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Inside this issue
A Bipartisan Majority of Florida House Members Question Consumer Bureau's Auto Lending Changes
Auto Lending Outlook Positive for 2014
Ford Faces Challenges, Warns of Slower Profits
Tougher Tests Mean Fewer 2014 Vehicles Get Top I.I.H.S. Safety Ratings
Chevy U.S. Marketing Boss Chris Perry Resigns
Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz's Parent Company Finalize Partnership
F&I and the Female Work Force, What an Attraction
Fun Gifts, Special Gear for the Motorists on Your List
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
A Bipartisan Majority of Florida House Members Question Consumer Bureau's Auto Lending Changes

A bipartisan group of 16 congressional members from the Florida delegation, led by Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings and Republican Bill Posey, sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) yesterday asking it to justify its effort to end a consumer’s ability to negotiate competitive auto loan rates at new-car dealerships.

“We fear that the CFPB’s decision to issue guidance, without public comment or a formal rulemaking process, will significantly restrict consumer choice and services,” the members of Congress wrote. “Consumers will ultimately bear the cost as auto dealers will remain restricted in their ability to offer them the most competitive auto loan rates.”

Last March, the CFPB issued “fair lending guidance” to pressure lenders to eliminate or limit a dealer’s ability to “meet or beat” competitive financing for their customers in favor of a “flat fee” system.

“Dealers applaud the support of Reps. Hastings and Posey and the majority of Florida’s congressional delegation for their efforts to keep affordable financing available to all car and truck buyers,” said Peter Welch, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association. 

The other Democrats who signed the letter are Corrine Brown, Lois J. Frankel, Joe Garcia, Patrick Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica S. Wilson; the Republicans are Ted Deutch, Ron D. DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart, John L. Mica, Jeff B. Miller, Richard B. Nugent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Dennis A. Ross.

To view the letter, click here.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com

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Auto Lending Outlook Positive for 2014

Auto finance trends will remain positive in 2014, including easier access to credit for consumers, more leasing and bigger loans, credit bureau TransUnion says. The company reported Tuesday it expects the average automotive debt per borrower to increase about $1,000 next year, from an estimated $16,942 in the fourth quarter this year to 17,966 in the 2014 quarter. “Unless there is a real shock to the economy, we don't envision auto loan debt levels to drop for quite some time,” Peter Turek, TransUnion's vice president of automotive, said in a statement. “This is good news for dealers, lenders and consumers, as higher demand for autos will lead to more auto loans, creating incentives for consumers, as auto dealers and auto lenders compete for their business.”
Source: Automotive News
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Ford Faces Challenges, Warns of Slower Profits

Ford Motor Co., a darling of the auto industry's comeback, is facing its biggest test since CEO Alan Mulally charted its successful course out of the Great Recession. The company outlined its challenges to Wall Street on Wednesday, telling analysts assembled in New York that profits will slow next year, largely because its North American cash machine is facing intense price competition and higher costs due to new model rollouts. The admissions sent Ford's stock tumbling 6.3 percent Wednesday, the largest one-day decline since August of 2011. The shares have now dropped 12 percent since late October, partly due to stories about Mulally possibly leaving for Microsoft.
Source: Associated Press

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Tougher Tests Mean Fewer 2014 Vehicles Get Top I.I.H.S. Safety Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has again made it more difficult to earn its Top Safety Pick Plus and Top Safety Pick awards by tightening its criteria for the third time since the 2006 model year. The move is likely to dismay automakers because they will suddenly have far fewer vehicles they can promote as worthy of the institute's plaudits. As a result of the changes, 22 vehicles earned the highest award of Top Safety Pick Plus and 17 earned the lesser Top Safety Pick award in this initial announcement of 2014 winners, compared with 13 Top Safety Pick Plus awards and 117 Top Safety Pick selections last year. The I.I.H.S., which is financed by the insurance industry, continues to add to the list throughout the year as new models are introduced and more are tested. It made the changes to its rating system to reflect two of its newer tests.
Source: The New York Times

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Chevy U.S. Marketing Boss Chris Perry Resigns

Chevrolet U.S. marketing chief Chris Perry has resigned, General Motors said [Wednesday]. Perry, 53, has held several marketing positions with Chevy since his arrival at GM from Hyundai in August 2010. He was hired by Joel Ewanick, GM's former chief marketing officer, who was dismissed from the company in July 2012. "GM would like to thank Chris for his dedication and contributions, and wishes him well in all his future endeavors," Alan Batey, executive vice president of Chevrolet, said in an e-mailed statement. A GM spokesman said the company has not yet picked a replacement.
Source: Automotive News
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Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz's Parent Company Finalize Partnership

Mercedes-Benz's parent company and Aston Martin have formally agreed on a technical partnership, the two automakers announced Thursday. The agreement between Aston and Daimler formalizes a letter of intent the pair signed in July. The pairing will yield a crop of V-8 engines for Aston that are loosely based on Mercedes' architecture. These new powerplants probably won't be available until the next generation of Aston Martin sports cars begin rolling out in 2016.
Source: The Los Angeles Times
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F&I and the Female Work Force, What an Attraction

Of all dealership departments, the F&I office has the highest percentage of women in key positions. About 19 percent of all F&I managers are women, says Ted Kraybill, president of DeltaTrends, a Largo, Fla.-based research and consulting firm focused on hiring and retention in the auto industry. That might not seem like a lot of women, but compare that to dealerships’ sales departments. Fifteen percent of all service advisers are women, but only 1 percent of technicians are female. And only 9 percent of sales consultants and 5 percent of sales managers are women, Kraybill says, citing the 2013 NADA Dealership Workforce Study.
Source: Automotive News
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Fun Gifts, Special Gear for the Motorists on Your List

Whether those on your gift list are gearheads, soccer moms, avid road-trippers or crazed commuters, they're probably spending a good chunk of their days on four wheels. Click here for a few ideas to make car-related tasks and those hours behind the wheel less stressful or more fun.
Source: The Detroit News
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Quotable
"Unless there is a real shock to the economy, we don't envision auto loan debt levels to drop for quite some time. This is good news for dealers, lenders and consumers, as higher demand for autos will lead to more auto loans, creating incentives for consumers, as auto dealers and auto lenders compete for their business."

   -- Peter Turek, vice president of automotive for TransUnion, commenting on the positive outlook for auto lending in 2014, Automotive News, Dec. 18

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