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Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 5 Stories
NADA Convention Posts Double-Digit Attendance Increase
Penske Ends Distribution of Daimler's Smart Brand Cars as Sales Plunge
Dealerships Will be 'Detroit Embassies'
U.S. Bailout Watchdog Barofsky to Resign March 30
U.S. Retail Sales Post Gain
Top 5 Stories
NADA Convention Posts Double-Digit Attendance Increase

McLEAN, Va. – The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) announced today that attendance at its 2011 Convention and Expo increased nearly 16 percent from last year. “This was one of the best all-around NADA conventions in recent memory,” said Stephen Wade, who became NADA chairman on Feb. 7. “Auto sales are up. Dealers are getting back to business. These are all signs the U.S. economy is recovering.” Record warm temperatures greeted more than 18,000 attendees during the three-day convention in San Francisco, which ran Feb. 5-7. There were about 15,200 total attendees at the 2010 convention in Orlando, Fla. “We expect the auto industry to continue to lead the economic recovery,” added Wade, a multi-franchise dealer in Utah and California. “The increased participation of dealers and their managers at the franchise meetings and workshop sessions shows that they are getting serious about making the most of this economic rebound.”
Source: NADA Public Affairs

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Penske Ends Distribution of Daimler's Smart Brand Cars as Sales Plunge

Penske Automotive Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. automotive retailer, is ending its distribution agreement with Daimler AG’s Smart car brand after sales of the fuel-efficient model plunged. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz USA is expected to take over the sales, marketing and warranty administration for the brand by the end of the second quarter, the companies said (Monday) in a statement. Penske also will cancel development of a five-door small car for Smart that was being provided by Nissan Motor Co., said Anthony Pordon, a spokesman for the retailer. Mercedes will decide how many Penske-owned dealerships will be allowed to continue selling Smarts, Pordon said. It’s too early to determine whether the move will have a financial impact on Penske, he said.
Source: Bloomberg

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Dealerships Will be 'Detroit Embassies'

Chrysler will launch a line of merchandise in the next few weeks to help dealers capitalize on the buzz of the gritty Super Bowl commercial and the new brand tag line, "Imported from Detroit." Ad agency Weiden+Kennedy, of "Just Do It" fame for Nike, wants to cast dealerships as "embassies" for vehicles "imported" from Detroit. "One of the things we've been working on for the last couple of days is a dealer kit," says Joe Staples, creative director for Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, Ore., which created the Super Bowl spot. "How can we make dealers around America feel like Detroit embassies? How can we put this feeling about Detroit and its optimistic resurgence in dealerships? We'll help them keep that stuff rolling." Wieden+Kennedy devised the "Imported from Detroit" theme in part because Chrysler is aiming at import buyers with both the 200 and upcoming 2011 Chrysler 300 sedans.
Source: Automotive News

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U.S. Bailout Watchdog Barofsky to Resign March 30

Neil Barofsky, who criticized the U.S. Treasury Department’s handling of taxpayer-funded bailouts as special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, resigned effective March 30. Barofsky, 40, said in a letter to President Barack Obama that he was stepping down to “pursue other opportunities,” saying his office had a “truly remarkable positive impact.” He said his office’s investigations led to 14 criminal convictions for fraud, recovered more than $150 million and avoided the loss of $550 million in fraud. Since taking office as special inspector general in December 2008, Barofsky assailed the U.S. bailout of American International Group Inc., the Treasury’s housing loan- modification program, and the government’s decision to speed the pace of closings of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC auto dealerships. “Barofsky has provided strong oversight of the TARP program for the past two years,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement.
Source: Bloomberg

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U.S. Retail Sales Post Gain

U.S. retail sales rose in January for the seventh straight month, the latest sign that consumer spending can continue to support the economy. Tuesday's retail sales data showed auto and parts sales rose by 0.5% in January, after rising 1.5% during December. Excluding autos, retail sales last month climbed 0.3%, which was below the expectations for a gain of 0.6%. Consumer spending is a key economic driver, accounting for about 70% of demand in the U.S. Americans held back through much of last year, instead paying down debt. But they started opening up their wallets toward the end of 2010 -- consumer spending rose at a 4.4% rate in the fourth quarter, the fastest pace since the start of 2006, according to Commerce Department data released last month. Even with elevated unemployment rates, economists have become more optimistic that sustained consumer purchases will bouy the economy.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Quotable
 
"Auto sales are up. Dealers are getting back to business. These are all signs the U.S. economy is recovering."

    -- NADA Chairman Stephen Wade, on the nearly 16 percent increase in attendance at NADA's 2011 Convention and Expo, NADA Public Affairs, Feb. 15

Video Highlights
 
 
Video Profile of NADA's New Chairman Stephen Wade (NADA-TV)


Wade Outlines Industry Challenges (NADA-TV)


NADA Charitable Foundation Provides Canine Companion (NADA-TV)

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