Blogs from the NADA Convention

No need to panic as big banks pare dealers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Recent news that Chase Auto Finance and TD Auto Finance are looking to trim their dealership networks brought swift reactions of "Here we go again" from some members of the dealership F&I community.That more or less automatic response is based in part on the stereotype that banks move in and out of auto finance when it suits them.But it's a gross exaggeration to associate what the banks are do ...
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Long loans are a necessary evil, dealers say

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Everyone agrees that superlong loan terms are bad for the industry, but it seems no one wants to give them up first.Long loans -- between, say, 72 and 84 months or even longer -- likely will leave customers upside down at trade-in time, owing more on their car than it's worth. Brand loyalty and dealership loyalty fall off at the end of an extremely long loan term, experts say."Long-term financing ...
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Dealers radiate resolve, not complacency, at NADA

Posted 11:34 am U.S. ET, Jan. 31
blogs David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
If strong U.S. vehicle sales have caused dealers to become complacent, it failed to show at the NADA convention.Dealers flocked to New Orleans for ideas.It's not sexy, but fixed ops software, especially for the service drive, was a hot item.Dealers such as Jeff Kahlig, CFO of Kahlig Auto Group in San Antonio, spent time at the ADP Dealer Services booth learning how ADP's new electronic payment sys ...
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Why one Chevy dealer doesn't fear the Reaper

Posted 9:33 am U.S. ET, Jan. 28
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MIKE COLIAS:  NEW ORLEANS -- Digital marketing tools, slick service apps and fresh F&I strategies were on the radar of many dealers who attended the NADA convention here this weekend.But for Chevrolet dealer Heinke Trapp, it was a date with The Reaper.The Reaper is what you get when you take a stock 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 and upfit it with beefy fender flares, an audacious domed hood, 8 extra inches of c ...
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Tesla is the latest chapter in factory vs. dealer franchise fights

Posted 10:40 am U.S. ET, Jan. 27
blogs Amy Wilson covers retailing for Automotive News.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- When it comes to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the franchise system, Connecticut dealer Jeff Aiosa says he's seen this movie before. Manufacturers will keep challenging dealer protection laws, and dealers will keep pushing back.Like many other dealers I've spoken with here in New Orleans, Aiosa believes that dealer franchise laws will hold up despite Musk's threat of a national challenge ...
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New M&A lingo: 'nontraditionals' and 'family offices'

Posted 7:16 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs Richard Johnson is editor of Automotive News -- print.
 
Tim Lamb of Tim Lamb Group, whose stand was crawling with acquisitive dealers, says he's beginning to see signs of it.George Chaconas of Performance Brokerage has noticed it "just in the last six months."These deal makers are starting to hear from "nontraditional" dealership buyers.Of course, the market doesn't need buyers; it needs sellers. But owners of those privately held mid- to large-sized g ...
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FTC ad regulators could 'make an example' of 1 dealer in each state

Posted 12:01 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- Colorado car dealers take heed and watch those ads.Leaders of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association outlined the pressing issues for dealers at CADA's breakfast on Sunday morning in New Orleans at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.One of the big ones is the Federal Trade Commission's announcement that it would be heavily monitoring dealers' advertising pra ...
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Test drives beat walk-arounds

Posted 10:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- A few booths at NADA are hopping. Others are nearly empty. The majority have a good number of representatives of that company speaking with a smaller number of dealers and dealership managers who have stopped by.What makes certain exhibits stand out?Hands-on involvement.The exhibition floor has a large number of booths devoted to computer services, whether DMS, CRM or any of the oth ...
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How a Philadelphia dealer might help end the CFPB feud

Posted 3:20 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs Gabe Nelson is a reporter for Automotive News and is based in Washington, D.C.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- Kerry Pacifico was a nominee for Time Dealer of the Year. He didn’t win.But the 89-year-old Ford, Mazda and Hyundai dealer can head home to Philadelphia with satisfaction regardless, knowing that his struggle to satisfy fair-lending regulators a decade ago now offers a way for thousands of his fellow dealers to stay in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s good grac ...
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Can dealers push back like it's 1989?

