May 5, 2014
ON THE WEB: Market for Dealerships Heats up, Values Rise
The pace of auto dealership buy-sell transactions continued accelerating at double-digit rates in 2013, with public retailers committing more than $1 billion to acquisitions for the first time since 2006. The value of public dealerships’ acquisitions climbed 16.5 percent from 2012 levels while the number of private transactions rose 14 percent, according to The Blue Sky Report from Haig Partners LLC.
Edmunds.com Names Top Brands
Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota are the most decorated brands among a diverse selection of new cars and trucks that earned the 2014 Most Popular on Edmunds.com Awards.
Salvage Chain Launches Contest For Rebuilders
Copart Inc. has launched its first Copart Rebuild Challenge, a contest designed for car enthusiasts and auto rebuilders to show how they restored, customized or rebuilt a vehicle.
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Hybrid Buyers Older, Live on West Coast Hybrid buyers are more likely to live on the West Coast, which would surprise few dealers. But what might surprise them is the age of these buyers. A survey by CarGurus found that San Jose, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles and Seattle top the list of cities with the highest percentage of shopper purchase inquiries on used hybrid car listings. San Francisco also shows the greatest availability of “green” car inventory, with hybrids accounting for 11 percent of available used car inventory (nationwide, hybrid vehicles account for approximately 3 percent of available used car listings). As for the cities where shoppers show the least demand for used hybrid vehicles, Detroit tops the list, followed by Virginia Beach, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Cincinnati. New Orleans has the lowest inventory of used hybrids, showing less than 1 percent of total available used car listings as hybrids. Across all regions, the most popular used hybrid vehicle is the Toyota
Prius. Twenty-six percent of all consumer purchase inquiries on used hybrid car listings were for the Toyota Prius. Another survey, this one by Experian Automotive, shows more than 45 percent of hybrid car buyers were 56 years old or older last year, while roughly 26 percent of electric car buyers were of the same age. The greater percentage (55 percent) of electric buyers was between the ages of 36 years old and 55 years old. Additionally, nearly 21 percent of consumers purchasing an electric car had an average household income of $175,000 or more. Conversely, only 12 percent of consumers purchasing a hybrid had an average household income of the same level. As part of the analysis, Experian Automotive also looked at the volume of each of these vehicle segments on the road. While hybrids made up nearly 98 percent of all alternativepowered vehicles in operation at the end of 2013, electric vehicles grew 245 percent year-over-year.
NOT HER: The image of alternative vehicle drivers as hip, young people appears untrue. A recent survey by Experian Automotive finds most are middle aged.
Asbury Announces Plans for Pre-Owned Stores and profitability. Meanwhile, Sonic Automotive Inc. recently told analysts that its stand-alone pre-owned store initiative also reduced continuing operations earnings. The chain also reported all-time record pre-owned unit sales of 27,657 in the first quarter. Sonic reported record first quarter pre-owned gross profit of $40.7 million. Pre-owned unit sales per store, per month reached 90 units in the first quarter. CarMax Inc., the largest superstore chain, continues to grow. The firm is currently hiring for approximately 50 positions for the company’s new store in Madison, Wis.
Rush - Dated Material
The used-car superstore market is becoming increasingly competitive. Asbury Automotive Group Inc. is in the process of opening two stand-alone used vehicle stores under the ‘Q auto’ brand name. Over the last three years, Asbury has grown used vehicle retail unit sales in excess of 55 percent and grown used vehicle retail gross profit by close to 35 percent. The first store is expected to open in Tampa, Fla., in June with a second store opening this fall in Jacksonville, Fla. Asbury executives believe it will take a store approximately 18 months to achieve run-rate revenues
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May 5, 2014ÛÛÝÛÛ
USED CAR NEWS
Dealers Urged to Stay Hungry, ‘Run up the Score’ By Jeffrey Bellant
LAS VEGAS – Dealers on top of their game must stay hungry, according to Dave Anderson, president of LearnToLead. “Don’t sit on the ball,” he said. “Run up the score.” Businesses that let up when they’re on top risk losing their edge, said Anderson, speaking at Leedom Group’s 20th annual BuyHere, Pay-Here World Convention. He compares it to martial artists who spend a lifetime trying to achieve black-belt status, but once they acquire it, they become complacent. A martial arts instructor told Anderson that many who obtain their black belts begin to get lazy, take time off from the gym and put on weight. But those who hold a red belt – the level just below a black belt – are often the hungriest competitors. “They have a chip on their shoulder,” Anderson said. So Anderson told dealers they should think the same way. “Stay hungry with a redbelt mindset,” he said. He said this type of attitude is up to the dealer.
“Hunger is an inside job,” he said. “Hunger is a choice.” Anderson said the key is to keep pushing, keep grinding and keep moving forward. This type of effort is uncommon today. “We live in an age of serial quitters,” Anderson said. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of incremental improvements that make the difference. Anderson offered four tips on how to avoid being another statistic – another top business that fails. First, dealers need to work on themselves as hard as they work on the job. Personal growth is not a utomatic. It involves things like reading business books or taking classes or attending conferences. Those who say they don’t have the time? “That’s a crock,” he said. “If it’s important to me, I’ll find a way. If it’s not, I’ll find an excuse. “Excuses are the DNA of underachievers.” Secondly, you must continually set goals that will stretch you, Anderson said. “Start thinking incrementally,” he said. “It can’t be too high or too low.” Bring it down to the employee level in the same
Photo by Jeffrey Bellant RED-BELT MINDSET: Keynote speaker Dave Anderson, right, presents Chris Leedom with a martial arts red belt, the level just below a black belt. He said it symbolizes the need to stay hungry and strive to achieve the next level.
