Pa. Hyundai, Kia Dealerships Seek Dismissal of Captive Suit, Arbitration

First Up 09/13/18

Mexico Goes to U.S. to Advance NAFTA Deal With or Without Canada
Mexico’s chief NAFTA negotiator headed to Washington as the nation reiterated that it’s prepared to pursue a new bilateral trade deal with the U.S. even if it ends up leaving out Canada, reports Bloomberg. Kenneth Smith Ramos and his team plan to work on wording of the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement that President Donald Trump intends to sign by the end of November. His visit is the first by a high-level Mexican negotiator since the two nations announced a framework deal at the end of August. Meanwhile, Canadian officials are huddled with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Saskatchewan, relaying the latest state of play two weeks after the nation rejoined talks to stay in the pact. Mexico continues to hope for a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement that includes Canada, but it’s also planning for the possibility that the northern neighbor won’t remain in the trading bloc, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters in Mexico City on Wednesday. Read more here. 

Pa. Hyundai, Kia Dealerships Seek Dismissal of Captive Suit, Arbitration 
A trio of dealers accused by two automakers' captive finance companies of failing to repay floorplan loans for hundreds of vehicles in violation of lending agreements is asking a Pennsylvania court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Hyundai Capital America and send the parties to an arbitrator to settle their differences. According to Automotive News, auto industry veteran Michael Saporito and ex-NFL players Jessie Armstead and Antonio Pierce run corporations that own Hazleton Hyundai and Hazleton Kia in Hazle Township, Pa., as well as three Nissan stores – one in Hazle Township and two in suburban Detroit. In lawsuits filed in August, Hyundai Capital America and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. accused the dealerships of selling nearly 500 vehicles out of trust – or selling a vehicle but not repaying the lender for the vehicle that had been financed in time. Lawyers representing the three defendants and corporations linked to the Pennsylvania Hyundai and Kia dealerships argued in court filings Tuesday in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas for dismissal of the case and for Hyundai Capital to seek any damage claims through arbitration. Read more here. 

VW's Dealer Talks in U.S. Will Target Profitability
Volkswagen brand's grand plan to revamp its dealer relationships around the world to gain more direct digital access to consumers is largely complete in Europe and about to get started in South America. But, reports Automotive News, when formal discussions with U.S. dealers begin in 2019, they'll be much different from talks in the rest of the world, Volkswagen of America officials insist. Negotiations in the U.S., which will be led by Werner Eichhorn, head of sales for VW's North American region, are expected to focus not only on new digital revenue streams, but on improving the lagging profitability of U.S. dealerships. At an event in Berlin last month, Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen brand board member responsible for sales, told Automotive News Europe that the global talks are aimed at giving the automaker better access to consumers — allowing VW, its dealers and other third parties to market to them digitally through a single unified platform similar to Apple's iTunes or App Store that can be accessed from a connected device, whether the car or a smartphone. The goal, in part, is to create new revenue streams for dealers to replace those lost from service operations as VW prepares stock its lineup with electric vehicles. Read more here. 

Early Look at Potential Used-Car Impact from Hurricane Florence
With powerful Hurricane Florence taking a wobbling route toward the Southeast, experts are already considering possible damages — especially to vehicles — in light of the catastrophes created by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida a year ago. According to Auto Remarketing, the update distributed by the National Hurricane Center late on Wednesday showed how the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia could be impacted by Florence, which boasts winds at nearly 130mph. However, Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke pointed out that the number of vehicles in those locations isn’t as high as the Houston area, which absorbed the greatest amount of rainfall from a single storm ever recorded in the U.S. late last August. Still, Cox Automotive projects that at least 20,000 vehicles could be destroyed by Florence, which could strengthen again before crashing into land before the weekend. Read more here.  

GM Recalls More Than 1M Pickups, SUVs for Power Steering Problem
General Motors is recalling more than a million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of accidents, reports The Detroit Free Press. GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes with two injuries, but no deaths. The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs. Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set to notify customers, but GM says the software is available now, so owners can contact dealers to schedule repairs. Read more here.   

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