NADA Headlines - 05/10/2013 (Plain Text Version)
Proposal to end class of shares that gives them control rejected
A record percentage of Ford Motor Co. shareholders backed a plan to end the Ford family' s special class of voting stock that gives it control of the company again failed to end the family's voting rights. Ford also said Thursday it has named a new lead independent director — Ellen R. Marram, the first woman to hold the job — to its board. At the company's 58th annual meeting here Wednesday, 33.4 percent of shareholders backed the proposal to end the class of shares that allows the family to control the Dearborn automaker. The Ford family holds a special class of stock worth about 40 percent of the voting shares, getting 16 votes per share. That provision gives the family effective control of the company. The automaker noted that the two-tier stock structure has been in place since it became a public company in 1956.
Japan's auto makers have been some of the most vociferous proponents of a weaker yen—calling for the U.S. dollar to appreciate to ¥100 or more. That is because they should be among the biggest beneficiaries: A weaker yen makes Japanese-made cars and trucks less expensive around the world and helps increase overseas earnings when they are repatriated into yen. But a closer look at two auto makers, Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., shows that the benefits of a weaker yen to Japan Inc. are anything but clear.
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New automobile dealerships promise to bring in more revenue to Scottsdale's [Ariz.] growing sales-tax coffers from the sale of new and used autos. Auto-related tax revenues to the city have steadily increased in recent years, from $13.9 million in fiscal 2010 to $15.9 million in fiscal 2012. The city anticipates receiving $17.8 million in sales-tax revenue from auto sales for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
Some people who opt to use the chat function of a dealership website aren't exactly bashful types, but they aren't yet at the point of wanting to talk to a car salesperson. So says Ted Rubin, who along with Todd Smith cofounded ActivEngage, a chat service for dealers. Rubin bills chat as providing a non-threatening way for prospects to begin the search for a new vehicle. Chat customers are different from those who contact a dealer by telephone, he says. “A lot of people are going to click on chat to be anonymous, thinking that if they call a dealer they're going to ask for their name or number. “They like having a conversation, gathering information, and not being pressured into a sale,” he says. Some customers prefer chat because they dislike navigating through a website. Thirty percent of auto shoppers who engage in chat on a dealership's website will make a purchase within 60 days, according to R.L. Polk.
The biggest barrier for cars that drive themselves might be consumers who enjoy driving. Industry experts say manufacturers should be able to build cars that can essentially drive themselves by 2020 and semi-autonomous cars will be ready even sooner. But how many people will want a technology-laden rickshaw carting them around? Also unknown is exactly how much such cars would cost, but they won't be cheap. “I think most people would like the idea, but they are concerned about whether it is reliable enough, about false alarms and if they can trust it,” said Chris Borroni-Bird, co-author of “Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility of the 21st Century” and vice president of strategic development at Qualcomm. A J.D. Power and Associates survey published last year found that 37% of drivers are interested in cars with the capability of driving themselves, but interest level drops to 20% if it adds $3,000 to the cost of the car.
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