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Inside this issue
NADA Mobile App Surpasses 20,000 Downloads
Chrysler Dealers Who Regained Franchises Not Guaranteed Right to Reopen, Judge Says
Commentary: Dealers Appear Ready to Fight Auto Makers
GM to Combine Chevy Advertising, Hopes to Save $2B
Casa Ford's Wally Lowenfield Dies at 84
Editorial: Right to Repair Issue Rears Its Ugly Head Again
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
NADA Mobile App Surpasses 20,000 Downloads

NADA’s mobile app reached an important milestone this week after being downloaded by more than 20,000 iPhone and iPad users. “It’s great to be able to get NADA Headlines and NADA-TV videos on the go,” says Bill Fox, a new-car dealer from Auburn, N.Y., and chairman of NADA’s Public Affairs Committee. Each day, NADA’s Public Affairs Group provides timely news to the mobile app, including headlines, videos and events. NADA Headlines is the most popular feature of the app. Public Affairs’ in-house design group created the promotional campaign that has helped raise awareness of the app. “The advertising campaign in support of the mobile app is phenomenally successful,” says David Hyatt, NADA vice president of public affairs. “Our design group obviously came up with a winning ad. It captures the look and feel of an actual Apple ad and creates instant prestige by association. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Source: NADA Newsroom

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Chrysler Dealers Who Regained Franchises Not Guaranteed Right to Reopen, Judge Says

Former Chrysler Group LLC dealers who lost their franchise agreements and then regained them in federal arbitration do not necessarily have a right to reopen under the same market conditions as before, a judge has ruled. In a written ruling Tuesday, Judge Sean Cox of U.S. District Court in Detroit found that the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, which created the arbitration process for terminated dealers, does not trump previous state laws governing dealer markets. That means more than 20 former Chrysler dealers in Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Ohio, Nevada and Florida have only an agreement with Chrysler to be added to its dealership network -- much as if they were starting a brand new business.
Source: Crain's Detroit Business

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Commentary: Dealers Appear Ready to Fight Auto Makers
By Jim Ziegler

For years, I’ve fought heavy-handed programs auto makers inflict on their dealers. Now, a champion dealer, Norman Braman, is putting on the gloves. He is the type of guy who can go a full 15 rounds with an auto maker. Self-made billionaire Braman is suing General Motors. Not that dealers haven’t sued auto makers since the beginning of the automotive franchise system. But this time it’s different. Braman ... is suing GM over its Essential Brand Elements Program that, among other things, requires dealers to build new facilities or redo existing ones so they have a common look. The program financially rewards dealers who go along with it. But Braman alleges, and I believe rightly so, that the rewards translate into 2-tier wholesale pricing. Of course, it’s not just GM; almost every auto maker has some sort of program tied to facility-upgrade requirements or sales incentives that create situations in which qualifying dealers can sell cars substantially cheaper than those that don’t.
Source: WardsAuto

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GM to Combine Chevy Advertising, Hopes to Save $2B

General Motors expects to save about $2 billion during the next five years by centralizing most of the global advertising for its Chevrolet brand. The Detroit company said Tuesday that two competing agencies, San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, and New York-based McCann Erickson Worldwide, will join to form a new company to handle most of Chevy's ads.
Source: The Associated Press

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Casa Ford's Wally Lowenfield Dies at 84

El Paso lost a business community giant on Sunday. Wallace Moore "Wally" Lowenfield, the longtime owner of Casa Ford, died Sunday of cancer at age 84. "He was a true gentleman and loved people and loved serving them," said his son, Clay Lowenfield. Wally Lowenfield bought the El Paso Ford car dealership in 1969 with four friends. They renamed it Casa Ford and moved it to its current location on Montana Avenue in 1972. He sold the dealership to his son, Clay, in 1996. "His greatest gift was his generosity." Lowenfield served on the National Dealer Council for Ford Motor Co. from 1984 to 1988 and was the council's chairman in 1986-87 where he represented Ford dealers from all over the country. He bought Sun Datsun in 1984 and renamed it Casa Nissan. He bought and sold other dealerships here in El Paso and around the country.
Source: El Paso Times

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Editorial: Right to Repair Issue Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Like a snake that refuses to die, the so-called Right to Repair initiative keeps popping up around the country. This time, it is in Massachusetts where proponents filed a petition to put the matter on the ballot; that will happen unless the legislature steps up and kills it before May 1.

Advocates want automakers to make the same repair and diagnostic information provided to dealerships available to independent repair shops for a "fair" price online and want universal plug-in diagnostic equipment that would work on vehicles of all makes -- all by the 2015 model year.

Supposedly, the campaign's goal is to give consumers more choices for repair work at the lowest possible price.

The bill's backers include aftermarket trade groups, parts retailers and some of the largest chain service shops, including AutoZone, NAPA, Midas and Meineke -- which all covet the repair work done at dealerships and want a low-cost way to do it.

Even within the independent repair industry there is opposition to such changes. The coalition opposing Right to Repair laws includes not only groups that represent virtually every dealership and automaker, but also the Automotive Service Association, which represents independent service and repair professionals.

Each automaker already sells independent shops the necessary repair information -- at the same price and in the same format offered to its dealerships. But the independents want all the automakers' information available through a single Web-based subscription service.

A law that forces automakers to use diagnostic technology that is the least common denominator would be wrong. It would prevent manufacturers from making proprietary changes to improve the serviceability and reliability of their products, which would work to the detriment of consumers.

The Right to Repair bill is wrongheaded and must be defeated.
Source: Automotive News

Editor's note: Among the many states where legislation is pending, Massachusetts has become the critical battleground over the so-called “Right to Repair” issue, as there has been little movement on the issue at the federal level. NADA is supporting the efforts of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association in the fight against a potential statewide ballot initiative that could be part of the November 2012 elections.

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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 Right to Repair bill is wrongheaded and must be defeated."

    -- Automotive News (editorial), March 26


 

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