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Virginia budget standoff over Medicaid
shows no sign of abating
Will the Virginia government shut down with the start of the fiscal year drawing near on July 1, as the federal government did? Both Republicans and Democrats are using that threat as they stick to their respective positions on Medicaid expansion. Governor Terry McAuliffe has made expansion of the health care program his signature issue. Republicans say that although the federal government is slated to pay the program’s future costs, they believe the feds will back off that guarantee and Virginia will be stuck with the tab. In a compromise of sorts, the state Senate passed a bill that expands Medicaid eligibility through Marketplace Virginia, which uses federal money to provide private insurance to low-income residents, reports the Associated Press. Participants must pay up to 5 percent of their income to buy insurance through the program. The Republican-controlled House did not take up the Senate bill. Republicans insist that a budget should be passed separate from Medicaid expansion, which they said could be discussed later. Both chambers have left Richmond after the Special Session failed to produce a budget, with no plans to return to the state capital. [FULL ARTICLE]

Warranty reimbursement assurance passes Md. Legislature
Phased-in minimum wage increase approved for the state
With the Maryland General Assembly concluding its 2014 legislative session this week, dealers statewide gained helpful warranty reimbursement protection from automaker franchisors which skirt the existing requirement to pay retail for warranty repairs dealers perform for them. The legislation -- which passed in The General Assembly thanks to MADA with WANADA's support -- establishes a definitive time allowance on labor and a parts markup based upon a retail repair order history designed to compel all automakers to fully comply with the law on reimbursement to dealers. The legislation also includes provisions prohibiting automakers from requiring dealers to use the automakers vendors and contractors when dealers are striving to come into line with automaker facility upgrades and program implementation, such as website design. This “second generation” warranty reimbursement law will take effect October 1 when the governor signs the legislation in the next few weeks. [FULL ARTICLE]

Dealers and Tesla come to terms in NY
and Ohio while other states review options
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement late last week between Tesla and the two state dealer associations that was praised by all parties. Tesla will keep the five stores it already has in New York, and additional Tesla retail locations will be established under a strengthened dealer franchise law. “This agreement will serve as a model for other states as they consider how to accommodate Tesla and a distribution system that has served the public well,” said Lou Roberti, chairman of the New York State Automobile Dealers Association. Neale Kuperman, chairman of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association added, “This reaffirms the state's longstanding goal that cars sold through the dealer franchise system serve the consumer and their best interests.” [FULL ARTICLE]

Ohio dealers fight Tesla; bill allowing
direct sales moves in Ariz.
As predicted, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has far from given up his fight for direct sales in various states. The battle has recently moved to legislatures in Ohio and Arizona. In the meantime, Tesla is dangling the promise of a $5 billion battery production plant, that could employ up to 6,500 people, to be located in a Sunbelt state. Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas are competing to host the factory. Texas has banned Tesla's direct sales model, Arizona is considering allowing it. As for the other two, who knows? In Ohio, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has issued a license to Tesla allowing it to open direct-sales stores in Cincinnati and Columbus. Joe Cannon, a lobbyist for the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, told legislators the decision means the state's franchise rules “have been thrown upside down,” reports the Associated Press. [FULL ARTICLE]

New Jersey aligns with other states,
denying Tesla's bid to retail cars directly
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission last week denied Tesla's most recent attempt to persuade state regulators that it should be allowed to retail its vehicles without dealers, despite auto retailing laws there to the contrary. The Motor Vehicle Commission told Tesla it may no longer sell cars from its two retail locations after April 1. In so doing, New Jersey joins Maryland, Arizona and Texas, which earlier had rejected Tesla's automaker retail model that operates by selling new vehicles directly to the consumer without a dealer or retail dealer network, which is called for by a number of state motor vehicle licensing laws. Tesla's response, through its outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, was swift and predictable, accusing Governor Chris Christie of setting up a “backroom” arrangement with auto dealers. [FULL ARTICLE]

Here we go again with Tesla and its media blitz
NADA to respond to Post editorial slamming dealers
Just when everyone thought Elon Musk's one man crusade to exempt his Tesla EV sales from state auto retail licensing laws had gone away, alas it's back. Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane's write-up in last Thursday's Washington Post confirms it (“Tesla vs. the dealerships,” Mar. 13). Curiously, TWP editorialist Lane disavows anything positive about Musk's high-end, electric sports cars -- which he condemns principally for being government subsidized. But there's one place where “Tesla stands on the side of the free market angels,” and that's in “the company's business plan …for selling cars directly to consumers, rather than through auto dealers” which Lane sees as nothing more than a “costly, outmoded monopoly on new car sales in the U.S.” [FULL ARTICLE]

