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Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside This Issue
Auto Dealers Pressured to Spiff Up Showrooms
Saab Denied Bankruptcy Protection
Mercedes' Envy of BMW's Profits Prompts Luxury Expansion
Opinion: To Fix Economy, Obama Could Use a Few Pointers from Mulally
Facebook Fans to Get Exclusive Progress Reports on New Ford Focus ST
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Top 5 Stories
Auto Dealers Pressured to Spiff Up Showrooms

Mercedes-Benz ... [is] joining industrywide efforts by automakers to pressure dealers into sprucing up, fixing up and rebuilding. Both foreign and domestic brands — especially sellers of luxury vehicles — are in the midst of a campaign to entice their dealer franchisees to rebuild or remodel to create sparkling new facilities with amenities such as coffee bars and gift shops. But the campaigns aren't a slam dunk. Auto dealers are quick to point out that they are independent businesses. They welcome automakers' ideas but resist edicts — particularly those that would require million-dollar capital investments. As much as many dealers would like to provide nicer showrooms, they are still feeling the hangover of the recession and snail's-pace recovery. Auto sales, which passed 16 million in the best years, are now only slowly coming back from a bottom at 10.4 million, according to Autodata, in 2009. Most industry analysts already have scaled back sales forecasts for 2011 and now expect the year to end with, at best, 13 million.
Source: USA Today

Editor's note: NADA has commissioned an independent study to take an in-depth look at the cost effectiveness of factory image programs that require new-car dealers to invest billions of dollars each year. "These investments have a significant impact on dealer balance sheets. So we want to know the facts behind return on investment that only an objective study can provide," said NADA Chairman Stephen W. Wade. (Read more)

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Saab Denied Bankruptcy Protection

A Swedish court on Thursday rejected car maker Saab's application for creditor protection, paving the way for possible bankruptcy filings from labor unions. The ruling by the Vanersborg District Court, which can be appealed, is the latest setback for cash-strapped Saab as it scrambles to solve a liquidity crisis that has left it teetering on the brink of collapse. It wasn't immediately clear whether Saab would appeal the ruling, which opens up for potential bankruptcy filings from labor unions representing Saab's 3,700 employees, who are still waiting for their August salaries.
Source: The Associated Press

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Mercedes' Envy of BMW's Profits Prompts Luxury Expansion

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz plans to expand its lineup of high-end luxury cars and sport-utility vehicles in an effort to surpass Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s record profit. Mercedes will add variations of its flagship S-Class model after revamping it in 2013 in a bid to become the segment’s profit leader, according to two people familiar with matter. Mercedes also has new SUVs in the works, and the AMG performance unit may develop more models after the success of the $189,600 SLS gull-wing supercar, the people said.
Source: Bloomberg

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Opinion: To Fix Economy, Obama Could Use a Few Pointers from Mulally

When President Barack Obama delivers his big jobs speech to Congress tonight, he probably won't be wearing a W.W.A.M.D. bracelet -- "What would Alan Mulally do?" But maybe he should. There are striking parallels between the mess Mulally inherited as incoming CEO of Ford in 2006 and the stalled U.S. economy that Obama is trying to revive. If the U.S. economy could replicate Ford, we would witness not only an uptick in growth and jobs, but also a steady reduction in debt.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Facebook Fans to Get Exclusive Progress Reports on New Ford Focus ST

Since Ford first announced its all-new Focus ST, performance car fans around the world have been eager to find out more. To answer this demand, Ford will begin actively sharing both exclusive video and photography, first on the Ford Focus Facebook page, to keep enthusiasts up to date on the development of this sporty new model. “Our Facebook page allows us to reach out to enthusiasts around the world for the first time and share with them the final stages of development of the new Focus ST as it happens,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles.
Source: Dealer Magazine

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More articles

Sept. 7 - Are You Worried About the Health of the Auto Industry? Watch China

Sept. 6 - Toyota to End Camry Imports from Japan

Sept. 2 - Chrysler, Nissan, GM Lead Industry to 8% Gain

Sept. 1 - Carmakers to Report August Sales

Aug. 31 - Strong Autos Drove July Factory Orders Up 2.4%

"In the long run, we can’t be content with a solid second or even third place. We should be far ahead of the pack."

    -- Mercedes Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche, in a July memo to employees, Bloomberg, Sept. 8


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NADA Foundation:
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NADA U Webinars
-- Sept. 21 at 1 p.m., EDT: “Implementing the Four Essentials to 100% Absorption,” presented by Don Reed, NADA U Partner and CEO, DealerPro Training Solutions

Call 800.557.6232 to learn more and register.

Convention News
Discounted Registration Rates End Sept. 9

Discounted registration rates for the 2012 NADA/ATD Convention & Expo in Las Vegas end at midnight (EDT) Friday, Sept. 9. After that, rates will increase $25 in each registration category. (Children under 18 are free). Hotels are also filling up fast. The Encore at Wynn, the Wynn and Bellagio have already sold out. Register today to take advantage of early registration discounts and to reserve a room at any of the 11 remaining hotels in NADA's block. Convention registration is now open online.

Foundation News
NADA Foundation Program Reaches 500th Ambassador
Seats Available in Five Remaining Academy Classes of 2011

NADA 20 Groups for Fixed Ops Managers Meeting this Fall; Controllers/CFO Groups Now Forming

HP's Small but Mighty PC

Save More Than 50% on Lenovo in September

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