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Inside this issue
American Auto Industry Has Best Performance in 20 Years
Regulators Scrutinize Auto Lenders Over Add-Ons
Demise of Coda Automotive Means Lonelier Electric-Car Owners
Why GM And Ford Face A Tough Uphill Battle In Europe
2013 Dealership Workforce Study Extended to June 30
Ally Financial Presents TIME Dealer of the Year Winner's Grant
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Top Stories
American Auto Industry Has Best Performance in 20 Years

Detroit's boom-and-bust history was built on a dependence on big, fuel-thirsty vehicles. Now, with freshly stocked showrooms of new cars and more-efficient trucks, U.S. automakers are gaining ground on their Asian competitors with the best lineup in a generation. General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC -- which all gained market share in the first quarter for the first time in 20 years -- exceeded sales forecasts last month and led the industry to its best April since 2007. Ford sales rose 18 percent and GM and Chrysler deliveries both increased 11 percent. That beat forecasts by analysts of a 17 percent rise for Ford and 10 percent for Detroit-based GM and Fiat SpA-controlled Chrysler.
Source: Bloomberg

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Regulators Scrutinize Auto Lenders Over Add-Ons

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued subpoenas to U.S. auto lenders over the sale of extended warranties and other financial products, according to people familiar with the investigation, expanding a civil probe that lenders say could slow the booming car-loan industry. Any new restrictions could affect millions of Americans who use loans to buy new and used vehicles each year. Add-on products, such as extra insurance, are a popular mechanism used by car dealers to boost profits. Though such products are legal, regulators are probing whether terms and prices are adequately disclosed. The Justice Department, meanwhile, is probing auto dealerships that make their own loans to customers with poor credit and charge higher rates, said Jon Seward, deputy chief of the department's housing and civil-enforcement section, at a panel discussion at George Mason University on Thursday. Roughly three-quarters of all new-vehicle purchases are financed or include add-on products, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. "It is very clear that these products are optional," said Bailey Wood, senior director for legislative affairs and communications at the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Demise of Coda Automotive Means Lonelier Electric-Car Owners

Coda Automotive, a Los Angeles-based electric carmaker, announced that it is filing for bankruptcy. Coda's parent company says it plans to sell its auto assets to focus on energy storage. The demise of the 4-year-old startup, which was backed by billionaire Philip Falcone, comes as a surprise to almost no one. Coda struggled almost from the beginning in a very difficult business. “They had a gigantic task ahead of them,” says Brett Smith, co-director of the manufacturing, engineering and technology group at the Center for Automotive Research. Coda sold only about 100 of its sedans.

While Coda is a tiny drop in the electric car market, its failure highlights an ongoing problem for the budding industry. Car buyers are loathe to spend tens of thousands of dollars on models with short histories and uncertain futures. Even traditional carmakers struggle once the stink of death descends on a brand, notes Smith, pointing to the tortured ends of Oldsmobile and Plymouth. “For a company that is a startup that may or not be there tomorrow, let alone in five years, it's an incredibly difficult barrier to overcome,” says Smith. To get off the ground, electric carmakers have to hunt out the small group of buyers who are eager to be part of a movement and willing to accept the risks. And they, Smith says, are buying Teslas.
Source: Businessweek

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Why GM And Ford Face A Tough Uphill Battle In Europe

For almost two years, General Motors has been trying to get its house in order in its European operations. Ford's turnaround effort there is much more recent. But both companies share an uncomfortable reality: the uphill battle in a wildly uncertain market. European auto sales fell 10 percent in March, and Automotive News Europe says the market is headed for its lowest annual totals in 20 years. The economy is the most important factor, but not the only one. Beyond that, both American auto companies are facing the stiff competitive challenge posed by Volkswagen, as well as the determined small car plans from luxury carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz. All those worries ought to be enough to keep the big American players focused on their turnaround plans, and worsening market conditions always mean those plans may have to be revised again.
Source: Forbes

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2013 Dealership Workforce Study Extended to June 30

The deadline to participate in the 2013 Dealership Workforce Study has been extended to June 30 to accommodate many requests from dealer members. It's the only study that compares a dealership's compensation and benefits, retention and turnover, work schedules and hours of operation to aggregated peer data. The results will allow dealers to make data-based decisions when recruiting, hiring and motivating employees. Only NADA and ATD members are eligible to participate, and there is no cost. To participate, visit and follow the step-by-step directions to complete the survey and upload your payroll data file. There are separate processes for single dealership enrollments and multi-dealer group enrollments. Each participating dealership will receive a complimentary individualized Basic Report comparing its data against data aggregated on a regional and national basis. Participants will also receive a complimentary, comprehensive Dealership Workforce Study Industry Report. Participants may purchase an individualized Enhanced Report, which compares dealership data against data for the franchise and state.
Source: NADA University

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Ally Financial Presents TIME Dealer of the Year Winner's Grant

Ally Financial this week announced its presentation of funds to a charity selected by this year’s TIME Dealer of the Year. After naming Michael Alford of Marine Chevrolet Cadillac the winner of the 2013 award earlier this year, Ally executives were in North Carolina this week to present a $10,000 grant to Alford’s chosen charity, Girls on the Run. The grant from Ally will enable 225 local students to participate in the program who otherwise may not have been able to financially. Girls on the Run is a learning program for students in third through eighth grades that teaches life skills through conversation-based lessons and running games.
Source: Auto Remarketing

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More Articles
"Right now, Detroit has the momentum."

-- Jeff Schuster, analyst at LMC Automotive, commenting on U.S. automakers gaining ground on their Asian competitors with the best lineup in a generation, Bloomberg, May 2

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