Strong Washington area sales got even
stronger in 2013, up 2.6%
Washington area auto sales never experienced the effects of the recession as much as the rest of the nation. So 2013 sales here reflected modest gains in an already robust market. Sales for the year rose 2.6 percent, which included a small dip in the fourth quarter. U.S. sales, by contrast, were up 7.5 percent for the year and 6 percent for the quarter. But, here again, they had much farther to climb. Washington area figures for 2013 are from WANADA's Area Report, based on R.L. Polk new-vehicle registration data. U.S. sales figures are from NADA and Ward's Automotive. [FULL ARTICLE]

2014's top legal trends for dealers:
regulation, franchise demands
The year's top legal trends for dealers, compiled annually by attorney Eric L. Chase of Bressler, Amery & Ross, Florham Park,NJ, bring good news & bad news. In the bad news column for dealers and the private sector generally, 2014 will be what Chase calls “the high water mark” of regulatory activity.
The regulatory elephant in the room, of course, is the Affordable Care Act. The regulations are extremely complex and problematic, as much so as ACA's dysfunctional rollout. “As of late 2013,” says Chase, “those regulatory pages totaled 30 times the pages of the actual legislation.” Other regulatory thickets that are more dealer-specific will continue to come from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the EPA and the FTC. The FTC is likely to act against dealer advertising practices where regulators find deceptive price quotes; and spot delivery, where delivery occurs before financing is final. [FULL ARTICLE]

Vice President Biden treats family to hometown Auto Show
Joe Biden: “I'm a car guy!”
The phone call came into the Washington Auto Show office Saturday afternoon, Feb. 1, on the show's final weekend, that the vice president was coming by for a visit. Within an hour of that phone call, Joe Biden, Dad and Granddad, arrived at the show with his sons and grandchildren. And, but for the extensive Secret Service detail that came, too, the vice president was like any other local visitor enjoying Saturday afternoon at the Auto Show with his boys, albeit son Beau Biden is attorney general for Delaware.
“It all happened so fast, without notice or fanfare, the likes of which we had year before last when President Obama toured the show,” said Auto Show manager Bob Yoffe, who got the phone call and handled the logistics with the Secret Service. [FULL ARTICLE]

NADA dealers upbeat in New Orleans amid upbeat auto sales
In some ways, the 2014 NADA/ATD Convention was almost like old times, back in New Orleans with auto sales likely to return to pre-recession levels this year in an improving economy. Attendance to the Convention was robust, too, at 22,000. Unlike the old days, there's a female president at the head of General Motors, Mary Barra, who was First Lady Michelle Obama's guest at the State of the Union address recently. And although it's not unusual to hear a major political figure speak at the Convention, there have been few women or Democrats. Hillary Clinton was a controversial choice when first announced, but her hour long speech appeared to be well received by dealers. [FULL ARTICLE]

Snow in Washington doesn't slow Auto Show Preview
Media mingle with operatives from
industry, Congress, agencies
Despite snowy streets and sidewalks, closed schools and delayed office openings early last week, Washington's 2014 Auto Show Media and Industry Preview commenced as scheduled on Jan. 22. And even though planned activities for the day before had to be rescheduled, there was no setback for the Preview with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center filled with reporters & automaker operatives. (Left: Kevin Reilly, WAS Chairman, opens the Media Preview Day).[FULL ARTICLE]

Click below to view images from:
Industry/Media Day


Hot on the heels of Detroit's Auto Show preview, Washington is
poised to preview and open its Auto Show here next week
Past success bodes well for Washington the Public Policy Show
and the Consumer Show
This year's Washington Auto Show follows the North American International Auto Show which previewed this week in Detroit. Specifically, Washington's Auto Show for 2014 previews next Tues. and Wed., Jan. 21-22, opening to the public Thurs., Jan. 23 and running until Sun., Feb. 2. The 2014 WAS follows the milestone Auto Show from last year that turned out the highest attendance ever in WANADA's 97 year span. [FULL ARTICLE]

Sec. of Energy to join Ford COO Mark Fields
as keynoter on WAS Media Day, Jan. 22
Media Day at the 2014 Washington Auto Show has been rounded out with confirmation of the second keynote presenter, Dr. Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of Energy. Sec. Moniz will be the U.S. government keynoter in the morning slot at 10:20 a.m. The OEM keynoter is Ford Motor Company COO Mark Fields, who will headline the Newsmaker Breakfast, co-sponsored by the International Media Press Association and the Washington Automotive Press Association. [FULL ARTICLE]

