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Inside this issue
Survey Says: Drivers Prefer Dealer Service Over Other Shops
U.S. Auto Dealers Who Survived Debacle See Record Sales
FTC Settles with Dealers Over Allegedly Deceptive Advertisements
Trade to Upgrade
Opinion: Three Ways Carmakers Can Save The World
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Survey Says: Drivers Prefer Dealer Service Over Other Shops

Drivers are happier when they have their vehicles serviced at the dealership than when they take them to non-dealer shops, according to a new survey. Auto industry research company J.D. Power and Associates found in its 2012 Customer Service Index or CSI study that among customers using dealer service centers, average overall satisfaction rating is 787 points on a 1,000-point scale, compared with 749 points for non-dealer facilities. J.D. Power said owners of one- to three-year-old vehicles take them to the dealer for service 79% of the time, up from 74% last year and 72% in 2010. Overall satisfaction with dealer service improved by 19 points in 2012, compared with 2011, and among the 33 brands ranked, 28 improved in service satisfaction from 2011 and eight nameplates improved by at least 20 points.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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U.S. Auto Dealers Who Survived Debacle See Record Sales

Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Houston was one of the fortunate U.S. auto dealers to have survived the industry meltdown of 2008 and 2009. “It was tough times,” Al Heggs, the dealership’s general manager, said of the period when sales plunged to less than 135 new cars and trucks a month from 300. “You just got to figure out how to keep yourself above water.” Beleaguered Spring Chrysler wound up doing that -- and much more. Industrywide per-store dealership profit has almost tripled from 2008. Brian Hamilton, principal of Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac and Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep stores in Kearney, Nebraska, said he’s added at least 10 new employees recently as technicians and in his sales and parts departments. The average U.S. auto dealer earned a pretax profit of $785,855 last year on revenue of $34.7 million, according to the McLean, Virginia-based National Automobile Dealers Association, which represents 16,000 new-car dealers. Dealers’ average pretax profit was $279,685 in 2008.
Source: Bloomberg

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FTC Settles with Dealers Over Allegedly Deceptive Advertisements

The Federal Trade Commission on March 14 announced a settlement with five car dealers across the country that requires those dealers to stop running certain allegedly misleading advertisements. The FTC alleged that by “promis[ing] to pay off a consumer's trade-in no matter what the consumer owes on the vehicle ... [the dealers] deceived consumers into thinking they would no longer be responsible for paying off the loan balance on their trade-in, even if it exceeded the trade-in's value.” The FTC's further alleged that despite the dealers' claims, consumers still end up being responsible for paying the difference between the trade-in loan balance and the vehicle's value, and that therefore representations that dealers will "pay off" what the consumers owe are false and misleading, and violate the FTC Act. The complaints in several of the cases also alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Reg Z for failing to disclose certain credit-related terms, and Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) and Reg M for failing to disclose certain lease related terms. The FTC also issued a “consumer alert” in conjunction with its announcement entitled “Negative Equity and Auto Trade-ins.”
Source: NADA Regulatory Affairs

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Trade to Upgrade

With trade-in values peaking, now may be the time to trade up to a new model. A severely depleted inventory of used vehicles is boosting the values of late-model cars to record highs these days. While this means sky-high prices for those looking to purchase a used vehicle, it's a bonanza for owners of late-model cars looking to upgrade their rides. That's because trade-in values are concurrently generous in the process. Getting more in trade for your existing car means you'll have additional cash to use as a down payment on a new model. "The slowing rate of depreciation on used vehicles over the course of the year will lead to even stronger trade-in values and enhance the equity that a consumer has in their vehicle," says Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst with the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: CTW Features

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Opinion: Three Ways Carmakers Can Save The World
By Carlos Ghosn

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, through his initiative on Sustainable Energy for All, is challenging governments and private companies to use traditional energy resources more efficiently and expand the use of renewable energy sources. I’ve agreed to help find solutions because this issue is critical to the future of my industry – auto making. About 25% of global oil output is used to fuel cars and light trucks. That’s about 1 billion tons of petrol a year. Meanwhile, the planet’s demographics and energy needs are shifting dramatically. In my lifetime, the world’s population has grown from 2.7 billion to more than 7 billion people. In 1999, consumers in China bought 600,000 vehicles. Last year, Chinese consumers bought more than 17 million vehicles.
Source: Forbes

Editor's note: Ghosn is the keynote speaker at the NADA/IHS Automotive Forum 2012, “Defining Success in the Automotive Industry: Staying Competitive in an Uncertain World,” in New York City on April 3. The New York International Auto Show is hosting the forum. To register or find out more about the one-day forum, visit www.autoforumny.com. And follow the forum on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AutoForumNY) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/AutoForumNY). The hashtag is #NADAIHS.

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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
"... manufacturers and their dealers have instituted broad-based customer service improvement initiatives to increase satisfaction with both the purchase experience and after-sales service."

   
-- Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates, referring to its latest survey, which reports drivers are happier when they have their vehicles serviced at the dealership compared to non-dealer shops, The Wall Street Journal, March 14


 

NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association

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