NADA Headlines - 07/02/2013 (Plain Text Version)
New car dealers and their employees had a banner year last year, an industry trade group said. Jobs at new-car dealerships rose 3.2% in 2012 to 963,400 employees, according to the National Automobile Dealers Assn. That brought the average number of employees per dealership to 55 from 53. The average weekly earnings of employees at U.S. new-car dealerships last year was $1,030, up 9.1% from the previous year. All told, new-car dealerships had an annual average payroll of $2.9 million in 2012, up 12% from the previous year. The total payroll for all U.S. new-car dealerships was $51.6 billion, up 12.6%. The number of franchised dealerships also grew last year by 95 to a total of 17,635. The average new-car dealership made a profit of almost $850,000 before taxes, up about 6% from the previous year, according to the dealer group. The average price of a new car sold was $30,910, up 0.8% from the prior year.
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The U.S. auto industry, in tatters just four years ago, is emerging as an export powerhouse, driven by favorable exchange rates and labor costs in a trend experts say could drive business for many years. In a sign of the turnaround, Honda Motor Co, once a big importer of Japanese-made cars, says it expects to export more vehicles from North America—with nearly all of them coming from its U.S. factories—than it brings in from Japan by the end of 2014. Last year, more than one million cars and light trucks were exported from U.S. auto plants, the highest recorded and a more than threefold rise from 2003, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration. More competitive labor costs and restructurings that closed unproductive factories have made American auto plants tougher competitors in the global market. Some are also looking at U.S. production as a way to serve booming emerging markets.
Billionaire megadealer Norman Braman has settled his two-tier pricing lawsuit against General Motors. Settlement terms were unavailable. A brief document filed in federal court in South Florida noted that all disputes between Braman and GM are settled. The parties agreed not to file the settlement agreement itself. The end of the lawsuit will dash many dealers' hopes for a precedent-setting legal blow against factories' dealership renovation programs.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1998, Brian Mulloy followed the path of many of his classmates, fleeing his home state for a job in a bustling city. But after 10 years of working in technology start-ups in San Francisco, he has returned as founder of a company in Detroit's budding technology sector. Mr. Mulloy is part of a group of workers that Detroit is suddenly hungry for — software developers and information technology specialists who can create applications for the next generation of connected vehicles. “You're going to see developers set up shop in Detroit because they're going to follow the money,” Mr. Mulloy said, “and there will be lots of money.” Already, the money is flowing.
Adding to its legacy in the Greater St. Louis community by providing annual grants to schools, food banks and civic causes, Diana Marie Mungenast is the eighth family member of the well-known dealership group to be named an Ambassador of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation. Diana is the wife of Raymond Mungenast, a member of the NADA Foundation's Board of Trustees, who operates Mungenast Automotive Family with his brothers, Kurt and David. All three are Ambassadors of the NADA Foundation. The late David Mungenast, Sr., who started the family business in 1966 by acquiring a Toyota franchise, was named a Foundation Ambassador in 1999. “The Ambassadors program reflects the Mungenast Family's four-decade long commitment to contributing to the community they work in,” said Don Levin, senior advisor of the dealership group, which operates six locations in the St. Louis area.