WANADA ADEI Tech Development Program earns
NATEF accreditation
The Auto Technician Development Program of WANADA's Automobile Dealer Education Institute (ADEI) has earned a five-year renewal of its Master Automobile Service Technology Accreditation. That is the highest level of achievement recognized by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF), the educational arm of ASE, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. “It's quite an accomplishment,” says Steve Boden WANADA's educational curriculum advisor on ADEI programing who is also executive vice president of the Automotive Trades Foundation. ATF is the partnership between Montgomery County Public Schools and the local business community, including WANADA, that trains high school students by having them man a licensed used-car dealership. [FULL ARTICLE]

2014 Washington Auto Show Preview Days coming into focus
Industry/Media Preview, Jan. 21-22;
Public Days Jan. 23- Feb. 2
With 2014 and the Auto Show in Washington coming up next month, WANADA dealers, OEM executives, U.S. lawmakers and the press are looking ahead to Industry/Media Days that will be a week and a day earlier than in 2013. What follows is an outline of what's on tap, especially for the information of WANADA dealers, with more in the pipeline to be reported shortly. [FULL ARTICLE]

Ally Financial settlement with U.S. on auto loan
discrimination signals more regulatory reprisals
Action gives wing to CFPB charge that banks and dealers
rate minorities higher
Last weekend's announcement that Ally Financial settled with the federal government for $98 million triggered statements from the highest levels of the Obama Administration, starting with Attorney General Eric Holder who described it as the “largest settlement ever in an auto loan discrimination case, ” followed by CFPB Director Richard Cordray's promise to return $80 of the $98 million to the “hard working consumers who paid more for their cars and trucks based on their race and national origin.” The remaining $18 million of the $98 million payout from Ally will go to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's civil penalty fund. [FULL ARTICLE]

2014 Washington Auto Show
Public Policy Day & Preview, Wed., Jan. 22
Ford COO Mark Fields to kick off 2014 Washington Auto Show
Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Co., will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 Washington Auto Show's Newsmaker Breakfast Wed., Jan. 22. The breakfast, cosponsored by the Washington Automotive Press Association and the International Motor Press Association, is part of the Show's Public Policy Day Preview. [FULL ARTICLE]

Krauthammer blasts Obamacare, CFPB
at WANADA Annual Meeting
Lunch crowd of several hundred hears columnist
at Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Nov. 25
"I'm here today to talk about the craziness in Washington,”"Charles Krauthammer told dealers at the WANADA Annual Meeting and Lunch. But the Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist didn't talk about Congress. He focused on the administration. "I think it's astonishing that there are people in the White House who've never run so much as a candy store, who make regulations with no conception of how they will affect people," Krauthammer said. [FULL ARTICLE]

NHTSA to propose rules for side crash dummies for children
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to propose rules soon for side impact crashes for small children. The rules would outline requirements for a side impact, crash dummy, representing a 3-year-old. The dummy would help NHTSA meet the requirement mandated by Congress in July 2012 to issue a rule to improve the protection of children in car seats during side impacts.
NHTSA also announced a “Significant and Seamless” initiative that calls for the agency to work with the auto industry to accelerate technological advances that would significantly improve safety. [FULL ARTICLE]

Disparate views aired at CFPB forum on financing vehicles
CFPB regulators press change to how banks pay dealers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last week held its first public forum since issuing guidance to lenders in March about potential discrimination in auto lending. Among the speakers were representatives from NADA, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), the American Financial Services Association (AFSA), (representing the consumer credit industry), the National Consumer Law Center and several federal agencies. [FULL ARTICLE]

Countdown to the
WANADA Annual Meeting and Luncheon, Nov. 25
Procrastinators, take note: WANADA's Annual Meeting and Luncheon is set for Monday, November 25, which is just around the corner, so the time to register is now. This year's lunch, at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons, presents the incomparable political commentator Charles Krauthammer, who is likely to clarify the current confusion in Washington and provide a road map to a better future. [FULL ARTICLE]

Chip Lindsay is WANADA's Time Dealer for 2014
Chip LindsayIt is with pride that WANADA announces that Chip Lindsay of Lindsay Automotive is its next Time Magazine Dealer of the Year, the recognition for which is set for the 2014 NADA Convention in New Orleans next January.
As with his father and grandfather, Chip is being honored with the Time Dealer Award as principal at Lindsay Cadillac in Alexandria, the flagship store in the Lindsay organization's portfolio of dealerships and franchises that also include Lexus, Chevrolet, Ford and Volkswagen at four other locations. [FULL ARTICLE]

