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Inside this issue
March Forecast Calls for Improved Sales, Days' Supply
NADA Used Car Guide Names Top Truck and SUV Retention Values
Opinion: CEO Barra's Defining First Chapter
GM Issues 3 New Recalls [Last Week] Unrelated to Switch
Auto Dealer Agrees to Settle FTC’s Deceptive Advertising Charges
Aluminum Vehicles to Reshape Repair Business
Nissan Vision for Future Dealerships Puts Offices, Desks On the Hit List
DCH Program Aims to Hire, Promote Women
Ford : SUV Becomes USA's Top Police Car
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
March Forecast Calls for Improved Sales, Days' Supply

A new WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. light-vehicle deliveries to rebound from two months of below-trend demand hampered by unusually harsh weather and slow fleet sales. The report pegs U.S. LV volume at 1.48 million units this month, equating to a daily sales rate of 56,929 (over 26 selling days), a 6% improvement over same-month year-ago (27 days). The projected 15.8 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate would be the highest since November's 16.3 million and more than 600,000 units above the current 15.2 million-unit 3-month SAAR. The forecast reflects a return to Q4 2013 sales levels, augmented by pent-up demand resulting from extreme winter weather across the country during the prior two months. Relatively stable consumer confidence and the addition of 175,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy in February – a better-than-expected result – also factor into the optimistic outlook. Inventory levels should continue to fall in March.
Source: WardsAuto
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NADA Used Car Guide Names Top Truck and SUV Retention Values

New report highlights value retention performance of 2011 model year light duty trucks and SUV segments, including hybrid-powertrain performance.

Large pickup trucks have the highest retained value of all three-year-old light duty trucks and SUVs at 62.5% of the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a typically equipped model, says the NADA Used Car Guide in the March edition of NADA Perspective, a monthly industry trends report. Mid-size vans ranked the lowest at 49.2%. “Americans have always had a penchant for pickups,” said Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst of NADA Used Car Guide. “A recovering housing market, better fuel economy and a wide range of trim levels have helped increase demand and keep retention values among the highest in the industry.”
Source: NADAFrontPage.com

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Opinion: CEO Barra's Defining First Chapter
By Jason Stein, publisher and editor of Automotive News

When they write the book on Mary Barra's career at General Motors, the first chapter will be a real page-turner. Few CEO starts have been as dramatic as Barra's. There was the announcement of a highly profitable 2013, the glow from GM's twin win on car- and truck-of-the-year honors, and headlines touting another corner turned on Government Motors and the same-old GM. There was the crush of the Detroit auto show, where journalists from 39 states (plus some from Finland eager to discuss Barra's Finnish roots) and dyed-in-the-wool auto publications such as Good Housekeeping roughed one another up trying to get a quote from GM's new star. And then along came a deadly ignition switch. Amid the specter of lawsuits and regulatory headaches over the delayed recall of 1.6 million vehicles globally, Barra now finds herself in the center of another circus. But instead of touting a new GMC Canyon on her home turf, she'll be facing questions and cameras on Capitol Hill next week, trying to sustain the company's fragile comeback while addressing charges that GM failed for more than a decade to address a problem at the cost of at least a dozen lives.
Source: Automotive News

Editor's note: GM CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to provide keynote remarks during the 2014 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in New York City on Tuesday, April 15. To view the complete agenda and to register, click here.
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GM Issues 3 New Recalls [Last Week] Unrelated to Switch

General Motors announced [last week] three new recalls — not related to last month's ignition switch recall — that involve more than 1.5 million vehicles. The big automaker also said it will take a $300 million charge against first-quarter earnings to pay for the four recalls. GM said the trio of new recalls is "a result of (CEO) Mary Barra's request for a comprehensive internal safety review following the ignition switch recall." Involved are 303,000 of the 2009-14 standard- and medium-duty models. Such vans primarily are used by tradesmen and delivery services. Some also are used as passenger shuttles by hotels, airports and churches. GM issued a "stop delivery" order for vans still at dealerships until a fix is developed. It says it is "working diligently" to come up with materials that will meet the head-injury standard for non-belted riders.
Source: USA Today

Editor's note: Each year, millions of vehicles become subject to safety recalls, a relatively small percentage of which involve “stop operation” or “stop sale” notices. For information on potential steps dealerships should take, click here.
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Auto Dealer Agrees to Settle FTC’s Deceptive Advertising Charges

