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Inside this issue
Attendee Registration and Housing for the 2015 NADA Convention Opens Monday, July 21
Senate Panel Praises GM CEO Barra for Handling of Recall Crisis
NADA Responds to FTC Officials on Factory-Direct Sales in Auto Retailing
GM Leases are the Post-Recall Bargain
Fiat, VW Deny Report That They are in Merger Talks
Chrysler to Speed Up Fixes for Jeep SUV
Study: Ford's New Aluminum F-150 Piques Truck Drivers' Interest
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Attendee Registration and Housing for the 2015 NADA Convention Opens Monday, July 21

San Francisco will host the 2015 National Automobile Dealers Association (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. Click here for the speaker bios.

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.

Attendee registration and housing opens on Monday, July 21. Attendees who register by Sept. 12 will receive the early bird rate, which is a $100 discount off the onsite registration rate. For more information, visit www.nadaconvention.org.
Source: NADA Public Affairs
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Senate Panel Praises GM CEO Barra for Handling of Recall Crisis

General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra, who was grilled during her first Senate appearance earlier this year on the ignition switch recall, faced a less contentious panel Thursday, as several senators praised her for stepping up and dealing with the crisis. Many members of Congress said in the run-up to Thursday’s hearing that they wanted to be reassured Barra had taken critical steps to ensure a similar crisis never happen again. Barra’s April appearance before Congress was ridiculed by late-night comedians and “Saturday Night Live” because she deflected many questions until an internal investigation was complete. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., had said in April that “woman to woman,” she was “disappointed” in Barra. This time she offered significant praise for Barra’s handling of the issue and for endorsing a bill that will require companies to repair rental cars before they are sold or rented. Barra was calm and collected during her two hours of testimony and answered nearly all questions directly.
Source: The Detroit News

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NADA Responds to FTC Officials on Factory-Direct Sales in Auto Retailing

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) on July 17 submitted a comprehensive response to the recent statements and letters from the Federal Trade Commission which call for the repeal of state prohibitions on factory-owned stores in the auto retailing market.

In the letter, NADA explains in detail why the FTC's economic analysis is flawed and lays out the compelling public policy reasons why state laws against factory-direct sales are necessary and appropriate.

“These laws fully benefit consumers by promoting competition, safety, accountability and economic growth. They also help ensure that consumers' transportation needs are met by legitimate businesses with strong ties to the local community,” NADA said in the letter. “Any state legislature that adopts such as approach is acting prudently and in the interests of its constituents.”

NADA issued the rebuttal in response to a blog written by FTC officials in late April and letters sent to the Missouri and New Jersey legislatures in mid-May.

Click here for a copy of NADA's letter.
Source: NADA Regulatory Affairs
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GM Leases are the Post-Recall Bargain

The saving grace for General Motors amid its recent recall debacle has been robust sales; the company sold 2,505,889 vehicles worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, with year-over-year sales in the United States up 7%. Consumers' purchasing behavior may be unfazed by the safety concerns, but the true bargains for those at GM dealerships are to be found on leases. Justin Sgro, general sales manager at Liberty Buick in Peoria, Ariz., thinks that the low leases have been baked into the system as part of GM's strategy. "There was probably a master plan put in place – how we were going to make these leases very low, how do we go after conquests," he said. "We wanted to go after the competitors –Toyota, Honda, Audi."
Source: TheStreet
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Fiat, VW Deny Report That They are in Merger Talks

Volkswagen AG, Fiat S.p.A. and Fiat's controlling shareholder all denied a German magazine report that the companies have discussed a possible merger. Volkswagen has approached rival Fiat about a possible merger, Germany's Manager Magazin reported on its website on Thursday, citing unnamed company sources. VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who is a member of the family that controls the German carmaker, has held various talks with associates and members of the Agnelli family, which controls Fiat, Manager Magazin reported. However, a VW spokesman said the company currently had no takeovers on the agenda as it focuses on improving efficiency at the group. Fiat has not held any discussions with Volkswagen about a potential merger, a Fiat spokesman said in a statement. And Exor, the holding company which controls Fiat with a 30 percent stake, has held no merger talks with VW, an Exor spokesman told Reuters.
Source: Automotive News
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Chrysler to Speed Up Fixes for Jeep SUV

Under government pressure, Chrysler Group LLC on Wednesday said it will be able to produce enough trailer hitches to complete a June 2013 recall of 1.56 million Jeep SUVs by mid-March — far faster than the original timetable of up to 4.7 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demanded earlier this month Chrysler answer questions about what the pace of producing parts to fix older Jeep SUVs at risk for fuel tank fires. The parts are designed to protect gas tanks behind the rear axle in rear-end collisions. NHTSA said in a July 2 letter to the Auburn Hills unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV that it could take Chrysler “at least 4.7 years and 2.1 years respectively to produce the required number of Grand Cherokee and Liberty hitches at the current rate of production.”
Source: The Detroit News
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Study: Ford's New Aluminum F-150 Piques Truck Drivers' Interest

A new study says most pickup owners don't care whether their truck is made of aluminum or steel, but there is great interest in Ford Motor Co.'s new aluminum F-150. An independent study by global research firm UBS found that 36 percent of those surveyed don't care what material their truck is made out of if performance is comparable. About 19 percent preferred steel, 17 percent preferred a mix of steel and aluminum, 3 percent preferred aluminum and 25 percent needed more information. But once potential customers learn about the new F-150's features, 43 percent say the use of aluminum makes it more likely they'll buy the truck; 52 percent of pickup owners who intend to buy a new truck in the next 12 months said they're extremely likely to consider the new aluminum-body F-150.
Source: The Detroit News
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Quotable

"We all want General Motors to succeed. There’s no one in Congress that doesn’t. This is an American company that all of us are very proud of." 

   --- Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who chairs the Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance subcommittee, during Thursday's GM hearing on the ignition switch recall, The Detroit News, July 17

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