Post-shutdown: What will it mean for the auto industry?
Does the last-minute deal to end the shutdown and avoid a government default mean the economy will continue on its gradual recovery and auto sales return to their robust pace? At a minimum, this month's sales will likely be affected. The situation is, of course, magnified in the Washington area, with all the federal workers and federal contractor workers. [FULL ARTICLE]

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA)
The Department of Labor is requiring all employers to notify their employees about the existence of the state-run insurance Exchanges by October 1, 2013. Click here to download the "New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage" notice that should be distributed to your employees prior to that date.
Please feel free to contact the senior insurance staff at WANADA at 202.237.7200 if you have any questions about the DOL notice or any other matter related to your employee benefits.

Government shutdown and the auto industry
It has been hard to gauge the effect of the government shutdown and civil servant furloughs on the auto industry. Part of the difficulty is that the information engines which measure the economy are in government agencies that were shutdown rendering the information unavailable. [FULL ARTICLE]

Charles Krauthammer to keynote WANADA Luncheon, Nov. 25
Acclaimed political columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Krauthammer will be the keynote speaker at WANADA's Annual Meeting and Luncheon to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner on Monday, November 25, 2013. His topic: The Obama administration's short and long term impact on America.
Since 1985, Krauthammer has written a syndicated column for the Washington Post for which he won a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. He is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and New Republic. He is also a weekly panelist on Inside Washington and a contributor to Fox News, appearing nightly on the Special Report with Bret Baier. [FULL ARTICLE]

Dealers face-off with Tesla at motor vehicle law conference
Regulators in Baltimore last week tee-up Tesla's quest
to retail its cars
The National Association of Motor Vehicle Boards and Commissions (NAMVBC) convened its annual conference in Baltimore last week to compare notes among the 35 or so separate state agencies that comprise its membership on matters relative to regulating auto sales across the U.S.
Included in the two-day conference agenda was the issue of Tesla Motors' quest as a manufacturer to sell its niche, high end, electric vehicles, at retail, directly to consumers, without having to comply with state dealer licensing laws. In a face-off format, Tesla representatives paneled up with an opposing team of auto dealer association representatives, to vet for regulator conferees the question of Tesla utilizing its retail model of selling its new, six figure, all-electric sports cars through abbreviated, shopping mall-style store fronts without a franchised dealer network. [FULL ARTICLE]

Smaller dealers may be eligible for tax credit if they provide insurance
No penalties for U.S. employers who don't comply with Oct 1 ACA employee notice mandate
Employers cannot be fined or penalized for failing to notify employees about the Affordable Care Act health coverage exchanges by October 1, the Department of Labor has said. Employers should still provide notification by that date to help educate employees and to show good faith.
The notice should tell employees that, depending on their income and the insurance their employer offers, they may be able to get lower cost individual insurance through the exchanges. The notice should also say that if employees buy private, individual insurance through state exchanges, they will lose the employer contribution to their health benefits. [FULL ARTICLE]

With employers required to notify employees about ACA state exchanges by Oct. 1, WANADA can explain health coverage options to dealer staff
As is well known, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all employers to notify their staff about the existence of the new state health care exchanges by October 1.
As has been well publicized here and elsewhere, the U.S. Department of labor has published an ACA state exchange employee notification form that employees must use. For everyone's convenience, the DOL state exchange notification form is available by clicking here. [FULL ARTICLE]

U.S. Auto sales surge to highest in more than 6 years
Driven by pent-up demand, low interest rates and an increase in leasing, U.S. auto sales reached pre-recession levels in August. (It also helped that Labor Day sales were included.) The way in which sales exceeded expectations caused some analysts to revise their year-end forecasts upward, as high as 16 million. With the anemic job growth and gradual economic recovery, the auto industry is continuing to lead the broader economy. [FULL ARTICLE]

Vehicle sales here rise 7.8% in second quarter -- Area Report
Washington area auto sales rose an impressive 7.8 percent in the second quarter and an astounding 13 percent for the month of June from a year ago. Nationally, the comparable figures were 8.5 percent and 9 percent, respectively. For the first half of the year, sales were up 6.9 percent, in the Washington area and 7.5 percent nationally. Because the vehicle sales market here in the 12 locality region did not fare as badly from the recession as the rest of the country, auto sales did not have as far to climb in the recovery. [FULL ARTICLE]