Courtesy Auto Group of Attleboro, Mass., has agreed to resolve Federal Trade Commission charges that the dealership violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could lease a vehicle for $0 down and specific monthly payments when, in fact, the advertised amounts excluded substantial fees. The ads also violated the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) and Regulation M, by failing to disclose or clearly and conspicuously disclose certain lease related terms. The proposed consent order prohibits Courtesy Auto from engaging in similar deceptive advertising practices in the future. It prohibits the dealership from misrepresenting in any advertisement for the purchase, financing, or leasing of motor vehicles the cost of leasing a vehicle, the cost of purchasing a vehicle with financing, or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing, or leasing of a vehicle. Courtesy Auto is further prohibited from stating the amount of any payment, or that any or no payment is required at lease inception, without clearly and conspicuously disclosing the terms required by the CLA. This case was brought as part of Operation Steer Clear, the agency's nationwide sweep against 10 auto dealers announced in January. The FTC also announced final consents with two additional dealers in February. These cases are all a part of the FTC's continued efforts to combat deceptive motor vehicle dealer practices, and protect consumers in the auto marketplace.
Source: The Federal Trade Commission
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Aluminum Vehicles to Reshape Repair Business

Expensive body shop tools and training, and labor rates that could nearly double, will rock the auto body repair industry following Ford Motor Co.'s foray into aluminum-body vehicles. The automaker's new F-150 pickup, which debuts later this year, will be the first mass-market vehicle with a body made mostly of aluminum. As others follow Ford's lead to create lightweight cars and trucks to meet stringent fuel economy requirements, it will prompt a shift in how body shops align their businesses. Some of the 35,000 U.S. repair facilities will each invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment and training necessary to fix the smallest dents and the biggest structural collapses and will pass those costs along to consumers through higher labor rates. Others will focus solely on the steel-body cars and trucks that remain the dominant share of vehicles on the road. “Not every shop in America will be equipped to repair the new F-150,” said Dan Risley, president of the Automotive Service Association, who estimated that fewer than 20 percent of repair shops are fully and properly equipped to fix aluminum body structures. “It's cost prohibitive because there aren't a lot of vehicles on the road with aluminum, so the return on investment could take a few years. When you throw aluminum into the mix, everything changes.”
Source: The Detroit News
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Nissan Vision for Future Dealerships Puts Offices, Desks On the Hit List

A new-car showroom without a reception desk? No cubicles or desks for salespeople, and no offices for managers? This is the experimental retail environment that Nissan is testing in Europe. And if it works as expected there, Nissan dealers in the United States will see it soon, at least as a test. Nissan hopes to create a modern retail environment and improve the way customers are moved through the buying and service process. So far the experiment has been confined to a single Nissan dealership in London. But that is changing rapidly. Koen Maes, the European executive overseeing the project, says the experiment is expanding to Moscow and Stuttgart, then elsewhere in Russia and across Western Europe. If successful there, it will spread to the Middle East and Japan and then be tested in the United States by September. "If it works there it will go completely global," says Maes, vice president of customer and retail experience for Nissan Europe, referring to the United States. "It will be the new retail concept for Nissan."
Source: Automotive News
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DCH Program Aims to Hire, Promote Women

DCH Auto Group is focused on recruiting and training more female employees. In late 2012, the South Amboy, N.J., dealership group formed the Professional Women's Association to study how it can better attract, retain and advance women employees, initially at its East Coast stores. "We've been reaching out to universities and women and minority associations in tandem with this association," says Gene Hallenbeck, DCH's vice president of human resources. "They are very excited. We've been invited to several job fairs and events." DCH operates 27 car dealerships in New Jersey, New York and California. Its 2,514 employees include 622 women. It will begin a Professional Women's Association for West coast stores this year. Source: Automotive News
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Ford : SUV Becomes USA's Top Police Car

Ford has already claimed that the police verson of the Explorer SUV has become America's new most popular cop car. Now it says it has the numbers to prove it. Ford sold 14,086 Interceptor SUVs last year, as the police version of the Explorer is known, up 140% from the year before. At the same time, it sold 10,897 Taurus outfitted for police work, up 31% from 2012. Together, they account for almost half of all police vehicles sold among the major brands -- Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet -- according to Ford, which bases its analysis on data from industry statisticians R.L. Polk.
Source: USA Today
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More Articles
 
Quotable

"This is her [Mary Barra's] moment to seize."  

    -- Jason Stein, publisher and editor of Automotive News, commenting on the recent GM recall, March 24
    

  

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