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Inside this issue
Car Dealers Fight Back Against CFPB Auto Financing Rule
Last Day to Register for NADA/J.D. Power Auto Forum in NYC
March U.S. New-Vehicle Sales to Continue at Robust Rate
Ford Targets Empty-Nesters and Millennials With Midsize, Smaller Products
GM Lowers Boom on German Car Factory
Buick Stakes a Claim in Munchkinland
Tell-All Cars Put Your Driving Business Out in the Open
As Sales Rise, So Do Dealers' Gifts to Charities
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Car Dealers Fight Back Against CFPB Auto Financing Rule

Auto dealership advocates are warning that costs will rise for borrowers if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau presses banks to curtail auto loan markups determined by dealers. The warning followed the CFPB's bulletin [last] week that said banks are responsible for discrimination if their partner dealers mark up the interest rates on loans for minority borrowers or engage in other fair lending abuses. The agency is encouraging lenders to adopt a flat-fee model for dealer compensation. But dealer industry representatives said doing so would hurt competition and ultimately boost car prices. "The dealer-assisted financing model (indirect auto lending) has been enormously successful in both increasing access to, and reducing the cost of, credit for millions of Americans," the National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers said in a joint statement released late Thursday. "The CFPB's attempt to eliminate the dealer's ability to discount the APR that it offers to consumers will only weaken the consumer's ability to secure financing at the lowest possible cost."
Source: American Banker

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Last Day to Register for NADA/J.D. Power Auto Forum in NYC

Thought leaders from across all sectors of the auto industry will convene for a one-day conference in New York on Tuesday, March 26. Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., is the keynote speaker. Automotive Forum 2013, presented by NADA and J.D. Power & Associates, brings together leaders from manufacturing, retailing and the media to discuss the future of the auto industry. The forum, hosted by the New York International Auto Show, will be held at the Grand Hyatt. The event will feature several panel discussions, including “Wall Street’s View of the Industry,” moderated by auto consultant Maryann Keller with panelists Itay Michaeli (Citi Investment), Adam Jonas (Morgan Stanley) and Colin Langan (UBS Investment Research). Other speakers include NADA Chairman David Westcott; Finbar O’Neill, president of J.D. Power & Associates; Neale Kuperman, chairman of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association; Nariman Behravesh, IHS chief economist; Glenn Mercer, industry consultant; Chip Perry, CEO/president of AutoTrader.com; and others. Attendees will receive complimentary credentials to attend Press Days at the auto show, which run March 27-28. To register or view the full agenda, visit www.AutoForumNY.com.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com

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March U.S. New-Vehicle Sales to Continue at Robust Rate

Good economic news, seasonal trends and strong truck demand should keep March U.S. light-vehicle sales humming at February’s 15.3 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, a new WardsAuto forecast indicates. U.S. auto makers are expected to sell 1.45 million cars and light trucks, for a projected 53,845-unit daily rate (over 27 selling days), a 7.7% improvement from year-ago (28 days). The projected volume also marks a 3.8% gain compared with last March’s strong results.
Source: WardsAuto

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Ford Targets Empty-Nesters and Millennials With Midsize, Smaller Products

Millions of empty-nesters and millennials are looking for smaller cars and crossovers, and Ford hopes to capture their attention with an advertising campaign debuting next month. The ads' theme, "and not or," challenges the notion that life is a series of choices: mac "or" cheese, rock "or" roll, bed "or" breakfast. The message: Ford's combination of performance and fuel economy can give you both. The ads promote Ford's midsize and smaller vehicles: Fusion, Focus and Fiesta cars; Escape and C-Max crossovers. The traditional print and broadcast campaign will run for the rest of the year and focus on individual vehicles. Ford has dubbed this pool of vehicles the "super segment," accounting for half of new vehicle sales nationwide, compared with 35% in 2004, said Erich Merkle, the automaker's U.S. sales analyst.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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GM Lowers Boom on German Car Factory

General Motors Co. said it would move forward with plans to halt car production and permanently shut a plant in Bochum, Germany, by the end of 2014 after workers rejected a cost-cutting deal the auto maker had hammered out with union leaders. The auto maker's Adam Opel AG unit, which owns the plant, had offered to keep car production in Bochum until the end of 2016 in exchange for a wage freeze, the relinquishment of some fringe benefits and other cost-saving changes to its union contract. The offer, that also included keeping 1,200 permanent jobs in warehousing and component production beyond 2016, had been worked out by GM management, including Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky, and representatives of the IG Metall union in late February. But in a vote on Thursday, workers at the plant rejected the deal, with about 76% voting against the cost cuts.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Buick Stakes a Claim in Munchkinland

Buick's image is so ingrained in the national consciousness that the name has become shorthand for an American road barge with ample proportions. That moose, someone may say, “is as big as a Buick.” But since Buick survived the brand massacre that accompanied General Motors' bankruptcy and reorganization — living on even as Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn were laid to rest — the division and its products have slimmed down and shaped up. And with its new Encore, Buick is bravely venturing into barely charted terrain at the small end of the utility market, where the mini-Buick, along with the BMW X1 and Mini Countryman, is blazing an upscale trail that other brands will soon follow with their own small-scale, yet upscale, crossovers.
Source: The New York Times

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Tell-All Cars Put Your Driving Business Out in the Open

Is your car spying on you? If it's a recent model, has a fancy infotainment system or is equipped with toll-booth transponders or other units you brought into the car that can monitor your driving, your driving habits or destination could be open to the scrutiny of others. If your car is electric, it's almost surely capable of ratting you out. You may have given your permission, or you may be the last to know. At present, consumer's privacy is regulated when it comes to banking transactions, medical records, phone and Internet use. But data generated by cars, which these days are basically rolling computers, are not. All too often,"people don't know it's happening," says Dorothy Glancy, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who specializes in transportation and privacy. "People should be able to decide whether they want it collected or not."
Source: Detroit Free Press

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As Sales Rise, So Do Dealers' Gifts to Charities

Donations include time, money, vehicles

Rising vehicle sales are boosting dealership revenues, making it easier for dealers to give more to charities. "On a year-over-year basis, the dealer financials reflect an increasing dollar amount contribution toward charitable activities," says Paul Faletti, CEO of NCM Associates, Inc., a dealership consulting firm in Kansas City, Mo. According to NADA, the average dealer's contribution to charity in 2008 was about $22,000. That amount rose to about $29,000 in 2011, the last year for which data are available. But more dealers are giving, as evidenced by participation in the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation Ambassadors Program, says Annette Sykora, an NADA board member and trustee for the charitable foundation. The Ambassadors program is a charitable foundation with about 620 participants. Most are dealers, although some auto executives and other dealer associations also belong. The program provides about $230,000 each year to various charities. Sykora says participation, which requires a minimum one-time donation of $10,000.... Sykora said she expects at least 100 new ambassadors this year. "It's definitely due to the improved volume and profitability from new-car sales, where dealers have more profits and feel they can be very charitable," says Sykora, dealer principal of Smith South Plains in Levelland, Texas.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
"The CFPB's attempt to eliminate the dealer's ability to discount the APR that it offers to consumers will only weaken the consumer's ability to secure financing at the lowest possible cost."

   
-- NADA and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers in a joint statement, American Banker, March 22
Last Day to Register for Auto Forum 2013 in NYC

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