Hispanic car market recovering, will keep growing, says CNW
By 2016, Hispanics will make up 13 percent of the new-vehicle market and 14 percent of used, says a new report by CNW Marketing. (The numbers are based on an overall forecast of 16.8 million vehicles.) That's up from 9.6 percent and 10 percent last year. [FULL ARTICLE]

NHTSA hopes to talk to dealers about new VIN search rule
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland said he hopes NHTSA will have the opportunity to talk to dealers about their role in making customers aware of the availability of recall information searchable by VIN in accordance with their responsibility under the agency's new VIN search rule.
Speaking to the Washington Automotive Press Association last week in downtown DC, Strickland observed that "every manufacturer wants to take care that all vehicles they sell are safe." Additionally, he said that NHTSA will provide "actionable information on safety." The new rule requires automakers to provide consumers with a free online tool that lets them search recall information by VIN, starting August, 14, 2014. Several manufacturers already have such a tool, Strickland pointed out. [FULL ARTICLE]

A tale of two parts of the region's transportation plan
More roads in VA, less in DC
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) last month approved 20 road or bicycle and pedestrian projects to be added to the region's constrained long-range transportation plan. Accordingly, the Virginia Department of Transportation proposed projects to build new roads, widen existing ones or otherwise add roadway capacity. DC went the other way, proposing lane-reduction or reconfiguration projects and changes to bike lane projects already in the plan. Virginia's proposals are designed to accommodate expected growth, and DC's changes are designed to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. [FULL ARTICLE]

Washington Auto Show retains popular floor plan for 2014
Space Draw yields Luxury Lane, diverse brand placement, more ride-and-drives
OEM exhibitor representatives in Washington the week before last to choose space in the 2014 Auto Show pretty much preserved the 2013 floor plan, capstoned by luxury brands grouped together on the first level in what is known as Luxury Lane. This luxury pavilion, featuring 11 domestic and import nameplates, bespeaks the extensive high-end consumer demographic of the Washington, DC market, while it allows manufacturers and dealers with products that complement one another to enhance the show visitor experience.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Porsche, Ram score highest in JD Power satisfaction survey
Porsche is the highest-ranked premium nameplate and Ram the top non-premium nameplate in J.D. Power's latest APEAL Study, ranking automotive performance, execution and layout based on owner surveys.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Government regulations and franchise system top agenda at annual dealer association conference
Dealer associations producing auto show confer separately
Last week's Summer Meeting of the Automotive Trade Associations (ATAE) in Newport, RI drew dealer association CEOs and senior staff from across the U.S. and Canada representing metro, state and national organizations where mammoth, but mercurial, regulatory issues were front and center, no less than new and ongoing challenges to the franchise system.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Maryland localities rolling out storm water fees in accord with July 1 state mandate
Dealers and other organizations will see new fees on property tax bills
As has been extensively reported here and widely publicized elsewhere, dealers and other businesses, along with churches and other charitable organizations which have improved real estate can expect to see a new assessment on their property tax bills for storm water management.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Reprieve until 2015 on employer mandate for health care law:
But what does it mean?
In well publicized news accounts last week, the Obama administration delayed until January 1, 2015, the employer mandate under the health care law that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance to those working 30 hours or more a week. [FULL ARTICLE]

House Republicans press consumer finance agency
on auto lending stance
A group of House Republicans sent a letter to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau asking to see the information it used to develop its March guidance to auto lenders. The letter calls it “highly concerning” that the agency hasn't given the public a chance to comment and hasn't addressed the effect of the directive on consumer financing and choice. [FULL ARTICLE]

Auto loan chief at CFPB to leave; more scrutiny of dealers likely
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's assistant director overseeing auto finance, Richard Hackett, plans to leave the agency by the end of the month. The move, first reported by Politico and confirmed in the CFPB Monitor, said that Hackett's responsibilities for auto loans will be temporarily assigned to Rohit Chopra. The Bureau's Corey Stone will be permanently in charge of smaller dollar loan markets. [FULL ARTICLE]

WANADA answers Post editorial that auto retailing licensing laws stifle industry innovation, especially for Tesla
WANADA challenged a recent editorial in The Washington Post which opined that state laws licensing the auto sales retailing process unfairly hamper industry innovation -- the likes of that exhibited by exotic automaker Tesla Motors-- and that dealers are the problem for having had a hand in fashioning these laws ("Tesla's bump in the road: Free market no match for the clout of auto dealers," June 14). [FULL ARTICLE]

