December 18, 2012 

Dealer Ray Mungenast: 'I'm Just the Voice'

As 2012 chairman of AIADA, Ray Mungenast serves as both a voice for international retailers in the U.S. and a steward of the legacy established by his late father, 1998 AIADA leader Dave Mungenast, Sr. He's also at the helm of an expansive Lexus and Acura complex in suburban St. Louis, where he puts into practice the idea that good service and an inviting showroom are keys to keeping customers coming back. Automotive News recently featured Mungenast and his dealerships on its video series, “The Dealer Speaks.” Highlighting Mungenast Lexus of St. Louis’s customer satisfaction philosophy, the piece notes the facility’s impressive customer amenities, including a “fireside lounge” and bistro. The facility, opened in 2009, is also home to an impressive service facility, featuring 32 service bays. “We do a very good business and our customers are very happy with us, so they continue to bring their cars to us even after they have 60, 70, 80 thousand miles on them,” says Mungenast. Watch the rest of Automotive News’ coverage of dealer and AIADA Chairman Ray Mungenast’s take on running a successful dealership here

Jim Koons Automotive Donates Mobility Van to Ryan Diviney
Jim Koons Automotive Companies has donated a brand new mobility van to the Diviney family of Ashburn, Virginia, through their organization, Ryansrally.org. According to WBOY-TV, the Toyota Sienna mobility vehicle was personally delivered to Ryan Diviney and his family by a member of the Koons family and Koons employees on Monday at noon. Click here for a photo. Ryan Diviney, who was brutally beaten in 2009 while attending West Virginia University, currently remains in a vegetative state at his home in Va., where Ryan's father, Ken Diviney, is his primary caregiver. "We can't thank the Koons organization enough for this vehicle donation. They are truly a family with compassion, and this is extended to, and reflected in, their business culture. They care about the well-being of the community, and this is a wonderful example of that. It means so much to us in providing for our son. The Koons organization is the example of how businesses unselfishly give back to the community," said Ken Diviney. The mobility van is equipped with a wheelchair ramp that will enable Ryan to be transported outside his home. Read the press release here. For more on Ryan Diviney and Koons Automotive’s donation at the Ryan’s Rally blog, click here

Hyundai, Kia to Accept MPG Claims Through '13
Hyundai Motor Corp. and Kia Motors will allow owners of vehicles with overstated gas mileage ratings until at least the end of 2013 to register for compensation, the automakers told a key U.S. senator. The automakers told Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, in recent letters they will compensate dealers for taking part in the program and won't make owners waive their legal rights to participate. The Detroit News reports that last month, the automakers said they would reimburse owners of nearly 1.1 million vehicles in North America, including 900,000 vehicles in the United States, after misstating gas mileage claims on vehicle window stickers. The issue came to light after an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation turned up discrepancies between the window stickers and EPA testing. The automakers will reimburse owners for the overstated fuel efficiency for as long as they own the cars, plus a 15 percent premium. Hyundai said a typical owner of a vehicle in Florida driving 15,000 miles a year could get a $88 refund this year, in addition to future refunds for as long as they own the car. Click here for more on what Hyundai and Kia are doing to address customer mileage issues here

Toyota Fined Maximum Penalty for Failing to Report Safety Defects
According to The Detroit Free Press, Toyota Motor Corp. will pay the maximum allowable penalty – more than $17-million – to resolve claims that it failed to report a safety defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Tuesday. Federal officials said the fine represents the single highest civil penalty amount ever paid to NHTSA for recall violations and is linked to sudden acceleration linked to floor mat entrapment of the accelerator pedal in certain Lexus models. Tuesday’s $17.35-million agreement settles the federal government’s action against Toyota. “Toyota is dedicated to the safety of our customers, and we continue to strengthen our data collection and evaluation process to ensure we are prepared to take swift action to meet customers' needs,” said Ray Tanguay, chief quality officer of Toyota North America. “We agreed to this settlement in order to avoid a time-consuming dispute and to focus fully on our shared commitment with NHTSA to keep drivers safe.” Click here for more on Toyota’s fine

Name Change or Game Change? Infiniti Gives its Vehicles ‘Q’ Labels
The Wall Street Journal reports that beginning with the 2014 model year, the luxury unit of Nissan Motor Co. will identify its cars with the Q prefix and its SUVs and crossovers with QX. Numbers following the letters will indicate each vehicle’s position on the brand’s food chain, replacing the old numbers that represented engine displacement. The move sets the stage for the planned unveiling of the company’s latest luxury sport sedan, the Q50, at next month’s Detroit auto show. The Q50 replaces the G sedan. Other models will follow with name changes in stages. The G coupe and convertible will become Q60s and the M sedan will turn into a Q70. The way also appears clear for the eventual addition of a larger Q80 to a line of cars that currently has no traditional flagship. Infiniti says the change is part of its strategy to bring “clarity and cohesiveness” to its fleet as it seeks significant growth and expansion of its lineup. Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti Motor Co. Ltd. said the decision to go with the Q nomenclature reflects the results of extensive research while recalling the brand’s first model, the Q45 large sedan that rolled out in 1989. Read more about Infiniti’s new nomenclature here

AIADA and Federated Insurance Partner to Bring Dealers Distracted Driving Resources
Jacy Good never expected one of the happiest days of her life – her college graduation – would turn into the most devastating. An 18-year-old talking on a cell phone ran a red light, which forced a tractor trailer to swerve into the vehicle carrying Jacy and her family. Jacy’s parents were killed instantly, and Jacy was in a coma for two months. After several surgeries and regular rehabilitation, Jacy learned to walk and talk again. Now, imagine if the distracted driver was your employee, driving a company vehicle. Can you live with the fact that your employee just changed four people’s lives forever? What about the legal consequences, negative publicity, and loss of customers your business could face? AIADA is partnering with its Affinity Partner, Federated Insurance, to provide dealers with a compelling safety video developed by Federated Insurance, titled “Distracted Driving – In the Blink of an Eye.” The video documents the real-life stories of Jacy Good and Adrian Perez as they struggle with the consequences of distracted driving. This video is a must-watch for AIADA members and their employees. To get a free copy, and to learn how to protect your dealership and employees with a safe driving policy, contact your Federated representative by clicking here, or visit www.federatedinsurance.com

AROUND THE WEB Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual

  • Kia Sponsors College Football Hall of Fame [Autobytel]
  • 2013 European Car of the Year Finalists Announced [MotorAuthority]
  • The Most Unbelievable Saves of 2012 [Jalopnik]
  • Move to Mandate Review Cameras Could Boost Car Prices by $200 [Autoblog]
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