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Top 5 Stories
U.S. Senate Plans April 5 Vote to Repeal Tax Compliance Rule
March U.S. Auto Sales Rose 17%
Because of Japan's Problems, Auto Dealers See Trouble Ahead in Meeting Demand
Job Market Tight, but Not at Car Dealerships
Finding Success on Planet Subaru
Top 5 Stories
U.S. Senate Plans April 5 Vote to Repeal Tax Compliance Rule

The U.S. Senate plans an April 5 vote on repealing a tax-compliance requirement in last year’s health-care overhaul and paying for the change by curbing subsidies for health insurance. Senate passage would send the bill to President Barack Obama. White House officials have stopped short of threatening a veto, while saying in a statement the administration “strongly opposes” the offset to cover $21.9 billion in lost revenue resulting from the repeal. The House approved the same legislation 314-112 on March 3. Both measures will require 60 votes to win Senate passage. Slated to take effect in 2012, the health-care law’s 1099 provision, named after a tax form, requires businesses to report more transactions to the Internal Revenue Service as a way to prevent underreporting of income.
Source: Bloomberg

Editor's note: With a vote expected as early as Tuesday morning, dealers are urged to call their Senators immediately and ask them to repeal the burdensome 1099 mandate without amendment. Any changes to the legislation would jeopardize repeal of the 1099 mandate. Senators should be reminded that tax paperwork and regulatory compliance are already major expenses for small businesses, and the new reporting requirements will significantly increase this burden, inhibiting job growth. Senators can be reached through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

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March U.S. Auto Sales Rose 17%

Powered by an improving economy, U.S. auto sales rose 16.9% in March with Chrysler Group LLC, Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. leading the industry's gains. Chrysler reported sales of 121,730 cars and light trucks in March, an increase of 31% from a year ago and its highest monthly total in nearly three years. Nissan nearly matched Chrysler's total, selling 121,141 new vehicles, thanks to heavy incentives. Ford sales jumped 19% to 212,295, enough to put its monthly total ahead of bigger rival General Motors Co. for only the second time since 1998. GM's sales increased 10% to 206,621. Overall, U.S. demand for autos seems to be moving steadily higher, following another drop in unemployment and further rises in corporate profits, Don Johnson, GM's top sales analyst, said. "We are starting to see a shift to compact cars but consumers are not delaying purchases," he said. "That's really good news."
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Because of Japan's Problems, Auto Dealers See Trouble Ahead in Meeting Demand

DETROIT — As automakers prepare to report strong sales for March, dealers and analysts say that some brands could begin having difficulty meeting demand in the months ahead because of production disruptions in Japan. At this point, most dealers in the United States say they have enough inventory to meet their needs, even though many Japanese parts and auto plants have been closed since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, cutting output by at least 400,000 vehicles. Still, the question for dealers is what happens next. Robert Shrader, the general manager of Jim Coleman Infiniti in Bethesda, Md., said: “Every day things change, but we anticipate there is going to be some disruption.” “What we have right now will probably hold us over for about 60 to 90 days,” said Mr. Shrader, who is still receiving regular deliveries. “The concern would be the summer.”
Source: The New York Times

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Job Market Tight, but Not at Car Dealerships

Here's a little fuel injection for the economy: Despite a national unemployment rate of 8.8 percent for the month of March, there is one industry that’s actually expanding: new car dealerships. Sales figures from Ford, GM and Chrysler all show gains over last year, which is helping to translate into new job opportunities in that field. The new jobs aren’t just limited to sales experience either. Dealerships are also looking for mechanics, car porters and employees to work the administrative side. Paul Taylor, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, attributes the growth to a number of things. Taylor says the credit market is loosening, consumer confidence is rising and the average car or truck on the road is more than 10 years old, so more people are in the market for a new vehicle.
Source: Fox News

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Finding Success on Planet Subaru

Low-key, eco-friendly approach sets Mass. 'undealership' apart

Jeff Morrill has turkey trouble. The Subaru dealer often must shoo the wild birds off his vehicles and back into the nearby forest. He has had to invest in a good car-washing system. But that's part of life at Morrill's Planet Subaru, which is next to almost five acres of nature preserve in Hanover, Mass. It's also part of Morrill's "undealership" philosophy, which he uses to set his dealership apart from other suburban-Boston stores. Morrill, 39, co-owns Planet Subaru with his brother John, 44. They have pursued an earth-friendly strategy that includes installing 374 solar panels on the roof, recycling car wash water and using black raspberry and other thorny bushes instead of sterile chain-link fencing.
Source: Automotive News

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For more auto industry news, visit

Webinar April 6: 'How Does Your Dealership Measure Up?'
Join 20 Group Consultant Steve Emery April 6 at 1 p.m. as he discusses how to increase productivity by identifying daily goals for each department, manager and employee.

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"This may ultimately rank as the largest peacetime disruption of world auto production."

    -- James Rubenstein, an auto industry analyst and geography professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, on how the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are causing inventory shortages of popular fuel-efficient cars like the Toyota Prius, Los Angeles Times, March 31

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April 6, 1 p.m. (Eastern): "How Does Your Dealership Measure Up?" with 20 Group Consultant Steve Emery

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