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Inside this issue
Forecast: 18 Million SAAR Streak to Continue in December
Retailers Put the Brakes on Starting Captives
FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement Addressing “Native” Advertising and Deceptively Formatted Advertisements
VW Plans to Drop 'Das Auto' Slogan as Part of Image Rebuild
GM Extends Holiday Shutdown of Delta Township Plant
Google Attracts Top U.S. Automakers With Self-Driving Technology
Top Stories
Forecast: 18 Million SAAR Streak to Continue in December

December light-vehicle sales will reach an 18.04 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the latest WardsAuto forecast, resulting in the first ever 4-month streak above 18 million units. Volume is set to hit 1.706 million units for a daily rate of 60,941 over the month’s 28 selling days, 5.8% above like-2014’s 57,621 (26 days). This will be a record high for December and the highest for any month since July 2005’s 1.8-million. The 28 selling days comes from the industry practice to end each year on the first business day of January, so sales made through Monday, Jan. 4, are counted in the December tally. A high number of selling days, five weekends, and holiday and end-of-the-month sales incentives are the primary factors in the exceptionally high volume.
Source: WardsAuto


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Retailers Put the Brakes on Starting Captives

Risk, cost, regulation get in the way

Dazzled by the profits CarMax earns from its lending unit, other big automotive retailers have explored starting their own captive finance companies. But the undertaking is challenging and expensive, and that has caused some prominent dealership groups such as AutoNation to pull back on the prospect. Others continue to look into captives but with more caution than expressed previously. Executives for Sonic Automotive, for instance, said this year the dealership group is slowing its plans to establish a captive finance arm. That was a change from October 2014, when company leaders said they would build a captive, with a start date four years away.

Bottom line, establishing a captive is expensive and can be a big risk for a dealership group, said Mike Buckingham, senior director of the auto finance practice at J.D. Power. Although it may make sense for some retailers, they have to have considerable size and scale to pull it off.
Source: Automotive News

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FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement Addressing “Native” Advertising and Deceptively Formatted Advertisements

FTC Staff Also Releases Business Guidance on Native Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission issued an enforcement policy statement explaining how established consumer protection principles apply to different advertising formats, including “native” ads that look like surrounding non-advertising content.

In the Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements, the Commission lays out the general principles the Commission considers in determining whether any particular ad format is deceptive and violates the FTC Act. The policy statement affirms the long-standing consumer protection principle that advertisements and promotional messages that promote the benefits and attributes of goods and services should be identifiable as advertising to consumers. 
Source: FTC

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VW Plans to Drop 'Das Auto' Slogan as Part of Image Rebuild

Scarred by a public relations thrashing over its diesel emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen is planning an image offensive, and its "Das Auto" global advertising slogan is an early casualty. Launched in 2007 under ousted boss Martin Winterkorn, the slogan has had the advantage of simplicity, merely meaning "The Car." However, the German carmaker's leaders, anxious to proclaim a reformed corporate culture, have criticized it as out of step with a company trying to show new-found humility.
Source: Reuters

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GM Extends Holiday Shutdown of Delta Township Plant

General Motors is extending the holiday shutdown of its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant for an additional week because of retooling and new equipment installation. The Lansing State Journal reports production ends Wednesday for the year for both the Delta Township Assembly and Lansing Grand River Assembly plants. GM spokeswoman Erin Davis says the Lansing plant will resume production Jan. 4 and the Delta plant will go back online Jan. 11.
Source: Associated Press

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Google Attracts Top U.S. Automakers With Self-Driving Technology

Google’s self-driving car technology is attracting top U.S. automakers, as Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors talk with the company while laying the groundwork for a future with autonomous cars. Ford Motor Co. and Google are discussing working together, including in a joint venture to build cars using Google’s technology, said a person familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
Source: Bloomberg

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More Articles
 
Quotable
"We are entering the era of the technology and software-defined vehicle. You’re just seeing the auto industry recognize the importance of that."

     -- Thilo Koslowski, a vice president in the automotive practice at Gartner Inc., on self-driving technology, Bloomberg, Dec. 22

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