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September 15, 2017 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
The Equifax Data Breach What Dealers Should Know
Automakers Offer Discounts for Hurricane Victims
GM Shows Hand in Autonomous Vehicle Race
Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi Deepen Alliance in Electric Push
SUVs Dominate Semifinalists for 2018 North American Car, Truck, Utility of the Year
Early Bird Pricing for 2017 AutoConference LA Ends Today, Sept. 15
Top Stories
The Equifax Data Breach What Dealers Should Know
By Mark Scarpelli

Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting agencies that track and rate the financial history of consumers. Equifax recently announced a major breach of the data it stores and news coverage of the breach has been widespread. Equifax has stated that information from as many as 143 million people in the United States was compromised. Given the number of people affected and the sensitive type of information exposed, dealers should understand the basics of the breach and what it means for their customers. In particular, dealership employees should recognize they are likely to: (a) get questions from customers about the breach, and (b) see a potential increase in "credit freezes" and fraud alerts on credit applicants' credit reports. As a result, dealership personnel should review the FTC guidance below and understand what they may encounter, what they should look for, and what steps they should take when facing a fraud alert or "frozen" credit report.

If dealership personnel do get questions, it is important to first explain that the reported breach occurred at Equifax, and does not involve the dealership, data stored at the dealership, or dealership processes.  Dealership personnel can also point consumers to the FTC's consumer guidance "The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do?" That guidance: (a) provides a link to the Equifax website where consumers can determine if their information is at risk and how to sign up for the free credit monitoring service provided by Equifax, and (b) provides general information about steps consumers can take to protect their credit, including how to place a fraud alert, or a credit "freeze" on their account.

What if dealership personnel do see a fraud alert or encounter a "frozen" credit report? First, dealership personnel should review the FTC document entitled Fraud alerts vs. credit freezes: FTC FAQs that provides further information about fraud alerts and credit freezes. There, the FTC explains that if a customer's credit is "frozen" then that customer's credit report generally cannot be viewed until the customer takes steps to "unfreeze" their credit. They will be assigned a PIN they must use (and may forget), and it may include a fee that the customer must pay (both to place, and to temporarily "lift" the freeze), and may also include a lead time that could affect a financing transaction. If there is a fraud alert on the credit report, then the dealership must take certain additional steps to verify the identity of the applicant before the credit process can be finalized. Generally, that involves calling a phone number that the consumer provided at the time they placed the fraud alert and speaking with the consumer.

Dealers and their employees should also be aware that there are already scammers trying to take further advantage of the Equifax breach by calling consumers and trying to obtain personal information through false pretenses. See the FTC warning here for more.

Lastly, this is a good reminder for dealers to revisit their Red Flags program to ensure that they are taking the required steps to detect and prevent scammers from opening a line of credit using someone else's information.

Mark Scarpelli is 2017 NADA chairman and president of Raymond Chevrolet and Raymond Kia in Antioch, Illinois, and co-owner of Ray Chevrolet and Ray Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Fox Lake, Illinois.

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Automakers Offer Discounts for Hurricane Victims

In the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, automakers are rolling out special deals to car owners who may have lost their vehicles to the flooding and winds. Some automakers have authorized payment deferrals for Hurricane Harvey victims who lease or finance their vehicles through their finance arms. Some have extended similar relief to Hurricane Irma victims.
Source: Cars.com

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GM Shows Hand in Autonomous Vehicle Race

To hear General Motors Co. tell it, Detroit’s No. 1 automaker is leading the race to ready autonomous vehicles for mass production. But that might only be because the automaker is boasting about its progress. Kyle Vogt, CEO of GM’s San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, this week wrote that Cruise and GM now have “the world’s first mass-producible car designed to operate without a driver.”
Source: The Detroit News

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Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi Deepen Alliance in Electric Push

Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, the carmaking partners that have sold the most electric vehicles to date, aren’t planning to give up that No. 1 ranking without a fight. The alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp., plans to introduce 12 new purely electric vehicles by 2022 while extending the models’ range and slashing battery costs.
Source: Bloomberg

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SUVs Dominate Semifinalists for 2018 North American Car, Truck, Utility of the Year

SUVs and trucks dominate vehicle sales this year, and that’s reflected in the candidates for North America’s top vehicle of the year awards. Utility vehicles and trucks account for 18 of the 29 finalists for the three awards for car, truck and utility vehicle of the year. The awards are presented by a jury of 60 automotive journalists from across the U.S. and Canada. The Detroit three, including Fiat Chrysler’s Italian Alfa Romeo brand, account for nine of the semifinalists: One car, five utility vehicles, three trucks.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Early Bird Pricing for 2017 AutoConference LA Ends Today, Sept. 15

AutoConference LA, co-hosted by NADA and J.D. Power, will be held at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. The half-day conference precedes media days at the L.A. Auto Show.

Doll

Kerssemakers

Tucker

Speakers include Tom Doll, president and chief operating officer for Subaru of America; Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president, Americas region and president/CEO of Volvo Cars of North America; Jeremy Tucker, vice president of marketing communications and media for Nissan North America; Mark Scarpelli, NADA chairman; Finbarr O’Neill, CEO and president of J.D. Power and others.

Now in its sixth year, the event focuses on the auto industry in the western United States with a focus on the marketplace in California and Los Angeles. The conference typically attracts more than 400 attendees representing automakers, dealers, suppliers, marketers and advertisers.

The conference kicks off with a noon luncheon and ends with a networking reception. For the complete agenda or to register, visit www.autoconferencela.com.
Source: NADA/J.D. Power

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Quotable
"We are going to use the scale we have to build more competitive advantages for the future. The big guys are going to have a big advantage in this situation."

    -- Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn commenting on its plan to become a leader in electrification, autonomous and connected-car technologies, Bloomberg, Sept. 15

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