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Inside this issue
NADA's Underriner: 54.5 MPG Fuel-Economy Proposal Threatens Sales
Bush Tells Dealers He Avoided 'Gamble' in Bailing Out Automakers
Toyota Execs Tell Dealers 19 New Models on Way, Including Next Avalon
Chrysler's 'Halftime' Ad: A Roadmap for America?
Automakers Stand Out at Super Bowl
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Top Stories
NADA's Underriner: 54.5 MPG Fuel-Economy Proposal Threatens Sales

The proposal to increase federal fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025 threatens to price millions of consumers out of the market, the incoming chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association said Monday. NADA is pushing back with tough questions about the proposal, said 2012 Chairman Bill Underriner in his address to dealers during Monday's closing session. If fewer customers can afford new cars, it will hurt sales and dealership profits and defeat the objective of improving fuel efficiency, Underriner, a Billings, Mont., dealer with Buick, Honda, Hyundai and Volvo franchises, said. That fight is not to defeat the fundamental idea of improving fuel efficiency. Underriner stressed that NADA has long supported fuel economy gains. But NADA wants a full and fair public debate on the 54.5 mpg proposal, he said. And the industry and the government should see how the market responds to the new fuel economy regulations that went into effect just last year before moving on to the next phase. So far the government hasn't adequately answered questions and concerns about the proposal, Underriner said.
Source: Automotive News

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Bush Tells Dealers He Avoided 'Gamble' in Bailing Out Automakers

Former President George W. Bush answers questions from 2011 NADA Chairman Stephen W. Wade at the NADA Convention and Expo in Las Vegas Feb. 6. (Photo/NADA)

Former U.S. President George W. Bush told car dealers gathered at a convention in Las Vegas he “didn’t want to gamble” with a depression in defending the loans he gave to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. “I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment,” Bush said in a speech yesterday to cap the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention, attended by more than 20,000 people. “I didn’t want to gamble. I didn’t want history to look back and say, ‘Bush could have done something but chose not to do it.’ And so I said, ‘no depression.’” The Bush administration provided loans to GM and Chrysler starting with $4 billion to each company in December 2008 and January 2009. Bush eventually provided $17.4 billion in aid to the automakers before Barack Obama’s administration expanded the rescue of the companies to $62 billion. Obama has cited the assistance given to the auto industry as an example of policy that protected U.S. jobs. “I’d make the same decision again if I had to,” Bush, 65, told Stephen Wade, the dealers association’s outgoing chairman.
Source: Bloomberg

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Toyota Execs Tell Dealers 19 New Models on Way, Including Next Avalon

Toyota executives told dealers at a convention Monday there are 19 new models coming in 2012, including a new more fuel-efficient Toyota Avalon due in November, according to a dealer in attendance. Dealers attending the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention were shown a picture of the new Avalon that will be shown in April at the New York auto show. Dealers also saw a concept fuel cell vehicle that is about a decade from production. Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said 40% of the brand's volume will be from new products this year compared with 7% last year.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Chrysler's 'Halftime' Ad: A Roadmap for America?

Is what is good for Chrysler good for America? The auto maker courted controversy and won kudos for a two-minute Super Bowl advertisement that was less a car sales pitch than a political message in a presidential election year. Rugged Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood proclaimed it was "Halftime in America" in the spot that did not mention a Chrysler car or truck but intoned that the automaker's successful turnaround could be used as an example for the United States as it struggles with high unemployment and a slow economic growth rate. "Detroit's showing us it can be done," Eastwood said. [Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne was in Las Vegas on Sunday where he showed the "Halftime in America" advertisement to Chrysler dealers at an auto dealers convention. The dealers received the ad warmly, giving it and Marchionne a standing ovation. "I think it was the best Super Bowl ad," Joe Massey, a Chrysler dealer in Alabama who was in Las Vegas for the dealer convention, said after the advertisement aired on television. "It hits the right tone and goes straight to your heart."
Source: Reuters

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Automakers Stand Out at Super Bowl

Generally the auto industry's commercials performed well enough in the wake of Sunday's Super Bowl to surprise marketing experts who said the industry has not always distinguished itself with consumers. Four automotive ads were ranked in the top 10 of USA TODAY's AdMeter as of 6 p.m. Monday. They were: Kia, "A Dream Car. For Real Life," Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America," Volkswagen's "Dog Strikes Back" and Audi's "Vampire Day." Five more commercials from Chevrolet, Acura, Honda and Fiat were in the top 20.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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The NADA Story

The NADA story began in 1917 when 30 auto dealers traveled to the nation’s capital to convince Congress not to impose a luxury tax on the automobile. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that experience was born the National Automobile Dealers Association. Today, NADA represents nearly 16,000 new-car and -truck dealerships with 32,500 franchises, both domestic and international. For more information, visit

"I 'didn’t want to gamble' with a depression ..."

    -- Former U.S. President George W. Bush, in defending the loans he gave to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, told car dealers Monday at the NADA convention in Las Vegas, Bloomberg, Feb. 7

"If government policy is going to shrink our customer base, shouldn't we be concerned? NADA is concerned. NADA is fighting this fight because we want the days of empty showrooms to be long gone."

-- NADA Chairman Bill Underriner in remarks Monday at the NADA convention in Las Vegas about the federal government's proposed fuel economy rule, Automotive News, Feb. 7

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