October 21st, 2011 at 12:16pm
The National Auto Dealers Association is commissioning a study to see if OEM mandates ever really translate into more sales or higher profits for dealers. New fuel-economy standards proposed by the Obama Administration earlier this year are under attack. People are hanging on to their cars longer. This has been bad news for dealers, automakers and suppliers, but it’s great for repair shops and parts makers. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about what was going on behind-the-scenes when the American auto industry collapsed.
This is Autoline Daily for October 21, 2011. And here is what’s happening in the automotive industry.
CAR DEALERS FIGHT BACK
Car dealers in the U.S. market have had it up to here with car companies telling them how to improve their dealerships. Steve Wade, the chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association, complains that in some cases automakers have argued with dealers that the blue paint they used to paint their dealership was not blue enough. Or that the tiles on the floor should be bigger. So the NADA is commissioning a study to see if these OEM mandates ever really translate into more sales or higher profits for dealers. Here’s my Autoline Insight. I find it amazing that the people at the car companies, who have never retailed a car in their lives, are always trying to tell dealers how to run their business. Remember, none of the top executives at any of the car companies these days have come up through the sales side of the business.
CAFE UNDER ATTACK
New fuel-economy standards proposed by the Obama Administration earlier this year are under attack. According to the Detroit News, more than 60 Republicans and three Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are proposing that the EPA and California be prohibited from enacting new fuel rules that would mandate a 54.5 MPG standard by 2025. Under the proposal, NHTSA would set fuel standards but only through the year 2021. The Representatives argue that the new rules would increase the price of cars and “regulate out of existence all new vehicles that cost less than $15,000 today.”
GM WILL BUILD BUICK ENVISION IN CHINA
Earlier this year GM showed a plug-in hybrid concept at the Shanghai Auto Show called the Buick Envision. Now, the China Car Times reports that the SUV will be built in China starting next March but it’s not known if it will be sold as a plug-in. Chinese media speculate that it will be powered by a 1.6-liter or a 2.0-liter turbo. And you have to wonder that if GM is going to introduce this car in China, will it bring it the U.S. as well?
PEUGEOT TESTING DIESEL-HYBRID RACECAR
Audi and Peugeot have a bit of a rivalry going on. Maybe it’s the Germans and the French not getting along, but the two have been going after each other at Le Mans for the last few years with diesel-powered racecars. Now Peugeot is upping the ante. It’s testing a hybrid version of its 908, which is kind of a strange reversal. Usually advancements learned in racing trickle down to production vehicles, but in this case it’s going from the showroom floor to the track. So far the 908 HYbrid4 has only been race-tested for about 300 kilometers, but its electrified drivetrain worked exactly as expected. Will this give Peugeot an advantage over Audi? We’ll have to wait to find out.
REPAIR SHOPS THRIVING (subscription required)
With all the uncertainty in the world it’s no secret people are keeping their cars longer. As we’ve reported, the average vehicle in the U.S. is more than 10-and-a-half-years old. That’s down right geriatric. This has been bad news for dealers, automakers and suppliers, but it’s great for repair shops and parts makers. The Wall Street Journal reports Monro Muffler and Brake – that’s Monro without an “e” on the end – just posted record sales and profits. The Rochester, New York-based repair outfit’s income rose 14 percent compared to last year.
Coming up next, an insider’s look at what was going on behind-the-scenes when the American auto industry collapsed.
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
Bill Vlasic is the Detroit Bureau chief for the New York Times. He’s just come out with a book called “Once Upon A Car,” which captures the behind-the-scenes drama of what was going on at the Big Three as they stared bankruptcy in the face. In the following clip he talks about the different tack the Ford Motor Company took, thanks to the new CEO who had just arrived on the scene.
You can catch that entire interview with Bill Vlasic, and it’s a good one, on our website right now at Autoline.tv. And check out your local TV listings, since Autoline is now available on a lot of public televisions stations across the country.
Now that you’ve had your daily fill of the most important auto news, make sure you tune in for all the car news you DON’T need to know on RoundAbout. This week’s guest is the father of the Miata and professional Jim Hall impersonator, Bob Hall. And, for you video game fans, Bob will have his review of Forza 4. Get that and much, much more at 6:30PM Eastern time on Autoline.TV.
And that wraps up all our reporting for this week. Thanks for watching we’ll see you Monday.