Great weather, lots of golfers and generous prizes make WANADA's Open another hit
The 2013 WANADA Open was again graced with perfect golf weather, with the Lansdowne Resort providing the ideal setting for a day of friendly competition, networking and memorable moments. [FULL ARTICLE]

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Like Virginia, Maryland regulators say
Tesla can't bypass dealer licensing law
Tesla got its answer from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration as it did earlier from Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles: No, the electric vehicle manufacturer may not skirt dealer licensing laws to retail cars without dealers. Counsel to Maryland's MVA said as much in a written opinion that the agency doesn't have the authority to grant a waiver. [FULL ARTICLE]

Morty Zetlin inducted into Arlington Business Hall of Fame
Morton J. Zetlin, longtime dealer principal at Mercedes-Benz of Arlington, was inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce last week.
A longstanding leader of Arlington's vibrant business scene, as he has been in Metropolitan Washington's automobile business, Morty Zetlin and two others joined ten former Hall of Fame inductees over the years to be so honored by the Arlington Chamber. [FULL ARTICLE]

WANADA challenges Post columnist claim that Tesla's dealerless business model is sound
In response to Neil Irwin's column in The Washington Post last Wednesday, May 15, "Can Tesla break the costly auto supply chain?" WANADA sent a letter to the editor taking exception.
Here's the basis of WANADA's issues with Irwin's column.
"You can buy almost anything on the Internet," Irwin begins, to include "Uranium ore, wolf urine, a levitating hover scooter; but you can't buy a car straight from the factory." True enough on car buying. Consumers buy cars through dealers because car sales often involve a trade; they're also expensive, require titling, insurance, financing and scheduled maintenance to keep them running safely. Dealers handle all of this. [FULL ARTICLE]

WANADA Open set for June 4 at Lansdowne Resort
Golf skills and tennis competition set for annual event
WANADA members will want to put Tuesday, June 4 on their calendar for a fun filled day of camaraderie and competition at the association's annual golf tournament (WANADA Open) returning this year to the beautiful Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA. [FULL ARTICLE]

Along with Maryland, Virginia localities are engaged in the federal government's Chesapeake Bay Storm Water Program
Like Maryland, Virginia's proximity to the Chesapeake Bay draws the commonwealth into the federal government's Storm Water Management Program to protect the quality of the Chesapeake watershed. Both states specifically are charged with implementing federal storm water run-off requirements for the Chesapeake, to include funding the cost of them.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Maryland signals it will follow Virginia in denying Tesla a license to retail cars without a dealer
Hot on the heels of Virginia regulators last week rejecting Tesla Motors bid to open a retail outlet in Tysons Corner, Maryland regulators are moving ahead on a similar course of action. Like Virginia, where DMV Commissioner Rick Holcomb last week ruled that Tesla didn't make the case that it should be able to retail its electric cars in the commonwealth without a dealer, Maryland has well-established, strong dealer licensing laws with specific requirements for retailing new vehicles. Preliminary, but credible, indicators are that Maryland regulators will be no more inclined to approve Tesla's "design studio" retail model, with no service department or dealer operator, than Virginia. [FULL ARTICLE]

New stormwater fees will impact Md. businesses
New fees on businesses to pay for cleanup of stormwater runoff are slated to be implemented in Baltimore and nine Maryland counties by July 1. Governor O'Malley signed legislation a year ago to comply with U.S. EPA standards for the maximum daily pollution allowed in the Chesapeake Bay. Other states, like Maryland, that are near large bodies of water where polluted stormwater ends up are passing similar laws. [FULL ARTICLE]

Maryland lawmakers pass Gov. O'Malley's progressive agenda and transportation funding
Dealers dodge bullet as car buyers retain title tax, net-of-trade
As widely reported last week, Maryland lawmaker members of the 2013 General Assembly, which ended April 8, passed the ambitious and progressive legislative package of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) putting Maryland, in the opinion of many, out front among liberal states in the Democratic Party's Blue State network. A gun control measure -- described as far reaching-- passed, as did bills to repeal the death penalty, establish incentives for an off shore wind farm to expand renewable energy, a simplification of the process for illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses, and legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. [FULL ARTICLE]

