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Inside this issue
Auto Sales in Midst of Revival
Detroit Automakers Race to Keep Up With Sales
Industry Ready if Gas Prices Spark Small-Car Demand
Ford Sweetens Store Renovation Offer
Dealers' Ad Dollars Hit the Streets
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Auto Sales in Midst of Revival

Industry headed to best month in 4 years, experts say
February is shaping up to be one of the strongest sales months in years for automakers. "Retail light-vehicle sales in February are strong, which makes us modestly optimistic about the growth of sales going forward," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations, in a report earlier this week. The average car on the road in America today is now 11 years old — the oldest average ever. That means there is a lot of pent-up demand that needs to be satisfied. And credit markets are beginning to thaw. "We're seeing a rebound in leasing and a slight improvement in credit availability, which is bringing customers that were shut out of the market two or three years ago back into dealerships," Humphrey said. "Both of these elements bode well for consumers in terms of making vehicles more affordable, which will drive more traffic into showrooms."
Source: The Detroit News

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Detroit Automakers Race to Keep Up With Sales

Auto sales are growing so fast that Detroit can barely keep up. Three years after the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed, sales of cars and trucks are surging. Sales could exceed 14 million this year, above last year's 12.8 million. The result: Carmakers are adding shifts and hiring thousands of workers around the country. Carmakers and parts companies added more than 38,000 jobs last year, reaching a total of 717,000. And automakers have announced plans to add another 13,000 this year, mostly on night shifts. Foreign carmakers are also shifting production to the U.S. because of higher sales and the weak dollar, which cuts the profits they get from selling vehicles exported to America. Nissan is adding workers in Tennessee. Toyota just hired staff at a new plant in Blue Springs, Miss. Honda is hiring in Alabama and Ohio. Hyundai and Kia plants in Alabama and Georgia are running flat-out but can't meet demand for some models such as the Hyundai Sonata and Elantra.
Source: The Associated Press

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Industry Ready if Gas Prices Spark Small-Car Demand

Caught off-guard four years ago, the U.S. auto industry should be ready if anticipated record gas-price increases spark a surge in small-car demand, according to WardsAuto data. Auto makers have enough available production capacity to match incremental demand, even if customers in the second quarter clamor for small cars at the rate they did last month. Sales of car models in WardsAuto’s Lower and Upper Small categories jumped a combined 22% in January, compared with like-2011.
Source: WardsAuto

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Ford Sweetens Store Renovation Offer

Dealers could get loans, extra cars
Ford Motor Co. is offering extra vehicle allocations and loan assistance to Ford-brand dealers who agree to renovate stores according to Ford's Trustmark Design blueprint this year. Ford gave dealers the broad outlines of the program at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in early February. It now has outlined the details in a letter signed by Ken Czubay, Ford U.S. vice president of marketing, sales and service. The program is voluntary. Any Ford dealer can apply. "I see that as a real incentive to do this. You still owe the principal. You just don't have it coming out of your cash flow," said Jeff Carlson, president of Glenwood Springs Ford-Lincoln in Glenwood Springs, Colo., who already has applied to the program. "I've got the oldest dealership in the market," said Carlson. "We have to do something. I need to update my store. "This is a real opportunity for some of us who have dated facilities to upgrade if the program actually is as good as it was presented at NADA," said Carlson, whose dealership sells about 500 new vehicles a year, including both retail and fleet sales. Carlson's main concern is that if the architectural estimate comes back recommending that he build a "Taj Mahal," it would be outlandishly expensive.
Source: Automotive News

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Dealers' Ad Dollars Hit the Streets

D.C. Chevy retailers' events target buyers
About 400 recent Chevrolet Cruze buyers in the Washington, D.C., area got a party with their purchase. Their dealers sprang for each of them to host a private party for 20 friends. The only string attached: Each owner was asked to park the Cruze in the reserved spot by the restaurant entrance. Photos from the parties were shared with about 120,000 of the owners' friends on Facebook. And countless more friend-to-friend conversations about the Cruze took place in a market where Chevrolet isn't exactly top of mind. The parties came courtesy of the Washington Area Chevy Dealers, a 28-dealership local marketing association. This year, the group will spend about half of its $5 million budget on such street-level campaigns. Local marketing associations, funded jointly by manufacturers and area dealers, typically spend their budgets mostly on broadcast advertising.
Source: Automotive News

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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 www.nada.org.

 
Quotable
"This is a real opportunity for some of us who have dated facilities to upgrade if the program actually is as good as it was presented at NADA."

   
-- Jeff Carlson, president of Glenwood Springs Ford-Lincoln in Glenwood Springs, Colo., referring to Ford Motor Co.'s plan to assist dealers with store renovations, Automotive News, Feb. 27



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