way. Setting goals that are clear and challenging but achievable is important. There also has to be consequences for not reaching them. “Vision is not a destiny thing, it’s a daily thing,” Anderson said. “We have far too many throw-away days. “The speed of the leader is the speed of the pack.” Thirdly, continue to lead from the front. Anderson said leaders should spend time in the
trenches with their people. He said too often leaders are just “tweaking, presiding or managing.” But they must be passionate in training, engaging and encouraging their staff. Again, just because things are going well, doesn’t mean you can’t fail. “The biggest vulnerability you have is the one you don’t see coming,” Anderson said. Lastly, continue to hold people accountable. Anderson said never apol-
ogize for holding people accountable. He said since we live in an age of “participation trophies,” people think you’re a bully when you have accountability. But if you wait too long to correct something, by the time you do, it could be too late. The good news is: Leaders can work with the people they have now, Anderson said. “Some of the good people you’re looking for are right under your nose,” he said.
Businesses Must Have World Class Service to Thrive By Jeffrey Bellant
LAS VEGAS – The difference between winning and losing in the grueling buy-here, pay-here market isn’t price – it’s providing worldclass service. Speaker Chuck Bonanno urged dealers to boost efforts in service across all departments, during his opening remarks at Leedom Group’s 20th annual Buy-Here, PayHere World Convention. He said dealers often make excuses about shoddy performance, blaming it on the customers or claiming that things are just “different” in their markets. “It’s not that different,” said Bonanno. “Get rid of that thinking.” He said the key is creating a great experience for customers. He told dealers to get rid of gimmicks and promises they can’t keep. “If you have a good program,” he said, “you don’t have to trick them.” Let the customer meet the people they will be working with to build a better relationship, he said. Bonanno, executive vice president of the Leedom Group, added that
shoving a customer in a car they don’t like or can’t afford hurts the relationship. Also, when it comes to financing, if a customer defaults on the first payment, it’s not the customer’s fault. It’s the dealer’s fault. In terms of service work, Bonanno said selling customers 50/50 warranties is a bad idea. The customer is already living paycheck-to-paycheck. “Customers don’t have extra money for repairs and maintenance,” Bonanno said. The bottom line is: If the car breaks, the dealer is going to fix it anyway, so make that a selling point, he said. Plus, the dealer should be building that future repair work into the sales price. Bonanno said the old adage of keeping the customer paying by keeping the car running is still true. “If you keep it running, they will love you,” he said. Bonanno said dealers also should make sure the service manager and techs understand the buy-here, payhere business. Many come from the franchise side where upselling re-
Photo by Jeffrey Bellant MEET-N-GREET: Chuck Bonanno, right, executive vice president of Leedom Group, meets with dealers during the 20th annual Buy-Here, Pay-Here World Convention in Las Vegas.
pairs is normal, but that won’t work in the note business. Let them know how important they are to the business, Bonanno said. On the collection side, Bonanno
said dealers need to build a relationship. “Be a good listener,” Bonanno said. “When the customer complains, they are telling you something.”
4/28/14 5:00 PM
Â Ă›Ă›Ă?Ă›Ă›May 5, 2014
USED CAR NEWS
NEWS BRIEFS NIADA Adds Corporate Partner
Peritus Portfolio Services has been named a national corporate partner of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association. PPS will offer NIADA members a purchaser for their bulk receivable auto portfolios, in addition to their open auto secured Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy accounts. PPS begins with a â€œno chargeâ€? comprehensive analysis of its clientâ€™s portfolio in bulk receivable portfolios with a quick turnaround time and a specialty of segregating out the open bankruptcy accounts.
DealerMatch Teams with Minority Auto Dealers Association
DealerMatch and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers are partnering to present the DealerMatch NAMAD Network, an exclusive network within the auto industryâ€™s largest dealer-todealer marketplace. Along with visibility into the entire DealerMatch marketplace,
NAMAD members can access a private trading network that allows them to buy and sell inventory directly with fellow members. NAMAD members can also expand their network of trading partners to include the more than 30,000 dealers nationwide whose inventory is on DealerMatch. Standard DealerMatch features include access to more than a million retail-ready vehicles; one low monthly fee for unlimited transactions; and an optional purchase protection program that provides peace of mind for a dealerâ€™s vehicle purchases. A Pro Package is also available that includes access to DealerMatchâ€™s proprietary MatchPro technology. MatchPro analyzes member activities and recommends vehicles and sellers to help dealers better meet their needs.
J.D. Power announced the acquisition of Korrelate, an Orlando-based
The cover of the 2014 Data Source Book was designed by Cassie Fennel and her team at Designworks-AMG. Carolina_UCN May5_qtr.pdf 1 4/24/14 Used Car News wants to thanks Cassie and her team for their work.
C R O S S WO R D by Myles Mellor
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Chicago-based Cars.com to become the companyâ€™s official vehicle valuation service. Cars.com customers will now have the benefit of leveraging the same Black Book valuation used by car dealers nationwide when pricing their vehicle.
