Hatchbacks Find New Terrain in Stagnant Car Market

First Up 02/14/17

February 14, 2017 

House Tax Chief Says Lawmakers Are Coming Around on Border Adjustability
According to The Washington Examiner, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said GOP lawmakers are coming around to a plan he and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are promoting as a way to pay for their tax code overhaul. Brady was talking about the "border adjustability" proposal that would exempt U.S. exports from taxes while imposing a 20 percent levy on imports. Some Republican senators and congressmen are worried that it would not work the way Brady and Ryan envision and could put the U.S. at odds with the World Trade Organization. AIADA views the border adjustment tax as a threat to dealers and the auto industry. Click here for more. Make plans to join AIADA in a few weeks, on March 8-9, on Capitol Hill for a special fly-in focusing on the border adjustment tax. Read more from House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on the border adjustment tax here.

Mitsubishi Revives Eclipse Name for New Compact Crossover 
Mitsubishi Motor Corp. will resurrect the venerable Eclipse name in the new compact crossover it unveils at next month’s Geneva auto show, hoping to marshal memories of the popular sporty coupe that helped build the brand’s reputation for performance. According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi said Tuesday the new vehicle will be called the Eclipse Cross in nods to the coupe that was sold in the U.S. market and the new crossover utility segment that is all the rage. And the vehicle’s design will be as stunning as its namesake astronomical event, it promised. “The Eclipse Cross's beautiful, dynamic form serves to bring about the same sense of excitement and inspiration as the diamond ring seen immediately before and after a total solar eclipse does,” the Japanese carmaker said. The new vehicle’s high-saturation red body color, Mitsubishi added, will evoke the brilliance of the sun’s halo flaring from behind the moon. For more on the new Mitsubishi Eclipse, click here.

Hatchbacks Find New Terrain in Stagnant Car Market 
For all the talk about falling passenger-car sales, there is one market segment that is getting a shot in arm: hatchbacks. The Detroit News reports that at the Chicago Auto Show this week, Hyundai Motor America debuted the redesigned 2018 Elantra GT, a European-inspired hatchback that gets an added kick in the Sport trim also unveiled at the show. The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback hit showrooms last fall, amping up the fun factor of the Honda staple. General Motors Co. rolled out the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch at last year’s Detroit auto show. With those new offerings in the marketplace, the IHS Markit forecasting firm sees a 19 percent hike in sales of small hatchbacks this year, compared with declines in 2015 and 2016. By 2020, it forecasts sales of 567,000, compared with about 453,000 sold in 2016; sales of small cars overall are expected to keep sliding. For more on the surging hatchback market, click here.

Two Senators Move Forward on Self-Driving Car Rules 
The Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate commerce committee and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan said today they plan to work together to develop regulatory flexibility for the auto industry in its drive to create self-driving vehicles, with an eye toward proposing legislation this year. According to USA Today, Peters and U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota issued a statement saying that Congress needs to “assist innovators in bringing this new technology to our roads” by rewriting policies that maintain safety but still allow room for self-driving technology to reach its “full potential.” Thune chairs the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which oversees federal auto regulators. Peters is a member of the committee and has promoted legislation allowing states to invest federal funds in projects that allow vehicles to share information with infrastructure, such as roads, which is a step toward autonomous vehicles. For more on self-driving car rules, click here.

Loans Are Getting Harder to Come By for Some Customers
Banks are getting pickier about which consumers they're approving for loans as borrowers with spottier credit histories struggle to keep up with payments, reports CNBC. The data is surprising in light of an economy and labor market that have been rolling along. Consumers are benefiting from solid job growth, faster pay increases, and low debt levels. And the stock market is at record highs. Yet 11.7 percent of banks tightened standards for auto loans in the first quarter, up from 3.3 percent late last year and the highest level on records dating back to 2011, according to the senior loan officer survey released by the Federal Reserve last week and Deutsche Bank. Credit card standards were toughened by 8.3 percent of banks, compared to none in the fourth quarter. And criteria for consumer loans excluding credit cards were tightened by 7.3 percent of banks, up from 2.4 percent. For the latest on the loan market, 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.

Around the Web

Porsche Names Its Own Top-5 Rarest Cars [AutoWeek

Most Romantic Cars for Valentine's Day [Autoblog]

Mercedes to Stop Selling Gas-Powered Smart Car in U.S. [USA Today

Infiniti Adds Design Flair to Boost Sales [Forbes