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Top 5 Stories
Toyota Recalls 2.17 Million Vehicles in US
Dealers Brace for Rising Gasoline Prices
GM Posts 4Q Net Profit as Comeback Continues
EPA Scales Back Final Air Pollution Rules for Boilers
Ally Girds for GM Showdown as Former Parent Expands Auto Lending
Top 5 Stories
Toyota Recalls 2.17 Million Vehicles in US

WASHINGTON -- Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 2.17 million vehicles in the United States on Thursday to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver's side carpeting, prompting federal regulators to close its investigation into the embattled automaker. The Japanese automaker said it would add three models to the 2009 pedal entrapment recall: about 600,000 4Runner SUVs from the 2003-2009 model years; 761,000 RAV4 compact SUVs from the 2006-2010 model years; and 17,000 Lexus LX 570s from the 2008-2011 model years. The recall also includes 372,000 RX 330, RX 350 and RX 400H vehicles from the 2004 through early 2007 model years and 397,000 2004-2006 Toyota Highlander SUVs and hybrid versions to replace floor carpet covering and retention clips on the driver's side that could interfere with the accelerator pedal arm.
Source: The Associated Press

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Dealers Brace for Rising Gasoline Prices

Many U.S. auto dealers expect gasoline prices to keep rising in the wake of political turmoil in the Mideast. They say they will adjust their product mix accordingly -- aiming to stock more small cars and fuel-efficient crossovers. "We'll change the mix of products that we offer," John Pitre, general manager of Motor City Auto Center in Bakersfield, Calif., said (Wednesday). He sells GMC, Buick and Lexus vehicles. "Hybrid demand has been pretty weak the last couple of years, so you can count on that coming back to life." Slowly rising gasoline prices have affected used-vehicle prices, said Jonathan Banks, senior director of editorial and data services at NADA Used Car Guide. Banks' data indicate that used-truck prices generally are falling while used-car prices inch higher. "Trucks have not been in a free fall, like we saw in 2008, and we don't expect them to because supply is so tight. But you can see that the trend between cars and trucks is significantly different," he said.
Source: Automotive News

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GM Posts 4Q Net Profit as Comeback Continues

DETROIT -- General Motors posted a $510 million profit in the fourth quarter and $4.7 billion for the year as it continued an impressive comeback from bankruptcy. The profits were fueled by strong sales in China and the U.S. as the global auto market began to recover. Revenue for the quarter was $36.9 billion. For the full year, GM earned $2.89 per share on revenue of $135.6 billion. It was the Detroit company's first profitable year since 2004 and GM's best performance since making $6 billion in 1999 during the height of the pickup truck and sport utility vehicle sales boom.
Source: The Associated Press

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EPA Scales Back Final Air Pollution Rules for Boilers

Bound by a court-ordered deadline and facing intense pressure from Congress, U.S. EPA has overhauled its rules for toxic air pollution from industrial boilers to go easier on businesses. With a set of final rules released today, EPA claims to have found a more cost-effective way to protect public health by sparing cleaner boilers and small facilities from the strictest limits on chemicals such as mercury, lead and dioxins. Because of those changes, the final rules will cost about $1.8 billion less per year than the rules that were proposed last spring.
Source: The New York Times 

Editor's note: As part of this action, EPA backed off a proposal that would have required used motor oil collected from do-it-yourselfers (DIY) to be tested before it could be burned in dealership space heaters. NADA successfully argued that EPA’s original proposal would have increased the amount of used oil improperly disposed of, as motor vehicle service facilities would have been less willing to accept DIY used oil. EPA also did not impose any new requirements on used oil sent off site for recycling, however NADA advises dealerships to maintain policies designed to prevent contamination, including storing DIY oil separately. A dealership’s willingness to collect DIY oil is key to qualifying for the federal Superfund exemption for used oil.

The EPA's reversal leaves its used oil burning rules untouched. Assuming no state rules to the contrary, dealerships may continue to burn used oil in space heaters that are properly vented and are 500,000 BTUs/hour or less in size. Dealerships burning used oil in larger burners or boilers must meet additional requirements. Note that EPA’s new rules do require dealerships operating commercial boilers to tune them up every two years. Questions on this decision can be directed to NADA Regulatory Affairs at 703-821-7040 or regulatoryaffairs@nada.org.

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Ally Girds for GM Showdown as Former Parent Expands Auto Lending

Ally Financial Inc., the U.S.-owned lender preparing for an initial public offering, is bolstering ties to General Motors Co. dealers amid signs the automaker may become a rival in vehicle financing. Chief Executive Officer Michael Carpenter held dealer meetings in several cities and broke custom by scheduling a first-ever event at the National Automobile Dealers Association in San Francisco this month that didn’t include executives of GM, the biggest U.S. car manufacturer, or Chrysler Group LLC, said Gina Proia, an Ally spokeswoman. The shift at the San Francisco convention was having “our own meeting” to give everyone an update on the company as it sharpens its focus on auto lending, Proia said. In past years, Ally would have met with dealers in events hosted by automakers or other companies rather than hold its own, she said. “The main motivation for doing this is to provide dealers specific information about Ally and what we are doing to support their business and show our commitment,” Proia said.
Source: Bloomberg 

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Quotable
 
"Hybrid demand has been pretty weak the last couple of years, so you can count on that coming back to life."

    -- John Pitre, general manager of Motor City Auto Center in Bakersfield, Calif., who says he is stocking more small cars and fuel-efficient crossovers as gas prices rise, Automotive News, Feb. 23

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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