Uncertainty Looms over Senate's Tax Bill

First Up 12/01/17

Dec. 1, 2017

U.S. Auto Sales Pace Expected to Remain Strong in November
Automakers are projected to report strong U.S. sales for November as aggressive incentive spending continues to sustain a robust autumn. Automotive News reports that forecasts from J.D. Power/LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds call for a seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate ranging from 17.1 million to 17.8 million, which would represent a drop-off from the rates topping 18 million that were posted in September and October. The projections are split on how sales volume will compare with a year ago, with estimates ranging from a 1 percent decrease to a 3.5 percent increase. Automakers are due to report November results on Friday.  "While 2017 may have gotten off to a sluggish start, strong sales through the back third of the year are making up for lost time," Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of industry analysis, said in a statement. Sales fell 1.6 percent to 13.96 million deliveries through October after seven consecutive years of increases and a record 2016. For more on sales, click here.

Uncertainty Looms over Senate's Tax Bill
Republican leaders are racing to find support for their tax bill just hours ahead a critical vote, harkening back to the health care bill debacle this summer that left them empty handed. Click here for CNN video. Despite all that is riding on the tax vote, Republican members tried to downplay any drama Thursday night as leadership punted the crucial vote to Friday. "We'll finish tomorrow. It takes a little while to write a bill or come to a conclusion about something this important," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee. The bill received a major boost Friday morning when Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, announced he would back the bill, after he was assured of "significant tax relief for Main Street businesses." The delay of the vote means dealers have more time to push for an important amendment authored by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to preserves floor plan interest deductibility. Click Here to CALL YOUR REPUBLICAN SENATOR NOW! Dealers need to let Senators know that the ability to deduct the interest on floor plan financing is crucial to your everyday business and that they should vote YES on Senator Paul's Amendment.

Toyota to Turn Cow Manure into Hydrogen
Toyota is building a hydrogen refinery at the Port of Long Beach to back its fuel cell Mirai sedan and Project Portal hydrogen semi-truck. Fuel cell cars and trucks are a tiny piece of the U.S. clean vehicle market, due in no small part to the limited number of hydrogen fuel stations in California, one of the few places they’re sold. To help fix that Toyota is building a first-of-its-kind refinery to make large quantities of the zero-emission fuel from a dirty source: cow manure. Forbes reports that it’s the first megawatt scale, 100 percent renewable “Tri-Gen” refinery and will provide all the power needed at the logistics facility at the port that processes Toyota vehicles arriving in the U.S. from Japan. “For more than twenty years, Toyota has been leading the development of fuel cell technology because we understand the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society,” Doug Murtha, Toyota’s North American group vice president for strategic planning, said in a statement. “Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 Environmental Challenge to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from our operations.” For the full story, click here.

Purple! Orange! Yellow! BMW is Doing Its Best to Bring Color Back
About a decade ago, Lamborghini made a stir by painting all of its auto show cars a brilliant metallic white. Audi and Volkswagen would later follow in creating a striking, uniform color scheme for its auto show cars. Yet, according to AutoBlog, this trend of white cars at auto shows arguably led to a trend of white cars on the road. This, in addition to the public's love affair with bland tones of silver and grey, has led to a terribly bland roadscape. Well, BMW is ready to change that. Judging by its L.A. Auto Show stand, it's doing its damndest to make colors trendy again. There was yellow, orange, bright red, two varieties of electric blue and purple. Click here for photos. It was reminiscent of the 1990s when BMW, and specifically M Division, fully embraced bright, vibrant colors like Estoril Blue, Imola Red, Dakar Yellow, Evergreen (pretty much teal), Kyalami Orange and Technoviolet. Click here for pictures. BMW wasn't alone, either. Volkswagen brought out as many colors as it could, with the Alltrack and Tiguan showing off classy shades of green. For more on what all this color could mean for buyers, click here.

Honda Clarity Named Green Car of the Year in Los Angeles
The Honda Clarity, which offers options of a full-electric, a plug-in hybrid or a fuel cell powertrain, was named Green Car of the Year Thursday at the Los Angeles auto show. Click here to see it. "Honda has now accomplished what no other automaker has – offering all three of these ‘green’ powertrains in a single model, with the capability of readily shifting production from one to another to meet future demand,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal, which judged the range of innovative vehicles on the market.  The choice wasn't an easy choice, Cogan said, calling it one of the strongest fields in years. Other finalists included Honda Accord, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Camry. The Detroit Free Press reports that the powertrains vary but they all involve technologies that improve air quality or cut oil use. Cogan said the Clarity stood out because Honda was able to accomplish different fuel-saving strategies on the same platform. For more details on the award and the winner, click here.

Webinar: A 2017 Review and 2018 Projections
Join AutoTalk on December 19th at 10:00 a.m. or 4:00 pm. EST where we will join an outstanding team of panelists that are returning for December’s year-end webinar. They include, Tom Kontos, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for KAR; David Lim, Chief Auto Analyst at Wells Fargo; and Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at Cox Automotive. Listen in as they discuss important 2017 trends and market performance, and what to expect for 2018. To register for one or both sessions, click here

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