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Inside this issue
WardsAuto: Incoming NADA Chairman Began Selling Cars at 16
House to Pass Bipartisan Car Paperwork Bill Authored By Rep. Bob Latta
Employers Won't Have To Tell Workers Their Labor Rights After All
Made-in-America Gets Better as Price Drives Better Sales
Porsche Sets U.S. Sales Record, Reflecting Luxury-Car Boom
Ford China Deliveries Surge 49% in 2013, Overtaking Toyota
GM Europe Poses $11-Billion Challenge for Incoming CEO Mary Barra
CES 2014: Toyota Shows Off Fuel Cell Car That Can Also Power a Home
Automakers Seek Big Score in Super Bowl
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
WardsAuto: Incoming NADA Chairman Began Selling Cars at 16



Incoming 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association Chairman Forrest McConnell III is a third-generation dealer whose grandfather got into the business 96 years ago in Montgomery, AL, selling cars from two long-gone brands: Hupmobile and Scripps-Booth. Then the patriarch sold Plymouths and DeSotos, nameplates that also have disappeared from the scene. In 1973, son Forrest Jr. acquired Honda, Chrysler and BMW franchises. Forrest III, 55, owner of McConnell Honda/Acura in Montgomery, learned the ropes working at the family business. “At 14, I began washing cars and doing janitorial work at the dealership,” he says. “At 16, I sold cars on weekends, after school and during the summers. I absolutely fell in love with the dealership business.” Today, his 75-employee store sells more than 200 new and used vehicles per month and has annual revenue of $75 million. Forrest III becomes the head of the national dealer trade association at its annual convention later this month in New Orleans. In an interview with WardsAuto, he speaks of dealers enjoying brisk auto sales, but also facing “headwinds.” Click here for the full interview.
Source: WardsAuto

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House to Pass Bipartisan Car Paperwork Bill Authored By Rep. Bob Latta

Chilly congressional relations will thaw for a few minutes on Wednesday when the House of Representatives adopts a car sales paperwork bill that's authored by conservative GOP Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green and backed by some of its most liberal members. Latta's legislation - which is cosponsored by liberal stalwarts including California's Henry Waxman and Michigan's John Conyers - would repeal a 1977 provision of the Clean Air Act that requires new car dealers to show buyers a certificate that states their vehicle meets federal emissions requirements. Bailey Wood of the National Automobile Dealers Association says the requirement is redundant since all new vehicles sold in the United States must already comply with the Clean Air Act when they leave the factories. He said a Clean Air Act certification sticker is also under the hood of most vehicles, or in the owner's manual, making the extra dealer certification superfluous.
Source: The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) 

Editor's note: NADA supports H.R. 724, which is scheduled for a vote tomorrow, and commends its sponsors, Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Gary Peters, D-Mich., to eliminate this unnecessary mandate on dealers.
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Employers Won't Have To Tell Workers Their Labor Rights After All

A surprisingly controversial rule that would have required businesses to hang posters in the workplace spelling out U.S. workers' labor rights will no longer go into effect, HuffPost learned Friday. The National Labor Relations Board, the agency responsible for enforcing labor law on unions and companies, had until Thursday to appeal to the Supreme Court an unfavorable court decision against the rule, which the NLRB issued in 2011. The agency let the deadline pass and does not plan to challenge the decision.
Source: The Huffington Post

Editor's note: NADA filed comments opposing this requirement and is also a member of a Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which was a party to one of the lawsuits.
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Made-in-America Gets Better as Price Drives Better Sales

