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February 21, 2017 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Chauffeurs for the Trial Bar?
Commentary: There's No Crisis in the Auto Loan Market
Mercedes Dealers Get Relief on Renovations
Service Advisers' Pay Dispute Goes into Overtime
Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart Go Out with Big Deals
2017 NADA Dealership Workforce Study Open for Participation
Cedar Rapids Fire Department Gets New CPR Training Unit
Top Stories
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Chauffeurs for the Trial Bar?
By Neil Maghami

You may not have heard of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), or know about its connections with the trial lawyer lobby.  But once you hear how CARS’ efforts to influence public policy could one day slash the value of your car, you’ll understand why this nonprofit matters. On the surface, CARS looks like any other garden-variety consumer rights organization. The truth, as we’ll see, is somewhat different.

Neil Maghami, a freelance writer, is a regular contributor to CRC publications.
Source: Capital Research Center

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Commentary: There's No Crisis in the Auto Loan Market
By Melinda Zabritski

I’m not exactly sure who coined FEAR as an acronym for “false evidence appearing real,” but it’s an apt description for some views of the current automotive finance market. Some recent opinion articles suggest that the increase in today’s auto finance delinquency rates could herald a disastrous lending environment. But this is a very narrow view of what’s happening in the auto finance market today. To put a fine point on it: If you only look at delinquency rates, you’ll miss the big picture. On the surface, there is no doubt that auto delinquencies are on the rise. But this doesn’t signal a pending disaster for the auto finance market.

Melinda Zabritski is senior director of automotive credit at Experian.

Source: American Banker

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Mercedes Dealers Get Relief on Renovations

10-year buffer aimed at easing tensions over Autohaus standards

Mercedes-Benz dealers, once they've updated their stores to the brand's second-generation Autohaus image standards, won't be required to make more changes to their dealerships until January 2024 at the earliest. The pledge, announced this year to the Mercedes dealer network, is unusual. It follows the contentious launch of the original Autohaus standards in 2008. That initiative kicked off a period of tension in which dealers of many brands objected loudly to automakers' demands for dealership image changes. "Mercedes hit the sweet spot," said Jeff Aiosa, a Mercedes dealer in New London, Conn., and the brand's line representative for the National Automobile Dealers Association. "Ten years is a good number for the state statutes across the country."
Source: Automotive News

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Service Advisers' Pay Dispute Goes into Overtime

For dealerships in nine Western states, uncertainty about service advisers' eligibility for overtime pay continues. A federal appeals court has ruled for a second time that advisers, unlike a dealership's service technicians, parts employees and salespeople, aren't exempt from overtime requirements. The advisers' employer, Mercedes-Benz of Encino in California, is considering a further appeal.

The case arose when service advisers sued the dealership under the Federal Labor Standards Act for failing to pay overtime. The store initially won, but the appeals court has twice sided with the advisers, most recently last month. That decision by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals conflicts with appellate rulings elsewhere. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit's initial ruling, sending the case back to the appeals court for further consideration. The case could now return to the high court.

What should dealerships in states covered by the ruling -- California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona -- do in the meantime? "That's what everybody wants to know," says Felicia Reid, a partner in the Hirschfeld Kraemer law firm in San Francisco. She filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the National Automobile Dealers Association and dealer associations in the affected states.
Source: Fixed Ops Journal (Automotive News)

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Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart Go Out with Big Deals

If you’re looking for a sweet deal on a pretty good car — and you don’t care about resale value, 'cause it won’t have any — hurry on down to your local Chrysler dealer. You can get thousands of dollars off — or up to seven years of free financing! — on one of the remaining Dodge Dart compacts or Chrysler 200 midsize sedans. “The 200 and Dart have been great for us, and the incentives are aggressive,” said Wes Lutz, dealer principal of Extreme Dodge in Jackson and vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Lutz only has a half dozen left on the new-car lot, but he’s snapping up every low-mileage used 200 and Dart he can get his hands on. “Some of the used cars are selling for half the price of a new one,” Lutz said. He prowls auctions that Fiat Chrysler holds for its dealers looking for cars coming off leases, FCA corporate vehicles and rental cars. “Most of them still have some of their new-car warranty left,” he said. "The cars are out of production, but people know Chrysler and Dodge dealers will still be there to service them."
Source: Detroit Free Press

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2017 NADA Dealership Workforce Study Open for Participation

For participating in the study, dealerships will receive two complimentary reports.

With a retail workforce topping 1 million and the industry poised for growth, dealerships need to focus on hiring and keeping talented employees. The NADA Dealership Workforce Study (DWS) provides one-of-a-kind analysis of dealership pay plans and benefit packages, retention and turnover, employee benefits, work schedules and demographics. It is based on actual payroll data and questionnaire responses submitted by NADA and ATD members. The DWS is open for participation now through April 28, 2017, at www.nadaworkforcestudy.com.

In return for participating in the study, dealerships will receive two complimentary reports: (1) Automotive Retail: National and Regional Trends in Compensation, Benefits and Retention and (2) a custom report, which includes comparisons of the dealership(s) to peers nationally, regionally, by state and brand. All data must be submitted by April 28, 2017. To participate in the study, go to www.nadaworkforcestudy.com to begin. For questions, email WorkforceStudy@nada.org.
Source: NADA Dealership Operations

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Cedar Rapids Fire Department Gets New CPR Training Unit

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department got a new CPR training unit [on Feb. 20] to help them better prepare for real life situations. The new tool is now available for crews to train with anytime as well as for formal training sessions the department does several times a year. The training unit was donated by Randy Kuehl Honda in partnership with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Foundation.
Source: KWWL (Waterloo, Iowa)

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