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Inside this issue
GM Assures Analysts of Pricing 'Discipline' Amid Rising Truck Discounts
Lenders Keep Watchful Eye as New-Vehicle Loan Terms Grow
Upcoming NADA Webinar: Comply with Federal Advertising Requirements
Ford Ups China Investment as Sales Surge
Big SUVs Staging Modest Comeback
Honda Aims to Standardize Fast-Fill Hydrogen Fueling Protocol
Car Makers Hold Smartphones at Bay
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
GM Assures Analysts of Pricing 'Discipline' Amid Rising Truck Discounts

General Motors has been ratcheting up discounts on its full-size pickups over the last month, but it is telling Wall Street analysts it intends to maintain premium pricing and margins on the trucks despite a drop in volume and market share. On Tuesday, Chuck Stevens, GM's new chief financial officer and a key member of CEO Mary Barra's executive team, was dispatched to New York to update Wall Street analysts on the automaker's financial outlook, including the performance of its big trucks. A key message, according to analysts: GM remains focused on maintaining pricing "discipline," especially on the hugely profitable full-size pickups in a highly combustible and fluid U.S. market. GM is "working on marketing strategies to gain traction at the lower end of the (pickup) market without giving up pricing gains at the high end," said UBS Securities in a Wednesday client note.
Source: Reuters
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Lenders Keep Watchful Eye as New-Vehicle Loan Terms Grow

For the time being, F&I managers can probably count on lenders to keep approving extra-long loan terms to offset higher loan amounts. Lenders are keeping an eye on the rise in loans with terms of 72 months or longer, but the effect on the average loan term overall has been gradual, said Thomas King, senior director at the Power Information Network. "A lot of people are going from a 60-month loan to a 72-month loan. Putting on an extra 12 months isn't a particularly major shift," King said in a phone interview last week. According to PIN data, in February loans of 72 months or longer accounted for 32 percent of new-vehicle retail sales volume -- a record level for any month. King said loans of 84 months or longer -- potentially the ones to worry about -- were only about 2.9 percent. King said the rise in long-term loans of 72 months or more isn't a big issue because people are also keeping their vehicle longer on average.
Source: Automotive News
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Upcoming NADA Webinar: Comply with Federal Advertising Requirements

The upcoming "Comply with Federal Advertising Requirements" webinar will provide participants the opportunity to hear directly from a panel of FTC attorneys on key requirements and restrictions related to dealership advertising. NADA's Chief Regulatory Counsel, Paul Metrey, will moderate the discussion, which will highlight recent FTC advertising enforcement actions from dealerships around the country as examples of what to avoid. The 75-minute webinar is available to dealership employees, dealership compliance professionals, and persons who provide advertising services to dealerships. It will be held at 1 p.m. ET, Wednesday, March 19. Click here to register.
Source: NADA University Online
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Ford Ups China Investment as Sales Surge

Ford Motor Co. plans to double its research and engineering capabilities in China in the next few years as it aims to gain market share in the world's largest auto market. Ford China will nearly double the number of employees at its research and engineering center in Nanjing, a city in East China, to 2,000 by 2018. Ford will hire about 200 new employees annually to meet that goal. The automaker said it will invest an additional $100 million in its research facility and plans to build a new test track. That test track, Ford says, will allow its Chinese team to play a larger role in global vehicle product development.
Source: The Detroit News
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Big SUVs Staging Modest Comeback

They seemed destined for extinction in 2008, devastated by soaring gas prices and a crashing global economy, but big body-on-frame SUVs are mounting a comeback, thanks to a loyal customer base, strong export markets and a flurry of new products. At least that's the plan at General Motors, which controls about 75% of the segment and is launching a fusillade of new models that's starting to hit showrooms now and will continue through spring. GM's controversial Hummer brand was phased out in 2010, but the automaker still dominates with trucks such as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade. No one is expecting the large/luxury SUV segment to return to its glory days of 2003 and 2004, when gas was $1.50 a gallon and more than a million of the monsters were sold annually in the U.S. But a surprisingly robust number of almost-forgotten nameplates still are in the game and set to compete for the foreseeable future.
Source: WardsAuto
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Honda Aims to Standardize Fast-Fill Hydrogen Fueling Protocol

Honda has developed a hydrogen refueling station on its campus near Los Angeles with the aim of standardizing a hydrogen fueling protocol, the automaker said earlier this week. The station is available to other automakers to help validate its performance and functionality. Since the 2002 introduction of the FCX, its first-generation fuel cell vehicle, Honda has made advancements in fuel cell operation in both hot and subfreezing temperatures. Steve Mathison, senior engineer at Honda R&D Americas, said the new protocol, known as MC Fill, is designed for fuel systems that store hydrogen at a pressure of 700-bar. The majority of automakers store hydrogen at 700-bar, 10,000 psi, Mathison said. "The new protocol reduces 700-bar fueling times by up to 45 percent versus comparable fueling protocols and can complete most fills in less than three minutes under normal temperature conditions," he said.
Source: Automotive News
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Car Makers Hold Smartphones at Bay

Apple, Google phones get access to, but not control of dashboard screen

Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are stepping on the gas to integrate their smartphones with car communications systems, but big car companies insist the dashboard screen belongs to them and the only role for the pair is as app supplier. One reason car makers are reluctant to let Apple and Google get too close to their in-car networks is that no one can say with any certainty how valuable the online services revenue and data generated by drivers and passengers will become. Big Data, the information created by every mouse click and song pick online, is a growing source of digital revenue. Another reason car makers want to retain control of the car's network is for service revenue and branding. As drivers and passengers use the system the car manufacturer has a unique opportunity to connect with its customers for a fee.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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-- March 19: Comply with Federal Advertising Requirements

-- March 26: Participate in the NADA Dealership Workforce Study

-- April 2: NADA’s Fair Credit Compliance Program

-- April 3: Tips for Submitting a Great Workshop Proposal 

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ADESA and NADA Donate $37,000 to Canine Companions

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