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Inside this issue
As Dealer Count Holds, Sales Per Store Jump
Emails: Fuel Rule Talks Heated
Pulp Nonfiction
A Bumpy Road So Far: Electric Vehicles Fail to Generate Sales
Volkswagen Sees Steady Year Ahead
Mazda Plans U.S. Employee Buyouts, Possible Job Cuts as Earnings Decline
Car Dealers Getting Engaged
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
As Dealer Count Holds, Sales Per Store Jump

U.S. new-vehicle sales rose 10 percent last year while the number of franchises remained flat. That is the simple math behind an industrywide 10 percent jump in average sales per franchise. The gains were widespread: Of 41 brands sold last year in the United States, 30 had higher per-franchise sales -- and 27 posted double-digit percentage gains. The exception: Weak sales at Japanese-brand stores hurt by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan cut their sales per franchise.
Source: Automotive News

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Emails: Fuel Rule Talks Heated

White House, auto industry clashed on new CAFE standards
Automakers clashed with the White House during talks to significantly boost fuel efficiency standards by 2025, according to emails obtained by The Detroit News. The emails, which were disclosed by automakers to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reflect the contentious nature of the talks that went on for as much as 16 hours a day for much of July. The committee, headed by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is investigating whether White House officials circumvented the traditional regulatory process by reaching a deal with automakers before federal agencies sought public input in drafting new fuel rules. Issa has argued the administration didn't weigh the impact that higher vehicle costs could have on the public.
Source: The Detroit News

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Pulp Nonfiction

As escalating federal regulations force F&I paperwork to climb and costs to mount, dealers are crying foul
Deal jackets are getting fatter all the time. Group 1 Automotive Inc. CEO Earl Hesterberg only scratched the surface when he complained in a speech at the Automotive News World Congress in January about the mounting paperwork dealerships face as a result of tougher federal rules. Hesterberg said Group 1 -- the nation's fourth-largest auto retailer based on new-vehicle sales -- sends out 9,000 "adverse action" letters every month to customers who have been turned down for a loan. The letters, required by 2010's federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, are only one example of a growing paperwork load in finance and insurance that costs dealerships time, effort and money. "The paperwork burden has really grown exponentially, and it's difficult for dealers to keep track of," said Paul Metrey, chief regulatory counsel for financial services, privacy and tax, for the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: Automotive News

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A Bumpy Road So Far: Electric Vehicles Fail to Generate Sales

These are dark days for electric cars. Sales for the nascent plug-in electric vehicle industry aren't meeting expectations for several companies, causing some to rethink goals and others to fold. General Motors will stop making the Volt for five weeks starting March 19. Sales are below expectations, though stronger this year than those of the competing plug-in Nissan Leaf. Meanwhile, for the first two months of this year, Toyota sold more than 10 times as many hybrid Priuses than all plug-in electric vehicles on the market, even as gasoline surged to $4 a gallon.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Volkswagen Sees Steady Year Ahead

Volkswagen AG said Monday it expects operating profit in 2012 to remain steady as it confirmed its results for 2011. The company said it expects higher costs for new technology to offset a rise in vehicle sales and revenue. However, it expects operating profit to rise again in 2013. "We are making steady progress on our way to pole position in the automotive industry," Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) 

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Mazda Plans U.S. Employee Buyouts, Possible Job Cuts as Earnings Decline

Mazda Motor Corp., Japan’s most unprofitable major carmaker, plans to offer buyouts to U.S. employees and may make mandatory job cuts as earnings are hit by exchange rate pressure. Employees of Mazda’s U.S. unit in Irvine, California, will be notified next week of buyout options, said Jeremy Barnes, a spokesman for the company. Dismissals are possible as a next step if too few workers leave voluntarily, he said. The decision comes even as Mazda’s U.S. sales are surging this year, up 48 percent through February. Mazda’s plan for U.S. job cuts was reported earlier by Automotive News, a trade publication.
Source: Bloomberg

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Car Dealers Getting Engaged

Dealers who still think “getting engaged” only means proposing on bended knee are missing a big part of social media today. “Engaging means building a relationship that amuses and intrigues the consumer, such that he or she wants to participate in activities the dealer is promoting,” says Kevin Woods, chief operating officer of Driven Solutions, a dealer-based social-media firm in Ferndale, MI. To “engage” an audience, dealers are creating offbeat ads, staging fundraising pie-throwing events, sponsoring contests, shooting in-house videos -- and posting it all on websites such as Facebook.
Source: WardsAuto

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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

"All along, you saw an enormous amount of hype for electric (plug-in) vehicles. The public's perception of the time frame for widespread adoption was way out of whack with the reality."

    -- Brett Smith, co-director of manufacturing at the Center for Automotive Research, Detroit Free Press, March 11


 

NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association

Videos

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  Colorado’s Mike Shaw Named TIME Dealer of the Year (NADA-TV)

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Chairman's Column
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