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Inside this issue
Car Dealers Seek Break From Handing Out Insurance Guide
Reality Check: May US Auto Sales Up, Incentives Help, Dealers Say
Chrysler Reports May Sales Up 30 Percent
Opinion: Can Electric Cars Crack the Mass Market?
BMW Apple-Like Geniuses Sell Luxury Models with Tablets
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Top Stories
Car Dealers Seek Break From Handing Out Insurance Guide

U.S. auto dealers...want Congress to end a federal mandate to distribute a rarely requested booklet on car insurance costs, calling it an example of regulatory overreach.

Since 1972, dealerships selling new cars have been required to circulate the pamphlet, produced by auto-safety regulators, under the threat of a $1,000 fine. The catch: Consumers don’t ask for the information, according to a National Automobile Dealers Association poll that found 96 percent of its members didn’t remember the booklet being requested by customers.

“I have been selling cars the entire time this law has been enforced, and I cannot recall, nor can any member of my staff recall, any customer ever asking for this booklet,” Jack Fitzgerald, owner of Kensington, Maryland-based Fitzgerald Auto Mall, said in testimony prepared for a hearing today in Washington. “NHTSA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and mail a booklet practically no one ever asks for that contains information generally unhelpful to new car shoppers,” he said in his prepared testimony. 
Source: Bloomberg

Editor's Note:  The bill under review by the subcommittee today is the NADA-supported H.R. 5859, sponsored by Reps. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Bill Owens, D-N.Y.  In addition to Mr. Fitzgerald, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., a Chevrolet and Hyundai dealer, is also testifying in favor of the bill.  To view their testimony, click here.

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Reality Check: May US Auto Sales Up, Incentives Help, Dealers Say

U.S. new-vehicle sales revved in May, fueled by manufacturers' hefty buying incentives and drivers' pent-up demand to replace their aging rides, according to auto dealers around the country. Dealers said May business saw trade-ins pushed by lavish rebates and low financing costs. A multi-brand dealer in Montana said May brought energetic sales, but light inventory is holding him back a bit.

"We're feeling very good about the month," said Bill Underriner, president of Underriner Motors, in Billings which sells Honda, Hyundai, Buick and Volvo nameplates at two locations. "It seems like everybody came out with Memorial Day incentives around the 24th." But he said his 7% year-to-date sales increase vs. 2011 has disappointed. Supply is the culprit.
Source: MarketNews International (Subscription Required)

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Chrysler Reports May Sales Up 30 Percent

Chrysler Group LLC said Friday its May sales were up 30 percent, marking the company's best May sales month since 2007.The Auburn Hills-based automaker said it had sales of 150,041 vehicles in May, up from 115,363 vehicle sales in May 2011. The company's Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat brands all had sales jumps for the month, with Fiat setting a sales record for the fourth-consecutive month.
Source: The Detroit News

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Opinion: Can Electric Cars Crack the Mass Market?

The electric car has become a political litmus test. With billions of federal dollars spent to motivate further billions in private investment, the financial stakes are high, as are the environmental and energy-security implications. But in the tug of war between the caricatures of lefty liberal greens and righty conservative petroheads, love-it or hate-it are the only two options. Where does this leave the supportive, but objective, centrist?
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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BMW Apple-Like Geniuses Sell Luxury Models with Tablets

Oliver Watkins struggles to explain to car shoppers that his job is to be a genius for BMW. “We tell them we work for BMW in a new, exciting role, and we sometimes refer to ourselves as the ‘geeks’ of BMW,” said the 21-year-old, who joined Cooper Norwich, a BMW dealer in eastern England in September as one of the carmaker’s first two geniuses. More are on their way. Borrowing an idea from Apple Inc.’s stores, BMW plans to add tablet-toting product experts to the staff of its 3,000 dealers worldwide. Watkins and his colleagues will help customers link a car with an iPhone and sort through options like Night Vision and Active Steering without selling pressure. Seeking to defend its lead in luxury-car sales, BMW will add geniuses to outlets in France, the U.K., China and the Netherlands this year and later in the U.S.
Source: Bloomberg

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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

"GM's sales in May were the highest in almost three years, and we are poised to keep delivering good news for the U.S. economy with one of the most aggressive new product offenses in our history."   

    -- Don Johnson, vice president of U.S. sales operations, The Detroit News, June 1


NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association


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