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Inside this issue
Strong Auto Sales Boost Dealer Groups
Chrysler Profit Quadruples to $473 Million as U.S. Sales Rise
Hyundai Motor Profit Rises 31%, Beating Analyst Estimates
Volkswagen Profit Beats Expectations on Higher Audi Sales
Japanese Boosting Car Output in North America
Car Dealers Press Case Against U.S. Over Bailout, Citing Constitution
Chrysler Tells Lender Ally It Will End Relationship Next Year
Engineers Cast Wary Eye on Role of Electric Cars
It's a Family Affair for Delaware Dealer's Annual Giving from the NADA Foundation's Ambassador Program
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Strong Auto Sales Boost Dealer Groups

U.S. dealership groups reported higher-than-expected first-quarter profits on Wednesday, helped by the need for Americans to replace their aging cars and trucks with more fuel-efficient vehicles as prices at the pump neared record highs. AutoNation Inc., Penske Automotive Group and Lithia Motors Inc. all reported an increase in retail sales and new vehicle prices for the quarter.
Source: Reuters

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Chrysler Profit Quadruples to $473 Million as U.S. Sales Rise

Chrysler Group said its first-quarter net income quadrupled on surging sales as the automaker set a profit target of $1.5 billion for the year. Chrysler earned $473 million in the January-March period, up from $116 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 25 percent to $16.4 billion as U.S. vehicle sales increased 39 percent. "Another positive quarter -- built on sales gains that have surpassed the industry average -- is affirmation that the Chrysler team is maintaining its focus," CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. "We continue to deliver on the targets in our five-year plan."
Source: Automotive News

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Hyundai Motor Profit Rises 31%, Beating Analyst Estimates

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker, reported first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, helped by sales of the Elantra sedan and i20 subcompact in Europe and the U.S. Net income climbed 31 percent to 2.45 trillion won ($2.2 billion), compared with 1.88 trillion won a year earlier, the Seoul-based company said in a statement today.
Source: Bloomberg

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Volkswagen Profit Beats Expectations on Higher Audi Sales

Volkswagen AG, the world’s second-largest carmaker, reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on higher earnings at the Audi luxury brand. Operating profit rose 10 percent to 3.21 billion euros ($4.26 billion) from 2.91 billion euros a year earlier, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said today. The figure beat the 2.66 billion-euro average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales gained 26 percent to 47.3 billion euros. The shares rose the most in five months. Volkswagen is thriving despite Europe’s debt crisis and stealing market share from rivals with a model lineup that runs from the Up! subcompact to Lamborghini sports cars and 50-ton trucks.
Source: Bloomberg

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Japanese Boosting Car Output in North America

Automakers step up vehicle launches to tap reviving demand
Japan's automakers are leading the increase this year in North American vehicle output as they rebuild their inventories and step up launches of new models to recapture business lost in 2011 when they were struck by natural disasters. The U.S. auto market's stronger-than-anticipated expansion in the first quarter also is driving up demand for Japanese vehicles. Led by Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Japanese automakers increased their North American vehicle output by 19 percent last month from a year earlier, to 449,000 vehicles.
Source: The Detroit News

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Car Dealers Press Case Against U.S. Over Bailout, Citing Constitution

U.S. government bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler became a constitutional battleground when they were pushed through bankruptcy court in 2009. Turns out the battle isn't over just yet. More than 220 former car dealers are pressing their case that the Obama administration violated the U.S. Constitution when the car makers terminated franchise agreements while in bankruptcy restructuring. They are seeking compensatory damages ranging from $500,000 to more than $5 million apiece.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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Chrysler Tells Lender Ally It Will End Relationship Next Year

Chrysler said [Wednesday] that it notified Ally Financial that it does not plan renew its relationship with the auto financing lender after it expires in on April 30, 2013. Under Chrysler’s existing agreement with Ally the automaker is required to notify the lender one year in advance if it wants to end the relationship. Ally has provided wholesale financing to Chrysler’s dealer network and auto loans to Chrysler’s customers in the U.S. and Canada. Despite the decision, dealers can continue to use Ally as a lender either for floor plan financing or for auto loans.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Engineers Cast Wary Eye on Role of Electric Cars

Auto-industry marketers are stepping up efforts to tout electric cars and plug-in hybrids to regulators and consumers, but at a gathering of industry technologists here, senior auto-company executives offered a sharply skeptical view of electric cars, predicting they will remain a marginal part of the U.S. market well into the next decade. In presentations Tuesday and Wednesday at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, senior auto-industry executives in charge of technology strategy, research, and regulatory issues delivered the same message: Barring an unforeseen breakthrough that significantly drops the cost of automotive batteries, fully electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles are likely to remain confined to a niche of under 10% of the market through 2025 and beyond. "By 2025, we see battery electric vehicles still with too long a payback, and inadequate range," said Joseph Bakaj, vice president for powertrain engineering at Ford Motor Co.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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It's a Family Affair for Delaware Dealer's Annual Giving from the NADA Foundation's Ambassador Program

William H. “Bill” Willis, Jr., says it’s a “no brainer” for new-car dealers to get involved with the Ambassadors program of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation. “Every dealer should look at the Ambassadors program as a fantastic opportunity to give back to their community,” said Willis, president of the Willis Automotive Group in Smyrna, Del. With $10,000 donations each to the NADA Foundation beginning in 2004, the Willis family created four ambassadorships. Willis and his brother, Harry D. “Skip” Willis, as well as their father, William H. Willis, and mother, Edna V. Willis, were named as Ambassadors. Donors with three or more gifts of $10,000 to the program receive the title of “Ambassadors of Distinction” and can present $2,000 grants every year in perpetuity. “This is the gift that keeps on giving. Grants from my family through the NADA Foundation’s Ambassadors program will continue forever,” Willis added. “My children and their children will be able to donate money to organizations they choose for future generations.”
Source: NADA Newsroom

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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 rumored death of the internal combustion engine is premature."

   
-- Sam Winegarden, executive director of powertrain-engine engineering at General Motors Co., in remarks at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress analyzing the cost of energy produced from gasoline and diesel fuels compared to lithium-ion batteries, The Wall Street Journal, April 25


 

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