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Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 5 Stories
Pressed to Invest, Car Dealers Ask: Is It Worth It?
Drivers Express Interest in Hybrids, But Many Don't Buy
Pricey Used Cars Aid New-Car Sales
Chrysler Wants More Dealers Open on Sundays for Service
Opinion: There Was a Buzz in San Francisco
Top 5 Stories
Pressed to Invest, Car Dealers Ask: Is It Worth It?

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dealer Tommy Mansfield risks losing $40,000 a year in incentive money from General Motors Co. if he doesn't make some dust. Last week Mansfield trekked from Kentucky to the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here to scout contractors for a $300,000 to $500,000 overhaul of his Chevrolet and Buick store in Russellville, Ky. "Here I've got my dealership back on track, almost debt-free," Mansfield said on the convention floor last week. "Now all of the sudden I have to borrow money to make my store -- quote -- 'better.' I don't like it." Chatter from the convention underscored the growing tension between dealers and automakers over facility overhauls. Some dealers say adding staff is more important than, say, an eye-catching archway right now.
Source: Automotive News

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Drivers Express Interest in Hybrids, But Many Don't Buy

About six out of 10 consumers say they would look at a gas-electric hybrid when the time comes to replace their current vehicle, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll has found. Some 35% would "strongly consider" a hybrid; an additional 23% would "consider" it. But while the results seem to indicate that hybrid gas savers are taking off, the results are at odds with what consumers actually are buying: only 4.3% of vehicles sold last year were hybrids, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. In fact, of the 38% of poll respondents who say they won't consider hybrids, four in 10 say they are too expensive. Two in 10 reject them because they think the technology remains unproven, while others cited inconvenience, poor performance or "something else."
Source: USA TODAY

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Pricey Used Cars Aid New-Car Sales

SAN FRANCISCO -- Here's another reason dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention were optimistic about 2011 new-vehicle sales: high prices for used cars and trucks. That might be a bummer for used-car managers looking for good vehicles to sell. But it's a boon for new-car salespeople evaluating trade-ins. Used-car prices are being driven by a shortage that began during the recession when people started holding on to their vehicles longer, said Paul Taylor, NADA's chief economist. "The shortage of used cars is one more pillar of strength for the new-car market," he said. Consumers shopping for new vehicles will find that their trade-ins are commanding significantly higher prices than before -- giving them more money toward a down payment, Taylor said. Taylor has forecast sales of 12.9 million new light vehicles this year; that's compared with the 11.6 million units sold in 2010.
Source: Automotive News

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Chrysler Wants More Dealers Open on Sundays for Service

Chrysler Group LLC, after increasing the number of dealerships that operate on Saturdays, plans to push more of its independent franchises to offer maintenance services on Sundays to better compete against service stations. Pietro Gorlier, head of Chrysler’s Mopar service, parts and customer-care unit, wants 80 percent of the automaker’s U.S. dealers to be open on Saturdays by the end of the year, up from 60 percent in 2009 and about 70 percent now. “I will start addressing the problem, and we will define probably a target for 2012,” Gorlier, 48, said of Sunday hours. “Everything is open on Sundays. If you go around, the malls are open, the shops are open.” He spoke this week at the Chicago Auto Show.
Source: Bloomberg

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Opinion: There Was a Buzz in San Francisco
By Keith Crain

It's always great to leave an NADA convention with lots of optimism. The past few years were pretty bleak, but now dealers are investing in their own dealerships. Just about everyone believes that this year is going to be substantially better. All in all, it was a terrific convention. Let's hope this buzz that started in Detroit keeps going at the Chicago Auto Show and later in Geneva and New York. It's time for a little optimism. It's time for the buzz to stay.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
 
"We will begin this year looking at bricks and mortar, but we're really in the process of trying to recruit people."

    -- Mitchell Dale, owner of McRee Ford in Dickinson, Texas, who says adding staff at his dealership is just as important as completing facility upgrades sought by manufacturers seeking an edge as competition heats up, Automotive News, Feb. 14

Video Highlights
 

Stephen Wade Delivers First Speech as NADA Chairman (NADA-TV)


NADA Charitable Foundation Provides Canine Companion (NADA-TV)

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