Car-Mart Opens Oklahoma Store
Americaâ€™s Car-Mart Inc. announced the opening of its 133rd dealership. The new dealership is located in Durant, Okla. Durant makes 24 dealerships in Black Book Partners with Cars.com Oklahoma for the buy-here, payBlack Book has partnered with here chain. Published By General Media LLC USED CAR NEWS (ISSN 1555-7413) is published at 24114 Harper, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080 Phone: 586-772-5200 or 800-794-0760 Fax: 586-772-9400 www.usedcarnews.com
J.D. Power Acquires Digital Marketer
GETTING IT STRAIGHT
company that measures consumersâ€™ online behaviors and links them to offline sales activity. This capability allows J.D. Power to help automakers, dealers, thirdparty automotive websites and advertising agencies to quickly and accurately evaluate their websites and online marketing efforts. It will also help ad networks and online publishers accurately report the effectiveness of those online ads, all with the same, transparent metrics.
Charles M. Thomas Founder (1947-2002) Lynda R. Thomas, Publisher Colleen Fitzgerald, General Manager Editorial: Ted Craig, Managing Editor Jeffrey Bellant, Staff Writer Contributing Writers: Ed Fitzgerald, Jenny King, Sheila McGrath Columnist: Tony Moorby Advertising: Shannon Colby, Account Manager Megan Frump, Account Manager Marie Hingst, Account Manager Circulation: Helen Thomas
Production: Josie Godlewski, Media Manager Tim Montie, Graphic Designer â€”â€”â€”
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May 5, 2014 ÝÛÛ
USED CAR NEWS
Former Auto Row Receives New Life from City dealer principal at Gilchrist Buick GMC Chevrolet, and It’s been more than 50 Mo Aliabadi, owner of South years since South Tacoma Tacoma Auto. “We don’t want them drivWay, once the thriving hub of auto sales in Tacoma, be- ing by South Tacoma Way anymore. We want them gan its slow decline. A new interstate built in driving down South Tacoma 1960 drew motorists from Way,” Gilchrist told the Tathe corridor, which had long coma City Council in supbeen the main north-south port of the new Auto Row thoroughfare through town. designation. Auto sales never disapIt took drivers instead toward the emerging suburb peared from South Tacoma of Fife, and when the traffic Way. On the 2.5-mile stretch went to Fife, lots of busi- of the road between 37th and 80th streets are more than nesses went with it. But South Tacoma Way is 25 businesses that offer new on the verge of reliving its car sales, used car sales, or other car-related products automotive heyday. Last month, the Tacoma and services. The businessCity Council approved des- es employ more than 1,000 ignating a commercial dis- people, according to Shari trict that will be known as Hart, an economic developTacoma’s Auto Row. That ment specialist with the city. But some of the areas look means signs can be placed on Washington’s freeways less than appealing, Byrne directing buyers and tourists said. “We have areas where to South Tacoma Way. The effort to bring the we’ve got some vacant busiroad back to its former glory nesses, rundown property, is being led by three auto and questionable used car sales leaders on the street: lots that looked more like Mary Byrne, general man- junk yards than used car LAFCAA_Anniversary_halfpg-May5.pdf 1 said. 4/24/14 4:30 PM ager at Bruce Titus Automo- lots,” Byrne tive Group, Gary Gilchrist, More than a year ago, Byrne By Sheila McGrath
said, she was approached by Ricardo Noguera, Tacoma’s new economic development director, about revitalizing the area. He had recently moved to Washington from California, and was familiar with the Auto Row designations successfully being used in that state. Byrne, Gilchrist and Aliabadi have been meeting with the city’s economic development staff ever since. They’re coming up with plans to beautify the road, introduce unified lighting and landscaping, and put up signage to bring buyers back to South Tacoma Way. Some of the improvements will be made in conjunction with a construction project the city is pursuing on the road next year. Aliabadi said he’s been in business on the street for more than 30 years. “I’ve watched it start from a great place, grow and grow, and then start to diminish,” he told the Tacoma City Council. “I think it’s about time for us to put some effort and attention on the road so it becomes a real business
DEALER GROUP: Mary Byrne (from left), Mo Aliabadi and Gary Gilchrist discuss their efforts to improve an auto row in Tacoma, Wash.
to raise up all the businesses destination.” They have started a non- on South Tacoma Way, not profit organization, the South Tacoma Auto and Retail just the car dealerships. Stores business association, Continued on next page
4/28/14 3:52 PM
ÂƒĂ›Ă?Ă›Ă›May 5, 2014
USED CAR NEWS
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Dealer Agrees to End Practices The New York Attorney Generalâ€™s office announced a nearly $100,000 settlement with Bay Ridge Nissan which requires the car dealership not to use deceptive sales and advertising practices to sell cars and aftermarket warranties. The agreement requires the company to pay $48,341 in restitution to 15 consumers and $50,000 as a civil penalty to the state. The Attorney Generalâ€™s office conducted an investigation of the advertising and sales practices of the Brooklyn-based dealership after receiving dozens of consumer complaints alleging a pattern of fraudulent and deceptive practices by the
dealership. The Attorney General alleged that Bay Ridge Nissan, located at 6501 5th Ave., engaged in a pattern of fraudulent and deceptive practices, including: publishing misleading advertisements on Craigslist.com; false advertisements targeting consumers who lost their vehicles in Hurricane Sandy; misrepresenting the terms of sale and financing during sales negotiations; adding the costs of unwanted aftermarket items into contracts and financing agreements; misrepresenting that aftermarket items were required by particular lenders failing to return consumer down payments.
