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Inside this issue
Enroll Today in NADA's Dealership Workforce Study
U.S. Dealership Count Remains Flat, Throughput Soars
UAW Loss in Tennessee Will Prompt Strategy Rethink
BMW Says It Has 65,000 'Hand Raisers' for Plug-in Models
A New Era of Choice Has Pickup Makers Maneuvering For Advantage
Fiat Faces Hurdles to Accessing Chrysler Cash After Merger
Most Japanese Auto Production Resumes After Heavy Snow
GM Foundation Donating $1M to Detroit Nonprofits to Honor Akerson, Wife
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Enroll Today in NADA's Dealership Workforce Study

Stay ahead of the competition. Participating dealerships will receive two complimentary reports designed to improve recruiting and hiring decisions.

A major challenge facing new-car and -truck dealers is attracting and keeping talented employees. To assist dealers with this task, NADA offers the Dealership Workforce Study, now open for enrollment to NADA and ATD members. There is no cost to participate. Participating dealers will receive a complimentary:

  • 2014 Dealership Workforce Study Basic Report, a custom report that compares the individual dealership’s compensation for 60 job positions, employee benefits programs, hours of operation, work schedules, and retention and turnover to the aggregated data of other participating dealerships, both regionally and nationally; and
  • 2014 Dealership Workforce Study Industry Report, which provides an overall industry-wide analysis of the aggregated DWS data, including hiring and retention trends, demographics such as generational differences and the gender gap, compensation, tenure, employee benefits statistics, plus hours of operation and work schedules for all U.S. regions, as well as an economic overview of 2013 and forecast for the future.

Dealers can enroll as individual dealerships or dealer groups using a secure, web-based process that involves completing a survey and uploading payroll data. Enrollment closes on April 30, 2014. Dealers can enroll at www.nadaworkforcestudy.com. For more information, send an email to WorkforceStudy@nada.org or call (800) 557-6232.
Source: NADAFrontPage.com
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U.S. Dealership Count Remains Flat, Throughput Soars

The number of dealerships in the United States last year remained relatively flat, with pockets of increases. But with a recovering economy driving sales higher, the average number of new-vehicle sales per dealership surged, according to a study released [Monday] by Urban Science. That trend is expected to continue over the next three to four years, said John Frith, a vice president at Urban Science, a retail consulting company in Detroit. The 2013 Automotive Franchise Activity Report showed a slight dip in the number of U.S. dealerships. It projects the overall retail network will remain basically stable for a fourth straight year in 2014. As of Jan. 1, there were 17,838 dealerships, or rooftops, a 0.1 percent decrease from 17,851 a year earlier.
Source: Automotive News
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UAW Loss in Tennessee Will Prompt Strategy Rethink

The United Auto Workers stunning defeat Friday after workers at Volkswagen AG's assembly plant narrowly rejected a bid to create a German-style works council will prompt soul searching by the union and raises difficult questions about what the union needs to do to be successful. By a narrow 712-626 vote, workers rejected the union after three days of voting this week — a major setback for the UAW that has said its survival depends on organizing foreign auto workers. Some opponents of the union said the near collapse of Detroit's Big Three automakers in 2008 played a key role in convincing many not to support the UAW. Others pointed to the two-tier contracts at U.S. auto plants and noted that some VW workers make more than new workers at U.S. plants. The loss may put more pressure on the UAW to win richer contracts next year when it holds talks with Detroit's Big Three automakers.
Source: The Detroit News

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BMW Says It Has 65,000 'Hand Raisers' for Plug-in Models

BMW's U.S. sales arm has a list of 65,000 people interested in the company's new i3 and i8 plug-in models, about six times the number for a similar launch in the past, the company's North American marketing chief says. "Based on the interest, we have higher demand than we have supply coming in," Trudy Hardy, vice president of marketing for BMW North America told The Wall Street Journal. BMW hasn't said how many i3 or i8 cars it plans to ship to the U.S. this year from its factory in Leipzig, Germany.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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A New Era of Choice Has Pickup Makers Maneuvering For Advantage

From Ford's lighter aluminum F-150 to General Motors' stylish smaller pickups to Ram's light-duty diesel engine, the industry's dominant truckmakers have all shown their hands. Now what? This year will usher in a new era in the pickup market, with the Detroit 3 following distinctly different paths for their most profitable products. Each will pitch new technologies and ideas to truck buyers who in the past had to consider little more than the color choice for their V-8 pickup. But as buyers get a wider array of choices, it becomes trickier for manufacturers to plot their market strategies. A high-stakes chess match is under way to protect market share in light of some potentially game-changing entries as pickup makers try to capitalize on resurgent truck demand.
Source: Automotive News
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Fiat Faces Hurdles to Accessing Chrysler Cash After Merger

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group said today that its access to the cash of Chrysler, which it took full control of last month, was limited by a cap on dividends from the U.S. automaker and its debt covenants. Part of the motivation for Fiat's $4.35 billion deal to take full ownership of the No. 3 U.S. carmaker was to give the Italian carmaker access to Chrysler's finances so it could invest in new models to revamp its money-losing operations in Europe. Analysts have raised concerns about Fiat's growing debt pile and its ability to fund a strategy that will shift the automaker's focus to its upscale Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands from an over-reliance on low-margin mass-market models. Responding to a request for clarification from market regulator Consob, Fiat said in a statement that beyond the cap, dividend payments were also subject to the condition that Chrysler's liquidity exceeds a threshold of $3 billion. It said Chrysler's liquidity totaled $14.7 billion at the end of 2013. Fiat also said intercompany financing was limited by covenants that require deals to be approved by a majority of "disinterested" members of the Chrysler board of directors. Fiat said it had enough resources to fund its activities, however.
Source: Reuters
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Most Japanese Auto Production Resumes After Heavy Snow

Most Japanese automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., have resumed operations at their plants that were suspended after heavy snow disrupted parts deliveries, companies said, limiting impact on their domestic production volume. But Mazda Motor Corp. said it suspended operations at its plant in Hiroshima as parts deliveries were delayed and Nissan Motor Co. said operations at one of its plants were still stalled. Heavy snow around Japan has closed many roads, disrupting the delivery of goods and suspending car production for one or more days at Toyota, Nissan, Honda Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda and Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. as they rush to meet strong demand for cars ahead of a sales tax hike in April. "It may be difficult to fully catch up on the lost production volume, though that is up to how much the companies can operate their plants on the weekends," said Satomi Hamada, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive. There will be little impact on domestic sales, she added, because car makers are likely to focus on making vehicles for the domestic market to meet strong demand rather than for exports.
Source: Reuters
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GM Foundation Donating $1M to Detroit Nonprofits to Honor Akerson, Wife

The GM Foundation on Monday donated $1 million among three Detroit nonprofits in honor of retired GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson and his wife Karin, who were major benefactors to nonprofit organizations during their time in Detroit. Capuchin Soup Kitchen received $500,000 to help feed more in need, while Habitat for Humanity Detroit received $400,000 to renovate and build new homes. The Coalition On Temporary Shelter received $100,000 to help homeless families become self sufficient. “Although not natives of Detroit, Dan and Karin Akerson were incredibly moved by the people and circumstances they encountered in the city,” GM spokesman Selim Bingol said in a statement. “They changed many lives through their significant personal donations, and we wanted to honor their commitment through these grants.” Akerson, who led GM for three years, retired GM last month after Karin was diagnosed with a late-stage cancer.
Source: The Detroit News
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