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(DETROIT) -- Bill Underriner, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, outlined two contentious factory issues facing new-car dealers and urged automakers to support a level playing field for dealerships of all sizes.

"Two-tier pricing and mandatory facility upgrades are symptoms of a bigger overall problem--manufacturer intrusion into dealers' businesses," Underriner said Tuesday in remarks to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. "NADA wants the automakers to stop unfair practices."

This past summer, the National Automobile Dealers Association created a special dealer task force to focus on the fairness of stair-step programs, also referred to as two-tier pricing, which is a manufacturer-to-dealer incentive tied to sales goals.

The NADA has also commissioned its second study on factory-mandated dealership renovation programs to analyze the return-on-investment. These programs often require a dealer to invest millions of dollars.

According to Underriner, these days, new-car dealers help drive the American economy by employing nearly a million people with jobs that can't be outsourced overseas, generating 14-percent of the company's sales tax revenue. The economic impact of a single dealership includes:


--payments to suppliers and independent contractors

--health benefits

--taxes: payroll tax, sales tax, property tax and income tax


Submitted by Robert Benko


(DETROIT) -- The GIBBS Quadski will go on sale in the United States next month. The dream of two visionary entrepreneurs, the GIBBS high-speed amphibian is the product of millions of research dollars and years of development work in the U.S., New Zealand and the UK. It will be produced in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Introduced at a Gibbs Sports Amphibian press conference in Detroit by Alan Gibbs, the company's founder and Neil Jenkins, its chairman, the Quadski is equipped with a 175-horsepower BMW Motorrad engine and transmission. With the press of a button, its wheels retract when entering the water and deploy when approaching land.

Jenkins says the Quadski will retail for about $40,000 when introduced in November. The company expects to have more than 20 dealership locations in place within the next 12 months, primarily in the Midwest, New York, Texas, and the southeastern United States.

The vehicle weighs 1,300 pounds and is equipped with a 15-gallon fuel tank. It will be available in five colors-red, yellow, blue, silver, and black.

"It's been a long, uphill battle, but clearly worth the effort," said Gibbs. "Quadski will pave the way for a host of other HSA's for consumers, sports enthusiasts, law enforcement agencies, first responders, and other commercial enterprises.

Story & Photos Submitted by Robert Benko



Wednesday, 10 October 2012 09:25

Window switch leads to Toyota recall

TOKYO (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 7.43 million vehicles worldwide because of a faulty power-window switch. The recall affects more than a dozen models produced from 2005 through 2010. Toyota says the power-window switch on the driver's side didn't have grease applied evenly during production, causing friction in the switch and sometimes smoke. No crashes or injuries have been reported related to the problem. But more than 200 problems have been reported in U.S., and a fewer number of problems were reported elsewhere, including 39 cases in Japan. In North America, Toyota is recalling the Yaris, Corolla, Matrix, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia and Scion models xB and xD. Other models also are being recalled in Japan and Europe.

Thursday, 04 October 2012 08:54

Chrysler reports September sales gain

DETROIT (AP) - Chrysler says its U.S. sales rose nearly 12 percent last month - its best September in five years. The company says the increase was due to new models, low interest rates and a stable U.S. economy. The results mean that Americans kept buying new cars and trucks at a strong pace last month. Chrysler predicts an annual sales rate of 14.9 million for the U.S. industry in September, which would make it the best month of the year. Chrysler sold 142,000 vehicles, led by the Dodge Avenger midsize sedan, which saw sales jump 89 percent from a year earlier. Chrysler was the first automaker to report sales on Tuesday. Industry analysts predict U.S. sales of more than 1.1 million vehicles for September, an increase of 11 percent from a year earlier.

(DETROIT) -- U.S. auto sales of light vehicles in September 2012 indicated increases at a reasonable pace of the U.S. automobile companies.

GM sold 210,245 with an increase of 1.5% from 2011
Ford sold 174,454 with a decrease of -0.2% from 2011
Toyota sold 171,910 with an increase of 41.5% from 2011
Chrysler sold 142,041 with an increase of 11.5% from 2011
Hyundai sold 60,025 with an increase of 15.3% from 2011
Nissan sold 91,907 with an increase of 1.1% from 2011

The Detroit Big Three had 44.3% of all car sales in September 2012, the lowest percentage for the year.

The prediction for 2012 is an increase of at least 1.5% for all domestic auto makers for a total of 14.2 million vehicles. If they follow the September increase, they should sell over 14.4 million vehicles.

G.B.V & J.B.

(DETROIT) --Tony Posawatz, new CEO of Fisker Automotive, spoke during the Automotive Press Association Luncheon Monday, October 1. Fisker Automotive is leading the auto industry in a new direction with the Karma, the world's first luxury Electric Vehicle with extended range. The company has long-term goals of being a full line manufacturer of advanced technology vehicles that are as stylish and exciting to drive as they are environmentally conscious.

Under the direction of visionary co-founder and renowned auto designer Henrik Fisker, the company developed the award-winning Karma in record time and has nearly every other premium brand racing to enter this new market segment with their own variants.

Posawatz shares Fisker's vision of the future and shared with the APA his insights on the company's path forward. A well-known automotive industry professional with more than 30-years of experience, Posawatz was formerly GM's Vehicle Line Director and key leader of Global Electric Vehicle development, where he was responsible for the award-winning Chevrolet Volt-bringing the car from concept to production.


PICTURED: Fisker Automotive CEO Tony Posawatz, submitted by Robert Benko