As NAFTA Deadline Nears, Hopes for Deal Focus on Autos

First Up 05/11/18

As NAFTA Deadline Nears, Hopes for Deal Focus on Autos
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico are focusing on rewriting the auto rules at the center of the North American Free Trade Agreement as negotiators face hard deadlines in an election year, raising the possibility of less drastic changes to other controversial parts of NAFTA, according to people following the talks. A Republican congressional aide spoke of a possibility of negotiators striking a “skinny deal” on NAFTA that would include a thorough rewrite of the complicated rules that govern which cars and auto parts can be traded within the bloc without incurring duties, reports The Wall Street Journal. Two industry officials say they expect a deal on new auto rules before the Trump administration’s other objectives for the NAFTA overhaul are addressed at the negotiating table. Given a rare opportunity to renegotiate the 24-year-old pact, the three countries are still trying to address as many issues as possible. Read more here.  

Automakers Seek to Use Trump Summit to Avert War with California
American automakers may be on a mission impossible when they visit the White House on Friday, reports Automotive News. They want to persuade President Donald Trump to cooperate with Jerry Brown, the Democratic governor of California, who invoked biblical references when calling the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back auto efficiency regulations “profoundly dangerous.” Top executives of General Motors, Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., and other companies are scheduled to meet Trump to discuss trade and environmental standards enacted by the Obama administration. The executives plan to emphasize their support for easing the Obama-era standards, but not so much that it triggers a conflict with California and results in a split market of environmental regulations set by Washington and Sacramento. Read more here

Audi Latest Luxury Automaker to Skip Detroit Auto Show
Audi AG is the fourth German automaker to bolt the North American International Auto Show for 2019, following rivals Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche. According to The Detroit News, the move continues an exodus of European luxury automakers from the show, including Sweden’s Volvo Cars; Britain’s Mini, Jaguar, and Land Rover; and Italy’s Maserati and Ferrari. “NAIAS has been informed by Audi that after review of its upcoming product launch cycle, it will not be exhibiting at the upcoming 2019 NAIAS in January,” said Max Muncey, spokesman for NAIAS organizer Detroit Auto Dealers Association, in an emailed statement Thursday. “Plans are well underway to revolutionize our show and provide participating companies a global stage that delivers cost-effective opportunities to audiences that only Detroit can offer.” It comes as DADA staff and its directors are re-evaluating the timing and presentation of the annual auto show, which next year would mark its 30th year as an “international” auto show. The dealer association is publicly pondering a move to October for 2020 that would allow for more outdoor demonstrations like the CES technology show in Las Vegas. Read more here

Rolls-Royce Reveals Cullinan SUV at a Price of $325,000
Rolls-Royce has unveiled its first modern SUV, a vehicle that has already caused a stir among purists at the very thought of the world's leading super-luxury brand making anything but a car. According to USA Today, the Cullinan — named for a diamond that's part of the British crown jewels — keeps the genteel looks of a Rolls. But the company says it is as rugged as any SUV and includes an "off road" button for those who wish to take all 5,864 pounds of it careening over dirt trails. Rolls calls it "an incredibly capable off-roader." At $325,000 to start, plus an extra $5,250 for the gas-guzzler tax and extras, it's going to take some serious guts to want to drill it through the dirt. But hey, nice to know you can do it. Rolls, a unit of Germany's BMW, says it tried to give the new vehicle everything that is expected of the brand. There is, for instance, a partition behind the back seat to isolate the luggage compartment from the passengers. Read more here

Mazda Names Americas Head Marumoto Next CEO
Mazda Motor Corp. has named Americas chief Akira Marumoto its new CEO as the second-tier Japanese carmaker – with its limited r&d budget and reliance on old-school combustion engines – confronts big challenges in the new era of electrification, autonomous driving and connected cars. According to Automotive News, Marumoto, 60, currently Mazda's executive vice president, will take office June 26, pending approval at the company's annual shareholders' meeting that month, the company said in a Friday news release. He takes the baton from Masamichi Kogai, 63, the production specialist who steered Mazda into its latest generation of products. Kogai will become chairman. As part of the management shuffle, Senior Managing Executive Officer Kiyoshi Fujiwara will be promoted to executive vice president in charge of North America and r&d. Fujiwara, 58, currently oversees r&d and cost innovation. Read more here

Driving Customer Retention and Brand Loyalty
Join AIADA for our May AutoTalk webinar on Tuesday, May 22, where we'll be joined by Kendall Billman, Senior VP at AutoAlert. He will share tips on how to improve customer retention and brand loyalty, including the following areas:

  • Predict Behavior: Knowing your customers and predicting their behavior is a boon to all departments. 

  • Communicate: The quicker you get an upgrade opportunity to the customer, the better chance you have at winning. Ensuring that your marketing is effective is critical.

  • Keep Your Team Engaged: Making it easy for the right employee to have the right information about the customer, at the right time, is just as important as having that information in the first place. It not only ensures a seamless customer experience, but also provides a better employee experience.

Happening Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Sessions held at 10:00 a.m. EST and 4:00 p.m. EST. Click here to register.

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