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And theyâ€™re holding meetings with business owners to try to form smaller business improvement areas within the corridor. Some of the businesses that have signed on have nothing to do with the automotive trade, Byrne said. â€œThey see the advantage of cleaning this area up. It will attract more business to come back to this area,â€? she said. And theyâ€™ve had success with persuading owners of some of the more
run-down properties to get them cleaned up. Byrne said theyâ€™re hoping to rely on education, rather than code enforcement, to get people on board. She said there was one car lot that had engines sitting on the ground next to the cars. â€œItâ€™s been kind of interesting â€“ in the last six months the place is totally cleaned up. Itâ€™s a nice-looking used car lot, which is really what we wanted.â€?
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Jaguar, the Jaguar logo, and Jaguar Financial Group are trademarks of Jaguar and any use by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (â€œChaseâ€?) is under license. Land Rover, the Land Rover logo, and Land Rover Financial Group are trademarks of Land Rover and any use by Chase is under license. Retail / Loan and lease accounts are owned by Chase.
The tradename â€œMazda Capital Servicesâ€? as well as the Mazda and Mazda Capital Services logos are owned by Mazda Motor Corporation or its affiliates and are licensed to JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (â€œChaseâ€?). Retail / Loan and lease accounts are owned by Chase.
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Why successful dealers finance their inventory with NextGear Capital … REASON #
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PAGE 8 - SPECIALTY SALES FOCUS
Spring Brings out Inventory, Bidders for Specialty Sales By Ted Craig
Spring is here and the time is right for specialty sales at auto auctions. As the weather warms up, m o r e boats, motorcycles, p owe r s ports and RVs go through the lanes. Or at Jane least are parked Morgan near the lanes. Peter Trench, Manheim’s vice president of national sales, said many units are too large to move physically and are sold in static sales, either live or online. Manheim is increasing its online offerings for specialty sales with Thursday Thunder. This OVE.com sale takes place the third Thursday of every month and gives specialty consignors the chance to promote their units. The specialty sales market struggled following the last recession as fewer consum-
ers could afford expensive toys like motorcycles and personal watercraft. But consumers today feel more comfortable taking out loans for these vehicles, which in the case of RVs can be for hundreds of thousands of dollars. “(The market) has been strong,” Trench said. “The sellers are happy.” Jane Morgan, president of ADESA’s specialty auctions division, said demand is exceeding supply from the commercial consignors. “Inventory tends to be down but auctions are offering more and more dealer units to supplement the shortage,” Morgan said. Part of the higher demand comes from traditional used-car dealers shopping at these sales. “More and more car dealers are buying one or two specialty units to draw new customers onto their dealership lots and ideally entice them to buy a car,” Morgan said. Because many of the offerings in these sales are unique, Trench said, condition counts a lot. ROLL ME AWAY: A rider prepares to take a motorcycle through the lanes at ADESA Golden Gate.
Last Corvette Leaves Sinkhole as Museum Mulls Repairs The mangled remains of a powerful Corvette — barely recognizable to its former owner — were pulled from the depths of a sinkhole at a Kentucky museum on last month, completing weeks of painstaking work to retrieve eight classic cars that were gobbled up by the gaping hole. The 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette was buried in dirt and rocks, deep beneath the surface of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. The mood was somber as the crumpled car, which boasted 700 horsepower thanks to performance enhancements, was pulled to the surface. “It looks like a piece of tin foil,” said Kevin Helmintoller, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., who donated the car to the museum last December. “I’m still glad I’m here, because I would have never believed it was this bad. I’m not positive I would have recognized it.” At around the time it was
8 May 5, 2014
donated, the car was appraised at $125,000 because of the performance modifications, said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli. The cars looked like toys piled in a heap amid dirt and concrete fragments after the 40-foot-wide-by-60foot-deep sinkhole opened beneath a museum display area in mid-February. It happened when the museum was closed, and no one was injured. The other cars that took the plunge were a 1962 black Corvette, a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, a 1992 white 1 Millionth Corvette, a 2009 white 1.5 Millionth Corvette, a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil and a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette. The eight cars are widely believed to have a total value exceeding $1 million, the museum said. The museum owned six of the cars, and the other two — the ZR-1 Spyder and ZR1 Blue Devil — were on loan
from General Motors. Sinkholes are common in the Bowling Green area, which is located amid a large region of bedrock known as karst where many of Kentucky’s largest and deepest caves run underground. With the retrieval now complete, the next task is to assess which cars are repairable. “They seem to run the gamut — from very minor or superficial damage to catastrophic damage,” said Monte Doran, a spokesman for Chevrolet, which will oversee restoration of the cars in Michigan. The first car hoisted out in early March — the ZR1 Blue Devil — suffered only minor damage that included cracks on lower door panels, a busted window and a ruptured oil line. Workers got that car running, and
cheers went up as the engine revved. The mood turned more dour as the damage became progressively worse as each car was pulled out. The white 1.5 Millionth Corvette recovered recently was flattened by the weight of debris. The ZR-1 Spyder and the PPG Pace Car, also among the final cars retrieved, sustained considerable damage as well, Frassinelli said. All eight cars will be on display at the museum through August. The decisions about which ones to repair and which are too damaged to fix will be heart-wrenching. “That’s going to be a fairly difficult discussion,” Doran said. Whether repair crews can retain the authenticity of each classic car will be a big factor, officials said.
