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Inside this issue
Auto Loan Terms Continue to Loosen for All Buyers
Opinion: Fight Flat Fees for Auto Financing
2025 Fuel Rules On Track to Be Finalized By Aug. 15
Retirees Wrestle With Pension Buyout From General Motors
Honda Hiring 300 and Will Make Hybrid Cars in Indiana
Phony Service Contract Appeals Hurt Legitimate Dealers
Luxury Pickup Sales Rise as Buyer Desires Grow
High-Tech Audi Showrooms Planned for 20 'Affluent' Sites
Ford Using Ping-Pong Balls to Measure Interior Cargo Space
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Auto Loan Terms Continue to Loosen for All Buyers

For car buyers seeking auto loans, happy days are here again. U.S. banks and auto finance companies are once again welcoming all kinds of customers, even those with less-than-stellar credit. The average credit scores of new and used car buyers, which spiked during the economic downturn, have fallen to nearly the same level as 2008.
Source: The Associated Press

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Opinion: Fight Flat Fees for Auto Financing
By Michael Charapp

Industry publications are writing with increasing frequency about the potential demise of so-called dealer markups, the percentage-point fees dealers charge for acting as middlemen for consumer auto loans. Proponents of flat fees say the “markups” are unfair. They are urging regulators, such as the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, to take action. What effect would a flat-fee requirement have? Like any mandated change in the way an entire industry operates, it is hard to predict the impact clearly. But that is the problem. No one knows the ultimate outcome, and bad results with real damage to the car-retailing business are likely.
Source: WardsAuto

Editor's note: Michael Charapp, based in McLean, Va., is a lawyer who represents auto dealers.

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2025 Fuel Rules On Track to Be Finalized By Aug. 15

Two federal agencies on Wednesday sent the most significant proposed increase in fuel-efficiency standards to the White House for final approval. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent the proposed 2017-2025 fuel-efficiency standards that would nearly double fleetwide requirements to 54.5 mpg by 2025 to the White House Office of Management and Budget for its OK. The Obama administration initially planned to finalize the rule by July 31, but in recent weeks said it now plans to finalize the regulation by Aug. 15. The new requirements also will add about $2,000 to the cost of an average vehicle by 2025 — or $3,000 including the added costs from the 2012-2016 rules. Auto dealers have expressed alarm about the rules, noting they will have to sell more expensive vehicles to consumers.
Source: The Detroit News

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Retirees Wrestle With Pension Buyout From General Motors

For weeks, John and Kathy Matthews have agonized over the choice: accept $818,000 in a lump sum from General Motors to buy out Mr. Matthews’s pension or keep collecting a check of $4,854 a month. G.M. has made similar offers to about 42,000 of its 118,000 former white-collar employees and surviving spouses. Those who decide to keep the monthly check will be switched to an annuity provided by Prudential Insurance. Those who take the lump sum will be saying goodbye to G.M.’s financial embrace forever.
Source: The New York Times

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Honda Hiring 300 and Will Make Hybrid Cars in Indiana

Honda said today that it's going to hire 300 more workers and invest $40 million to increase annual production capacity by 50,000 vehicles at its Greensburg, Ind., plant starting early next year. In doing so, Honda will add production of the Civic Hybrid, making it Honda's first American plant to make a hybrid.
Source: USA Today

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Phony Service Contract Appeals Hurt Legitimate Dealers
By Jim Henry

Unscrupulous direct-to-consumer marketers -- with their phony solicitations that tell consumers, "Your warranty is about to expire" -- hurt the extended-service-contracts market for everyone. Better Business Bureau chapters around the country have warnings about this posted online, not to mention Consumer Reports and the Federal Trade Commission.
Source: Automotive News

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Luxury Pickup Sales Rise as Buyer Desires Grow

Les Bourne paid $62,000 for his 2011 Ford F-Series King Ranch Super Duty pickup, but it's quite affordable next to the handmade experimental plane he hauls behind it. Bourne, a commercial pilot for United Airlines, uses his truck to tow his $140,000 aircraft on a flatbed. Bourne is among a growing number of highly educated, affluent professionals buying high-end light- and heavy-duty pickups.
Source: Detroit Free Press

Related Story

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High-Tech Audi Showrooms Planned for 20 'Affluent' Sites

Volkswagen AG's premium Audi brand is unveiling a London showroom featuring giant LED screens that let customers design their own vehicles, part of the carmaker's effort to bring in younger, media-oriented buyers. The Audi City outlet, opening this week at Piccadilly Circus, is the first of a network the company is planning by 2015 for 20 "affluent locations" in Europe, China, Russia and the United States, said Sven Schuwirth, head of brand development.
Source: Bloomberg

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Ford Using Ping-Pong Balls to Measure Interior Cargo Space

At Ford Motor Co., vehicle architects say a different approach for measuring interior cargo space is more accurate than standard measuring devices. Instead of estimating the capacity of odd-shaped areas — like glove boxes and center consoles — inside vehicles using typical measuring devices, Ford now fills those spaces with ping-pong balls.
Source: The Detroit News

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More Articles
 
Quotable
"We find that ping-pong balls are a pretty good way to get accurate volume measurements."

   
-- Sejal Shreffler, a Ford engineer, on the automaker's different approach for measuring interior cargo space compared to standard measuring devices, The Detroit News, July 18




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