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Top 5 Stories
SBA to Re-Start Floorplan Financing Program Next Week
Upbeat Dealer Convention Reflects Auto Industry Recovery
Mercedes-Benz Puts $1.6 Billion Into Updating Dealerships
Dealers Debate Benefits of Fordís Quick Lane Shops
House GOP Readies Bill to Prohibit EPA from Regulating Carbon Emissions
Top 5 Stories
SBA to Re-Start Floorplan Financing Program Next Week

WASHINGTON -- The federal government will relaunch its suspended floorplan financing program for small dealerships next week -- this time with loan limits of $5 million rather than $2 million. The Small Business Administration said today that the new rules, which will address nuts-and-bolts questions of how the financing will work, will be published online in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Dealers can start submitting loan applications for the federally backed loans on Wed., Feb. 9, SBA spokesman Michael Stamler said in an e-mail. A law enacted in Sept. 2010 increased the loan limits, partly in response to requests from the National Automobile Dealers Association. In October, the SBA adopted a rule expanding eligibility for the program to the majority of dealerships.
Source: Automotive News

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Upbeat Dealer Convention Reflects Auto Industry Recovery

SAN FRANCISCO – Reflecting an auto industry in recovery, an upbeat mood is expected to prevail at the 94th annual National Automobile Dealers Assn.’s convention and exposition here Feb. 5-7. An air of cautious optimism marked last year’s gathering. But today, dealers, as well as auto executives who will attend the big pow-wow at the Moscone Center, are feeling much better. “The good news is we’re starting to see some real evidence that things are getting better,” outgoing NADA Chairman Ed Tonkin says. “The auto industry’s revival appears to be on solid ground.” In another cited sign of better times, advanced registration for the convention is up 14% compared with last year. Exhibit space on the show floor is sold out. “Participation in the NADA convention is often a bellwether for the overall health of the auto industry,” says Jack Caldwell, convention committee chairman and a dealer from Conway, AK.
Source: Ward's Auto

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Mercedes-Benz Puts $1.6 Billion Into Updating Dealerships

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and its dealers are completing a $1.6 billion makeover of U.S. stores to lure younger buyers as the automaker expands its lineup. About 300 of Mercedes’s 350 U.S. dealers will spend as much as $1.4 billion to update their facilities, Ernst Lieb, president of Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. unit, said in an interview. Mercedes will contribute as much as $250 million to the project, which began in 2008, he said. “The first step is to update our facilities, and now we’re working with the dealer body on having the sales force ready to sell the new products coming to showrooms,” said Lieb, who will meet with dealers this week at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention in San Francisco.
Source: Bloomberg

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Dealers Debate Benefits of Fordís Quick Lane Shops

At the NADA convention this weekend, Ford Motor Co. will encourage more of its dealers to sign up for the automaker’s Quick Lane brand of quick-service shops. O.C. Welch, a Ford-Lincoln dealer in South Carolina, told me he regrets building his Quick Lane. With free-maintenance offers becoming more common with new-vehicle purchases, the business case for a quick-service operation is weakened, Welch said. Don Cape, Quick Lane’s national sales manager, told me the Quick Lane network’s profitability has been improving year over year. Through November 2010, nearly 90 percent of Quick Lanes are profitable, up 5 percentage points from the year before, he said.
Source: Automotive News

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House GOP Readies Bill to Prohibit EPA from Regulating Carbon Emissions

Acting on a vow to fight the Obama administration on climate issues, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, unveiled draft legislation Wednesday to try to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.), ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the subcommittee on energy and power, joined Upton in issuing what they called the Energy Tax Prevention Act. The EPA has its foot "squarely on the neck of business," Upton has said. Republicans say the Obama administration is trying to use tougher EPA regulations on energy to overcome the president's failure to pass climate-change legislation.
Source: The Washington Post

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Quotable
 
“The good news is we’re starting to see some real evidence that things are getting better. The auto industry’s revival appears to be on solid ground.”

    -- Ed Tonkin, 2010 NADA chairman, on the upbeat mood expected to prevail at NADA's convention and expo this weekend in San Francisco, Ward's Auto, Feb. 3

Video Highlights
 

90 Seconds with Fiat's Laura Soave (Automotive News)
Soave will be a featured speaker at NADA's Women Dealers' Breakfast Feb. 5 in San Francisco.


NADA Charitable Foundation Provides Canine Companion (NADA-TV)


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