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Top Stories
Toyota Finds Fix for Gas Pedals; Update Due Friday
Toyota U.S. Dealers May Lose $2.47 Billion a Month
Toyota US Sales Halt Deals Blow to Image, Earnings
Ford Profit Comes as Toyota Hits a Bump
Chrysler Says It Won't Sue Over Dealer Arbitration
NADA Convention & Expo
NADA Convention's Economic Impact on Central Florida to Exceed $30 Million
Orlando Overtakes Vegas As America's Top Travel Spot
Opinion: Strength in Numbers
Top Stories
Toyota Finds Fix for Gas Pedals; Update Due Friday

Toyota Motor Corp. has told employees that it has figured out how to fix a problem with sticking accelerator pedals and will brief them on the details on Friday. The company said in an e-mail to employees obtained by The Associated Press that it presented the remedy to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The memo did not say when the repairs would make their way to customers. "Plans are being developed on a variety of fronts. ... we will update you with further details," Toyota said in the e-mail, sent Thursday night.

A second House committee, meanwhile, is launching an investigation into the problems with Toyota's accelerator pedal systems. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a Feb. 4 hearing entitled, "Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public at Risk?" Separately, a House investigative panel is planning a Feb. 25 hearing on the Toyota recalls. In a letter to NHTSA administrator David Strickland, lawmakers requested a timeline from January 2000 until the present for NHTSA's investigations into Toyota defects and other data related to reports of sudden acceleration.
Source: The Associated Press

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Toyota U.S. Dealers May Lose $2.47 Billion a Month

U.S. dealers who sell Toyota Motor Corp.’s namesake brand could lose as much as $2.47 billion in combined monthly revenue because of the halt of sales of eight models, including the popular Camry and Corolla sedans. The 1,234 Toyota brand dealers would miss out on $1.75 million to $2 million a month in revenue from new and used versions of the models that aren’t allowed to be sold, said John McEleney, the chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association and owner of McEleney Toyota in Clinton, Iowa.

“We’ve never really dealt with anything like this with any manufacturer,” said McEleney, who also owns a Chevrolet dealership in Clinton. The estimated loss of revenue per dealership assumes the vehicles affected account for 56 percent of the new-car volume and 30 percent of the used-car sales at an average dealer with a transaction price of around $30,000, McEleney said. The loss of revenue from new cars would be $1.25 million to $1.5 million with the rest coming from lost used-car sales. Toyota has told dealers it will help to offset the interest expense on loans for vehicles in inventory that can’t be sold, McEleney said.
Source: Bloomberg

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Toyota US Sales Halt Deals Blow to Image, Earnings

NEW YORK -- Toyota's suspension of U.S. sales on an unprecedented scale to fix faulty gas pedals deals a blow to the automaker's reputation for quality and came amid intense pressure from the Obama administration. The Obama administration said it pressed Toyota to protect consumers who own vehicles under recall and to stop building new cars with the problem. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told WGN Radio in Chicago that "the reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop manufacturing was because we asked them to."

Toyota dealers said they were concerned the move would hamper sales. They hoped parts to fix the problem could be distributed quickly. John McEleney, who owns a Clinton, Iowa, Toyota dealership, said the sales stoppage affects about 60 percent of the inventory on his lot. He said he was hopeful Toyota would come up with a fix soon — especially because the longer a vehicle stays on a dealer lot, the more money a dealer pays in interest fees. "Short term, it's going to be difficult," he said. "It will certainly set us back, but I think the impact will be very short lived."
Source: The Associated Press

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Ford Profit Comes as Toyota Hits a Bump

DETROIT -- When (Alan R. Mulally) joined Ford in late 2006, (he) liberally borrowed from Toyota’s playbook — focusing on fuel efficiency, quality and so-called global cars to sell in markets around the world. He even hired away a top Toyota executive, James Farley. This week, at least, the student is doing better than the teacher. Ford, which managed to skirt the problems that forced crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler to seek government bailouts, reported a surprising profit on Thursday of $2.7 billion for 2009, its first in four years. Ford’s profit for 2009 — which Mr. Mulally called a “historic and pivotal” year — partly results from deep cost cuts and layoffs.
Source: The New York Times

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Chrysler Says It Won't Sue Over Dealer Arbitration

Chrysler Group LLC said Thursday it won't sue to try to stop arbitration with hundreds of dealers it wants to close. Chrysler said Thursday that 409 of its dealers have filed paperwork to appeal the closures. The American Arbitration Association, which is handling the appeals, said 1,573 dealers in all have filed to appeal, including dealers from GM. The arbitration hearings are scheduled to begin in late February or early march and end by June 14.
Source: The Associated Press

Editor's note: House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., released the following statement Thursday on the decision by Chrysler not to challenge the binding arbitration process for terminated dealers: “I am pleased to hear that Chrysler has decided that it will not challenge the binding arbitration process for terminated dealers. By reaching this conclusion, Chrysler is affirming its commitment to a strong dealer network that keeps Americans on the job and gives its products the best chance at success so the company can return to profitability. I want to thank Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne for working with us on this issue."

