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Inside this issue
Senate Bill Could Ground Rentals for 'Minor' Recalls
Toyota Production to Top 10 Million Vehicles This Year, Report Says
VW Holds its Own in Tough Market
Dealers Rank BMW, Mercedes and Ford Captive Financiers Tops in Satisfaction
Leasing Surge Fuels Highest U.S. Sales Since 2007
Ford Offers More Vehicles That Run on Compressed Natural, Liquified Petroleum Gas
William Symes, Former NADA President, Dies at 92
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Senate Bill Could Ground Rentals for 'Minor' Recalls

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday passed S.921, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013, by voice vote. The bill would regulate businesses with fleets of five or more rental vehicles (including dealerships that provide loaner vehicles) and subject these cars and trucks under any open recall to be grounded within 24-48 hours.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and a coalition of dealership associations argued in a letter to the committee that all recalls do not require the grounding of a rental vehicle. The groups stressed that the bill is overly broad and gives large rental car companies a competitive advantage over smaller ones.

“Dealers do not want unsafe, recalled vehicles on the road,” said NADA President Peter Welch. “But the legislation fails to recognize the difference between major and minor recalls. Some recalls require immediate action, but others may be as minor as missing or incorrect info in an owner’s manual.”

Other examples include a clarification of the description of the air bag system in the owner’s manual; a seat belt chime not sounding if the driver buckled his seat belt before starting the vehicle; incorrect date of manufacture on the Federal Certification Label; improper airbag caution label adhesion on the driver’s sun visor; and inaccurate spare tire size and cold inflation pressure information on the placard. All of these could potentially ground vehicles under S. 921.

Welch noted that the large multinational rental companies supporting the bill have fleets of hundreds of thousands of vehicles and can easily comply with the bill because grounded vehicles can be replaced with other models. Small dealerships with just a few loaner vehicles for their service customers do not have this option, added Welch.

Prior to the vote, Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Ranking Member John Thune (R-S.D.) acknowledged that “more work needs to be done” on the bill before the Senate takes further action. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a sponsor of the bill, said she wants to “work on perfecting amendments going forward.”
Source: NADAFrontPage.com
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Toyota Production to Top 10 Million Vehicles This Year, Report Says

Toyota Motor Corp. will this year become the first automaker to make more than 10 million vehicles a year, boosted by a weaker yen and strong demand for hybrids in Japan, the Nikkei newspaper reported [Tuesday]. Toyota sold just under 10 million vehicles last year to win back its crown as the world's No.1 carmaker, after falling behind General Motors and Volkswagen in 2011. It looks set to retain the top spot in sales for the first half of the year.
Source: Reuters
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VW Holds its Own in Tough Market

German automaker Volkswagen AG says net profit fell 50 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous year, when earnings were boosted by a one-time accounting plus related to its takeover of Porsche. Excluding the Porsche effect, the company's operating earnings rose 1.8 percent in what it called "a difficult market environment," beating analyst estimates and indicating the company was holding its own in a difficult European auto market. It said it would still achieve its earnings goal for the year.
Source: Associated Press

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Dealers Rank BMW, Mercedes and Ford Captive Financiers Tops in Satisfaction

Auto dealers ranked BMW Group Financial Services tops for leasing and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services best for floorplanning in J.D. Power's annual financing satisfaction study released [Tuesday]. Among lenders for mass-market brands, dealers were most satisfied with Ford Motor Credit Co. J.D. Power doesn't name an overall winner. The 2013 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study looked at dealer satisfaction with lenders in four areas: prime retail credit, subprime retail credit, retail leasing and floorplanning. The subprime retail credit category, while included in the study, is not eligible for an award. Dealer satisfaction increased in all areas, aided by higher satisfaction with products offerings, J.D. Power said. Overall dealer satisfaction with prime retail credit lenders is 890 out of a possible 1,000 points, and retail leasing satisfaction is 896 points. Both categories were up 5 points from 2012.
Source: Automotive News
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Leasing Surge Fuels Highest U.S. Sales Since 2007

Toyota Motor Corp. is using $199-a-month leases on its Camry to keep it the top-selling car in the U.S., much as it did to recover from record recalls and Japan's tsunami. Now it's pulling the rest of the industry with it. Once primarily a tool for selling luxury vehicles, leasing is becoming common among hot-selling family sedans, such as Ford Motor Co.'s Fusion and Honda Motor Co.'s Accord. Supported by high used-car prices, low interest rates and Americans' tendency to buy vehicles based on the monthly payments, U.S. auto leasing is at the highest levels in at least a decade and pacing the industry's best year since 2007. GM said it outpaced the growth in leasing for the rest of the industry, which was up 2.5 percentage points to 24.3 percent of all sales. The Detroit-based company, which is preparing to roll out a wave of new models in this year's second half, probably will lead all automakers this month with a 20 percent sales gain, the average of nine estimates. “As long as things are going in that direction, it can't ever get too high,” David Westcott, a dealer selling GM's Buick and GMC brand vehicles in Burlington, North Carolina, said of the leasing rate. Westcott is chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: Bloomberg
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Ford Offers More Vehicles That Run on Compressed Natural, Liquified Petroleum Gas

Ford Motor Co. is expanding its offering of vehicles fueled by compressed natural and liquified petroleum gas, adding a special engine as an option on its best-selling F-150 for the 2014 model year. The Dearborn automaker will this fall become the first manufacturer with an available CNG-LPG-capable half-ton pickup truck. “It's probably our No. 1 request right now,” said Kevin Koswick, director of Ford's North American Fleet. Only a tenth of 1 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States last year was used as vehicle fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Of more than 250 million vehicles on the road today, perhaps 125,000 are powered by natural gas. Ford expects to sell about 15,000 CNG-LPG vehicles this year. Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. are offering bi-fuel trucks that run on either compressed natural gas or gasoline. Compressed natural gas, or CNG, is becoming increasingly popular among fleets in the energy, telecommunications and delivery companies because it costs half as much as regular-grade gasoline and results in 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Source: The Detroit News
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William Symes, Former NADA President, Dies at 92


William J. Symes, who served as NADA president in 1985, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 23. He was 92. Symes began his career in radio and TV broadcasting and later joined his father, Jack Symes, at the family’s Cadillac dealership in Pasadena, Calif. Symes attended Stanford University, where he played football on the 1941 winning Rose Bowl team. After graduation he enlisted in the Air Force and was based in England. When the war in Europe ended, he came home to marry Val in July 1945 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and returned to California. He continued to moonlight as a sportscaster, providing color commentary for the Los Angeles Rams and USC football from 1950-1970. His son, John C. Symes, currently represents Southern California on NADA’s board of directors. He was a leader in his community and his profession, serving as board member and president of many civic organizations, including the Pasadena Rotary, Pasadena Quarterbacks and Arcadia Methodist Hospital. Funeral service will be in the chapel at Pacific View Mortuary in Corona Del Mar at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 3, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach or the Pasadena Community Foundation in Pasadena.
Source: Pasadena Star-News/NADA

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More Articles
 
Quotable
"Dealers do not want unsafe, recalled vehicles on the road. But the legislation fails to recognize the difference between major and minor recalls. Some recalls require immediate action, but others may be as minor as missing or incorrect info in an owner's manual."

   
-- NADA President Peter Welch, commenting on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passing S.921, NADAFrontPage.com, July 31


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