With Stakes High for Auto Industry, Experts Doubt NAFTA Deal This Week

First Up 05/16/18

With Stakes High for Auto Industry, Experts Doubt NAFTA Deal This Week
Efforts to reach agreement on a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement by Thursday might be a bit overly optimistic, reports The Detroit Free Press. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that the details of a deal would need to get to Congress by then for a vote to happen this year, but it's not clear that time frame is realistic. Experts note that the negotiators for the United States, Canada, and Mexico remain far apart on key issues, particularly involving the automotive industry. The logistics become even more complicated because, as Bloomberg reported, those officials are not scheduled to meet in person this week. During an automotive roundtable with automakers at the White House last week, Trump mentioned the effort to renegotiate the deal, saying, according to a copy of his remarks, that “NAFTA has been a horrible, horrible disaster for this country. And we’ll see if we can make it reasonable.” But the stakes are high, with estimates that tens of thousands of U.S. automotive-related jobs could be at risk if NAFTA implodes. Read more here

U.S. Moves Forward with Revised Fuel Economy Targets
The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to submit a series of options for easing fuel efficiency standards to the White House for approval in the coming week, two officials briefed on the matter Tuesday said. Automotive News reports that the Transportation Department has drafted a proposal likely to be made public this month that would freeze vehicle requirements at 2020 levels through 2026. It is set to formally go to the White House for review next week, officials said. The freeze is the preferred option, but is one of many options in the proposal set to be made public in the first week of June, two officials said. On Friday, President Donald Trump met with auto industry leaders over the vehicle emissions rules. Afterward, two major auto industry trade groups said in a joint statement that Trump expressed an "openness to a discussion with California on an expedited basis." California and 16 other states covering about 40 percent of the U.S. population sued earlier this month to block the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken the fuel efficiency requirements. Read more here

Michigan Car Supplier to Trump: No China Tariffs
The head of an Oakland County, Michigan, auto supplier producing door hinges for Jeep Wranglers says proposed tariffs on Chinese goods will result in a tax on 90 percent of her business, symbolizing growing resistance to the Trump administration’s trade policy push. According to The Detroit News, Mary Buchzeiger, CEO of Auburn Hills-based Lucerne International, told officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office at a hearing Tuesday that plans to slap a 25 percent tariff on zinc hinges and base-metal parts for vehicles would imperil her company because its parts are built with materials that originate in China and Taiwan. Buchzeiger is just one of a growing number of business leaders from around the country lining up to voice opposition to the administration’s plan to levy tariffs on Chinese goods. So intense is the pushback from business that the U.S. Trade Representative — which received more than 2,700 comments on the proposal — extended the hearing to Thursday. Read more here

Cox Automotive Sees April Used Sales Soften as Wholesale Prices Tick Higher
Along with pinpointing what the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index did in April, Cox Automotive experts also projected how much and why used-vehicle sales softened a bit last month, reports Auto Remarketing. According to Cox Automotive estimates, used-vehicle sales decreased by 2 percent year-over-year in April versus the same month last year. Analysts said the dip primarily stemmed as a result of having two fewer selling days. Cox Automotive highlighted the annualized pace of used vehicle sales is up 1 percent over last year. “We estimate the April used SAAR to be 39.7 million, the highest level in four months,” analysts said. Cox Automotive mentioned April new-vehicle sales decreased, sliding by 5 percent year-over-year with two fewer selling days compared to April 2017. The April SAAR came in at 17.1 million, up from last year’s 17.0 million; it is the eighth straight month of more than 17 million SAAR and the fifth-best April SAAR on record. Read more here

Volvo to Dump Diesel from Next S60 Sedan
Volvo will not offer a diesel in its new S60 sedan, which will debut later this spring and will be built at the automaker's new U.S. plant, reports Automotive News. The new S60 will be available at launch with a range of four-cylinder gasoline engines as well as two versions of its gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain, the company said Wednesday. S60 models with Volvo's 48-volt mild hybrid will debut next year. The move comes as Volvo accelerates its shift toward electrified powertrains and away from diesels, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of its sales in Europe last year, according to company data. Diesel sales throughout Europe have taken a hit because of potential bans on older, more polluting cars with the powertrain and the cost of upgrades to ensure new diesel cars comply with tougher European emissions regulations. Read more here

Webinar: 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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