“It would be fairly easy to go find another white 2009 Corvette and take as many parts off that car and put them onto a new structure with the VIN number of this (original) car,” Doran said. “You start splitting the line of — did we restore the 1.5 millionth car or did we build an all-new car.” Cars considered too badly damaged won’t go on the scrap heap. “I’m sure that we’ll continue to display them as is. It’s now a part of museum and Corvette history,” Frassinelli said. The museum has remained open, except for the area where the sinkhole occurred, and the publicity has led to an attendance boost. Attendance in March was up 56 percent from the same month a year ago, Frassinelli said. – The Associated Press
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~ÛÝÛ May 5, 2014 IAG_MayUCN-SERVICE vert.pdf
USED CAR NEWS 1
Mazda Guards Against Spiders
Mazda recently issued a fairly unusual recall. Mazda North America Operations is recalling 42,000 model year 201012 Mazda6 vehicles manufactured Sept. 14, 2009 through May 2, 2011, and equipped with 2.5L engine. In the affected vehicles, arachnids may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent hose, blocking it and causing the fuel tank to have an excessive amount of negative pressure. Negative pressure could cause the fuel tank to crack resulting in a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire.
Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module and inspect and clean the canister vent line. If a web is found in the line, the fuel tank and check valve on canister vent line will be replaced. The recall is expected to begin in April. Mazda’s recall number is 7214C. Meanwhile in other recall news, Ford Motor Co. is recalling 348,950 model year 2001-04 Escape vehicles manufactured Oct. 22, 1999 through Jan. 23, 2004. Continued on next page
4/28/14 5:20 PM
May 5, 2014Ă›Ă›Ă?Ă›Ă›~Â€
USED CAR NEWS
For Cars, Trucks and Vans
- Continued from prior page
The SUVs were originally sold, or are currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. These vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of control, increasing the risk of a crash. Ford will notify owners, and dealers will install a newly designed reinforcement cross-brace, free of charge. Parts are not currently available. Ford expects to send an interim notification around May 19. When parts are available, owners will be mailed a second letter to come in to have the part installed. If customers bring their vehicles to a dealer before reinforcement cross braces are available, dealers will inspect the subframe and either inform customers that the vehicle is safe to drive until the remedy parts are available or provide a rental vehicle until parts are available if an
immediate repair is needed. Fordâ€™s number for this recall is 14S02. Also,. NHTSAâ€™s Office of Defect Investigations has received one report from a consumer alleging a 2013 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle began to emit smoke around the vicinity of the vehicle/charger interface when charging with a Bosch Power Xpress 240V charging unit. According to the owner, the vehicle had been charging for approximately one hour at 30 amps when signs of overheating were first noticed. The overheating condition can cause damage to the vehicle and charger rendering both inoperable. Charging vehicles are typically left unattended and there is a risk of fire that could affect the vehicle and its surrounding environment. The charger is primarily marketed to residential customers and is used to charge a wide variety of electric vehicles. NHTSA is opening this investigation to evaluate the scope, frequency, and consequence of the alleged defect. Electric vehicles from Tesla and Chevrolet have been investigated for fire concerns in the past few years. In those cases, there were no recalls for the fire issues.
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4/28/14 5:16 PM
~ÛÝÛÛMay 5, 2014
USED CAR NEWS
Feds Bust Luxury Car Dealer
Recent reports show that
Of used vehicles sold are purchased by
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PHOENIX (AP) - The owners of a luxury car dealership have been charged with money laundering after authorities say the men agreed to accept thousands of dollars in cash from undercover agents posing as drug dealers for vehicles and jewelry, while offering to hide the transactions from the federal government. Hamid and Saeid Salari, owners of Luxor Auto Group in Scottsdale, are charged with three counts, including money laundering and conspiracy. According to the criminal complaint, an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent met with Saeid Salari on Sept. 24, 2013, and expressed interest in buying a car without the proper paperwork being submitted on the purchase. The agent explained to Saeid Salari “that he sells ecstasy and did not want any forms with his name on it saying he spent over $10,000 in cash,” according to the complaint. “After some discussion, Saeid Salari agreed to sell a car to (the undercover agent) with the understanding that cash obtained from drug trafficking activities would be used for the purchase and not be reported,’’ authorities wrote. A vehicle was chosen and a price of $80,000 was agreed upon. According to the complaint,
the agent later gave Saeid Salari $20,000 cash inside a Crown Royal whiskey bag as down payment and agreed to return later with the rest of the money. In December, an undercover agent returned with the remaining $60,000 cash, this time meeting with Hamid Salari who offered assurances again that the transaction would not be reported and acknowledged that he knew the money came from illegal drug sales, the complaint states. The investigation continued until another meeting with Hamid Salari during which an undercover IRS agent offered to buy two more vehicles for $200,000 cash with the paperwork being filled out in the name of the agent’s fictitious girlfriend, according to court documents. Hamid and Saeid Salari were then arrested. Luxor’s site describes the company as a dealership for luxury used cars. The site lists BMW, Mercedes Benz and Maserati vehicles for sale. The site includes links to the Better Business Bureau, Carfax and DealerRater. A local jewelery store owner was arrested as part of the same operation.
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4/25/14 4:36 PM
~ÛÝÛÛMay 5, 2014
USED CAR NEWS
RETAIL MARKETS NEW JERSEY
Sal Enea, president, S&J Auto Wholesalers, Lodi, N.J.: “We’ve been in business since 2004. We do both retail and wholesale. “We have two (retail) locations. They are both in Lodi, N.J. “We sell about 70 (retail units) per month between both locations. “That dropped about 20 percent compared to this time last year. “I’m (blaming) that on the weather, especially the winter. We went through an extreme winter this year. “(To get vehicles), I have contracts with new-car dealerships. I buy directly from them. “Yeah, it’s starting to pick up again (on the newcar side). “We do both retail and subprime business. “Our business is mostly subprime. We probably do 60 percent subprime. “The average age of our vehicles is 2009. “The average mileage is under 100,000.