Posted 12:18 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs Amy Wilson covers retailing for Automotive News.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- Twenty-five years ago this month, Ron Tonkin rolled into New Orleans ready to take on the automakers.“Like the characters from the movie 'Network,' we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore,” Tonkin vowed as he became president of the National Automobile Dealers Association for 1989.A legend was born. When he died last week at 82, Tonkin was remembered as ...
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Hear that? It's the sound of skyrocketing inventories

Posted 7:31 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
blogs Jason Stein is publisher and editor of Automotive News
 
Record profits. Surging sales. And all is big and easy in the Big Easy. Or is it? Not to throw cold water on a hot New Orleans NADA party, but talk to enough dealers on the show floor here this weekend and you'll hear hints of concern. Enough with the comparisons to 2009. Those days are over. Now, some dealers say, let's be mindful of what could come. Consider: Interest rates remain at historic lo ...
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Why George Chaconas is such a busy man

Posted 4:24 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 25
blogs Richard Johnson is editor of Automotive News -- print.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- Sit with dealmaker George Chaconas of Performance Brokerage Services at the Starbucks outside the convention hall, and you discover a busy guy."Well, the dealers just got out a meeting," he says as a herd of well-dressed retailers stream by -- a couple of whom seem anxious to meet up with Chaconas right then and there.A lot of dealers want to check in with brokers at this convention ...
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Why the sales process still wastes so much time

Posted 10:57 am U.S. ET, Jan. 25
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- It’s frightening to consider how much time is being wasted on the typical car sale.It’s a wonder sales personnel -- or even the dealership, for that matter -- manage to make any money, says retail consultant Mark Rikess.Rikess’ firm, the Rikess Group was hired to conduct an efficiency study of more than 100 dealerships not long ago. Consider his findings:The averag ...
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What happens in 2016 if interest rates rise?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 24
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- 2014 will be a good year for the industry. But what about 2016?The following draws from speeches at the American Financial Services Association conference, which precedes the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here.Imagine Mae. In March 2013, she traded in a six-year-old car for a three-year-old one. By mid-2016, she's looking to replace it. She's back to working ful ...
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For BMW, a Tesla makes a 'nice snowplow'

Posted 1:09 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 24
blogs Dave Guilford is news editor for Automotive News.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- Quick now: If your automaker were launching a stylish, premium electric vehicle -- or a plug-in hybrid -- chock-full of new tech, who would your main competition be?Might it be the only EV maker of note to survive that segment's shakeout? You know, the company that attracts headlines about twice a week.Tesla, in other words?Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, pooh-poohs th ...
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Despite rosy sales forecast, sharp dealers plan ahead

Posted 7:36 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 24
blogs Dave Versical is Automotive News' director of editorial operations.
 
My colleagues who were here five years ago tell me it was grim. Nothing like the prospect of GM and Chrysler dying to suck the air out of a learn-fest like the NADA convention.So it struck me to read that the association's new chief economist, Steven Szakaly, is predicting three more years of rising U.S. sales - on top of the four we've seen since 2009.Never mind that Mr. Szakaly used to work for ...
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Just whose NADA is this?

Posted 9:40 am U.S. ET, Jan. 24
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
If you see Michael Bartsch at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans this weekend, you will probably find him empty-handed.That's because Bartsch, Infiniti's new vice president for North America, says he comes to NADA without an agenda, without a formal presentation for his dealers, and most certainly without a PowerPoint presentation."I think PowerPoints are a defen ...
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Ron Tonkin and memories of the 1989 NADA convention

Posted 9:40 am U.S. ET, Jan. 23
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
NEW ORLEANS -- News of dealer Ron Tonkin's passing took me back to an NADA convention in New Orleans exactly 25 years ago.It was only my second time at NADA's wingding, and what an extravaganza it was!In New Orleans in 1989, Tonkin accepted his election as NADA president with a stem-winder of a speech vowing to stand up to the factories on behalf of dealers. He compared himself to Mike Tyson, sayi ...
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Biggest F&I buzzword at NADA? Compliance

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 22
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
It looks like compliance will be the No. 1 topic at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans this weekend, judging from the many F&I workshops, trade show displays, and all manner of sales pitches scheduled to take place.The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is campaigning against dealer reserve, is behind much of this interest, of course. Dealer reserve, ...
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