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Inside this issue
NADA: Factory-Mandated Dealership Renovation Programs Must Be Fair, Reasonable and Flexible
U.S. Automakers Expect Sizzling Sales for March
Jump in US Consumer Spending Brightens Outlook
DOE Loans Do Little to Help Meet MPG Rules
GM to Unveil 5 Models at New York Auto Show
South Dakota Auto Dealer Attends 31 Consecutive NCAA Final Four Tournaments
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
NADA: Factory-Mandated Dealership Renovation Programs Must Be Fair, Reasonable and Flexible
By Bill Underriner, NADA Chairman

There is great and very understandable angst among dealers over automaker programs that require expensive dealership renovations, especially when they appear arbitrary and do nothing to sell more cars or satisfy customers. NADA helped elevate the current national debate over manufacturer-mandated facility upgrades by commissioning the first-ever facility study. The study was conducted by Glenn Mercer, a former McKinsey and Company partner and industry consultant, who interviewed a broad range of industry participants. Manufacturers that have not already done so ought to consider establishing Facility Committees—similar in rigor and requirements to Product Committees—within their dealer council structures. This could help head off facility value cost issues before they are—literally—cast in concrete. NADA has presented the study’s findings in face-to-face meetings with a number of manufacturers. Some have indicated they plan to be more flexible. Others say they will do a better job of communicating with their dealers. And still others say they plan to reevaluate their image programs based on the study. NADA will continue to stress to the OEMs that any image programs must be fair and reasonable and must have the flexibility to accommodate local conditions and resource constraints. (The complete study is available at www.nada.org/facilitystudy.)
Source: NADA Newsroom

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U.S. Automakers Expect Sizzling Sales for March

U.S. auto sales are expected to continue at a strong pace in March, capping the best quarter in four years for new vehicle purchases as the overall U.S. economy improved and new car buyers found easier financing. On average, 34 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect March sales to hit an annualized pace of 14.75 million vehicles. That would be up from 13.3 million a year ago but down from 15.1 million in February. Strong sales in March would be the most convincing evidence yet this year of a sustained recovery in the U.S. auto sector. Analysts said unseasonably warm weather last month drew out American car shoppers. The rise in gas prices to near $4 coupled with high used car prices also prompted some consumers to buy new vehicles earlier than planned.
Source: Reuters

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Jump in US Consumer Spending Brightens Outlook

U.S. consumers boosted their spending in February by the most in seven months, raising expectations for stronger growth at the start of the year. Americans spent more even as their income barely grew. To make up the difference, many saved less. Americans are also taking on more debt. Consumer borrowing increased from November through January by the most in a decade for a three-month period. Yet the increases were driven almost entirely by auto and student loans.
Source: The Associated Press

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DOE Loans Do Little to Help Meet MPG Rules

Back in 2007, amid a push by Congress to hike U.S. fuel economy standards, Michigan lawmakers got the auto industry some help to comply: a pot of low-interest loans to retool factories for the next generation of advanced-technology vehicles. Five years later, the $25 billion federal program, intended to give the nation's fledgling green-car industry a jump-start, has produced messy results. Now, the Department of Energy auto loan program, created by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, is bogged down in election-year politics. Republicans are on the attack, and if they get their way, the program could face the ax in this year's budget showdown. Plus, consumers aren't exactly flocking to EVs. In March, General Motors suspended production of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt for more than a month to help trim inventories. It had missed its 2011 sales target of 10,000 Volts, selling only 7,671 units. Nissan sold 9,674 all-electric Leafs last year. For the year, sales of the Leaf and Volt accounted for only a sliver of the U.S. market, about 0.1 percent.
Source: Automotive News

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GM to Unveil 5 Models at New York Auto Show

Automakers from around the world will be clamoring for media attention this week at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, deploying characteristic Big Apple flair. GM will debut five redesigned or refreshed cars as part of the New York show, including an all-new Chevrolet Impala.... Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn ... is the keynote speaker Tuesday morning at an industry conference. On Tuesday, about 400 dealers, industry executives, analysts and consultants will gather to hear executives and experts offer insights into the state of the industry. The event is jointly sponsored by the National Automobile Dealers Association, consulting firm IHS and the New York International Auto Show. "Now that the industry has a quarter under its belt (for 2012), this event gives you an opportunity to look forward to the remainder of the year," said Albert Gallegos, director of international affairs for NADA. Other speakers will include Chrysler U.S. sales chief Reid Bigland, Volkswagen of America President and CEO Jonathan Browning, Ford marketing chief Jim Farley and Toyota Motor Sales CEO Jim Lentz.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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South Dakota Auto Dealer Attends 31 Consecutive NCAA Final Four Tournaments

Doug Knust, a new-car dealer who represents South Dakota on NADA's Board of Directors, is also an avid sports fan. He has attended every NCAA men’s basketball Final Four tournament since 1982. “I never intended to start a streak like this. It just happened,” says Knust, owner of Harry K Chevrolet Buick in Chamberlain, S.D., and Harry K Ford Store in Winner, S.D. This year, Knust—who has seen 92 Final Four games—is attending the tournament with six college friends, who are part of the core group over the past 10 years. The 2012 NCAA tournament in New Orleans, which ends tonight, marks his 31st consecutive trip. “The first year I went, Michael Jordan hit the jumper to beat Georgetown. That was a thrill and kind of got me hooked,” he said. The most recent highlight: Last year, when Knust sat right behind George and Barbara Bush.
Source: NADA Newsroom

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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
"NADA will continue to stress to the OEMs that any image programs must be fair and reasonable and must have the flexibility to accommodate local conditions and resource constraints."

   
-- NADA Chairman Bill Underriner in a commentary, referring to factory-mandated dealership renovation programs, NADA Newsroom, April 2


 

NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association

Videos

  NADA Encourages Dealers to Participate in Dealership Workforce Study (NADA University)

  Industry Consultant Glenn Mercer Provides Results of Facilities Study (NADA-TV)

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

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