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Inside this issue
Consumer Board's 'Guidance' Against Discrimination Angers Car Dealers, Lawmakers
Certified-Used Sales Soar, and '14 Looks Even Better
Hyundai, Kia Expect to Top 2013 Sales Goal
GM, Ford Extend Holiday Shutdowns at Several N.A. Plants
Fed Study Predicts What We'll Be Driving in 2040
VW Back in Super Bowl for Fifth Consecutive Year
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Consumer Board's 'Guidance' Against Discrimination Angers Car Dealers, Lawmakers

Despite backing the board and its new chief, even Democrats are expressing concern over an early ruling from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warning auto dealers that offering to strike deals on car loan interest rates could be discriminatory. It's a complex question that has auto dealers steamed and Republicans and Democrats demanding an answer from the CFPB and its chief, Richard Cordray, whose nomination Democrats pursued feverishly. Late last week, the Justice Department and CFPB said they struck a $98 million settlement with Detroit-based Ally Financial. The government said the company violated fair credit laws by charging minority borrowers higher markups on auto loans than white customers. The settlement follows a “guidance” warning this year from the CFPB to car dealers to be vigilant against discrimination when they act as middlemen, offering lower interest rates to gain business.

The CFPB, set up as part of the Dodd-Frank legislation passed in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street collapse, is supposed to be an independent regulator working on behalf of consumers. Republicans criticized the board and its extensive powers, while Democrats were supportive. But the CFPB's warning didn't sit well with either party.

The lawmakers — and the auto dealers — are worried about the effects of the guidance on consumer choice and services. The National Automobile Dealers Association says dealers can frequently help consumers get lower interest rates than those offered by banks or credit unions. Auto dealers also question the bureau's use of an analysis method that relies heavily on estimates. The bureau has not outlined its methodology in sufficient detail to satisfy the members of Congress who have been pressing for it.
Source: The Washington Times

Editor's note: In response to Friday's enforcement announcement by the CFPB and the Department of Justice, click here for NADA's statement.

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Certified-Used Sales Soar, and '14 Looks Even Better

Last year's record fell by Dec. 1; tally likely to top 2 million

Sales of certified used vehicles are heading for a record 2 million-plus units this year, pumped up by more off-lease vehicles returning to the market and by manufacturers' program enhancements. And sales will go even higher next year, predict industry watchers and certified used vehicle program managers at automakers. The industry sold 1,941,186 certified used vehicles through November, 16 percent more than it sold in the year-earlier period and 6 percent more than the 1,834,766 it sold in all of 2012, the previous record year. Rick Wainschel, vice president of consumer insights at AutoTrader.com, and part of a team that oversaw the company's 2013 Certified Pre-Owned Study, says sales of certified used vehicles easily will exceed 2 million by year end.
Source: Automotive News
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Hyundai, Kia Expect to Top 2013 Sales Goal

Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said on Monday that they are on track to sell more than 7.5 million vehicles globally this year, higher than their earlier target of 7.41 million vehicles, after overseas sales growth offset lackluster domestic shipments. Hyundai and Kia, which rank fifth in global vehicle sales, expect a tough year in 2014 as Japanese and European automakers are seen accelerating competition and the United States and Chinese markets face moderating growth. In the United States, Hyundai's sales have edged up 2 percent this year through November while volume has declined 3 percent at Kia in an overall market that has expanded 8 percent. Hyundai and Kia said they saw their combined global sales rise 6 percent to 6.9 million vehicles from January to November this year from a year earlier.
Source: Reuters
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GM, Ford Extend Holiday Shutdowns at Several N.A. Plants

Chrysler plans extra Jeep, Ram shifts

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are extending holiday downtime at several North American assembly plants to keep car inventories in check. At the same time, Chrysler Group is adding production shifts over the holidays at plants in Ohio and Michigan that build Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups. Most automakers plan to idle North American assembly plants beginning Monday Dec. 23 and resume output on Jan. 2.
Source: Automotive News
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Fed Study Predicts What We'll Be Driving in 2040

The government's Energy Information Administration released its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook report this week and it had plenty of nuggets on what it expects Americans to drive between now and 2040. EIA expects overall vehicle-miles traveled to increase, on average, 0.9 percent between 2012 and 2040 — down significantly from the 1.2 percent annual projection over the same span in the EIA's 2013 outlook. Still, the agency projects overall vehicle fuel efficiency to improve 2% per year as newer cars replace older ones. The upshot is that America's cars will use less energy (including fuel) in 2040 even as vehicle-miles increase; that's a shift from the average 1% annual growth rate between 1975 and 2012. Don't expect plug-in cars and hybrids to take over, either. EIA expects conventional gasoline engines — not hybrids, flex-fuel (E85) engines, diesels or plug-ins — to account for 78% of the new cars sold in 2040, which is down just slightly from 2012's 82%. But those won't be the engines of today. EIA projects 42% of those 2040 sellers to have so-called "micro hybridization" attributes like regenerative brakes or idle stop-start systems.
Source: Cars.com
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VW Back in Super Bowl for Fifth Consecutive Year

Volkswagen is steering back into the Super Bowl, but this time with a different mission. Even as Volkswagen of America announced on Friday that it will advertise in the Super Bowl for the fifth consecutive year, the move comes at a time that VW needs a domestic sales -- and image -- rebound. The brand hopes that its planned 60-second Super Bowl spot will help it do just that. VW brand sales in the U.S. were off 5.2% for the first 11 months this year vs. one year ago, reports Autodata. Meanwhile, domestic auto sales competition has only increased. So Volkswagen is turning, again, to the nation's biggest stage, where more than 110 million viewers are expected to watch the high-profile commercials that advertisers this year are spending $4 million per 30-second slot to broadcast.
Source: USA Today
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Quotable
"The CFPB's failure to reveal its approach is particularly troubling given the repeated and recent requests from bi-partisan members of both houses of Congress for this essential information."

   --- NADA commenting on its concerns that the CFPB still has not explained how they are determining discrimination in auto loans, The Detroit News, Dec. 20

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