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Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top Stories
Ford Leads First U.S. Auto-Sales Gain Since 2007 on 'Clunkers'
Toyota, Hyundai Lead Asian Automakers' U.S. Rebound
Dealers Reimbursed for 5.7% of Clunker Claims, Surveys Show
Government Begins Random Dealership Audits on Clunkers
Manufacturing, Housing Data Signal a Return to Growth
Graduates of NADA's Charter Class at Babson College Offer Some Words of Advice
Opinion: A Good Deal
Top Stories
Ford Leads First U.S. Auto-Sales Gain Since 2007 on 'Clunkers'

Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. led U.S. auto sales to the first monthly gain since 2007 as the government’s “cash for clunkers” rebates lured shoppers to showrooms. The three carmakers each reported more August deliveries than a year earlier, while General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Nissan Motor Co. fell. The industry total rose 1 percent to 1.26 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate was 14.1 million, based on Bloomberg data. That was the highest since May 2008.
Source: Bloomberg

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Toyota, Hyundai Lead Asian Automakers' U.S. Rebound

Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., buoyed by the U.S. government’s “cash for clunkers” rebates, had their highest monthly sales this year and led Asian brands to their first combined sales gain in 15 months. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, had a 6.4 percent increase, Tokyo-based Honda’s sales rose 9.9 percent and Hyundai’s surged 47 percent. “Cash for clunkers has clearly benefited the Toyotas and Hondas of the world,” said Joe Barker, an analyst at consultant CSM Worldwide Inc. in Northville, Michigan. “They had the right mix of product at the right time.”
Source: Bloomberg

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Dealers Reimbursed for 5.7% of Clunker Claims, Surveys Show

WASHINGTON -- Dealers in four states have been reimbursed by the government for 5.7 percent of their cash-for-clunkers transactions, the latest dealer association surveys show. Polls in North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana and Alabama last week found that dealers had been reimbursed for 2,701 of the 47,693 transactions submitted for rebates. “It’s like watching paint dry,” said Donald Hall, president of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, which conducted one survey. “The government doesn’t see the sense of urgency in paying money back to dealers.” The results show only incremental increases in dealer payments over previous weeks despite a surge in the number of employees who are processing dealer applications. In North Carolina, reimbursement was made on 6.6 percent of deals as of Aug. 26, up from 1.7 percent two weeks earlier. “The results are significantly better but still horribly dismal,” said Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, which conducted the survey.
Source: Automotive News

Editor's Note: A national poll of dealers as of Aug. 27 conducted by NADA also reflects the state surveys: 5.7 percent of clunker deals have been paid out and 83.7 percent of the applications are still under review by the Department of Transportation (DOT). In an effort to give the government a clearer understanding of the scope of payment problems, NADA has shared its detailed survey data with DOT and is urging DOT to streamline the review process so that dealers are paid in a more timely manner.

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Government Begins Random Dealership Audits on Clunkers

Dealer groups annoyed as reimbursements lag
WASHINGTON -- The federal government is starting to make random, unannounced visits to dealerships to audit their compliance with the cash-for-clunkers rules, dealer associations said. The $3 billion cash-for-clunkers program had detailed requirements aimed at ensuring that the engines of trade-ins were destroyed rather than resold. NADA e-mailed members [Monday] advising them of possible spot audits by the federal agency. “Please make sure that all transaction paperwork and trade-in vehicles are in order,” the message said. Some dealer representatives took issue today with the timing of the audits. “The government seems to be more interested in auditing early on rather than paying early on,” said Donald Hall, president of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: Automotive News

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Manufacturing, Housing Data Signal a Return to Growth

Rise in construction spending follows other signs real estate is leveling
Two sectors of the economy that have suffered the longest, deepest decline in the recession -- manufacturing and housing -- are now expanding, according to new data that offer fresh evidence that the economy has begun to grow. The Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday that manufacturing expanded in August for the first time since January 2008. Stronger demand for automobiles, spurred by the federal government's Cash for Clunkers program, has helped fuel the expansion. Manufacturers are also revving up production to compensate for inventory levels that were allowed to dwindle in recent months, and exports of manufactured goods have risen as the global economy has stabilized.
Source: The Washington Post

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Graduates of NADA's Charter Class at Babson College Offer Some Words of Advice

The MBA-like program focuses on leadership, management and entrepreneurship and offers dealers and managers information to help survive the challenging times.
WELLESLEY, Mass. – After completing the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Dealer Executive Education at Babson College, graduates of the charter class have one bit of advice for other automotive professionals considering the program: Enroll. “As a leader, one needs to be constantly growing. Just as we train our employees, we need to train ourselves,” says Christine Caron, general manager of Honda Village in Newton, Mass. “Business is an evolving landscape that we must evolve with or get swallowed up. This program is an investment in the security of your future.” 

The charter class of NADA’s Dealer Executive Education program began in March 2008. Students completed six one-week sessions, which were spaced about three months apart on the campus of Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. The students graduated in July 2009. “The program is geared to those who have run dealerships but are looking to broaden their knowledge base on how to succeed not just in our industry, but in a rapidly changing global economy,” says Steve Nilsson, general manager of Glenwood Springs Ford Lincoln Mercury in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Its MBA program has been ranked No. 1 in entrepreneurship for 13 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. To learn more about the NADA Academy leadership development programs, call (800) 252-6232 x 5 or e-mail dealeracademy@nada.org.
Source: NADA Newswire

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Opinion: A Good Deal

The government's "Cash for Clunkers" program was worth the expense, despite some sputtering. The program accomplished what it was designed to do - get consumers back into showrooms and spur sales of new cars. Along the way, dealers also converted some of those customers into sales of other new vehicles or used cars, too. The government has been too slow to reimburse dealers, and there could be a sales slowdown now that the rebate program has ended. Still, overall, "Cash for Clunkers" did what it was intended to do. And that means it was a success.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Quotable
 
"We clearly see a strengthening and a recovery."

    -- Michael DiGiovanni, the top sales analyst at General Motors Co., on future U.S. auto sales, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2



"It's like watching paint dry. The government doesn't see the sense of urgency in paying money back to dealers."

   
-- Donald Hall, president of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, which conducted a survey on the status of clunker reimbursement, Automotive News, Sept. 1


"Cash for clunkers is going to hand the baton off to a fundamentally stronger economy as we move into the fourth quarter and into next year."

   
--  Erich Merkle, president of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Autoconomy LLC, Bloomberg, Sept. 2


"The government has been too slow to reimburse dealers, and there could be a sales slowdown now that the rebate program has ended. Still, overall, 'Cash for Clunkers' did what it was intended to do."

   
-- The Philadelphia Inquirer, in an editorial published Aug. 31

Video Highlights
 

NADA Chairman on Success of 'Clunkers' (Fox Business)


Helping Dealers Left Out of New GM (Fox Business)



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)



NADA on Floorplan Credit Crisis (NADA-TV)


 Senate Testimony on Floorplan Loans (NADA-TV)
 Banks Turning on American Car Dealers? (WTNH)
 NADA Tackles Industry Crisis (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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