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December 18, 2015 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
House Approves $622B Tax Plan
Firms Say December Will Be Best U.S. Auto Sales Month Since 2005
Volkswagen Hires Kenneth Feinberg to Handle Diesel Cases
CFPB Charges CarHop $6.5M for Credit Reporting Blunders
Takata Air-Bag Crisis Said to Start Having Broader Sales Impact
GM Financial to Open Servicing Center in Texas
NHTSA Chief Prefers 'Nimble, Flexible' Approach on Self-Driving Car Rules
Top Stories
House Approves $622B Tax Plan

The House on Thursday passed a sweeping $622 billion tax package, the first of two massive end-of-year measures Congress is rushing to conclude this week. The “tax extenders” bill was approved in a 318-109 vote, with 241 Republicans joining 77 Democrats in backing the measure. Only 3 Republicans (Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Walter Jones (N.C.)) voted against the bill, which permanently renews a range of tax provisions following years of short-term extensions while extending other tax breaks through 2016 or 2019. The House is expected to vote Friday on a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending measure that would fund the government through September 2016.
Source: The Hill

Editor’s note: NADA and ATD support the bipartisan tax-extenders package that passed the House on Thursday, which would permanently increase the amount of eligible new and used business equipment that qualifies for Section 179 small business expensing from $25,000 to $500,000, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015. It also includes a provision that extends through 2019 the 50 percent bonus depreciation for new business equipment. The bill also contains an extension of an additional $8,000 in first-year depreciation for certain business vehicles purchased in 2015. This provision provides substantial potential savings for a dealership’s business customers. For more details on the agreement, see House Ways and Means Committee summary on Sec. 179 (Sec. 124 of the summary) and bonus depreciation (Section 143 of the summary).

NADA has been actively involved in efforts to make Section 179 small business expensing permanent, and supports the five-year extension of bonus depreciation. This legislation helps lower taxes for automobile and truck dealers, and provides certainty for some important tax provisions.

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Firms Say December Will Be Best U.S. Auto Sales Month Since 2005

Two auto sales forecasting companies say Americans will buy more cars and trucks in December than any other month in more than a decade. LMC Automotive and J.D. Power are predicting that U.S. sales will hit 1.71 million this month, the highest number since sales reached 1.8 million in July of 2005. The companies say this week's quarter-point interest rate increase will have only a minimal impact on auto sales. The strong December virtually assures that U.S. sales will set an annual record of 17.5 million this year.
Source: Associated Press
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Volkswagen Hires Kenneth Feinberg to Handle Diesel Cases

Volkswagen Group said Thursday that it is hiring Kenneth Feinberg, one of the nation's best known victim compensation attorneys, to handle claims resolution resulting from its diesel-emissions scandal. The automaker said Feinberg will be in charge of the independent claims resolution program for owners of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 2-liter and 3-liter diesel engines. Feinberg will be in charge of both designing and administering the program. Volkswagen has admitted to rigging diesel engines in its cars to beat emissions testing. In a conference call with reporters, Feinberg said he doesn't yet know how long the Volkswagen program will last or what settlement options it will include."We have to wait and see what the legal remedies will be," he said. About 500,000 claims are expected.
Source: USA Today

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CFPB Charges CarHop $6.5M for Credit Reporting Blunders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Thursday that it had fined one of the largest buy-here pay-here dealers, CarHop, $6.5 million for inaccurately reporting consumer credit data.
Source: American Banker (Subscription required.)
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Takata Air-Bag Crisis Said to Start Having Broader Sales Impact

The crisis involving Takata Corp.’s defective air bags has started to hurt demand for its steering wheels, according to people familiar with the matter. The Japanese auto supplier, whose air bags are behind the largest automotive-safety recall, told its lenders in recent weeks that it has seen a substantial impact on its steering business, as the two components are closely linked, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. The people briefed on the impact weren’t provided with specifics. Steering wheels account for almost a fifth of Takata’s sales, while air bags contribute 37 percent.
Source: Bloomberg
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GM Financial to Open Servicing Center in Texas

General Motors’ captive finance company will open a financial servicing center in San Antonio early next year, pending state approval, the company said [Thursday]. It plans hire 490 employees there. The new center will help GM Financial service its customers and dealers by “expanding our workforce and service capacity in a strong and vibrant employment market,” GM Financial CEO Dan Berce said in a statement. Texas is home to GM Financial’s corporate headquarters and other operational facilities. The company expects to begin working out of the 100,000-square-foot center in the first quarter of 2017, the statement said.
Source: Automotive News

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NHTSA Chief Prefers 'Nimble, Flexible' Approach on Self-Driving Car Rules

The top U.S. auto safety watchdog said he opposes a "patchwork" of state regulations on driverless cars and promised a "nimble, flexible" approach to writing new rules for self-driving vehicles. Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the agency does not yet have a position on California's proposal to bar autonomous cars without a person in the driver's seat ready to take over. The proposal is opposed by innovators in driverless cars, such as Google, but is consistent with NHTSA's 2013 guidelines on driverless cars. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has asked the NHTSA to review those guidelines to ensure they do not hold back innovations.
Source: Reuters
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Quotable
"The auto industry is close to having an all-time best-ever year."

    -- Bill Fay, vice president and general manager for Toyota, on record breaking auto sales in the U.S., Los Angeles Times, Dec. 17

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