N.J. Dealer Paying Workers Bonus Out of Tax Savings

First Up 01/12/18

N.J. Dealer Paying Workers Bonus Out of Tax Savings
New Jersey dealer Steve Kalafer is paying $500 bonuses to each of his full-time employees in the wake of the recently passed federal tax-law changes, reports Automotive News. With up to 700 full-time employees getting the checks Thursday, Jan. 11, the bonus tab will run about $350,000 for Kalafer's Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Brands in Flemington, N.J., and two other locations in Clinton and Princeton, N.J. Together, the dealerships represent 19 brands. "I have a lower expense now," Kalafer told Automotive News. "I can give more of my dollars to the people who make the money -- my employees." Kalafer also said he will invest an undisclosed amount into a series of dealership renovations enabled by the new tax law. Flemington Car and Truck Country plans updates to its Ford, Subaru, and Infiniti stores, plus a parts warehouse, and more building projects may follow, Kalafer said. Some of the renovations were being planned, but the tax savings will help the dealership group do more upgrades and complete them faster. For more, click here

Alabama Incentives for Toyota-Mazda Factory Top $700M
Alabama’s total incentive package to Toyota and Mazda will top $700 million after local incentives are added to what the state offered to land the companies’ new U.S. factory, reports The Detroit News. The Huntsville City Council on Thursday approved a $320 million local incentive package. That is in addition to $380 million announced by the state in tax abatements, investment rebates, and the construction of a worker training facility. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said before the council vote that the joint-venture factory, which will employ about 4,000 people, will bring economic benefits to the region for generations. “If there ever was a slam dunk deal, this is a great one,” Battle said. The city’s offer to the Japanese auto manufacturers included providing the land, building a road to the factory, and property tax abatements worth $107 million over 20 years. The new plant in Huntsville — already a hub for the region’s budding aerospace industry — will produce 300,000 vehicles per year, a combination of the Toyota Corolla compact car and a new small crossover SUV from Mazda. Production is targeted to begin by 2021. For more, click here

What's Your Dream Car?
Women rank the Jeep Wrangler as their top "dream car," while men opt for a Tesla Model S, according to a new survey of 2,000 American-based car owners. The runner-up car for women is Mustang, while men go with Corvette. Vehicle size, safety, and fuel efficiency rank as the top features influencing a dream car selection. According to The Detroit Free Press, the survey included a balance of men and women from throughout the U.S. representing all age groups. A geography breakdown showed Tesla ranked as the most popular vehicle in the Pacific, the Northwest, and Southwest, while drivers in the Midwest and Southeast chose Mustang. Mountain state drivers selected the Range Rover. An auto knowledge breakdown showed Mustang was selected by the most people who self-identified as “car experts” and Tesla was selected by the most people who self-identified as “not knowledgeable.” The survey's generational age breakdown showed millennials prefer Tesla, Gen X prefers Camaro, and baby boomers prefer Corvette. For more on the top dream cars, click here

Fiat Chrysler Moving Some Production Back From Mexico
Citing President Trump's and Congress' new tax law, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Thursday that it's going to move some of its production back from Mexico. According to USA Today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will invest more than $1 billion to modernize the company's Warren Truck Plant in metro Detroit, adding 2,500 jobs and moving production of its Ram Heavy Duty trucks from Mexico. The changeover is to be complete in 2020. The company said that the new federal tax law made the shift possible. That legislation, signed into law in December, cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Fiat Chrysler also announced $2,000 bonuses that will be paid in the second quarter of this year to 60,000 hourly and salaried employees in the U.S., excluding senior leadership. Those bonuses are to be in addition to any profit sharing or performance bonuses the employees would receive this year. For more, click here

Automakers Miss U.S. Emissions Target Despite Record Fuel Economy
Automakers missed a U.S. emissions target for the first time despite achieving record fuel economy, setting the stage for intense lobbying before the Trump administration decides whether to roll back stringent environmental regulations. According to The Wall Street Journal, tailpipe emissions from passenger cars, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles during the 2016 model year were 9 grams a mile higher than allowed under federal regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a report Thursday. Still, auto makers managed to avoid violating the standards, in part by using regulatory credits earned in previous years for exceeding targets. The expiration of a credit for so-called flexible-fuel vehicles contributed to the industry’s initial miss, the EPA said. As for mileage, sold vehicles averaged a record-high 24.7 miles a gallon, the EPA said, though the industry’s progress on better mileage stalled as consumers preferred large pickups and SUVs instead of smaller and more-efficient passenger cars. For more, click here.  

Join Fellow Dealers in Las Vegas
This Spring
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 and the pressing issues you face going forward. 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 March 25, to your schedule. You can register for the meeting by clicking here or by calling 1-800-GO-AIADA.

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Saudi Women-Only Car Show Opens [Autoblog]

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