
In the past two months, industry observers have spotted signals that the worst of the consumer malaise about car purchases has come and gone. The new "cash for clunkers" government-backed incentives for consumers to trade in older, less fuel-efficient vehicles will apply to 250,000 vehicle purchases this year. While a relative drop in the bucket, dealers say it will help bring prospective buyers into showrooms to check out newer fuel-efficient cars.
Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

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FTC Urged to Require Warnings on Chryslers

Consumer groups petitioned the Federal Trade Commission [Thursday] to require that Chrysler vehicles display stickers warning prospective buyers of liability risks. The request comes after Chrysler successfully shed its obligation for past and future product liability claims on vehicles manufactured before May 30 ... Chrysler opposes the petition, saying the consumer groups had failed to uncover a "systemic defect that requires disclosure."
Source: The Washington Post

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NADA, NHTSA Experts to Present Cash-for-Clunkers Webinar Tomorrow

The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act of 2009, also known as “Cash for Clunkers” will be covered in detail in two upcoming NADA Webinars. The Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on June 24, allows for credits of up to $4,500 for eligible used vehicles toward the purchase of certain new vehicles. Staff from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and NADA will provide an expert overview of the CARS Act in the first upcoming NADA Webinar, to be held tomorrow, July 7 from 1–3 p.m. (EST). A second CARS Webinar is planned for later in July, in which NHTSA’s final CARS guidance will be reviewed in detail. Participants can attend both Webinars for the combined registration fee of $199. For more information or to register, visit www.nada.org/seminars or call NADA at (800) 252-6232, ext. 2.
Source: NADA Newswire

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Quotable
 
"There are lots of other things they want to do with their lives rather than wait to buy."

   
-- Kevin Reilly, owner of a Hyundai dealership in Alexandria, Va., on consumers' willingness to buy new vehicles under the government's new "cash for clunkers" program, Bloomberg, July 2


"I love dealers feeling lean, but not so lean that they can't conduct business."

    -- Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, on some dealers' fears they could run out of certain crossovers and full-sized pickups by mid-July, Automotive News, July 6


"Fiat will be known in the U.S. purely in terms of its 500 car."

    -- Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne, Bloomberg, July 2

Video Highlights
 

Media Coverage: The Tragedy of Dealer Closings (NADA-TV)


NADA's New Buy Now Campaign



No Dent in Demand for Some U.S. Cars (NBC)



Car Dealers Trying to Buy More Time (NBC)



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 Floorplan Credit Crisis (NADA-TV)


John McEleney's Testimony to Senate Committee (CNBC)
 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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