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Inside this issue
McConnell Ready to Lead NADA in 2014
Hillary Clinton: GM's Barra Broke Through 'Steel Ceiling'
No Sure OK for Reserve Guidelines
ADESA Auction at NADA Convention Raises $27,000 for Canine Companions Wounded Veterans Initiative
Auto Dealers Try to Get Buyers into Vehicles Faster Amid Web Advances
BMW Exec Wants U.S. Dealers to Generate Higher CSI Scores
VW's Horn Hits Reset Button with U.S. Dealers
Buick Extends Lease Promotion
Ford Asks Dealers for Help with Launches
Dealers Mourn Tonkin, Miss His Spunk
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
McConnell Ready to Lead NADA in 2014

Although new-car dealers continue to face a host of challenges from the government and industry, Forrest McConnell, III, 2014 chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said dealers are risk-takers and they can rely on NADA just as he and his family have done for generations.“Many of you know that the government has been trying to impose more regulations over our $783 billion finance market. Why? Because they don’t understand our business,” he said. Eighty percent of customers come to us because our financing system is convenient and competitive. We provide credit avenues that they didn’t even know existed. NADA will keep hammering Washington that dealers don’t add to customers’ credit costs. We save our customer’s money. Period.” McConnell, who began serving on NADA’s board in 2008, outlined some of association’s industry efforts, including meeting with 30 manufacturers at least twice a year and analyzing the responses from NADA’s Dealer Attitude Survey.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com

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Hillary Clinton: GM's Barra Broke Through 'Steel Ceiling'

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday touted General Motors Co.'s recent decision to appoint Mary Barra as the auto industry's first female chief executive. “You could say she broke through the steel ceiling, not the glass ceiling,” said Clinton, former first lady, U.S. Senator and potential 2016 presidential nominee, to more than 4,000 auto dealers and other industry workers during a speech at the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention. “I congratulate GM for doing something that was based on merit, which happened to be selecting a female CEO.” Barra took over for outgoing CEO Dan Akerson earlier this month to great fanfare. “I was pleased because we have a lot of women in the corporate pipeline who have been working in their industries for a long time and are now finally in a position where they can be given the opportunity for leadership like Mary Barra,” Clinton continued during a question-and-answer session with outgoing NADA chairman Dave Westcott that followed her more than 20-minute speech.
Source: The Detroit News
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No Sure OK for Reserve Guidelines

Dealers face decision, await CFPB guidance

The National Automobile Dealers Association is going out on a limb by recommending ways for dealerships to ward off discrimination charges from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB hasn't said whether NADA's recommended actions will suffice in the eyes of the agency but said Friday that it would review the proposals. The short version of the NADA recommendations is that dealerships should adopt a percentage ceiling on dealer reserve, never exceed it and document a legitimate business reason every time they offer a discount below that ceiling. The approach is modeled after a 2007 settlement in which a couple of Philadelphia-area dealerships settled lending discrimination charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The NADA recommendations, unveiled Friday, prior to the NADA annual convention [in New Orleans], include a list of seven suggested reasons which, in NADA's opinion, a dealership could cite as legitimate reasons for making an exception its policy -- for instance, to meet or beat a competing offer. There also are recommendations for setting up a compliance program at a dealership, appointing who's responsible for it, suggested templates for documents and more. NADA is expected to distribute the "NADA Fair Credit Compliance Policy & Program" booklet to its members soon. "We believe this approach addresses Fair Credit concerns and at the same time it preserves many of the benefits of the dealer reserve structure," said NADA General Counsel Andy Koblenz.
Source: Automotive News
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ADESA Auction at NADA Convention Raises $27,000 for Canine Companions Wounded Veterans Initiative

The NADA Foundation's Frank E. McCarthy Memorial Fund contributes a $10,000 grant

For the second consecutive year, Joe Verde, president of the Joe Verde Group in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., was the top bidder on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle auctioned by ADESA at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Expo. Verde's winning bid of $27,000 for the 2013 Heritage Softail Classic Anniversary Edition will be added to a $10,000 grant from the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation, which was presented to the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) earlier today. CCI trains companion dogs for wounded veterans, a cause long supported by the nation's new-car and -truck dealers.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com
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Auto Dealers Try to Get Buyers into Vehicles Faster Amid Web Advances