2013 Md. General Assembly seen as "busiest session in years," resulting in a state that "looks more liberal."
Let's see: A gun control bill described as most sweeping; repeal of the death penalty; first gas tax hike in 21 years; incentives for an off-shore wind farm (to broaden renewable energy); a bill expanding ranks of illegal immigrants with drivers licenses; and, oh yes, marijuana for medical purposes. All this from the 90 day session of the 2013 Maryland General Assembly that ended Monday night, described in today's Washington Post as "the busiest session in years." All this, indeed, hot on the heels of successful voter referendums last fall legalizing gay marriage, gambling, and in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrants. And effective this July from an earlier legislative session, localities which will be compelled to assess property owners "charges" to ensure water quality protection on run off from paved surfaces. [FULL ARTICLE]

EPA plan to ramp up tail pipe standards and reformulate gasoline garners automaker support and big oil opposition
Low sulfur proposal to improve air, save lives and assure a 50 state approach will cost motorists
EPA proposed standards last week designed to reduce sulfur levels in gasoline and tailpipe emissions by 2025, saying that the move will save 2,400 lives per year by 2030. Automakers say they are on board with the plan because lower sulfur emitting vehicles are more in line with the advanced technology required for the formidable mpg mandate from the EPA for cars in the future. Automakers are also supportive of EPA's plan because it comes with an assurance from the government of a 50 state tailpipe standard instead of the lame California states/federal states approach from days gone by. Oil companies concerned about the economic challenge they foresee in reformulating gasoline, such as overhauling refineries, believe it is significant enough to harm the overall economy and, accordingly, are opposed to the low-sulfur plan. [FULL ARTICLE]

New U.S. consumer agency zeros in on car loans
Regulators concerned about dealers discriminating
against minorities
A guidance bulletin from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warns that dealer markup in indirect auto lending may lead to discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics.
To avoid such discrimination, the CFPB advises indirect lenders to impose controls on dealer markup of car loans in the credit arranging phase of the financed transaction, that may go so far as to curtail dealer discretion to mark up buy rates, instead using another method, such as flat fees. [FULL ARTICLE]

WANADA reps. travel to Geneva Motor Show to advance Washington Auto Show
WAS gains industry recognition as top tier event
For many years WANADA has sent dealer group leaders to the world's most prominent auto shows to network with high level OEM and allied industry exhibitors to further Washington's mission as the Public Policy Show on the global industry circuit. With this in mind, WAS chairman Kevin Reilly of Alexandria Hyundai earlier this month led WANADA representatives to the Geneva Motor Show's media days to be part of one of Europe's foremost annual industry events. Having produced the Auto Show in Washington for nearly 100 years, WANADA has forever recognized the inherent value of the Show in promoting the automobile business in the all-important Washington, DC (regional) market. [FULL ARTICLE]

WANADA Area Report: new vehicle sales up 12% in '12
Washington area new vehicle sales rose 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a strong 12.3 percent for the full year, according to the WANADA area report based on R.L. Polk data. The full-year increase was just below the national figure of 13 percent, but U.S. sales had farther to climb after suffering a bigger drop during the recession than regional sales.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Sequester: How might it impact area car sales?
The deadline on whether sequester of the government will happen has passed. It's happening albeit we won't know the full effect until later this month – we think. How will it affect the area economy and its dealers? No one knows, of course. The idea behind passing the bill last year mandating sequestration if no grand bargain was reached on the budget was that the spending cuts were so onerous and arbitrary that Congress would be shamed into agreeing on a budget deal. We all know the rest.
[FULL ARTICLE]

From the Convention:
Enduring optimism on industry's success from auto dealers
Improved factory relations and regulatory relief top NADA list as new CEO takes over
With auto sales leading the U.S. economy to a better place, the mood was upbeat at the 2013 NADA/ATD Convention that wrapped up in in Orlando, Fla. last week. Keying off the convention theme Momentum, Hyundai president and CEO John Krafcik, who spoke at the first General Session, urged dealers to take pride in their accomplishments. [FULL ARTICLE]

"Best attended Auto Show in Washington's history"
Twenty percent more showgoers this year than the last
A successful auto show is most directly proportionate to the public turnout, and by that measure The 2013 Washington Auto Show was the most successful ever. “The public came out in droves this year resulting in the best attended Auto Show in Washington‟s history,” said Robert Fogarty, chairman of The Washington Auto Show (WAS). [FULL ARTICLE]

