NADA Headlines - 09/26/2013 (Plain Text Version)
F&I products may be the next target for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after dealer reserve, F&I administrator executives say. That could be critically important for dealerships. Dealerships are turning to F&I products, such as extended-service contracts, as their main source of F&I income on fears that continuing pressure from the CFPB will lead to reduced profits from dealer reserve or the elimination of the reserve altogether in favor of flat fees. The CFPB hinted strongly in consent orders this year that it would like to see more disclosures on pricing and coverage with regard to F&I products. "We've got to be on our toes. We've got to look how we're training," said Steve Amos, president of F&I product provider GSFSGroup, during a panel discussion at the Industry Summit, an annual F&I conference, last week. "We've got to have a real industry effort for us to pull this off," he said.
At the conference, F&I administrators and NADA asked each other for help. NADA Chairman Dave Westcott called on the administrators to join dealers in asking elected officials to question the CFPB's aims and methods in trying to eliminate the dealer reserve. Later, the F&I administrators said they would like NADA to return the favor and include F&I products in the overall industry effort to "educate" the CFPB.
Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, said the pace of industry sales slowed this month after hitting a six-year high in August. “The industry has slowed in September after a very, very strong Labor Day weekend,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said today in an interview at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. “It's still a healthy industry but it's taking a little bit of a breather from the last three months.”
The consensus among economic development officials in Michigan is that the state has an opportunity to lure more investment from automakers and suppliers. With industry sales running at its strongest pace since 2007, Michigan's pipeline of auto-related economic development is filling up, said Doug Smith, a vice president for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “This is an opportunity for us because our core industry is making money and is very profitable,” Smith said. Most of the assembly plants operated by the Detroit Three and their suppliers' parts factories are running at full capacity to keep up with demand. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who spoke Wednesday at the 2013 Michigan Automotive Summit at Cobo Center, said Michigan should be proud of its core industry and promote it every chance it gets.
Audi made history last month. It is the first premium brand to rank as high as No. 2 in total European monthly sales. Audi outsold third-ranked Renault by 170 vehicles and topped No. 4 Ford by 1,578, according to data from industry group ACEA. That good news, however, was offset by a lot of bad news at Audi's sister brand, Volkswagen. August sales at VW brand were down 17 percent, which reduced its market share to 12.5 percent from 14.3 percent during the same month in 2012. Despite the decline, VW brand remained No. 1 in European sales for the month, giving the VW Group the top two spots in the ranking for the first time.
With competition growing among automakers and suppliers to develop autonomous driving technology, the industry will be better served by adopting a single standard sooner rather than later, a group of experts said Wednesday. In a panel at the Michigan Automotive Summit in Detroit, experts spoke at length about the industry's shift toward autonomous driving technology and the advantage of developing an industrywide standard. Instead of each automaker and supplier going its own way, companies need to come up with a "standard which would make the entire industry rise around it much faster," said Jeffery Owens, chief technology officer at Delphi Automotive.
General Motors Co. Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said Wednesday that he envisions a woman will one day lead one of Detroit's Big Three automakers. Akerson, who was speaking at an Inforum-sponsored event as part of the Detroit Regional Chamber's 2013 Michigan Automotive Summit at Cobo Center, later told reporters he doesn't know when it might happen, but that the automotive industry — including GM — has plenty of talented women. “It's inevitable,” he said. GM has four women who are part of its board of directors — which Inforum said is tops for an automaker — and six women among its corporate officers. “The Detroit Three are all run by non-car guys,” Akerson said. “Someday there'll be a Detroit Three that's run by a car gal.”
Small-town dealer's 500 unsold rides spark global interest
Seventeen years have passed since Ray Lambrecht closed his Chevrolet dealership, a small-town operation in northeast Nebraska with a big and valuable secret. For decades, the owner of the Lambrecht Chevrolet in Pierce held on to new cars and trucks that didn't sell right away. He stashed them in warehouses, at his farm and in other spots around the town he worked in for 50 years. Now, his automotive nest egg — about 500 vintage cars and trucks — will go on the auction block. This week, visitors from at least a dozen countries and throughout the U.S. will converge on the 1,800-resident town, or bid online.