One automotive executive wants car buyers to spend a mere hour in dealerships while completing the purchase. If achieved, that would mark a seismic shift in how consumers buy automobiles. Alicia Boler-Davis, a GM vice president of quality and customer experience, said at the National Automobile Dealers Association conference here that she wants to winnow to one hour the time a customer spends with a dealer. The average time today for all dealerships is about three hours, according to AutoTrader, an online marketplace for new and used cars. But analysts say dealers throughout the auto industry are ill-prepared to meet such an ambitious goal anytime soon. Most haven't yet figured out how to connect the in-showroom shopping experience with the growing online component of research and comparison that most buyers come armed with. “That's a big issue,” Hoyt Harbin, president of Harbin Ford Lincoln in Scottsboro, Ala., said in an interview at the conference. “I don't know exactly how we're going to do it, but it's something we need to be looking at.” The window of opportunity for individual dealers is shrinking, too. Car shoppers now visit, on average, two dealerships, compared to five about a decade ago.
Source: The Detroit News
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BMW Exec Wants U.S. Dealers to Generate Higher CSI Scores

BMW's North American CEO pressed dealers to produce higher customer satisfaction scores this year and called on them to make commitments to invest in renovating showrooms. But Ludwig Willisch told reporters outside the make meeting room that sales prospects for 2014 were strong. “We enjoyed all-time record sales in 2013, and we fully expect to set a record again in 2014,” he said, repeating his message to dealers at the meeting. “The products we have coming will keep the success coming.”
Source: Automotive News
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VW's Horn Hits Reset Button with U.S. Dealers

Michael Horn, the new CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, has a message for VW dealers: We're listening. In his first major speech to a U.S. dealer body that has grown frustrated about shrinking profits and strict new factory requirements, Horn's team unveiled a broad overhaul of the brand's U.S. sales and marketing strategy -- and drew frequent applause from an audience that had arrived somewhat uneasy. Among the big changes promised at Sunday's make meeting were an end to stair-step incentives for dealers, a bigger budget for local advertising, and a shift from humorous advertising to more tactical, sales-focused messaging.
Source: Automotive News
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Buick Extends Lease Promotion

Buick plans to continue a 24-month promotional lease program that has helped stoke its lease business over the past two years. Experience Buick was launched in March 2012, offering free scheduled maintenance, OnStar and Sirius-XM radio. Buick will keep the program and is gearing up for an initial wave of off-lease customers who were among the first to sign up for it two years ago, said Brian Sweeney, Buick-GMC's U.S. vice president of sales and service. Buick's U.S. sales rose 14 percent to 205,509 vehicles last year compared with an 8 percent gain for the overall market.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford Asks Dealers for Help with Launches

With 16 product launches coming in 2014, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, asked dealers at the make meeting Sunday to partner in the launch process. "He asked us to pay attention to quality issues and let them know early on if there are problems," said Jeff Carlson, a Ford dealer from Glenwood Springs, Colo. Instead of "shoving cars at us," Ford is "asking us to participate in the launch, Carlson said. "The tone in the room was completely different. Ford was being collaborative." Among the 16 launches scheduled this year are some of Ford's most important vehicles: the 2015 Mustang, the Transit commercial van -- and biggest of all, the 2015 F-150 pickup, which has an aluminum body.
Source: Automotive News

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Dealers Mourn Tonkin, Miss His Spunk

Former NADA president, who died this month, fought for dealers' rights

As they headed into the 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans last week, dealers longed for another outspoken advocate like the late Ron Tonkin. Tonkin, the Oregon auto dealer who crusaded against what he considered overbearing factories while president of NADA 25 years ago, died Jan. 17 at 82. The founder of Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships in Portland, Ore., became known as a firebrand among dealers for his forceful pushback against automakers. Remembering Tonkin, an outspoken advocate for dealers, hopefully will encourage other dealers to speak up, said H. Carter Myers III, a Virginia dealer and chairman of NADA in 2002.
Source: Automotive News
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More Articles
 
Quotable
"NADA is working through some of the toughest regulatory and legislative challenges that Washington throws at us."

    -- 2014 NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell, NADAFrontPage.com, Jan. 27


"Building and selling cars helped create the American middle class. The resurgence of the auto industry over the past few years has been a driving force behind our recovery. And you, the auto dealers of America, continue to play a vital role in communities all across our country."

  -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, NADAFrontPage.com, Jan. 27


"When you go through a disability like mine, it completely changes your life in every way. As a veteran, Napal is the biggest contributor to my well-being and my way of life since my injury 14 years ago."  

   
-- U.S. Air Force veteran Jason Morgan, who represented Canine Companions at the NADA convention with his service dog, Napal, NADAFrontPage.com, Jan. 26

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