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Inside this issue
New Models, World Debuts at L.A. Auto Show Point to Recovering Industry
Concern in Congress Grows Over CFPBs Threat to Eliminate Affordable, In-Dealership Auto Loans
Tesla Model S Probed By U.S. After Three Fires in Five Weeks
Commentary: Dealers Need Not Fear GM's Effort to Sell Cars Online
GM and Toyota to Battle for Smaller Pickup Truck Segment
Storms Damage Subaru's Indiana Plant, Interrupt Production
American Honda Boss Says Acura is His Greatest Challenge
NADA's Brad Miller is Back to Discuss DMS Access Concerns
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
New Models, World Debuts at L.A. Auto Show Point to Recovering Industry

Luxury and technology take center stage this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show that will open to the news media Tuesday. Automakers will unveil at least 56 new models, including 22 world debuts, up from 49 previews last year in another indicator of the industry's broader recovery. The L.A. show is occurring at the same time as the Tokyo auto show. Many Japanese automakers are showing new models in both places. Among Detroit automakers, Ford will show a concept of the next-generation Edge midsize crossover utility vehicle. General Motors will take the wraps off a new Chevrolet Colorado compact pickup truck. Chrysler is not unveiling anything new in Los Angeles, but Fiat's luxury brand Maserati has a news conference scheduled. Several luxury models will debut in L.A.
Source: Detroit Free Press

Editor's note: The 2013 Western Automotive Conference, a half-day event hosted by NADA and J.D. Power and Associates, will be held today, the eve of Media Days at the L.A. Auto Show. The second annual conference includes Jose Munoz, Nissan's senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas; Steward Reed, chairman of the Tranportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design; David Westcott, NADA chairman; Finbarr O'Neill, president of J.D. Power; Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at Standard & Poor's; and John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations for J.D. Power and others. For more information, click here.
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Concern in Congress Grows Over CFPBs Threat to Eliminate Affordable, In-Dealership Auto Loans

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., are among a growing list of elected officials questioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) drive to limit or end a dealer's ability to discount an auto loan interest rate for their customers. At the request of small business auto dealers in Montana, Sen. Baucus, in a Nov. 12 letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray, expressed concern about the bureau's recent actions affecting indirect auto lending. He wrote: “Because of the wide implications of the March 21 guidance, it would have been advisable for CFPB to seek public comment before issuing the guidance bulletin.”

Last March, the CFPB—without public comment or a hearing—issued ‘guidance’ to pressure lenders to eliminate or limit a dealer's discretion to negotiate competitive financing for their customers in favor of a “flat fee” system. “If the CFPB's drive for lenders to adopt flat fees is successful, it will increase costs for all auto loan consumers, and price many marginally creditworthy consumers out of the auto market,” NADA said. Rep. Luetkemeyer, in a Nov. 15 letter, also noted the CFPB's lack of transparency, and asked the bureau to determine whether its actions “may undermine a thriving automobile marketplace that has been one of the bright spots of an otherwise sluggish economic recovery.”

To date, on a bipartisan basis, 23 Senators and 52 House members have criticized the CFPB for its lack of answers and opaque process. NADA commended Sen. Baucus and Rep. Luetkemeyer for their actions to bring accountability to the CFPB. For more information and resources, visit www.nada.org/cfpb. To view Sen. Baucus’ letter, click here. To view Rep. Luetkemeyer’s letter, click here.
Source: NADA Legislative Affairs

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Tesla Model S Probed By U.S. After Three Fires in Five Weeks

Tesla Motors Inc.'s Model S, the plug-in electric sedan marketed by the company as "the safest car in America," is being investigated by U.S. auto regulators in a possible precursor to a recall. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the preliminary evaluation in a Web site posting, saying it would look into the fire risks from the cars' undercarriages striking objects. The probe involves all 13,108 Model S vehicles, it said. The investigation, following three fires in five weeks after roadway mishaps, may further lower Tesla shares. They have slid 37 percent since reaching a closing peak of $193.37 on Sept. 30, the day before the first fire.
Source: Bloomberg

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Commentary: Dealers Need Not Fear GM's Effort to Sell Cars Online
By David Barkholz

