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Inside this issue
Ally Financial Honors U.S. Dealer Nominees for TIME Dealer of the Year Award
U.S. SAAR to Hit 15 Million for First Time Since February 2008
Honda Says N.A. Plants Could Grow
Audi May Help Mercedes Overtake BMW in U.S. Sales Race
Fight for Survival in Europe
Commentary: Long Overdue: Give Dealers Some Say
Ford Bringing New Lincolns, Jobs and Long Future to Flat Rock
Push is On for Young, Tech-Savvy Sales Staff
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Ally Financial Honors U.S. Dealer Nominees for TIME Dealer of the Year Award

Ally Financial is proud to announce that 57 dealers from across the U.S. have been selected as nominees for the 2013 TIME Dealer of the Year award. These nominees are among the nation's most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. In its 44th year, the TIME Dealer of the Year award is recognized as one of the automobile industry's most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The nominees and winner will be honored at the 96th annual NADA Convention and Expo in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 9.
Source: Ally Financial

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U.S. SAAR to Hit 15 Million for First Time Since February 2008

Relatively steady month-to-month light-vehicle sales in the U.S. should push the seasonally adjusted annual rate to a 55-month high, according to a WardsAuto forecast. The reports calls for auto makers to sell 1,151,000 LVs in October, equating to a 15 million-unit annual rate, which would mark the first time the SAAR has hit that level since February 2008.
Source: WardsAuto

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Honda Says N.A. Plants Could Grow

American Honda Motor Co. is prepared to boost production capacity in the United States, Canada or at its plant under construction in Mexico, depending on which vehicle segments have the most growth in the next few years. By 2016, Honda's North American sales will rise to "more than 2 million" units, from about 1.7 million this year, Tetsuo Iwamura, CEO of American Honda, told Automotive News.
Source: Automotive News

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Audi May Help Mercedes Overtake BMW in U.S. Sales Race

Volkswagen AG's Audi brand, beginning a push to improve customer service at its U.S. dealerships, may be the spoiler in the U.S. luxury vehicle sales race, helping Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz by shearing buyers from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's BMW. The U.S. luxury sales race looks to be heading for another close finish between Mercedes and BMW. Mercedes is ahead of BMW by 5,221 deliveries this year through September after finishing 2,715 behind in 2011.
Source: Bloomberg

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Fight for Survival in Europe

Plant closures likely as carmakers scramble to stop losses amid prolonged sales slump

With Europe in the midst of a five-year sales slump that is not forecast to end until 2015 at the earliest, automakers are taking dramatic steps to stop bleeding cash. This has put thousands of jobs and nearly a half dozen plants at risk, but that is the price some automakers will have to pay if they want to survive. How serious is the threat? Serious enough for top-ranking executives to publicly state their concerns on whether all of today's competitors in Europe will be alive in the future.
Source: Automotive News

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Commentary: Long Overdue: Give Dealers Some Say
By Keith Crain

Recently I spent time with the board of directors of the National Automobile Dealers Association. I have always been impressed by the dedication that those directors have, representing the interests of thousands of automobile retailers across the country. They are hardworking dealers who take time to represent the rest. It's not an easy job and too often is not understood or appreciated. But it seems automobile dealers don't understand how powerful they are -- with the federal government or among the various manufacturers they represent.

The potential for good is far greater than what many think is possible. So I'd like to see American automobile dealers show their strength a lot more. And it is about time for many manufacturers to appoint an automobile dealer or two to their boards. Considering the composition of today's corporate boards, it seems logical for an automaker to include one of its own dealers.

As part of a shareholders agreement at General Motors, the UAW's VEBA health care trust, which is one of GM's largest stockholders with 10 percent of the stock, designated Steve Girsky as a board member with consent from the Treasury Department, which owns 32 percent of GM's stock. It seems ridiculous for GM's many dealers not to be represented. Ford says its dealers are its most important constituency. A couple of dealers would be a great addition to the Ford board. And Chrysler would benefit from having some of its dealers to add retail insight.

I don't believe that it would be a conflict of interest for a company to have its own dealers on the board. They could do a great job representing all the shareholders with invaluable insight. When you think of the investment and the experience of dealers, you can't help but wonder why the car companies didn't do this long ago. It seems that when there is a takeover attempt, the aggressor inevitably is allowed to put a couple of people on the board.

Well-chosen dealers would be able to represent the shareholders with a point of view that isn't represented today. There are many dealers today who could do a great job on a car company's board without any conflict of interest. In fact, the interests of the company and the dealer would be much the same. I am not sure how a company would pick the dealers for its board, but it is possible -- and long overdue. After more than 100 years, it's time to add a few dealers.
Source: Automotive News

Editor's note: Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.

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Ford Bringing New Lincolns, Jobs and Long Future to Flat Rock

Production of the next generation of Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS, the company's flagship sedans, is expected to move to Michigan's Flat Rock plant in a couple of years, providing security and maybe even more jobs than the 1,400 people to be hired for a current expansion, the Free Press has learned. The exact number of new jobs is not yet known, but Flat Rock will become Ford's central hub for midsize and full-size cars.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Push is On for Young, Tech-Savvy Sales Staff

Wanted: young, tech-savvy and trustworthy person to work in automotive retail sales. No car-business experience required. In a real job ad, dealerships might not express their desire to fill sales openings with 20- and 30-somethings that explicitly. But a youth movement is definitely afoot at many stores, according to a panel of dealers named to the Automotive News Best Dealerships To Work For list.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
 "Auto dealers play such an important role in the strength of local communities across the United States. They are involved in many philanthropic endeavors, contributing their time and money to improving the lives of people in need."

   
-- Tim Russi, executive vice president, North American Auto Operations, Ally Financial, commenting on the TIME Dealer of the Year Award, Ally Financial, Oct. 22


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NADA Chairman Bill Underriner will discuss the state of the retail-auto industry at the Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Underriner will discuss opposition to stair-step incentive programs and the latest developments concerning factory-mandated dealership upgrade programs. A recent NADA facilities study found no evidence that facility improvements result in any sales gains, either short term or long term. It's a point of contention between some dealers and some manufacturers.


 


 

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