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Inside this issue
Electric Car Revolution Faces Increasing Headwinds
NADA University to Launch All-New Dealership Workforce Study
NADA: $5 Fuel Would Torpedo Used-SUV Prices
Fiat Hopes to Grow U.S. Lineup to Three Models
Marchionne Sees 'Painful' Restructuring for EU Carmakers
TrueCar Creates Industry-Relations Post to Smooth Dealer Ties
Nissan to Resurrect Datsun After 30 Years
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Electric Car Revolution Faces Increasing Headwinds

The [plug-in hybrid electric] Karma's problems -- one vehicle died during testing by Consumer Reports this month -- follow bad publicity arising from a probe of General Motors Co's Chevrolet Volt and weak sales of the car, and the closure or bankruptcy of several electric vehicle-related start-ups. The unrelenting bad news has led to questions about the readiness of electric cars and raises fresh doubts about a technology that has been around since the late 1890s but is still struggling to win over the public. Whether electric vehicles can find an audience beyond policymakers in Washington and Hollywood celebrities depends on lowering vehicle prices without selling cars at a loss, analysts and industry executives say, while extending driving range to make the cars competitive with their gasoline-powered peers.
Source: Reuters

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NADA University to Launch All-New Dealership Workforce Study

Annual reporting will capture significantly expanded, more timely data on dealer trends
NADA University is launching an all-new annual NADA Dealership Workforce Study featuring a variety of reports that will be released in the summer of 2012. The vastly improved and expanded new study will capture, analyze and tabulate dealership workforce data from calendar year 2011. It replaces the biennial NADA Compensation Study. “This will be the most comprehensive, timely and accurate study of dealership workforce trends ever produced in our industry,” said NADA Chairman Bill Underriner. "One key to the success of the new workforce study is NADA's partnership with the state and metro dealer associations."
Source: NADA University

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NADA: $5 Fuel Would Torpedo Used-SUV Prices

Rising gasoline prices are expected to peak at about $4 a gallon in May and produce a "mild" effect on most used-vehicle prices, analysts at NADA Used Car Guides say. But if tensions over Iran's nuclear program escalate into military action, "then it would be difficult to make a prediction" about how high gasoline prices would go and the effect on used-vehicle prices, said Larry Dixon, an analyst at the company. Even $5 a gallon gasoline would slash the prices of used large SUVs by more than a fifth, NADA Used Car Guides' study shows. Dixon said escalating gasoline prices are being pushed by the threat of a military conflict that would disrupt oil supplies rather than a loss of oil production. "We are always making vehicle price adjustments based, in part, on our expectations for the price of gasoline," he said.
Source: Automotive News 

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Fiat Hopes to Grow U.S. Lineup to Three Models

Fiat's American lineup may grow to three vehicles, according to the brand's U.S. chief. They'll all have loads of Italian flair, but there's no need for all the models to look like the little 500 coupe that led the brand's return to the U.S. last year. "We won't bring you a commodity car," Fiat brand boss Tim Kuniskis said after speaking to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit last week. It's not easy launching a brand, and delays opening Fiat's dealerships exacerbated things. Fiat has 142 dealers now and should reach 200 by the end of 2013, Kuniskis said.
Source: USA TODAY/Detroit Free Press

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Marchionne Sees 'Painful' Restructuring for EU Carmakers

Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said a ‘painful’ restructuring is needed for European carmakers, including plant closures and job cuts, to end losses in the region. Marchionne, who aims to merge Fiat with Chrysler to boost revenue to more than 100 billion euros ($131.8 billion) in 2014, is counting on the American carmaker to propel growth in Europe, where the group lost about 500 million euros in the volume-car business last year and had a “weak” first quarter. Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler.
Source: Bloomberg

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TrueCar Creates Industry-Relations Post to Smooth Dealer Ties

TrueCar Inc. is turning to Pat Watson, former chief of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, to try to repair relations with dealers nationwide. TrueCar, an online vehicle shopping network and sales lead generator, has added the position of vice president of industry relations to its executive management team and appointed Watson to fill it, TrueCar said [Monday]. Watson will oversee relationships with dealer associations at the national, state and local levels.
Source: Automotive News

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Nissan to Resurrect Datsun After 30 Years

Nissan Motor Co. plans to resurrect its once-vaunted Datsun brand, hoping to attract aspirational customers in high-growth emerging markets. Nissan phased out the brand close to 30 years ago but now is counting on Datsun's reputation for small, sporty, inexpensive cars to attract young consumers in the world's developing economies. "Datsun is part of our company's heritage and will now become part of our growth," Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said during a visit to Jakarta on Tuesday.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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
"The expectations have always been too high for electric cars. The realities have always been clouded by the dreams."

   
-- Bill Reinert, Toyota's U.S. manager for advanced technology, Reuters, March 21

  

 

NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association

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