February 16, 2017
Republicans Working to Kill Proposed Import Tax
The Detroit Bureau reports that Republican Senators are growing increasingly cool to the idea of imposing a “border tax” on goods, including cars and trucks, exported to the U.S. from other countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. House Speaker Paul Ryan has met with Republican senators to neutralize the growing opposition to a core element of a tax plan cobbled together by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. The American International Automobile Dealers Association, which is one of the groups leading the fight against the border tax, warned the proposed levy would lead to higher car prices and reduce the number of Americans purchasing new vehicles. A new number estimates could raise the prices by $1,312 for American Honda, $1,672 for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, $2,298 for Nissan North America and $2,651 for Toyota. Automakers that import their full line-ups would, logically, be even more affected. For more on efforts to kill the proposed border adjustment tax, click here. To register for AIADA’s fly-in on March 8-9, click here.
Audi Said to Get Naming Rights to D.C. United Soccer Stadium
Audi will have its name on the new home of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, reports Automotive News. The agreement, which runs at least a decade, will be one of the three richest naming-rights deals in MLS, according to a person familiar with the contract, who requested anonymity because neither party disclosed financial terms. That puts it alongside Banc of California’s 15-year agreement with Los Angeles Football Club at an average of $6.6 million a year, and Bank of Montreal’s deal with Toronto FC. Audi has been on a hot streak in the U.S. Sales last year rose 4 percent to 210,213 vehicles. Led by managing partner Jason Levien and Erick Thohir since 2012, D.C. United is in the middle of a $350 million development project that includes the new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2018. Thohir also has a controlling stake in Italy’s Inter Milan. Levien is part-owner of Swansea City, a Welsh team in the English Premier League. For more on Audi’s naming rights plans, click here.
If Car Industry Retools, Parts Makers Will Reel
Lift the hoods of the world’s automakers to see the problems in store for companies that have thrived on the automotive global supply chain. According to The Wall Street Journal, carmakers are reeling with the uncertainty of threats to impose border tariffs and import duties—their earnings calls these days are peppered with comments and questions on U.S. investment plans. So it is worth considering how much of a car is actually made in the U.S., as American imports of car parts surge. There is the car and then everything that has gone into putting the car together. While the focus has remained on the former, it is the automotive parts that could substantially raise the costs of making cars. Tariffs could likely apply to both—the car and the parts, so the compounding effect looks painful. Find out how painful added tariffs and taxes would be to the auto parts industry here.
UAW Aiming to Unionize Tesla, VW, Nissan Plants
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is escalating its organizing efforts with several automakers, including Tesla, and is using widely different strategies as it tries to translate ongoing campaigns into tangible wins, UAW leaders and other sources say. According to USA Today, while the union's campaign to organize some automakers has appeared, at times, to stall in recent years, there are signs of renewed UAW activity in Mississippi with Nissan and in California with Tesla. Meanwhile, a fierce legal battle with Volkswagen rages on over the UAW's right to represent skilled trade workers at the German automaker's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Taken together, the organizing efforts show a union that has refused to give up even after multiyear efforts that have yielded few big victories. The UAW is mounting a multi-pronged, nationwide push now because it is concerned that the Trump administration will be far more anti-labor than the Obama administration once it gets a labor secretary in place and establishes an agenda, according to a person familiar with the union's campaigns. For more on the UAW’s plans, click here.
The 'Greenest' Cars for 2017
Fuel prices still remain affordable, and while some motorists may have responded to low pump prices the last couple of years by trading in their small sedans for larger and less efficient crossover SUVs and pickup trucks, some new-vehicle buyers remain steadfastly committed to the environment. Forbes says that according to Green Car Reports, more than a half million carbon-cutting hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. last year. Toyota leads all automakers, placing three models – two hybrids and a plug-in hybrid – among the 12 greenest cars. The highest-rated gasoline-only model is the Mitsubishi Mirage, which just misses the cut with a Green Score of 58. And just because someone will ask, no, the popular Tesla Model S did not find a place among dozen cleanest cars for 2017 despite being rated at an electric equivalent as high as 104 mpg and with an operating range as great as 270 miles, depending on the version. Forbes is featuring the full list of 2017’s “greenest” cars in the accompanying slideshow. For more on the greenest cars of the year, click here.
Driver Distractions: Are They Worth Dying For? Join AIADA and its Affinity Partner, Federated Insurance, on Tuesday, February 21, with online sessions held at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST, for an online webinar focusing on the dangers distracted driving pose to dealerships and their employees. Learn more about the distracted driving epidemic, its potential impact on dealerships, and what dealers and their employees can do to prevent the problem in this webinar titled, "Driver Distractions – Are They Worth Dying For?"
To register for the 10:00 a.m. EST session, click here.
To register for the 4:00 p.m. EST session, click here.
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