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Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 5 Stories
California Agrees to Feds' Timetable on Emissions
Bankrate: Avg. Car Loan Rate of 6.21% Lowest in Decades
Auto Industry Leaders to Discuss Ways to 'Win Big at Retail'
GM Said to Plan Doubling 2012 Production Capacity of Chevrolet Volt Hybrid
Super Bowl Comeback on Wheels Signals Optimism
Top 5 Stories
California Agrees to Feds' Timetable on Emissions

WASHINGTON — California has agreed to propose emissions standards for 2017-25 on the same time frame as federal regulators — a sign that the Golden State may be willing to seek a compromise with automakers and not adopt separate, stricter rules. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California (On Monday) announced they will each propose fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model years 2017-25 by Sept. 1. The National Automobile Dealers Association has criticized the ability of California to set its own standards. It filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn California's legal right to set its own emissions standards; it was heard last week by a federal appeals court. "A single 'timeframe' means absolutely nothing if there are still three fuel economy programs," Wood said. "NADA continues to support a single national fuel economy standard which takes consumer demand, jobs and the economy into account."
Source: The Detroit News

Editor's note: On Jan. 18, the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments to overturn EPA’s decision to grant California’s request to set fuel economy standards. Unless the Court overturns EPA’s grant of the waiver, California will be empowered to put in place a patchwork of potentially conflicting state fuel economy standards, creating conditions for economic uncertainty without commensurate environmental benefits. The federal government should control the process of setting national fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, not individual states. "No one state should dictate the outcome of federal regulatory policy," says Andrew Koblenz, NADA vice president and general counsel. NADA remains committed to fuel economy increases under the federal CAFE program. A court decision is expected later this year.

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Bankrate: Avg. Car Loan Rate of 6.21% Lowest in Decades

Interest rates on auto loans are hitting record lows, a boon to car buyers and a benefit to the nation's recovering auto industry. The interest rate on a four-year loan for a new car averaged 6.21% in the latest weekly survey of major banks and thrifts, according to Bankrate.com. That's the lowest average rate in more than two decades of tracking. "What's really driving our market right now are these low interest rates," says Pete Greiner of Greiner Ford Lincoln in Casper, Wyo. "The national lenders became very competitive." Not only are customers benefiting from the low rates, but the value of their trade-in is up. Both factors lead to higher car sales, says Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association. Some buyers take advantage of lower rates to buy larger or fancier vehicles. Others just pocket the savings, says Tim Smith, who runs Bob Smith BMW-Mini in Calabasas, Calif. "It goes both ways," he says.
Source: USA Today

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Auto Industry Leaders to Discuss Ways to 'Win Big at Retail'

NADA’s Tonkin: Auto manufacturing and retailing will help lead the economic recovery.

McLEAN, Va. – While auto dealers, manufacturers and industry analysts may all have different ideas about “what it takes to win big at retail,” the topic of a forum next month in San Francisco, two things are certain for success—and that’s understanding what your customers want and then meeting their needs. “Nothing happens without a buyer,” said Ed Tonkin, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). “The best way to bring shoppers into dealerships is to build stylish cars and trucks they want to buy. And when dealers and manufacturers work together, that’s when the magic happens.” “The good news is that we’re starting to see some real evidence that things are getting better. The auto industry’s revival appears to be on solid ground,” added Tonkin, who will join several industry leaders at the International Automotive Roundtable hosted by J.D. Power and Associates in San Francisco on Friday, Feb. 4. The roundtable is being held in conjunction with the 2011 NADA Convention & Expo, which runs Feb. 5-7 at the Moscone Center.
Source: NADA Public Affairs

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GM Said to Plan Doubling 2012 Production Capacity of Chevrolet Volt Hybrid

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson plans to double the 2012 production capacity for the Chevrolet Volt to 120,000 as he works to boost the plug- in hybrid’s sales, said two people familiar with the matter. Volt output this year may increase to 25,000 from an original plan of 10,000, Akerson said earlier this month. GM now is working with suppliers to raise 2012 capacity from an earlier target of 60,000. Akerson has said he wants GM to have more fuel-efficient models ready for a possible increase in oil prices to $120 a barrel. “We want to stay sharply focused on technology,” Akerson told analysts at Deutsche Bank’s Auto Industry Conference in Detroit on Jan. 11. “We don’t want to be caught flat-footed as we were in 2008.”
Source: Bloomberg

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Super Bowl Comeback on Wheels Signals Optimism

The two teams that will play in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6 are the Packers and the Steelers. But perhaps for a day they ought to be renamed the Porsches and the Siennas or even, given their old-school roots, the Packards and the Studebakers. That is because the automotive industry could be buying the most commercial time of any advertiser category during the game, vying with beverages and movies for the top spot. There may be as many as nine car brands peddling their wares during what is typically the most-watched television program of the year, from economy makes like Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia to luxury marques like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. For the Chevrolet parent, General Motors, the ad buy signals a return to the Super Bowl after two years away. It will also be the first Super Bowl in a decade for BMW, which will run two commercials in the game, and the first ever for Mercedes-Benz.
Source: The New York Times

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Quotable
 
“The best way to bring shoppers into dealerships is to build stylish cars and trucks they want to buy. And when dealers and manufacturers work together, that’s when the magic happens.”

    -- Ed Tonkin, NADA chairman, who will join several industry leaders at the International Automotive Roundtable hosted by J.D. Power and Associates in San Francisco on Friday, Feb. 4, NADA Public Affairs, Jan. 25

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