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Inside this issue
Jeb Bush, Jay Leno and Beck Weathers to Keynote 2015 NADA Convention in San Francisco
GM Faces Fresh Congressional Grilling
Editorial: 3 Automakers' Wise Investments in Dealerships
Franchise Hiring Accelerates in Robust June Report
Minority Dealers are Adding Import Brands
VW to Build New Crossover in U.S., Add 2,000 Jobs
Passion and Love Drive Jay Leno to Fill a 130-Car Garage
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Jeb Bush, Jay Leno and Beck Weathers to Keynote 2015 NADA Convention in San Francisco



The four-day “Automotive Industry Event of the Year” runs Thursday, Jan. 22, to Sunday, Jan. 25

San Francisco will host the 2015 NADA Convention & Expo from Thursday, Jan. 22, to Sunday, Jan. 25. This will be the 16th time that the NADA convention has been held in San Francisco since 1948. The keynote speakers include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell, III, on Friday, Jan. 23; Jay Leno and NADA Vice Chairman Bill Fox on Saturday, Jan. 24; and inspirational speaker Beck Weathers on Sunday, Jan. 25.

Considered the “Automotive Industry Event of the Year,” the NADA convention includes dealer-manufacturer franchise meetings, hundreds of educational workshops for dealers and their managers, several hundred exhibitors on the expo floor and numerous networking events. The American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention & Expo runs concurrently with the NADA convention at the Moscone Center. The NADA expo runs Jan. 23-25. Attendee registration and housing opens on Monday, July 21. For more information, visit www.nadaconvention.org. Click here for the full article.
Source: NADA Public Affairs

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GM Faces Fresh Congressional Grilling

CEO Barra and others will appear before a Senate subcommittee this week

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Mary Barra returns to Capitol Hill this week for what may be her last and toughest hearings with U.S. lawmakers over the auto maker's botched response to a faulty ignition switch that has landed GM in hot water with federal regulators and the Justice Department. On Thursday, Ms. Barra will face Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), one of her harshest critics, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.), who remains skeptical of GM's response to the issue and its internal probe that cleared the auto maker's executive team and pinned the lack of response on lower-level engineers, lawyers and a dysfunctional company culture. It took the auto maker nearly 11 years to issue a recall for the 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other older model vehicles equipped with the faulty switch.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Editorial: 3 Automakers' Wise Investments in Dealerships

Automakers keep asking more of their dealers. But lately some manufacturers seem to be focusing less on how dealerships look and more on how well they work. After years of protracted squabbles over such things as the color of floor tiles and the style of restroom fixtures, both automakers and dealers might benefit from this change. Three recent initiatives reflect the evolution in what some automakers want from their dealers.

Ford is briefing dealers on the investment needed to repair aluminum-bodied F-150 pickups. General Motors is training dealership employees to pitch the virtues of the embedded 4G LTE high-speed Internet connectivity it will offer on 30 2015 models. And after several years of rapid growth, Subaru is offering advice and cash to its U.S. dealerships to add lifts and service bays and thereby boost customer satisfaction.

Many dealers have long objected to manufacturers' demands for highly specific dealership standards, saying costs exceed benefits. The latest programs require investment but are aimed directly at boosting sales and service revenue. Because sales are growing at a slower rate and growth increasingly requires winning more market share, building strong brands is more important than ever. That's precisely what the latest efforts address, and they are a welcome change from the conventional battle over shinier showrooms. Automakers and dealers cooperating to make improvements is simply good business.
Source: Automotive News
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Franchise Hiring Accelerates in Robust June Report

Hiring among franchised establishments in the United States added 33,350 jobs in June, according to payroll processor ADP. Nearly 50 percent of the job gains were from auto dealerships. These are individually a blend of product distribution as well as business format franchises, where the franchisor controls the operating standards in which the auto dealership is run. Professional services such as haircuts, nail and teeth whitening franchises came up second and restaurants third. That was closely followed by hotel hiring. Steven Szakaly, chief economist with the 32,500 franchise strong National Automobile Dealers Association, comments to this journal: "The continued recovery in vehicle sales is driving employment growth. New-car dealers continue to hire and expand ahead of the rest of economy, which is a key part of the overall recovery in the auto industry." Started in 1917, NADA is arguably the oldest existing franchise association in the country.
Source: Blue MauMau
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Minority Dealers are Adding Import Brands

NAMAD, at 34, wants more stores overall

After taking a disproportionately big hit when General Motors and Chrysler closed more than 1,600 dealerships in 2009, minority dealers have been adding import franchises. Still, the total number of minority stores remains inadequate, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers says. "Some manufacturers are doing a better job than others," said NAMAD President Damon Lester during the organization's annual membership meeting here last week."But when you look at NAMAD -- we're celebrating our 34th year of existence -- we still have not increased our numbers to over 5 percent representation." NAMAD Chairman Tom Moorehead, who operates BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce dealerships in Virginia, said import manufacturers are providing opportunities for minority dealers but not in great numbers. "We're working very hard to get more of us on this side," said Moorehead, who was trained by GM and started his career as a Buick dealer in 1988.
Source: Automotive News
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VW to Build New Crossover in U.S., Add 2,000 Jobs

Volkswagen AG will assemble a new family-hauling crossover at its plant in Chattanooga and invest $900 million to expand the factory in a push to double U.S. sales of VW-brand vehicles by 2018. Production is slated to begin in late 2016 at the Chattanooga plant, Volkswagen's sole U.S. assembly site, where it builds the Passat mid-sized sedan. Volkswagen will invest $900 million in the project and add about 2,000 jobs at the plant, CEO Martin Winterkorn said today in a press conference.
Source: Automotive News
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Passion and Love Drive Jay Leno to Fill a 130-Car Garage

On a sunny day in the Burbank hills, Jay Leno's canary yellow McLaren supercar shatters the silence. Wedged into the cockpit of the 903-horsepower hybrid P1, Leno darts around a curve and leans into the throttle. With the midday roads free of traffic, the $1.2-million McLaren surges through the canyon with a controlled fury. "I just can't stop driving it," Leno says at a stop sign, before roaring off again. "It's just a perfect blend of science and technology.... And you get the anthropomorphic sounds of the engine breathing." Back in Burbank where the drive started, a nondescript hangar next to the airport houses Leno's enviable collection of 130 cars, 93 motorcycles and a menagerie of engines, spare parts and memorabilia. The world knows Leno from late-night TV and stand-up comedy, but within car circles, Leno and his collection eclipse even his contribution to the annals of television. "The Tonight Show" was a job. Cars are an obsession.
Source: The Los Angeles Times
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Quotable

"The continued recovery in vehicle sales is driving employment growth. New-car dealers continue to hire and expand ahead of the rest of economy, which is a key part of the overall recovery in the auto industry."

   --- NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly, commenting on increased hiring at franchised dealerships, Blue MauMau, July 12

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