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Inside this issue
U.S. Pledges Closer Scrutiny of Automakers Following GM Safety Crisis
Dealership M&A Market Cools Following Soros Buzz
4 Million-Plus Used Cars Sold in May
As Carmakers and Dealers Embrace Leasing to Boost Sales, Analysts Mull Finance Option's Limits
Colo. Store Embraces Pets, Pedals
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. Pledges Closer Scrutiny of Automakers Following GM Safety Crisis

NHTSA seeks alliance with plaintiffs' bar to sniff out defects

Automakers and suppliers can expect tougher data requests and more frequent audits from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency said [Friday] as it outlined a plan to prevent safety lapses similar to General Motors’ ignition switch crisis of 2014. In the report, “NHTSA’s Path Forward,” the agency said it now plans to meet with manufacturers early in each investigation to put them “on notice,” even when the agency lacks the evidence to order a recall. By creating a paper trail, NHTSA hopes to prod manufacturers to disclose data that they could later be accused of having withheld, either during a government investigation or in court.
Source: Automotive News

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Dealership M&A Market Cools Following Soros Buzz

When representatives of Wall Street financier George Soros told dealers in January at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention that the billionaire's family fund wanted to buy dealerships, it prompted a flurry of speculation that private-equity money and wealthy families' funds would open their fat wallets and inflate buy-sell prices. But so far, deals aren't getting done. "What we're seeing is a cooling off of the M&A market in terms of private equity and family funds," says Mark Johnson, president of buy-sell advisory firm MD Johnson Inc. in Seattle.
Source: Automotive News
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4 Million-Plus Used Cars Sold in May

The National Automobile Dealers Association announced [Friday] that used-vehicle sales surpassed 4 million units across all retail channels for the month of May. Although this year's May sales of roughly 4.02 million units passed last year's May sales of an even 4 million, this brought the year’s tally just past 14 million used cars and light trucks, putting 2015’s pace thus far just slightly behind 2014’s, where total used sales passed 14.1 million units by the end of May 2014. “Private-party sales of used vehicles have declined this year,” said Steven Szakaly, NADA’s chief economist. “The cold winter combined with a wetter than usual spring dampened sales by individuals. New-car dealers, on the other hand, clearly benefitted from the increase in consumer traffic during Memorial Day sales events that brought new car buyers in to shop for both new and used vehicles.”
Source: Auto Remarketing

Editor's note: For a subscription to more a detailed monthly release and access to the historical data series going back to 2010, send an e-mail to
sgszakaly@nada.org and enter “Used-Vehicle Forecast” in the subject line.
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As Carmakers and Dealers Embrace Leasing to Boost Sales, Analysts Mull Finance Option's Limits

How high can leasing go? Leasing hit a record 26.7 percent of U.S. new-vehicle volume in the first quarter, Experian Automotive said in a report released June 1. That was 1.1 percentage points higher than a year ago and the fourth time in the past five quarters that lease penetration topped 25 percent. The previous record was 25.6 percent, set in both the first and second quarters of 2014. Counting only new vehicles that were financed -- that is, excluding cash sales -- leasing accounted for a record 31.4 percent of U.S. volume in the first quarter, up from 30.2 percent a year earlier, Experian said. For their part, lease customers like the lower monthly payments that leases allow, and the chance to get into a new car more often. Analysts say their crystal balls show leasing getting higher than it is now, but not a whole lot higher.
Source: Automotive News
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Colo. Store Embraces Pets, Pedals

What some dealerships consider unusual, auto dealer Craig Fisher sees as the norm. Take his fleet of loaner vehicles for service customers: The vehicles are bicycles, not cars. And his store's waiting areas are as likely to accommodate four-legged visitors as two-legged ones. "If you told people they couldn't bring their pet in, you'd never see them again. It's going to cost you business," said Fisher, co-owner of Fisher Auto Inc. in Boulder, Colo. "Almost every store in town allows pets inside." The pets and loaner bicycles are part of Fisher Auto's culture, which reflects Boulder's culture.
Source: Automotive News
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Quotable
"Private-party sales of used vehicles have declined this year. The cold winter combined with a wetter than usual spring dampened sales by individuals. New-car dealers, on the other hand, clearly benefitted from the increase in consumer traffic during Memorial Day sales events that brought new car buyers in to shop for both new and used vehicles."

   
-- NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly, commenting on used-car sales, Auto Remarketing, June 5

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