“Our (inventory) is pretty much split between cars and trucks/sport utility vehicles. “I deal mainly in imports. “Our average retail price is right around $13,000. “The average price from this time last year has gone down. “Reconditioning costs per car are probably right around $300. That’s the same. Recon is the same as last year. “We don’t service our own vehicles. We sub that all out. “Our tax season this year was not as good as last year. “To be honest with you, I think people are holding on to their money this year. They’re not quick to go and spend it on a car. “I think they’re using their money for other expenses. “(People in the market) are really cautious right now. “But I’m predicting that we will definitely go up in sales during the rest of the year. I believe there will be a boost in sales. “Things at the New Jersey Independent Automobile Dealers Association
Compiled by Jeffrey Bellant are good. “(One vehicle I sold recently) was an Audi A5. It was a 2010. It had 60,000 miles on it. That car sold for $24,000.”
Kevin Tiegs, owner, Affordable Auto Liquidators, Kenniwick, Wash.: “We’ve been in business for four years. “My dad had been in the car business for a long time. Someone he knew and had done business with opened up his own dealership and hired my dad as a manager. “I started selling there and I’ve been in the car business ever since. “My whole family is big into agriculture, so we started an organic fertilizer company. “My dad runs that, so between the dealership experience and some extra cash, we opened the car dealership in 2010. “We have an average inventory of about 85 (units), of which 60 are probably retail ready at any time.
“That’s about the same as this time last year. “Our lot is smaller, so it doesn’t fit many more than that. “Thirty sales a month is a pretty good average. “We’ve sold as many as 58 in a month and as few as 25 in a slower month. “Tax season was good this year. “It was better than last year, when we only had a couple of spikes. “For us, tax season is Feb. 15 to April 1. “We’ll do some earlier sales for people who’ve proven that they’re going to get money. So we’ll do some bridge loans for them. “About 15 to 20 percent of our business is buy-here, pay-here. “The rest is almost all subprime. “I do have some prime lenders and we do a lot of cash deals, as well. “We specialize in cars that are $7,000 or less. Our average price is between $6,000 and $7,000. “Our cars come mostly from auctions, but we’ll get them from lots of differ-
ent places. “We have a sign (advertising) that we buy cars off the street. So we pick up some that way. “We also buy a lot of repos from local lenders. “We try to carry 10 trucks, about that many SUVs, about five or six vans and crossovers. Most are cars. “We try to keep costs down. Trucks really have to get pretty old and have pretty high mileage before they (are affordable for our buyers). “We try to carry some imports, but typically we specialize in domestics. “We always try to have a couple of Hondas and Toyotas, too. “We carry vehicles that are as late as 2009, but most of our (vehicles) are between 2003 and 2006, right around 100,000 miles. “We’ll average about $500 for reconditioning. The quality of cars at auction is (down), so recon costs are up. “We recently sold a 2002 Toyota Sequoia. It had 198,000 miles. I think we sold that for $10,900.”
4/28/14 2:45 PM
May 5, 2014ÛÛÝÛÛ~
USED CAR NEWS
WHOLESALE MARKETS NEW HAMPSHIRE
Steven DeLuca, general manager, Auto Auction of New England, Londonberry. N.H.: “We’ve been in business 19 years. “We have six lanes and we’re running all six. “We’re a 1,000 to 1,200 car auction. “Numbers are up from this time last year. The market is great right now. Tax season has been the biggest factor. “I don’t know if it’s just the way this tax season has gone, but it seems as if this tax season has held on a little longer than last year. I don’t know if it’s because the winter was so bad that the warm weather has expanded it. “Our sales percentages have been extremely high. We’re just bringing in more dealers and more fleet/lease customers and doing consistent, honest business. “But there is definitely still a (shortage) of used cars. “Our average sales percentage for March was 74 percent. April (at press time), we dropped to 71 per-
cent. It’s been very good. “On the selling side, we’re 30 percent fleet, 50 percent new-car dealers and 20 percent used-car dealers. “As far as buyers, we’ve got about 900 buyers in the lanes. The lanes are absolutely packed and it’s high energy. “We have some sellers here that have been ecstatic with their sales percentages, going 100 percent for eight weeks (in a row). “We draw bidders from everywhere. Obviously, we’re drawing the majority from the East Coast and New England. But we’ve also been drawing dealers from Canada and some from as far away as California and other states out West. “We’ve also been building up Internet sales, too. We use AWG. People are starting to realize how great of a tool the Internet (has become). “New-car dealers are excited to bring their inventory and sell it, because they have another 50 cars coming the (next week). Used car guys are trying to buy as
Compiled by Jeffrey Bellant much as they possibly can because there still is a shortage on used cars. “Some of our (non-dealer consignors) are Fiserv, Huntington, Credit Acceptance Corp., United Auto Credit, PHH, CPS and ARI. We have a bunch of fleet sellers. “Our fleet inventory is huge and we expect more as their lease returns become available. “We have a buyer for every type of car. “Our niche is the $10,000 and under car. Mostly domestics. We sell a lot of foreign cars that get exported. “The diesel trucks do well. “We do an in-op sale before our regular sale and that runs 30 to 50 units. “We had our first physical in-lane GSA sale this year on April 24. We’re expected to run 1,000 units this year. We generally sell 100 percent. It’s the fourth Thursday every month. That usually runs from April through September. “We also have our 19th anniversary sale coming up in June.”