Sales soared by as much as 25 percent at Gordon Stewart’s four Chevrolet stores in 2013, the fourth straight year of rising U.S. auto sales, and he said he’s never had a better lineup from General Motors Co. His best market will come when he no longer has to persuade car buyers to pay up for models such as the shark-nosed Chevy Impala. “That new Impala has got to be the nicest car on the market, but the customers haven’t adjusted to the pricing,” said Stewart, who pointed out a fully loaded Impala that used to sell for under $25,000 now goes for $40,000. “If that car were $30,000, it would be selling like popcorn.” That is the challenge for remade American automakers in 2014: They are fielding their best cars in a generation while they are saddled with an image for building poor-quality models. To dealers like Stewart, the solution is simple -- cut prices. Yet GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have promised not to sacrifice their growing profitability by falling into old habits of deep discounting.
Source: Bloomberg

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Porsche Sets U.S. Sales Record, Reflecting Luxury-Car Boom

German sports car maker Porsche AG said its U.S sales jumped 21% in 2013 and set a new record of 42,323 vehicles. The results for individual models also tell a critical story for the company. The Cayenne sport-utility vehicle was the top seller with 18,507 vehicles sold, but the 911sports coupe, which has been the foundation of Porsche’s high-end image and racing provenance since its introduction more than 50 years, accounted for a quarter of overall sales. Porsche said it expects favorable market conditions to continue this year, given its range of new products that includes the Macan compact SUV.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Ford China Deliveries Surge 49% in 2013, Overtaking Toyota

Ford Motor Co.'s China sales surged 49 percent in 2013, overtaking Toyota Motor Corp. as the nation's fifth-largest foreign automaker. Ford delivered a record 935,813 units in the country last year, while Toyota's sales gained 9.2 percent to 917,500 vehicles, the companies said Monday in statements. It's the first time Ford outsold Toyota on an annual basis in China, based on company statements stretching back to 2001. While the Dearborn-based automaker got a later start in China than General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG, Ford is catching up. The popularity of the Focus helped Ford's sales in the country expand faster than any major competitor and the company is spending $4.9 billion to double manufacturing capacity there.
Source: Bloomberg

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GM Europe Poses $11-Billion Challenge for Incoming CEO Mary Barra

As incoming CEO Mary Barra prepares to take the reins at General Motors, her biggest challenge will be to accelerate the turnaround of the automaker's European business. A new analyst report estimates that European business represents a negative value of $11.5 billion on the company's balance sheet. That's better than the previous estimate of a minus-$16 billion, according to Morgan Stanley's report, but it serves as a stark reminder that the company's legacy in Europe poses obstacles even if GM breaks even on the continent by mid-decade. “GM Europe is a source of near-term earnings momentum, yet still a source of long-term risk,” Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas wrote in a research note.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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CES 2014: Toyota Shows Off Fuel Cell Car That Can Also Power a Home

Toyota Motor Corp. released new details on its fuel cell car Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas - including plans for an adapter allowing the car to power your home. The automaker chose the big tech gathering to display the four-seater, which looks like a futuristic Prius, to highlight its advanced engineering. A fully-fueled vehicle will be able to supply enough energy to power a house for a week in an emergency, Toyota said. Its engineers are working on an adapter that will connect the car into a home's electrical grid. After debuting the concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, Toyota plans to start selling the car in the United States next year. “Fuel cell electric vehicles will be in our future sooner than many people believe, and in much greater numbers than anyone expected,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota's U.S. sales arm. Toyota is one of three companies pushing forward with fuel cell vehicle cars. Hyundai will start offering one later this year and Honda plans one next year.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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Automakers Seek Big Score in Super Bowl

More than a half-dozen automakers are expected to showcase their newest vehicles come February in Super Bowl ads fetching an estimated $4 million per 30 seconds, with several opting for longer story-telling ads. Car companies including General Motors Co., Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors America, Volkswagen of America Inc., Toyota Motor Corp., Audi of America and Jaguar have announced plans to run commercials during Super Bowl XLVIII. GM announced in August that it would return to the Super Bowl after sitting on the sidelines during 2013's big game. Super Bowl ads often are hyped in advance, helping generate buzz for companies and their products, and are viewed around the world. That can help build loyalty and brand recognition. About 108 million people watched the 2013 game.
Source: The Detroit News
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