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Inside this issue
Automotive News: NADA Moves to Counter Franchise System Critics
Download: New NADA Video Highlights the Benefits of Franchised Auto Dealers
On Eve of CEO Mary Barra's Grilling By Congress, GM Recalls More Than 500,000 Camaros
Fiat Board Approves Terms for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Merger
New Mega-Dealer: Oregon's Lithia Buys N.J.'s DCH
Suppliers Need More Engineers to Keep Up with Vehicle Launches
New Alfa Dealers, Lots of Orders
NADA Convention & Expo Recognized as Top Trade Show
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Automotive News: NADA Moves to Counter Franchise System Critics

Franchised car dealers have taken plenty of heat for their resistance to Tesla Motors' state-by-state campaign to sell cars directly to consumers. The dealers have been called monopolists, middlemen and dinosaurs. They've been accused of using their clout in state legislatures to pad their profits. Peter Welch, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, is ready to push back. "We're tired of being called backwards protectionists that don't know how to sell cars on the Internet and add hassle to the buying experience," Welch told Automotive News. "It's exactly the opposite."

In one of his most aggressive moves since his 2013 hiring, Welch is launching a communications strategy this week to treat the franchise fight more like a national political campaign. NADA still won't comment on state debates or confront Tesla, but it plans to rapidly spin out talking points and comments to influential journalists and policy experts -- many of whom are questioning why franchise laws exist. "It's going to take several forms, and it's going to go on forever as long as I'm president of NADA," Welch said of the campaign. "We've got a great story to tell, and I don't think it's been told as articulately as it should have been in the past."

As part of the push, NADA is launching a page on its Web site (www.nada.org/getthefacts) with fact sheets and animated videos about the franchise model. NADA has no plans to buy advertising, but there's a 30-second video that's suitable for TV, and Welch said state and local dealer groups would be welcome to air it. Automotive consultant Maryann Keller will release an NADA-commissioned report Tuesday, June 17, on the franchise model, and NADA will release its own report Wednesday, June 18, to argue that manufacturers prefer franchised dealers.

Getting out the message will be Jonathan Collegio, a battle-tested spokesman that Welch hired this spring from American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-founded Republican political action committee that spent $105 million during the 2012 election cycle. Collegio, 37, said that much of his strategy will be simple "blocking and tackling." His team will find all reporters who have written about the franchise model in the past year and contact them to get out NADA's new message.
Source: Automotive News
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Download: New NADA Video Highlights the Benefits of Franchised Auto Dealers


NADA has rolled out a new “Get The Facts” initiative to inform the media, opinion leaders and consumers about the numerous benefits of America’s franchised new-car dealer network through a website and variety of multimedia resources. The centerpiece of the project is a two and a half minute animated video detailing the benefits of the franchised dealer system, viewable at www.nada.org/GetTheFacts. Other resources include a 30-second video, a fact sheet on the consumer benefits of dealers, a longer informative FAQ, a document explaining the reasons for state franchise laws, an infographic and other materials.
Source: NADA Public Affairs
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On Eve of CEO Mary Barra's Grilling By Congress, GM Recalls More Than 500,000 Camaros

General Motors announced four new recalls, including more than 500,000 Chevrolet Camaros, just a few days before Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra makes a return trip to Washington. The Detroit-based automaker said with the Camaros, a driver's knee can bump the key fob, causing the key to move out of the “run” position and lose power. GM said it discovered the problem during testing following its ignition switch recalls earlier this year. The Camaro problem isn't related to the ignition switch recalls and mostly affects drivers sitting close to the steering column. The recall covers 511,528 2010 to 2014 model year cars, including 464,712 sold in the United States.
Source: Forbes

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Fiat Board Approves Terms for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Merger

Fiat said Sunday that its board of directors approved the “cross border merger terms” that will allow the Italian automaker to become a subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., a new company that will be organized in the Netherlands. The approval by Fiat S.p.A.'s board of the terms of the plan, developed by Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, is one of a number of steps necessary to create a new corporate structure with a new name for the company. The merger plans call for Fiat shareholders to receive one share of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stock for each share of Fiat stock they currently hold. The stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario in Milan, Italy. That plan must still be approved by Fiat's shareholders.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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New Mega-Dealer: Oregon's Lithia Buys N.J.'s DCH

Lithia Motors, an Oregon-based dealership chain, is buying New Jersey-based DCH Auto Group, creating the fifth-biggest dealership chain in the United States, with locations on both coasts. Lithia said it will pay $340 million cash and $22.5 million in Lithia stock to acquire DCH. The combined operation should generate $7 billion a year in revenue, Lithia calculates.
Source: USA Today
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Suppliers Need More Engineers to Keep Up with Vehicle Launches

The shortage of engineers and skilled workers is starting to look like a long-term headache instead of a short-term blip. According to a May survey of 107 suppliers by the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, 37 percent said engineering talent was their biggest risk for upcoming product launches. A lack of production capacity was cited as the biggest risk by 17 percent. Suppliers cited the availability of "labor and talent" as a long-term problem that would persist in the United States through 2020. In North America, the pace of new-vehicle launches is straining suppliers' engineering capacity, said David Andrea, OESA's senior vice president of industry analysis.
Source: Automotive News
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New Alfa Dealers, Lots of Orders

86 retailers are 1st of 3 waves to get 300 U.S., Canadian franchises

Newly minted Alfa Romeo dealerships in the United States and Canada are about to receive their first cars. Many of the vehicles are already spoken for. Dealers who were granted Alfa Romeo franchises last week are holding scores of cash deposits for the 4C coupe, the first new Alfa Romeo sold in the United States since 1995. "We've already got deposits on eight of those 4C coupes," said Jim Benson, a longtime Chrysler Group dealer in Greer, S.C. His Fiat dealership was awarded one of 86 Alfa franchises last week. "Alfa Romeo has a lot of followers out there." The deposits were placed as long as two years ago, dealers said. They conclude that demand should be strong when Alfa finally returns to U.S. showrooms.
Source: Automotive News
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NADA Convention & Expo Recognized as Top Trade Show

Trade Show Executive, an industry magazine, ranked the 2013 NADA and ATD Convention & Expo as one of the fastest growing trade shows in the country. In the category of exhibit space (net square feet), the NADA and ATD conventions received Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 award for 2014—ranking No. 33 out of 50 trade shows. The Fastest 50 rankings were determined from information supplied and certified by senior association executives or private show organizers. The top 50 performers in the categories of exhibit space, exhibitors and attendance were selected based on the percentage of growth from 2012 to 2013. For more information on the 2015 NADA convention, held Jan. 22-25, in San Francisco, click here.
Source: Trade Show Executive
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Quotable

"Franchised new-car dealers benefit consumers through price competition, accountability on warranty and safety recall issues, and provide enormous economic benefits to local communities across the country."

   
-- NADA President Peter Welch, NADAFrontPage.com, June 16. NADA rolled out a new “Get The Facts” initiative today highlighting the numerous benefits of America’s franchised new-car dealer network through a website and variety of multimedia resources available at www.nada.org/GetTheFacts.

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