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NADA Convention & Expo
NADA Convention's Economic Impact on Central Florida to Exceed $30 Million

For more than a year, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has worked in the trenches to restore retail and wholesale auto financing; lobbied successfully to prevent the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler; and supported legislation in Congress that established arbitration rights for terminated dealers. Now, the industry focus shifts to the NADA Convention & Expo, where thousands of the nation’s new-car and -truck dealers will convene in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 13-15, looking for ways to improve their overall business operations and prepare for an economic rebound. In addition to the U.S., dealers from 29 other countries -- Canada, Britain, Mexico, India, Australia, Russia, Italy and Brazil, to name just a few -- will be attending the convention.

“With all that’s happening in the auto industry, the NADA convention is a perfect time to assess the future of auto retailing and for dealers to meet face-to-face with their automaker representatives and their peers,” says Brian Hamilton, 2010 convention chairman. “With 19 franchise meetings scheduled, 108 workshop sessions to choose from and more than 460 companies exhibiting on the expo floor, this is a ‘must-attend’ convention.”
Source: NADA Newswire

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Orlando Overtakes Vegas As America's Top Travel Spot

NADA convention attendees eligible for discounted theme park tickets
ORLANDO -- Finally, after years of being the bridesmaid, Orlando is now America’s top travel destination. (Orlando) bested Las Vegas for the top spot, according to the annual Travel Trends Survey, becoming 2010’s No. 1 destination for people living in the United States. Travel experts said Orlando took the No. 1 spot by showing the strength of its family-oriented destinations in and around the city. Industry leaders said overall hotel bookings have started to trend higher, and that optimism was definitely on the rise. Travelers have been taking advantage of lower hotel prices, and are even trading up for more luxurious accommodations. NADA convention attendees and their families are eligible to take advantage of discounted tickets to many of Orlando's major attractions, such as SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World and more. Click here for more information.
Source: Central Florida News 13/NADA Newswire

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Opinion: Strength in Numbers
By Mike Roscoe

... how could you not attend the NADA Convention & Exposition February 13-15 in Orlando? ... you need to be there more than ever this year. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, three days ... do you honestly believe there is anything you can do in your store(s) those three days that would provide a fraction of the value that those three days in Orlando will bring you?  If all the NADA Convention featured was the workshops and sessions ... it's worth it! If all the NADA Convention featured was the peer networking with your fellow dealers ... it's worth it! If all the NADA Convention featured was an exhibit hall full of vendors showcasing cutting edge products and services ... it's worth it! And if you won't do it for yourself, do it for your association. NADA needs you there. NADA and your state associations are all that stand between you and all the entities that wish to tear you down, either as individual businessmen and women or as an industry. NADA exists for one reason ... to stand up for you! You need this strength in numbers now more than ever. And they need you to help them help you.
Source: Dealer Magazine

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Quotable
 
"Plans are being developed on a variety of fronts. ... we will update you with further details."

   
-- Toyota, in an e-mail Thursday night, telling employees that it had figured out how to fix a problem with sticking accelerator pedals and would update them today, The Associated Press, Jan. 29


"... because of the strength of the plan we put in place a few years ago, we were not only able to survive but also to create a foundation that is delivering now profitable growth during that year."

   
-- Alan Mulally, Ford Motor’s chief executive, on the company reporting a surprising profit of $2.7 billion for 2009, its first in four years, The New York Times, Jan. 29


"I am pleased to hear that Chrysler has decided that it will not challenge the binding arbitration process for terminated dealers."

   
-- House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., in a statement Thursday, Jan. 28


"With all that's happening in the auto industry, the NADA convention is a perfect time to assess the future of auto retailing and for dealers to meet face-to-face with their automaker representatives and their peers. With 19 franchise meetings scheduled, 108 workshop sessions to choose from and more than 460 companies exhibiting on the expo floor, this is a 'must-attend' convention."

   
-- Brian Hamilton, 2010 NADA convention chairman, NADA Newswire, Jan. 28

2010 Convention
 


NADA Chairman: Convention is the 'Must-Attend Event'

On-Site Convention Registration Opens Feb. 12 in Orlando

On-site registration for the NADA convention opens at 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 12 in the Registration Concourse of the West Building, Orange County Convention Center. Keep in mind that three hours of “bonus” workshops, beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, have also been added, so plan to arrive early. At registration, NADA will provide dealers and their managers with a $200 voucher to spend on goods and services on the expo floor. Click here for more information.


CLICK HERE FOR MORE CONVENTION STORIES.




REGULATORY UPDATES


 

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