Trump Orders Review of Fuel Economy Rules

First Up 03/16/17

Paul on Point: BAT Fly-In a Big Success 
One week ago, Capitol Hill was swarming with dealers, writes AIADA Chairman Paul Ritchie in his latest Paul on Point blog post. During AIADA’s border adjustment tax fly-in international nameplate dealers from every corner of the country came to Washington, D.C., to lobby against the proposed 20 percent border adjustment tax (BAT). In all, more than 230 meetings were held with Members of Congress and their staff. There was a sense of unity in the air as we all took part in the same mission: to stop the BAT before it becomes law and adds an estimated $2,000 to the average vehicle’s price tag. For those of you who couldn’t make the trip, I get it. Schedules don’t always allow. But please take the time now to add your voice to our efforts by clicking here to send a letter to your legislators. We’re off to a good start, but the fight isn’t over. We need every AIADA member to pitch in and be heard as we work together to stop the BAT. Read the rest of Chairman Paul Ritchie’s blog post on last week’s BAT Fly-In here.

Trump Orders Review of Fuel Economy Rules 
President Trump, calling for the U.S. "to be the car capital of the world again," announced Wednesday that his administration will review the next round of tougher fuel-economy standards in a move that could lead to a rollback. USA Today reports that if the review eventually results in the standards being lowered, automakers potentially wouldn't have to make as many cars with advanced carbon emission-cutting technology like hybrids, electrics, and hydrogen fuel cells in order to hit the minimums. Though cleaner, they are more complicated to make, can be less profitable and generally carry higher prices. Trump, in an appearance at a former bomber plant near Detroit, didn't talk about environmental implications. Rather, he focused on the regulations and their impact on American manufacturing and jobs. "The assault on the American auto industry is over," he told a large group gathered at the plant, now being used for testing self-driving cars. He vowed to remove regulations that "undermine American auto production or any other kind of production." For more on President Trump’s announcement that his administration will review fuel economy rules, click here.

VW Says Prosecutor's Search of VW's Dieselgate Law Firm Unacceptable 
Reuters reports that German prosecutors searched the offices of Jones Day, the law firm tasked by Volkswagen with investigating its diesel emissions cheating scandal, a step which VW said was "unacceptable." German paper Handelsblatt first reported that the prosecutor's office in Munich had ordered the search as part of its probe into VW's role handling a cover up of systematic emissions cheating. "We see the actions of the Munich prosecutor as unacceptable in every way. In our opinion the search of a law firm mandated by a company contravenes the principles of the code of criminal procedure," Volkswagen spokesman Eric Felber said in a statement. Jones Day was mandated by Volkswagen's (VW) supervisory board shortly after the emissions cheating broke in September 2015 to pilot a probe of the carmaker's manipulations. For the latest on inquiries into VW’s diesel emissions scandal, click here.

Kia Rolls Out New Prepaid Maintenance Plan 
Auto Remarketing reports that Kia recently launched a new prepaid maintenance plan — Kia Care Essential. The announcement came during the Kia National Dealer Meeting in Las Vegas. In keeping with Kia’s initiative of providing customers “good,” “better,” and “best” choices, the automaker added Kia Care Essential, a one-year 15,000 mile plan, to its line of Kia Care Choice Maintenance Plans — administered by JM&A Group — to offer Kia customers an affordable product. Kia Care Choice Maintenance Plans offer vehicle owners multi-term mileage choices that best fit their needs and budget. Additionally, selling prepaid maintenance plans for new and used vehicles in the F&I office or the service drive will continue to build customer loyalty and trust. In addition to branded prepaid maintenance plans, the lineup of Kia Distinction products also includes vehicle service contracts, term care select, road hazard tire and wheel, paintless dent removal, certified pre-owned, and CPO wrap. For more on Kia’s new prepaid maintenance plan, click here.

As Trump Targets NAFTA, Car Industry Aims to Roll with the Changes
Auto executives say they can adapt to taxes or other curbs on imports, even as industry advocates insist such moves will dent sales and eat into profit, reports The Wall Street Journal. President Donald Trump has threatened to upend the North American Free Trade Agreement. Analysts, including the prominent Center for Automotive Research, say border taxes or other proposed tariffs could add $2,000 to the average price of a vehicle, or about 5 percent. A prominent dealer association—AIADA—traveled to Washington last week to warn lawmakers of a 2.5 percent sales decline predicted if policy makers’ proposed changes take hold. Click here to find out more about the tax’s importance to international dealers. For every car built in North America there are typically hundreds of companies supplying everything from steel body panels to radio knobs. Many locate near assembly plants in part to minimize shipping costs. For more on how the car industry hopes to roll with the changes and try to adapt if potential new taxes and tariffs take effect, click here.


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Penske Automotive Acquires Jaguar, Land Rover Dealerships in NJ [Automotive News]

Cars Will Talk to One Another. Exactly How is Less Certain [NY Times]

Hyundai Recalling Nearly 1M Sonatas in U.S. for Seat Belts [Automotive News

Sporty Hatchback Spices Up Honda Civic [Detroit Free Press