November 21, 2012

Dealership Hopes to Best Its Record This Year
Toyota has seen its production, sales and reputation battered by an earthquake and tsunami and numerous recalls in recent years. But Bob Farlow, general manager of McGeorge Toyota in suburban Richmond, VA, is still bullish on the brand. “Toyota has been through some ups and downs over the last couple of years, but I can tell you they are focused on one thing, and that is getting back to where they were in terms of market share,” he tells Wards. “Business has come roaring back for Toyota and us this year, given what we faced last year.” McGeorge Toyota ranks No. 92 on the 2012 WardsAuto Dealer 500 with $117,298,765 in total revenue. Following record sales of 4,148 new and used vehicles in 2007, dealership sales fell to 3,063 in 2009. Through September of this year, however, McGeorge has seen deliveries increase 42 percent and revenue top $100 million. Farlow predicts his store this year will best the 2007 record. “If there is any cloud on the horizon, it’s that the number of ‘need’ buyers is outpacing the ‘want’ buyers,” he says. “Buyers with 3- to 6-year-old cars are not quite in the market at the level we’re used to seeing.” For more on McGeorge Toyota, click here.

Ray on Point: Giving Thanks
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, AIADA Chairman Ray Mungenast writes that now is a good time to take a step back from politics and industry news, and focus instead on the larger picture. After all, dealers have a lot to be thankful for this year. Since the Great Recession began four years ago, our industry has been beset by uncertainty. Recently, however, we have seen a steady trend of rising sales. Today the sales outlook is positive for both dealers and manufacturers, and that can mean only good things for our employees and communities. At the end of October, auto sales were up 13.8 percent from 2011 and on track to hit 14.2 million units by year’s end. We have been through some difficult times, but we are truly now in a recovery. And perhaps, stronger and more resilient for the challenges we faced. Finally, thank YOU, for all that you do. As AIADA members, your involvement is what drives this important organization to protect and defend our industry in Washington, D.C. Ray writes that he is truly grateful to have been your voice in 2012, and looks forward to many more years of working with you to expand our influence. For the full Ray on Point blog post, click here.

Honda, Despite Sandy's Impact, Still Expects 25% U.S. Sales Gain for 2012
Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. rebound will continue through 2012’s final months, helping the carmaker boost sales about 25 percent this year even after Hurricane Sandy reduced October gains, said U.S. sales chief John Mendel. The company expects to deliver almost 1.46 million Honda and Acura brand vehicles this year in the U.S., up from 1.15 million a year ago, Mendel said in an interview on Friday. Automotive News reports that Honda’s sales rose 9 percent last month while industrywide sales rose 7 percent. “November will be a pretty good month for us -- I see nothing different in November and December that will change the course of where we’ve been this year,” Mendel said. Honda brand sales for the year should be “within 10,000 or 12,000 units” of 1.3 million, with the Acura luxury brand at “160,000, maybe a little bit more,” he said. Demand for Honda's cars and trucks in the U.S., its biggest market, has been aided by a redesign of the CR-V crossover, restyled Accord sedan, and record production at North American plants that were slowed last year by parts shortages stemming from natural disasters in Asia. For Honda’s full end-of-year outlook, click here.

White House Says No Agreement Yet on Allowing Japan in on Free Trade Talks
The White House said Tuesday the United States and Japan did not reach agreement during talks in Cambodia about allowing Japan into 11-nation free trade talks amid concerns raised by U.S. automakers and other issues — but both still hope to do so. The Detroit News reports that the Obama administration has been considering whether to allow Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The talks are aimed at creating one of the world's largest free-trade zones, including some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Click here for AIADA’s position on the issue. "There are issues, again, that we're interested in like autos, where we want to make sure that American automakers have access to Japanese markets and have a level playing field both here in the United States and in Japan," White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters. A free-trade agreement could drop tariffs on Japanese vehicles entering the United States and make it more economically viable to build cars and trucks in Japan and export them to the U.S. In August, UAW President Bob King said he opposes allowing Japan into the talks, arguing it could put American jobs at risk. For more on TPP, click here.

Nissan Leaf: Carmaker Drops Price, Raises Range of Japanese Model
Nissan is launching a less expensive Leaf electric vehicle in Japan that has a longer driving range than the current model. Analysts expect to see a similar move in the U.S. as the automaker tries to boost tepid sales of the car. According to the L.A. Times, the new version in Japan will cost about 11 percent less and have a 15 percent increase in range. Click here to see it. Nissan noted that the new model is designed specifically for the Japanese market but has previously said it plans an upgrade of the U.S. version of the car. The company isn’t expected to release details about the U.S. version of the 2013 model year Leaf until early next year. “You can’t make any assumptions based on that specific model in Japan,” said Travis Parman, a Nissan spokesman. “Ratings such as range differ based on the governmental testing procedures in individual markets.” The current Leaf's expense and short range – the U.S. version of the Leaf can travel about 73 miles on one charge according to the EPA – have been blamed for the vehicle's poor sales. Through the first 10 months of this year, Nissan has sold just 6,791 Leafs, 16 percent fewer than the same period a year earlier. For more on the future of the Leaf, click here.

AROUND THE WEB

  • Which New Car Are You Most Thankful For? [Jalopnik]
  • Words Aren't Needed in the Company of an Espada [Autoblog]
  • 10 Cars for Small Families [MSN]
  • Californians Can Now Fill Up on Algae-Based Biodiesel [NBC]
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