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Inside this issue
NADA Convention: Last Chance for $100 Registration Discount
State Battles Yield Mixed Results. A Federal Approach Might Be Next
Toyota Exec Carter Sees U.S. Sales Plateau in 16 Million Range
Leasing is on the Rise, as are F&I Sales
U.S. Eats Another Loss On Green Tech Car Loan
European Automakers Hope Technology Can Lure Younger Buyers
GM Revs Up Volunteer Work Across U.S.
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
NADA Convention: Last Chance for $100 Registration Discount

Early Bird Registration Ends Sept. 13

Dealers and their managers who register for the 2014 NADA Convention & Expo by Friday, Sept. 13, will receive a $100 discount from the onsite rate. Registration remains steady, which has resulted in several hotels in New Orleans selling out. Attendees are encouraged to register early to secure their hotels of choice. The NADA convention runs Jan. 24-27. For more information or to register, visit www.nadaconvention.org.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com
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State Battles Yield Mixed Results. A Federal Approach Might Be Next

After mixed results in a flurry of state-level battles with dealers over its direct-selling model, Tesla Motors is pondering whether to take the fight to Washington. Leaders at the National Automobile Dealers Association argue that Musk faces an uphill battle, but they recognize the attention he can command. "He's got celebrity flair, and he has captured the minds of a lot of people through his products and his marketing," NADA President Peter Welch told Automotive News. Should Musk win, "we're concerned about other upstarts that would come in, particularly maybe Chinese manufacturers that are looking for a simple way to do it," Welch said.

Musk likely would have a difficult time getting a bill passed in Congress or persuading a federal judge to strike down state franchise laws that have been around for decades, said Thomas Tallerico, a member of the automotive industry team at Bodman, a Detroit law firm that represents automakers and dealers. Musk faces an "enormous hurdle" convincing a judge that state franchise laws are irrational, Tallerico said. "Maybe what he can argue is that it's not rational to apply those laws to someone like him who doesn't want to establish a dealer network in the first place." NADA's Welch says it comes down to a states' rights issue. "It would be extraordinary, in my opinion, for the federal government to come in and in effect pre-empt a state's ability to license business and control consumer protection and distribution of a primary product within their state borders," Welch said. "That would be a pretty tall order on a federal level."
Source: Automotive News
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Toyota Exec Carter Sees U.S. Sales Plateau in 16 Million Range

After four years of rapid growth for the auto industry, a top Toyota executive says sales are "starting to plateau" around a rate of 16 million units a year. Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said Toyota's forecasts do not see sales hitting 17 million by 2018, as some analysts have projected. Carter said he expects the industry's seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate to remain in the high-15 million to mid-16 million range for most of the decade. The SAAR for August was 16.1 million, the highest since November 2007. "We're very confident on sustaining 16 [million], but we see the industry starting to plateau," Carter told Automotive News during a visit to Detroit last week. But he added that a leveling off is not a cause for concern. "A 16 million market is healthy," he said.
Source: Automotive News

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Leasing is on the Rise, as are F&I Sales

Focus is on lease-friendly products

The lease penetration rate is increasing industrywide, as are sales of finance and insurance products, according to the Power Information Network. That's unexpected because lease customers don't usually buy the two traditional big-ticket items among F&I products: extended service contracts and guaranteed asset protection, or GAP. But they may buy other lease-friendly F&I products, such as tire-and-wheel coverage, excess wear-and-tear protection and prepaid scheduled maintenance. Dealerships that use menus to sell F&I products can switch to a lease-friendly menu for lease customers, say F&I managers, dealers and F&I vendors. "If maintenance is not included by the manufacturer, there's lots of opportunity" to offer F&I products such as prepaid maintenance on leases, Peter Welch, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, told Automotive News last month.
Source: Automotive News
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U.S. Eats Another Loss On Green Tech Car Loan

Humvee manufacturer AM General paid $3 million at auction to purchase the U.S. Department of Energy's loan to Vehicle Production Group, a defunct maker of wheelchair-accessible vans that struggled to meet performance targets and shut down earlier this year. Together with $5 million seized from the company's accounts in April, that means the DOE recovered just $8 million of the $50 million it loaned VPG back in March 2011 under a government program designed to promote advanced technology vehicles. VPG's plan was to sell handicapped vans that run on compressed natural gas. Taxpayers also took a loss on the collapse of Fisker Automotive, which was awarded $529 million under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, but received only $193 million before the DOE cut them off for failing to meet performance targets.
Source: Forbes

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European Automakers Hope Technology Can Lure Younger Buyers

Sometimes it is more fun to dream about the future than to dwell on the present, especially if you are a European car executive. With sales at their lowest level in two decades, auto industry managers gathering for the Frankfurt auto show next week will be doing their best to focus on shiny new technologies rather than on the European car market, which, in contrast to the thriving market in the United States, is in a terrible state. The buzz at the show, which opens to the public next Saturday, is likely to be about new battery-powered cars and vehicles that are able to drive themselves. Those are more cheerful topics than auto sales, which have fallen 20 percent in Western Europe since the financial crisis began in 2008 and are at their lowest level since 1993.
Source: The New York Times
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GM Revs Up Volunteer Work Across U.S.

General Motors employees are gearing up for a week of volunteering across the United States. The Detroit automaker says its second annual “teamGM Cares Week” kicks off Monday and incorporates about 75 projects. Michigan projects include blight-fighting and cleanup projects in Detroit's Brightmoor and Morningside neighborhoods on Thursday and Friday. Last month, workers from Lansing made and served meals at the Ronald McDonald House. The company says about 3,560 volunteers who tracked their efforts last year recorded roughly 37,800 hours of service. The GM Foundation provides a $200 grant annually to eligible nonprofits each time an employee contributes 50 hours of service to the organization. GM also has volunteer projects planned or completed this year in California, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Quotable
"With the economy growing steadily and most importantly with the job market fairly stable -- the fear of losing your job is dissipating -- we expect that more and more people that delayed the decision to buy will keep coming into the market." 

    -- GM's chief economist, Mustafa Mohatarem, commenting on his prediction that total sales for 2013 will exceed the company's forecast of 15.5 million, Automotive News, Sept. 9
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NADA Webinars
(All webinars begin at 1 p.m. ET. Click webinar title to register.) 

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 For more information about the webinars, click here.

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