A Conversation with AIADA's 2019 Chairman Howard Hakes

First Up 01/11/19

Jan. 11, 2019

Lexus Tests a Sexy LC Convertible Concept Coupe

Just days ahead of the Detroit auto show, Lexus released photos and specs on a Convertible Concept version of its gorgeous LC coupe. Dressed in 22-inch wheels and white leather seats with yellow stitching, the topless LC brings even more drama to Lexus’ sexiest vehicle. Judging from photographs, the Detroit News says the roadster looks close to production, although Lexus was skimpy on product details like which drivetrain it will house. Click here for a slideshow. The rear-wheel drive LC 500 coupe currently employs a throaty 471-horse V-8 and also offers a 354-horse hybrid option powered by a V-6 engine and two electric motors. With a 2+2 configuration like the coupe, the convertible's rear seats look to be cramped by the foldaway top, making them more appropriate for storage than passengers. The convertible sports Lexus' huge signature spindle grille, which is nicely integrated with the car's flowing lines and broad hips. “This concept takes the unmistakable design of the LC coupe and re-imagines it as a future convertible,” said chief designer Tadao Mori. Click here for the full story.

A Conversation with AIADA's 2019 Chairman Howard Hakes

AIADA is out today with its latest episode of the Beltway Talk podcast, this time with a special guest. This latest episode features AIADA’s 2019 Chairman Howard Hakes, who will accept the chairman’s gavel at the association’s 49th Annual Meeting and Luncheon on January 27th is San Francisco during the NADA convention. Click here for more information and how to attend. In this episode Howard covers a lot of ground, discussing what challenges and opportunities he sees for international nameplate dealers in the coming year. That includes trade, regulations, and SEC football. Click here to listen.

Cars.com’s 2019 Luxury Car of the Year

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is virtually the definition of a true luxury car. True luxury is not about needs but about desires, claims Cars.com, and the Mercedes-Benz flagship line offers anything your heart desires, starting with the driving pleasure of a genuinely competent, big and powerful automobile — something that seems to be getting lost in the rush to SUVs, even by luxury buyers. Click here for a photo. Every body style of the S-Class does that and also offers cutting-edge standard and optional technology from multimedia and semi-autonomous driving to advanced crash prevention and mitigation tech that even includes a special sound generated when a crash is imminent to help prevent hearing loss. Where the other two 2019 nominees are among the best (and we would argue the best) in their respective classes, it was the ultimate luxuriousness of the 2019 S-Class in its field that propelled it to the top. For more on the S-class, and an analysis of the other 2019 luxury nominees, click here.

Finance’s Grassley Backs Trump on NAFTA, But Not on Tariffs

The new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said he would advise President Donald Trump to take a hard line with congressional Democrats if they push to renegotiate the proposed trade pact that would replace NAFTA. Roll Call reports that Republican Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa has told reporters  that he would encourage Trump to begin a formal withdrawal from NAFTA if Democrats insist on renegotiating the pact’s replacement — the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Grassley said the six-month withdrawal process would put pressure on Democrats to either back the proposed agreement or leave the U.S. without a regional trade agreement that supports $1.2 trillion in business a year. While Grassley backs Trump on some of his trade policies with China, he said he would oppose any push by Trump to have Congress give the president more authority to impose tariffs on imported goods, like autos. Bloomberg News has reported that Trump could float the idea during his Jan. 29 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. “We aren’t going to give him any greater authority. We’ve already delegated too much,” Grassley said. For the full story, click here.

BMW Campaign Promotes CPO Using Old Ads

Typically the last thing an agency wants to do is reference another shop's work, let alone recycle major portions of it. But Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has launched a new campaign for BMW that consists entirely of ads from the brand's previous agency, KBS. But there's a catch: Automotive News reports that the campaign is for certified pre-owned BMW vehicles, so Goodby is recycling the ads that were originally used for the vehicles when they were new. While the video in the ads is the same, the new versions include voiceover from actor Chris Pine, who injects some running commentary into each spot, including riffing on the original dialogue. In one ad, Pine notes that "we saved so much money recycling this ad we can run it as much as we like -- just like the money you'll save on a certified BMW." Click here to watch. In another spot featuring a 3-year-old ad, Pine weighs in to teach an old dog new tricks. None of the ads are older than 2013 because five years is the oldest BMW certified vehicle people can buy. For more on BMW’s advertising gamble, click here.

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Hottest Vehicles in America: December 2018 [AutoBlog]

Honda’s Robot ATV Is a Workhorse We Hope Isn’t Planning to Destroy Humanity [Automobile Mag]

VW, Ford to Reveal Deeper Alliance Next Week [Reuters]