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Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 5 Stories
Auto Sales Per Dealer May Reach Pre-Recession Levels, Firm Says
SBA Launches Temporary Program for Commercial Real Estate Refinancing
House May Consider Amendment to Block 15 Percent Ethanol Fuel Blend
Fed Forecasts Faster Growth as Economy Gathers Steam
Oh, What a Difference a Year Makes
Top 5 Stories
Auto Sales Per Dealer May Reach Pre-Recession Levels, Firm Says

U.S. auto sales per dealership may return to levels reached before the recession after General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC closed locations. Sales per dealer may rise to about 745 new vehicles this year, according to auto-dealership consultant Urban Science. The National (Automobile Dealers) Association forecasts total U.S. sales in 2011 may rise 11 percent to 12.9 million, which would be about 23 percent below the annual average from 2000 to 2007. The number of U.S. auto dealerships fell 4.4 percent last year to 17,659, Detroit-based Urban Science said today in its annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report. The rate of closings slowed from 8 percent in 2009, according to the report. “The domestic consolidations worked and have allowed the remaining dealers an opportunity see their numbers rebound faster,” John Frith, vice president of Urban Science, said in a statement.
Source: Bloomberg

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SBA Launches Temporary Program for Commercial Real Estate Refinancing

WASHINGTON – Small businesses facing maturity of commercial mortgages or balloon payments before Dec. 31, 2012, may be able to refinance their mortgage debt with a 504 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration under a new, temporary program announced today. The new refinancing loan is structured like SBA’s traditional 504, with borrowers committing at least 10 percent equity and working with third-party lending institutions and SBA-approved Certified Development Companies in the standard 50 percent/40 percent split. A key feature of the new program is that it does not require an expansion of the business in order to qualify. SBA will begin accepting refinancing applications on Feb. 28. The program, authorized under the Small Business Jobs Act, will be in effect through Sept. 27, 2012.
Source: SBA

Editor's note: Last week SBA rolled out a new dealer floor plan (DFP) loan guarantee program, strongly supported by NADA. Today’s SBA announcement, also strongly supported by NADA, is designed to respond to another financing need often expressed by dealers: the refinancing of commercial real estate. Questions regarding either program may be directed to NADA Regulatory Affairs at (703) 821-7040 or regulatoryaffairs@nada.org.

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House May Consider Amendment to Block 15 Percent Ethanol Fuel Blend

As part of the continuing resolution to provide government funding until September, U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., has offered an amendment that would put a hold on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to boost ethanol content in fuel to 15 percent. Automakers have warned that boosting ethanol content could dramatically impair vehicle and emissions performance and even corrode engine components. The EPA decided to allow up to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline for model year 2001 and newer vehicles without completing critical vehicle testing. Noteably, two environmental groups, the Environmental Working Group and Friends of the Earth, support Sullivan's amendment, citing emissions concerns caused by leakage. NADA has long opposed increasing ethanol in gas and recently submitted comments to both the EPA and Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., referencing the significant problems the rules could cause for motorists. A vote on the Sullivan amendment is expected as soon as today.
Source: NADA Regulatory Affairs

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Fed Forecasts Faster Growth as Economy Gathers Steam

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve disclosed on Wednesday that policy makers had substantially upgraded their forecasts for how much the economy will grow this year, though they expect unemployment to remain painfully high for some time. Top Fed officials now expect the output of goods and services to grow by 3.4 to 3.9 percent this year, up from the previous forecast, released in November, of 3 to 3.6 percent. The Fed said it based its expectations on an improvement in consumer spending in the fourth quarter, though Fed officials were uncertain how long that would last, according to minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting in late January, released on Wednesday. “On the one hand, the additional spending could reflect pent-up demand following the downturn, or greater confidence on the part of households about the future, in which case it might be expected to continue,” the minutes noted. “On the other hand, the additional spending could prove short-lived, given that a good portion of it appeared to have occurred in relatively volatile categories such as autos.”
Source: The New York Times

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Oh, What a Difference a Year Makes

This time vendors found big spenders

SAN FRANCISCO -- Last year, they looked. This year, they bought. Across the spectrum of parts and services displayed at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, exhibitors reported a more aggressive, freer-spending audience among this year's 18,028 attendees. Last year's count: 15,171. Consider it a barometer of the U.S. auto retailing industry. "Things feel very different this year," Fran Vespa said between booth visitors. "Last year the people at NADA were walking around trying to figure out how to save their business and stay profitable. This year they've got money to spend, and they're here spending it." Vespa, general manager of promotional goods producer Benmatt Industries of suburban Philadelphia, a unit of LaFrance Corp., did well this year. "This is a product that tells you that dealers have money again," Vespa said, standing against his booth's wall of gift boxes. "A year ago their big concern was finding customers. Now they're looking for gifts to buy them."
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
 
"... the additional spending could reflect pent-up demand following the downturn, or greater confidence on the part of households about the future ..."

   
-- The Federal Reserve disclosed on Wednesday that policy makers upgraded their forecasts on how much the economy will grow this year based on its expectations that consumer spending in the fourth quarter of 2010 improved, The New York Times, Feb. 16
Video Highlights
 
 
Video Profile of NADA's New Chairman Stephen Wade (NADA-TV)


Wade Outlines Industry Challenges (NADA-TV)


Florida Dealer Castriota Wins TIME Dealer of the Year
(NADA-TV)

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GM's Dan Akerson to Keynote NADA/IHS Automotive Forum 2011
Register today for the second annual NADA/IHS Automotive Forum in New York City on April 19, 2011 hosted by the New York International Auto Show.

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HP's Smart Buy - the Compaq 6000 Pro All-in-One Business PC
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NADA University Offers Six Online Courses Free to NADA and ATD Members
Free with NADA University enrollment, NADA and ATD members receive essential online training for managers and employees.

Webinar: Understanding the New UNICAP Safe Harbor Methods
This Webinar explains in detail new UNICAP safe harbor methods for dealers authorized by the IRS last year.

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