Subaru Turns 50

First Up 02/12/18

Scrapping NAFTA Would Be Reckless
Negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement have been shaken by President Donald Trump’s threat to pull the U.S. out of the deal. An exit by the United States after nearly 25 years of mutually beneficial engagement would be a stunning self-inflicted wound for our nation, writes former Rep. David Dreier at The Chicago Tribune. It would kill U.S. jobs, make us less competitive globally, and hurt cooperation with neighbors that makes Americans safer. It would also destroy what has been a triumph of difficult bipartisan collaboration. As NAFTA negotiations continue, we have a great opportunity to update the agreement (matters such as digital trade did not exist when NAFTA was created in the pre-internet age), but a U.S. withdrawal would be a reckless stunt. Pulling the U.S. out of NAFTA will not bring back old U.S. manufacturing jobs. Those were imperiled years before NAFTA, as anyone alive in the 1980s should remember. In fact, the challenges faced by U.S. export industries were a key reason for the creation of NAFTA. Today, integrated production in the U.S., Canada and Mexico is key to the modern success of many U.S. manufacturers. Read more of Dreier’s column here

Underdog Subaru Turns 50
Subaru of America is fresh off its best U.S. sales year. Its lineup is anchored by three all-wheel-drive crossovers that remain in strong demand, and the brand has achieved 74 consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases. This year, with a flowing pipeline of fresh products headed to retailers, including its largest model ever, the three-row Ascent, Subaru anticipates it will chalk up still another record sales year in the United States. According to Automotive News, that hasn't always been the narrative for Subaru, a car brand created by the Japanese industrial conglomerate formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries. This month, as the automaker marks its 50th anniversary of selling vehicles in the U.S., Subaru of America officials and people who shaped today's business over the last few decades remark that success has been a long, and occasionally bumpy, road. Since its start here in 1968 as an importer of a quirky microcar called the 360, Subaru has fought — and usually won — a slew of uphill battles to reach the market position it enjoys in 2018. But the automaker isn't resting at 50. Read more here

In the Debate on Who Will Own Cars, Hyundai Picks Uber, Grab
As Google’s Waymo, General Motors Co. and others race to bring driverless automobiles to showrooms, the argument over who will buy cars in the technology era is getting louder, reports Bloomberg. Hyundai Motor Co., a latecomer to electrification and autonomous driving, is betting against individuals owning robot cars and preparing for a future in which the biggest buyers will be ride-sharing giants such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., and GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. The South Korean automaker said last month it invested in Singapore-based Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest cab-hailing service. “The trend is now changing,” Woongjun Jang, director of Hyundai’s Advanced Driver Assistance System Development Group, told Stephen Engle in a Bloomberg Television interview on Feb. 8. “In the past, people liked to own their cars. In the near future, I think the owner of the self-driving market will be mobility-service providers.” Read more here

White House Weighs Big Cuts to MPG Rules
President Donald Trump’s administration is looking at ways to reduce future fuel economy standards for automobiles in a move to appease carmakers, who have asked to ease targets put in place under President Barack Obama. According to Automotive News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking at a range of options to lower future targets, including one that would permit an average fleetwide fuel economy standard of 35.7 miles per gallon by 2026, down from the 46.6 miles per gallon under rules charted by the Obama administration, according to a draft NHTSA analysis obtained by Bloomberg News. The documents provide a glimpse into negotiations now going on between NHTSA, the EPA and California regulators over the fate of one of the Obama administration’s signature environmental policies. At the end of March, NHTSA plans to begin the process of putting rules in place that will set new fuel economy rules for 2022-25. For more, click here

Takata Settles With Drivers Injured by Air Bags, Plans to Exit Bankruptcy
Takata Corp.’s U.S. unit has reached a settlement with representatives of those injured by lethally defective air bags, paving the way for the company to exit chapter 11 bankruptcy and move forward with a reorganization plan, according to court documents. The Wall Street Journal reports that the agreement between the Japanese auto-parts supplier, injured drivers, and creditors was outlined in documents filed in a Delaware bankruptcy court. Two groups representing people suing over the air bags have dropped their opposition to the restructuring plan, according to the documents filed Saturday. Under the settlement, lawsuits will be resolved through a trust fund. Takata was forced into bankruptcy amid lawsuits, multimillion-dollar fines and crushing recall costs involving the air bags. Key to the restructuring plan is the planned sale of most of its assets to a Chinese-owned rival for $1.6 billion. Read more here

Join Your Fellow Dealers at AIADA's Annual Meeting and Luncheon
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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