Scott Prankie, owner/ general manager, Rochester-Syracuse Auto Auction, Waterloo, N.Y.: “We’ve been in business 22 years as of this year. “We have four lanes and we’re running four. “Average volumes are around 300 cars per week. “That’s about the same as last year. “The only thing this year is that we had a very tough winter. I think it had an impact as far as dealers buying cars. We got everything done and we got the lanes cleared and everything ready for the sale. But it’s hard to keep everybody comfortable. “Sales percentages have been pretty decent as of late. We went through tax season and that seemed to help a lot. That starts around middle of February and ends by April. “Right now, we’re sitting at 65 percent. “I would say 90 percent our volume are dealer consignment and 10 percent is fleet-lease/repo.
“Our fleet/lease/repo units run about 75 percent (sales rate). On that side we run a little bit of everything. We have local consignors and we run a little bit of Credit Acceptance Corp., Wheels Inc., and ARI. “On average, we draw between 250 and 300 bidders in the lanes. That’s right around the same as last year. “Online bidding is increasing and we do get some pretty good participation with online (bidders). We have two simulcast lanes. One is a new-car dealer lane and our fleet-lease lane is also on simulcast. “We don’t have a salvage or in-op sale. We sell in-op vehicles, but we don’t have one specific sale for it. “The average price coming through the lanes is in the $4,500 area. Obviously, the fleet stuff is higher, probably $8,000 to $9,000. “(On what dealers are buying) it’s hit or miss every week. One week we could be doing really well with Ford Escapes and the next it could be Fusions or Malibus.”
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4/28/14 3:12 PM
TRUE COST OF INCENTIVES (TCI) TMV Does not include add-ons
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,504 $15,094 $12,594 $12,182 $9,773 $8,283
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$768 $13,043 $11,205 $9,851 $8,270 $6,953
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$2,157 $15,657 $15,134 $14,124 $11,821 $9,511
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$3,766 $21,169 $16,554 $14,470 $11,792 $9,721
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,621 $18,917 $16,620 $15,548 $12,544 $10,538
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$2,256 $22,124 $20,832 $18,451 $15,109 $12,817
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,826 $25,894 $24,837 $19,802 $14,569 $13,281
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$3,856 $28,998 $23,350 $19,430 $15,792 $14,591
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$3,392 $35,782 $30,053 $26,793 $21,176 $16,998
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,148 $19,972 $17,939 $16,237 $13,923 $11,115
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$4,613 $26,347 $23,930 $20,513 $17,153 $15,707
$1,699 $15,032 $12,664 $11,406 $10,153 $8,059
$1,219 $13,372 $11,250 $10,486 $8,465 $7,045
$2,379 $18,121 $13,751 $13,423 $11,442 $9,633
$3,268 $19,723 $17,710 $15,673 $12,581 $10,332
Compact Crossover Suv
$1,416 $19,301 $16,483 $15,085 $12,983 $10,692
Midsize Crossover Suv
$2,085 $22,302 $20,274 $18,308 $14,968 $12,895
Midsize Traditional Suv
$1,773 $27,709 $24,141 $22,700 $17,695 $12,688
Large Crossover Suv
$3,633 $23,544 $23,975 $21,239 $17,046 $13,705
Large Traditional Suv
$2,903 $36,516 $31,672 $28,054 $24,338 $19,434
$562 $22,249 $19,672 $17,506 $15,266 $13,588
$3,961 $29,216 $25,380 $23,280 $20,429 $17,234
% Change ‘13-’14
TMV Does not include add-ons
12.97% -0.41% 0.56% -6.37% 3.89% -2.70%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$2,981 $20,949 $20,969 $16,652 $12,807 $10,507
58.72% 2.52% 0.40% 6.45% 2.36% 1.32%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,405 $18,555 $16,048 $12,949 $11,092 $10,720
10.29% 15.74% -9.14% -4.96% -3.21% 1.28%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,883 $22,606 $21,694 $20,210 $15,699 $11,760
-13.22% -6.83% 6.98% 8.31% 6.69% 6.29%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$2,343 $43,340 $38,221 $29,398 $26,059 $22,179
-12.65% 2.03% -0.82% -2.98% 3.50% 1.46%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$2,452 $83,040 $77,502 $48,984 $46,428 $37,406
-7.58% 0.80% -2.68% -0.78% -0.93% 0.61%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$3,611 $28,631 $24,173 $21,502 $18,180 $14,988
-2.90% 7.01% -2.80% 14.63% 21.46% -4.47%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,905 $31,953 $27,690 $24,585 $19,895 $15,853
-5.78% -18.81% 2.68% 9.31% 7.94% -6.07%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$4,420 $43,146 $35,261 $27,943 $21,499 $17,116
-14.42% 2.05% 5.39% 4.71% 14.93% 14.33%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$1,780 $43,686 $39,392 $33,839 $28,069 $22,716
-51.05% 11.40% 9.66% 7.82% 9.65% 22.25%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$5,273 $68,296 $54,990 $44,569 $35,855 $28,357
-14.13% 10.89% 6.06% 13.49% 19.10% 9.72%
TCI 1 2 3 4 5
$2,416 $53,674 $50,821 $39,763 $35,056 $24,387
% Change ‘13-’14
$2,552 $21,567 $17,740 $19,665 $13,199 $10,749
-14.39% 2.95% -15.40% 18.09% 3.06% 2.30%
$2,311 $20,296 $17,117 $15,926 $11,714 $10,938
64.48% 9.38% 6.66% 22.99% 5.61% 2.03%
Entry Sport Car
$2,348 $22,371 $20,681 $19,097 $18,009 $14,117
Midrange Sport Car
$1,696 $45,275 $38,209 $31,770 $28,249 $25,688
Premium Sport Car
$4,399 $78,922 $65,311 $59,951 $45,117 $44,561
Entry Luxury Car
$3,036 $28,208 $23,284 $21,860 $17,952 $15,383
Entry Luxury Suv
$2,634 $32,476 $27,905 $25,149 $21,442 $17,181
Midrange Luxury Car
$3,466 $40,573 $36,153 $31,925 $23,363 $18,382
Midrange Luxury Suv
$1,083 $42,873 $40,469 $32,374 $28,727 $23,353
Premium Luxury Car
$2,501 $64,828 $52,990 $44,991 $36,484 $29,430
Premium Luxury Suv
