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Inside this issue
Study Sees Dealership Throughput Breaking Records in 2014
U.S. Probes GM Lawyers' Role on Vehicle Recalls, Reports Say
Novelis: Aluminum Sales to Automakers Will Nearly Triple on New Emissions, MPG Rules
Ford Tells U.S. Dealers to Stop Selling Some C-Max, Focus Models
Honda Will Fix Fits After Crash Test Prompts Redesign of Bumper
Sonic Automotive to Start Used-Car Dealership Chain
Acura TLX's New Assembly Line is on Twitter
Frank J. McCarthy Named an Ambassador of the NADA Charitable Foundation
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Study Sees Dealership Throughput Breaking Records in 2014

For the third consecutive year, U.S. dealership throughput -- the average number of vehicles sold per store -- is expected to break records in 2014, a new study found. But the experts behind the study warn that a downturn is inevitable. The 2014 midyear Automotive Franchise Activity Report projects nationwide dealership throughput is heading to 904 vehicles, based on forecast vehicle sales of 16.2 million. That's up from a throughput rate of 874 vehicles at the beginning of the year, based on a report released Thursday and produced by Urban Science, a dealership consulting and data concern in Detroit. The sales forecast is from consultants LMC Automotive.
Source: Automotive News

Editor's note: NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly agrees that auto sales are cyclical, but says the economy still has room to grow as well as auto sales at least for the next year and a half.

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U.S. Probes GM Lawyers' Role on Vehicle Recalls, Reports Say

U.S. prosecutors have learned that lawyers for General Motors Co. were present at key meetings during which information about problems with some of its vehicles were discussed, a source close to the investigation told Reuters. The prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice have asked how lawyers attending those meetings participated in them and what they did afterward with the information that was shared during the meetings, the source said. GM's legal staff has been under heavy scrutiny since the recall crisis emerged earlier this year. GM's top lawyer, Michael Millikin, was a key part of a U.S. Senate hearing with GM CEO Mary Barra in July -- with Barra being grilled for not firing the chief legal counsel.
Source: Reuters

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Novelis: Aluminum Sales to Automakers Will Nearly Triple on New Emissions, MPG Rules

Novelis Inc., the world's biggest supplier of aluminum sheets to carmakers, expects sales to customers including Audi AG and Ford Motor Co. to rise almost three-fold as new emissions rules restrict the use of steel. Shipments of automotive aluminum may climb to as much as 25 percent of total sales by 2020 from the current 9 percent of 3 million metric tons, Novelis Vice Chairman Debnarayan Bhattacharya said [Thursday] in an interview in Mumbai.
Source: Bloomberg
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Ford Tells U.S. Dealers to Stop Selling Some C-Max, Focus Models

Ford Motor Co. has told its U.S. dealers to stop test-driving and selling C-Max and Focus models produced during a week this month because of potential problems with the steering gear assembly, a notice sent to dealers on Wednesday shows. A Ford spokeswoman said today none of the affected vehicles were sold to customers and that less than 50 were on U.S. dealer lots.
Source: Reuters
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Honda Will Fix Fits After Crash Test Prompts Redesign of Bumper

Honda is going to replace the front bumpers on about 12,000 Fits it has already sold because the small car scored poorly in a key crash test. The automaker announced the free program Thursday, at the same time the influential Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said a crash test of the 2015 Fit equipped with a redesigned bumper structure earned an “acceptable” rating on its small overlap crash test. The test simulates a wreck in which the front corner of the car hits another car or solid object at 40 mph. “This is the first time that we know of that a manufacturer has called back vehicles after making a structural change like this to improve crash-test performance,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the insurance industry group.
Source: The Los Angeles Times
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Sonic Automotive to Start Used-Car Dealership Chain

Sonic Automotive Inc., one of the country's largest car-dealer companies, will open a chain of preowned-vehicle stores hoping to move on the turf of used-car retailer CarMax Inc. Sonic on Monday will announce the creation of EchoPark stores, with the first dealership opening in Denver this autumn, a few miles from a CarMax store. Like CarMax, EchoPark will provide no-pressure shopping to customers disillusioned with traditional selling techniques. Sonic prices will be set by a central office, rather than each store, eliminating haggling. Customers will deal with one salesperson from start to finish.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Acura TLX's New Assembly Line is on Twitter

Acura is advancing the social marketing spectrum with an interactive TLX launch campaign that allows Twitter users to build their own versions of the premium sedan within a tweet. With a streamlined configurator, which isn't as detailed as the one offered on Acura's website, users can choose their desired engine, color and drivetrain without leaving Twitter. This is the first time an auto brand has used an in-tweet configurator. After users click on the “Tweet Your TLX” icon when finished building, they can then select “Explore More Options” to play with Acura's full configurator on its website. The tweet also includes a link to Acura's homepage.
Source: Automotive News
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Frank J. McCarthy Named an Ambassador of the NADA Charitable Foundation



Frank J. McCarthy

Pat McCarthy, wife of the late NADA President Frank E. McCarthy, named their son, Frank J. McCarthy, an Ambassador of the National Automobile Dealer Charitable Foundation. To become an Ambassador, a dealer, company or association or makes a tax-deductible contribution of $10,000 in their name or in recognition of a loved one, living or deceased. Ambassadors are then eligible to provide $1,500 grants every three years in perpetuity. Donors with three gifts of $10,000 or more to the program receive the title Ambassadors of Distinction and can present a $2,000 grant every year in perpetuity. For more information or to become an Ambassador, contact the NADA Foundation at (703) 821-7102 or foundation@nada.org.
Source: NADA Public Affairs

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Quotable

"We know that automobile sales patterns are cyclical. It's vital to remember current sales levels are near the peak of this cycle and will drop before growing again. Planning for the downturn will help dealers avoid financial problems in the future."

   
-- John Frith, vice president of Urban Science, commenting on auto sales, Automotive News, Aug. 21

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