The more General Motors promotes the national rollout of online car-buying at dealerships, the more nervous many dealers get. It must prick the streak of paranoia possessed by successful entrepreneurs. Or perhaps some dealers can't get past mistrust generated by the factory in recent years, from perceived slights in allocation to real bloodlettings, such as massive store eliminations during the recession. Regardless, it bears repeating that GM's new Shop-Click-Drive service is not an insidious effort by the automaker to sell directly to customers and cut dealers out of the equation. Here's what it is: Shop-Click-Drive is a button on dealer Web sites that allows a visitor to complete a car purchase online. Customers can fill out credit applications, review incentives and F&I information and get estimates on trade-ins. Each of GM's 4,300 dealerships will decide voluntarily whether to offer the service on its Web site. But because dealers voice their concerns about the program every time we write about it, I sought out Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations, to explain the company's motivation. "Shop-Click-Drive gives GM dealers new technology to help them connect with the growing number of customers who want to buy or lease a car online," he wrote in an e-mail. He went on: "We developed this new tool with input and participation from dealers, at no cost to them. Customers interact directly with individual dealers, not GM. These leads belong to the dealer, are never shared, and dealers always complete the sale."
Source: Automotive News
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GM and Toyota to Battle for Smaller Pickup Truck Segment

For Rick Alpern, who runs the Keyes Chevrolet auto dealership in Los Angeles, few tasks are tougher than selling big trucks to eco-conscious Californians looking for just enough pickup to fit a bike, beer keg or surfboard. Consider his recent effort to persuade the owner of a mid-size Toyota Tacoma to switch to a full-sized Chevy Silverado. "We talked about going into a Silverado," Alpern recalled last week. "He goes, the problem is that Silverado is just too big for me for what I do." General Motors Co. is out to change that. While the Detroit Three dominate big pickups, Toyota Motor Corp. has become the top mid-size truck seller in the U.S. with its Tacoma. GM, which stopped building a mid-size pickup for the U.S. last year, is returning to the segment with a redesigned version of the Chevrolet Colorado, betting it can appeal to Toyota buyers.
Source: Bloomberg
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Storms Damage Subaru's Indiana Plant, Interrupt Production

The severe storms that rolled through the Midwest over the weekend caused damage to the Subaru plant in Lafayette, Ind. -- the only Subaru assembly plant in the United States -- and interrupted production there for at least a day. The plant manufactures the Subaru Outback, Legacy and Tribeca. It also produces the Toyota Camry, the top-selling car in the United States. It plans to add Impreza production in the future. Damage to the plant is bad news for Subaru, which was already facing capacity constraints in the United States. The company is in talks to end production of the Camry at the plant so it can focus on keeping up with booming sales of Subarus. Subaru needs more capacity as it aims for annual U.S. sales of 500,000 units by 2016. That would be up from an estimated 420,000 units expected to be sold this year.
Source: Automotive News
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American Honda Boss Says Acura is His Greatest Challenge

Tetsuo Iwamura, CEO of American Honda Motor Co., says that for him, "The big challenge is Acura." He said Acura has a "very strong lineup" of SUVs and crossovers. But in reviewing the brand's sedans, he said, "We need to improve a lot." He said of the Acura ILX, for example, "So far, volume is not meeting our expectations. We could have done better." And the TLX, he said, "could be a volume model for Acura" after it gets a redesign and rebadged from the TL "sometime spring next year." Honda plans to showcase a number of new turbocharged engines and a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission this week at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Source: Automotive News
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NADA's Brad Miller is Back to Discuss DMS Access Concerns

Building on the highly-attended NADA University webinar, “DMS Access: Practical and Regulatory Concerns,” in June, NADA's Brad Miller is back to continue the discussion about the data in computers and dealership obligations to protect it. These obligations do not prohibit dealerships from engaging in modern online commerce, but they raise a number of complicated issues that must be understood before accessing dealer computer systems. Register for this webinar to hear from NADA's regulatory affairs staff on how to better protect your data and yourself, with a focus on practical issues, such as contract terms and dealer-data checklists. Participants will be better able to evaluate and protect the data in their systems, determine what to look for in vendor and OEM agreements that seek access to dealership-customer data, and establish best practices related to dealer data. The webinar will be held Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. EST. To register, click here.
Source: NADA University
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More Articles
 
Quotable
"Customers interact directly with individual dealers, not GM. These leads belong to the dealer, are never shared, and dealers always complete the sale."

   
-- Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations, commenting on the automaker's new Shop-Click-Drive program, Automotive News, Nov. 18
NADA Market Beat
October Sales Up From Last Year
Chairman's Column
A Season of Thanks
Videos

  NADA Chairman Speaks to Detroit Auto Press (NADA-TV)
NADA Webinars
(All webinars begin at 1 p.m. ET. Click webinar title to register.) 

- Nov. 20: DMS Access Concerns (Part II)

For more information about the webinars, click here.

NADA Foundation News
Ambassador Spotlight: Richard Kull Promoted Charitable Giving through the NADA Foundation
 
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