2013 WAS Policy Summit on Capitol Hill, Jan. 30, 2012
Car buyer choice, demographic shifts discussed in Auto Show's Affordable Mobility Summit on Capitol Hill
At the leadoff event on the first Public Policy Day of the 2013 Washington Auto Show (WAS), speakers with diverse viewpoints discussed whether consumers are willing and able to take advantage of the new technologies for better fuel economy. The panel was heard at the National Journal Policy Summit on Affordable Mobility by a standing room-only crowd in the historic Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building, last Thursday, Jan. 30. [FULL ARTICLE]

2013 Washington Auto Show
Media Days, Wed. & Thurs., Jan. 30&31 with who's who of U.S. & Industry leaders
Sneak Peek Preview Night, Thurs., Jan. 31
Opens to public Friday for 10 day run, Feb. 1-10
Was Media Day Onsite, Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WCC) starts early, Thurs., Jan. 31 with the IMPA/WAPA Newsmaker Breakfast at 8:00 am, where Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Audi of America will be the keynoter.

Following breakfast at 9:30 am, will be an Industry Stakeholder Panel consisting of eight OEM and dealer association CEOs who will present what they're calling the 2013 Auto Industry Roadmap for U.S. Industry Policymakers. [FULL ARTICLE]

Industry/Media Days at the 2013 WAS, Jan 30-31, WCC
Keith Crain/AN Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner
honoring Edsel Ford;
Audi CEO Keogh & Energy Sec. Chu to keynote 2nd Media Day
At a special reception and dinner on Industry Night, January 31, at The Washington Auto Show (WAS) before it opens to the public, Edsel B. Ford II will receive the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented by Roger Penske, winner of the 2012 AN Award. The dinner is sponsored by Robert L. Bosch, LLC. [FULL ARTICLE]

Show Time 2013!
Washington Auto Show set to go the end of January
Industry/Media Days, Jan. 30 – 31 & Public Days, Feb. 1 – 10
With auto show season in full swing – tangibly evidenced by the roll out this week of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – The 2013 Washington Auto Show (WAS) is poised to launch with its Industry/Media Days the last two days of this month, January 30 and 31, setting the stage for its 10-day, two weekend, public days run at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WCC). [FULL ARTICLE]

The good, bad and ugly of the American Taxpayer Relief Act
The federal budget and debt problems are a long way from being resolved, but we didn't go over the fiscal cliff. That's due to the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the name given to the law which avoided the cliff, passed as it was on New Year's Day, a national holiday. Significantly, there's no sequestration, a big deal for federal civil servants who otherwise would have been faced with job furloughs commencing this month. Dealers and other small business people also avoided the cliff insofar as current estate tax provisions remain substantially preserved and indexed for inflation. And, dealers should be pleased overall with the outcome on the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). [FULL ARTICLE]

Car owners would try to cut monthly payments after fiscal cliff
Agreement on a Congressional budget deal appears unlikely at this writing, and nobody knows quite what the fiscal cliff will mean for the nation, car sales or the local economy. A survey by Swapalease.com gives a hint of how car owners would react if we go over the cliff. [FULL ARTICLE]

How would local area dealers be affected
by lack of a budget deal?
Many observers see Speaker John Boehner's pulling of Plan B from consideration as a low point for the Republican/small business cause. The Small Business Legislative Council says it is the best deal small business is likely to get, and now we are likely to return to discussing higher taxes for those earning more than $250,000 instead of the $1 million that was in Plan B. [FULL ARTICLE]

Va. decides to let HHS run its health-care exchange
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has decided to opt out of a state-run health care exchange in favor of a federally run program. Under the new national health care law, states had until December 14 to say whether they intend to run their own program. By the next deadline, in February2013, the governors must say whether their states plan to partner with the federal government. States that don't take either option must let the federal Department of Health and Human Services run a state exchange. A number of Republican governors have chosen to let HHS run their program, though some conservatives say this means ceding more control to the feds – something of an anathema to the conservative philosophy. [FULL ARTICLE]

Taxes will rise, Kiplinger tells dealers
at WANADA Annual Meeting, Dec. 5
"Make no mistake," economic forecaster Knight Kiplinger told lunch attendees at WANADA's Annual Meeting last week. "Taxes are going to go up, up, and up on high-income earners."
Kiplinger, editor-in-chief of The Kiplinger Letter, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and Kiplinger.com, and a frequent speaker before business groups, predicts we will see more progressivity in the tax code for those earning more than $250,000. As part of the new health care law, there will be a 0.9 percent Medicare surtax for households earning more than $250,000 and a 3.8 percent surtax on unearned income (dividends and capital gains) in high-income households. [FULL ARTICLE]

 

   
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