Car Dealer Group Warns 'No One Wins' a Trade War

First Up 03/06/18

Car Dealer Group Warns 'No One Wins' a Trade War 
President Donald Trump’s threat to tax vehicles imported from Europe has the American International Automobile Dealers Association sounding the alarm, reports Bloomberg. “More tariffs won’t help American businesses or families,” said Cody Lusk, AIADA’s chief executive officer. “The resulting trade war will undoubtedly spread to include other industries, including American agriculture. No one wins a trade war.” 

AIADA is among many business groups sounding the alarm about the damage these tariffs would cause to the U.S. economy, reports Reuters. “Everybody is reaching out to their allies on Capitol Hill just to make sure they are aware of what’s at stake,” said AIADA’s Cody Lusk to Reuters. According to the Associated Press, Lusk also points out that President Trump’s supporters stand to be most impacted by the tariffs. "These are people that voted for him and supported him in these auto-producing states," said Lusk, noting that of the 16 states with auto plants, Trump won all but two.

Lusk was interviewed on CBT Automotive Network about the tariffs and their impact on the auto retail sector, telling Jim Fitzpatrick that consumers could see the cost of vehicles rise. Also, it will impact the automakers that need to purchase steel for production. This could jeopardize an industry that employs millions of people in multiple sectors. Click here to watch the entire CBT Automotive Network interview

U.S. Trade Envoy Says Time is Running 'Very Short' for NAFTA Talks 
The United States could negotiate bilateral trade deals to replace the three way North American Free Trade Agreement if needed, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday, adding that time was running "very short." According to CNBC, Lighthizer said all parties needed to move more quickly to conclude the NAFTA renegotiation. He was speaking at the close of a seventh round of talks in Mexico City and said just six chapters of the agreement had been concluded so far. For the latest, watch CNBC’s report here.

VW Boss Predicts 'Renaissance' for Embattled Diesel Cars 
Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to drop diesel models from its European portfolio this year even as Volkswagen AG, which sparked the fury over the technology, predicts a rebound. According to Bloomberg, the diverging views of the world’s two largest automakers reflects the uncertainty over the future of diesel, which has faced a steady drumbeat of bad news since Volkswagen’s cheating scandal erupted in September 2015. The German auto giant is expecting consumers to forgive and forget soon, as cleaner diesels hit the streets. “Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept,” Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people’s minds, then for me there’s no reason not to buy one.” Read more here

How China's Geely Turned a Disassembled Mercedes Into a Global Car Company
Two decades ago, technicians at a little-known Chinese motorcycle company called Geely launched their quest to start building cars by stripping down their boss’s beloved Mercedes-Benz, piece by piece. According to The Wall Street Journal, they were unable to put Li Shufu’s Mercedes back together again. But they did figure out how to make the company’s first automobile, the 1996 Geely No. 1, a Mercedes knockoff. Studying Mercedes is once again central to Geely’s strategy. Mr. Li announced Feb. 24 that he had snared a 9.7 percent stake in Mercedes parent Daimler AG worth around $9 billion, making him the German auto maker’s biggest shareholder. The move takes Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. one step closer to becoming China’s first global automaker. China manufactures more cars than anywhere else, but no Chinese company has yet succeeded in making a car good enough to compete on the world stage. Read more here

CPO Car Sales Climb Modestly in February 
Auto Remarketing reports that certified pre-owned vehicle sales edged up by 0.4 percent in February, keeping the year-to-date sum ahead of 2017 through two months of the year. According to Autodata Corp., there were an estimated 212,116 CPO sales last month, compared to 211,225 certified sales in February 2017. Through two months, year-to-date sales of 415,139 are up 2.7 percent from 2017. Last month’s CPO sales were up 4.5 percent month-over-month, Autodata said. The daily selling rate of 8,838 units in February was consistent with year-ago figures (8,801). The DSR was up nearly 9 percent from January. CPO sales of Asian-brand vehicles (100,992) were down 2.9 percent in February, and year-to-date sales of 198,724 were 1.9 percent softer. European-brand certified vehicle sales climbed 2.9 percent to 36,762 units in February, putting the year-to-date total at 71,779 (up 2.5 percent). Read more here

See You in Las Vegas 
AIADA's 48th Annual Meeting and Luncheon, held March 25 in Las Vegas, is your chance to gather with likeminded leaders to consider what the future looks like for your businesses. During the meeting, we'll introduce AIADA's 2018 Chairman, Volkswagen dealer Brad Strong of Utah, and recognize the winners of both of our annual awards – the David F. Mungenast Lifetime Achievement Award and the Fritz Hitchcock Grassroots Award. Finally, we'll hear from Volkswagen of America President and CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken on the state of our industry and the challenges he sees in the coming years.   

If you plan to attend NADA's convention this March in Las Vegas, please add AIADA's 48th Annual Meeting and Luncheon, held Sunday, March 25, to your schedule. You can register for the meeting by clicking here or by calling 1-800-GO-AIADA

Around the Web

A Community Built for Cars of the Future [Automotive News]

Toyota GR Supra Concept Heralds the Car's Return After 16 Years [Autoblog]

More Product Specialists, Fewer 'Booth Babes' at Geneva Auto Show [Detroit Free Press

Automakers Say 'Have It Your Way' with Myriad Options [The Detroit News