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Inside this issue
Don't Count Dealer Reserve Out Yet
NADA Chairman: Diversity Strengthens the Auto Industry
Ford Clips Toyota's Wings in California
Akerson Demands GM Innovation to Guard Against Musk Effect
North American LV Production Sees Slight Uptick in June
Mercedes-Benz $100,000 Sedan Drives Itself
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Don't Count Dealer Reserve Out Yet

There's a fair amount of opinion around that it's too soon to conclude that dealer reserve is on the way out. But perhaps few are as sure or as outspoken as attorney Randy Henrick that the practice still has traction. Henrick is associate general counsel for Dealertrack. He said in a recent phone interview that the CFPB is "dead wrong" in its interpretation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Specifically, he criticized the CFPB's use of the disparate impact theory. The CFPB's theory is that if lender practices have a disparate impact -- that is, causing legally protected classes such as minorities to pay higher rates -- that's discrimination, even if it's unintentional. The CFPB has proposed that lenders should switch to flat fees to avoid the potential for discrimination. But Henrick maintains that legally, discrimination has to be intentional. He has high hopes that Congress will rein in the CFPB. The bureau hasn't "been making any friends in Congress," he said, because the bureau has refused to say exactly how it concluded that auto lenders may be creating a disparate impact. The bottom line, Henrick said, is that dealer reserve isn't dead.
Source: Automotive News
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NADA Chairman: Diversity Strengthens the Auto Industry

NADA Chairman David Westcott emphasized support for diversity in all aspects of auto retailing in a speech to the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers at its annual meeting in Miami last week. “As a national trade association that represents all dealers, NADA is committed to helping minority and women-owned dealerships succeed in this fiercely competitive business,” said Westcott, a new-car dealer in Burlington, N.C. Thomas A. Moorehead, chairman of NAMAD, in an interview with NADAFrontPage.com, said he sees a bright future for the auto industry in terms of diversity. “At this year's conference, we saw an uptick in the number of commitments from auto manufacturers to award franchises to minority dealers, hire interns to work with various OEMs and a commitment to help with technician training,” added Moorehead, a new-car dealer in Sterling, Va.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com
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Ford Clips Toyota's Wings in California

More drivers on West Coast turn away from preference for Japanese, European car imports

For decades, car shoppers in America's coastal states largely spent their money on Japanese and European imports over Ford Motor Co. and other U.S. brands. But that is changing for Ford, highlighting the success its new models are having hitting the right notes for consumers looking to buy small and medium size passenger cars. Sales of the 2013 Fusion, redesigned last year with a lengthy list of technology features and a grille that echoes the ultraluxury Aston-Martin sports car, are up nearly 18% over a year ago for the first half of 2013. Through June, Ford is on pace to sell 300,000 Fusions this year, making it one of Detroit's most successful new sedans since the original Taurus set styling in midprice cars on its ear during the late 1980s. The success of the Fusion and C-Max and the redesigned Ford Escape sport utility have helped lift Ford's share of retail sales up by nearly 2 percentage points on the East and West coasts compared with five years ago, according to data supplied by R.L. Polk & Co. Retail exclude sales to rental and other fleet buyers. In California, which imports first conquered three decades ago, Ford's comeback is turning heads.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Akerson Demands GM Innovation to Guard Against Musk Effect

As General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson sees it, Tesla Motors Inc. has the potential to be a disruptive force to the automotive industry and he doesn't want to be caught off guard. The former telecommunication executive has assigned a small team to study billionaire industrialist Elon Musk's upstart electric-car maker and how it might threaten the 104-year-old automaker's business, Steve Girsky, GM vice chairman, said last week during an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “He thinks Tesla could be a big disrupter if we're not careful,” Girsky said. “History is littered with big companies that ignored innovation that was coming their way because you didn't know where you could be disrupted.” The approach is part of Akerson's effort to change GM's culture as he pushes the automaker to move beyond its 2009 bankruptcy reorganization and make it the most profitable car company in the world. He has redirected research and development spending, focusing efforts on commercial applications, quickening implementation and investing money in startup companies that are developing cutting-edge technology.
Source: Bloomberg

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North American LV Production Sees Slight Uptick in June

North American auto makers produced 1,365,740 light vehicles in June, up a fractional 0.2% from the same month last year. The tally includes 616,007 cars and 749,733 light trucks. Through the first six months, LV production stood at 8,219,693 units, a 3.7% year-on-year gain. The WardsAuto/AutomotiveCompass production forecast projects final output for 2013 at 16.0 million light vehicles, 4.2% above 2012's 15.4 million. The moderate increases in 2013 contrast with the double-digit year-over-year gains seen in 2012, but most plants now are operating near or above 100% capacity utilization. Although growth is possible through additional shifts and crews, any increases in output likely will remain relatively modest for the next couple of years.
Source: WardsAuto
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Mercedes-Benz $100,000 Sedan Drives Itself

I'm zipping down the freeway at 70 miles per hour in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class and my hands aren't on the steering wheel. The wheel jogs slightly to the left, then returns to center, moving eerily on its own. The executive-class sedan is driving itself -- gas, brake and steering. I'm trusting the digital ghost in this machine to keep us from plowing into the left-hand guardrail. I always figured the day of self-driving cars would arrive; just not so soon. A soft warning chime. The car will self steer for only ten seconds without a hand on the tiller. After that you get another warning beep and the wheel goes slack. You -- or the car -- are on your own. That's okay, I'm happy to take back control. Mercedes's S-Class has always been a technological powerhouse, the repository of the company's most radical advances and forward-thinking ideas. The results can't be denied.
Source: Bloomberg
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More Articles
 
Quotable
"The bottom line is that dealer reserve isn't dead."

    --  Randy Henrick, associate general counsel for Dealertrack, discussing why it's too soon to conclude that dealer reserve is on the way out, Automotive News, July 17



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