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Inside this issue
McConnell: Improved Fuel Economy Comes at a Cost and Needs Balance
NADA: New-Light Vehicle Sales to Rise in 2016
Lexus Summer Sale Powers Toyota Brand to July U.S. Luxury Win
54.5 MPG Isn't a Done Deal, EPA Official Says
GM Plans $877 Million Modernization for Michigan Plant
Lions Great, Auto Dealer Mel Farr Dies at 70
Top Stories
McConnell: Improved Fuel Economy Comes at a Cost and Needs Balance

When it comes to determining fuel economy rules of the nation's light-duty vehicles, new-car dealer Forrest McConnell said a “realistic balance” between government regulations and consumer choice has to be achieved.
 
“There's no doubt that we all want cars to be more efficient … get the most miles per gallon … preserve our environment and reduce emissions,” said McConnell, president of McConnell Honda/Acura in Montgomery, Ala. “But improved fuel economy comes at a cost. The government estimates it will cost us an increase of $3,200 to the average price of a car. That's an increase that new-car buyers will have to pay up-front. This will dissuade many from purchasing, thereby delaying their use of more environmentally friendly and safer vehicles.”
 
McConnell, who served as chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2014, was a speaker and panelist during the session, “Policy: Shaping Regulations for Fuel Economy and the Consumer,” at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., on Tuesday.
 
“Dealers have a mission to serve our customers by offering choices-choices that fit their lifestyles and budgets,” he added. “What dealers care about is ensuring that customers get options that are meaningful for them.”
Source: NADA
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NADA: New-Light Vehicle Sales to Rise in 2016

Sales of new cars and light trucks will continue their post-recession climb, reaching an all-time high of 17.46 million vehicles in 2016, said Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association. Szakaly provided his forecast for new- and used-vehicle sales through 2019 at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., on Tuesday. He predicts new-vehicle sales of 16.65 million units in 2017. He also outlined some of the long-term car buying challenges facing new-car dealerships. “Employment is doing very well, which is critical to new- and used-car sales, and we expect gasoline prices to continue to remain low,” Szakaly said. NADA forecasts that new-car dealerships will retail a total of 31.77 million new and used vehicles in 2015, an increase of 3.3 percent from 2014. (That figure includes 17.17 million new vehicles and 14.6 used vehicles retailed by new-car dealerships in 2015.)
Source: NADA

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Lexus Summer Sale Powers Toyota Brand to July U.S. Luxury Win

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus scored its first monthly win this year in U.S. luxury-vehicle deliveries, riding an annual summer sales push and the new NX crossover past German rivals. Lexus reported a July increase of 9.1 percent from a year earlier to 29,816. Mercedes-Benz posted a 1.2 percent gain to 27,526, and the BMW brand said Monday that sales climbed 2.1 percent to 26,970. The Toyota brand lured consumers with offers like a $329-a-month lease on the $38,000 ES sedan, as the summer sale helped it to a July win for a second straight year. Low financing rates and a strong used-car market have helped fuel U.S. luxury sales, which are outpacing industrywide gains.
Source: Bloomberg
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54.5 MPG Isn't a Done Deal, EPA Official Says

Decision on proposed ’25 model year standard will come in ’18

The director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality [Tuesday] shot down the notion that the agency has already decided to implement a 54.5 mpg corporate fleet average for 2025. The average is officially proposed, but the decision to raise, lower or leave alone the 54.5 corporate fleet fuel economy average for 2025 won’t be made until after a review in 2017 and 2018. The decision is due in April 2018. “There is a perception out here that the decision is already made,” Chris Grundler said at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars. “That is wrong. The EPA administrator makes the final decision, and he will work for the next president.” He said that in the review the EPA will examine everything from the price of fuel to consumer acceptance of new technologies.
Source: Automotive News
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GM Plans $877 Million Modernization for Michigan Plant

General Motors plans to invest $877 million to modernize its assembly plant in Flint, Mich., one of its two U.S. full-size pickup factories. GM said the investment in its oldest North American plant will include a new body shop, which will be located close to a nearby metal center that supplies sheet metal for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. “This investment will allow us to use a more innovative approach to deliver material between two critical facilities, reducing handling and the time it takes to ship parts,” Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America manufacturing and labor relations, said in a statement.
Source: Automotive News
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Lions Great, Auto Dealer Mel Farr Dies at 70


Photo credit: Associated Press

Retired Detroit Lions running back Mel Farr, who also earned acclaim off the field as one of the nation’s biggest car dealers, died Monday night at age 70, the Lions said late Monday, citing relatives. A cause of death was not immediately confirmed. During his career, Farr became the all-time third-leading Lions rusher. His son, Mike Farr, also became a Detroit Lions wide receiver. In 1974, he retired from football after being traded to Houston. The next year, Farr launched a new career, becoming a partner at Cook-Farr Ford in Oak Park; soon after he’d be known for his “Mel Farr Superstar” television ads with an announcer intoning at the start of the commercial: “Fighting high prices to bring you a Farr better deal.” He pitched the cars wearing a red cape and pretending to fly. Within three years, Farr had assumed sole ownership of the dealership, and President Jimmy Carter cited him for “outstanding achievement” in business. Farr soon co-founded the Black Ford and Lincoln-Mercury Dealers Association. In 1979, the “Mel Farr Superstar” ads debuted.
Source: The Detroit News
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Quotable
"Employment is doing very well, which is critical to new- and used-car sales, and we expect gasoline prices to continue to remain low."

   
-- NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly, commenting on strong U.S. auto sales, NADA, Aug. 4

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