$3,597 $57,762 $46,580 $42,612 $32,000 $28,352
24.69% -1.04% -4.67% -5.51% 14.71% 20.04% -27.61% 4.46% -0.03% 8.07% 8.40% 15.82% 79.40% -4.96% -15.73% 22.39% -2.82% 19.13% -15.92% -1.48% -3.68% 1.66% -1.25% 2.64% 38.27% 1.64% 0.78% 2.29% 7.78% 8.38% -21.58% -5.96% 2.53% 14.25% 8.67% 7.40% -39.16% -1.86% 2.73% -4.33% 2.34% 2.80% -52.57% -5.08% -3.64% 0.95% 1.75% 3.78% 48.88% 7.62% -8.34% 7.16% -8.72% 16.26%
Edmunds.com’s monthly True Cost of Incentives (TCI) report takes into account all of the manufacturers’ various United States incentives programs, including subvented interest rates and lease programs as well as cash rebates to consumers and dealers. To ensure the greatest possible accuracy, Edmunds.com bases its calculations on sales volume, including the mix of vehicle makes and models for each month, as well as on the proportion of vehicles for which each type of incentive was used. TCI data (and other Edmunds.com data products) can be viewed industrywide, import vs. domestic, by country of origin, by make, by model and by segment. True Market Value (TMV) is the transaction price for vehicles.
4/28/14 1:05 PM
May 5, 2014ÛÛÝÛÛ~
USED CAR NEWS
PAYMENT ASSURANCE & GPS DEVICES
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To attend a session, please stop by the PassTime or Hudson Cook booths.
tutions that places more emphasis on compliance and treating customers fairly. We are now increasingly able to level the playing field between banks and their nonbank competitors for the first time. These changes are most notable for the nonbank institutions, but for many banks as well. Our supervision and enforcement teams are not interested simply in assuring that all the right boxes have been checked, but are asking more fundamental questions. These questions are about whether these institutions are in compliance with federal consumer financial law, whether adequate compliance management systems are in place, and whether consumers are being subjected to unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices. We are focusing on the activities of third-party service providers as well as the institutions they serve. One difficult area where we are working to mitigate harm to consumers and level the playing field is indirect auto lending. For some time now, we have expressed concern that discretionary pricing in auto finance, coupled with financial incentives to mark up interest rates – practices that are akin to the now-banned yield spread premiums in the mortgage market – create serious risks. Such risks include that consumers will receive different pricing based on prohibited characteristics such as race, ethnicity, and national origin. We fully recognize that the issues here can be complex and that our authority generally reaches auto lenders but not auto dealers. This can pose difficulties in addressing these issues comprehensively. But it is nonetheless our responsibility to enforce the law. In December, we partnered with the Department of Justice and ordered Ally, one of the top indirect auto lenders, to pay $98 million to address discrimination against more than 235,000 minority consumers. The discrimination was caused by a discretionary pricing system that lacked effective monitoring and controls. This was the largest auto loan discrimination case in U.S. history, and it indicates our joint resolve on the issue. In addition, we will be moving forward with a proposal to expand our supervisory authority in this area beyond the larger banks to encompass the larger nonbank auto lenders also, providing more complete oversight over the lender side of this marketplace. As you can see, we are striving to fashion a consumer financial marketplace that works better for both consumers and responsible businesses.
Y RE PA HERE W HE E Y
(The following is from a speech by Steven Antonakes, deputy director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, given at this year’s Consumer Bankers Association convention.) Our mission is to make the financial markets work better for consumers and responsible providers. We also want to see that the relationship between providers and consumers is placed on a more sustainable foundation. Since our inception, we have sought to use all of our various tools – our supervision, enforcement, and rulemaking authorities, along with consumer education and consumer response – as appropriate to address issues in the consumer financial marketplace. Our consumer response function, in particular, has taken on a key role in our work. Congress mandated that we develop a system for receiving and handling complaints from the public about the range of markets and financial services within our purview. We started slowly with about 520 credit card complaints in our first month and gradually added more products in stages. Today we are accepting complaints about a broad range of products, including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, bank accounts, payday loans, debt collection, credit reporting, money transfers, and other consumer loans. Word is spreading, as last month we received more than 20,000 complaints and the volume continues to grow. In total, we have received over 300,000 complaints thus far. We also see our public Consumer Complaint Database as a diagnostic tool for industry. It is similar to what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did forty years ago with complaints about auto safety. That effort, which initially was the source of criticism from industry, eventually won their praise as it helped to reduce litigation costs, regulatory risk, and reputational risk over time. The central emphasis at the Bureau on the voice of the consumer is likewise playing a tangible role in producing a shift in the financial marketplace to an emphasis on legal compliance and excellent customer service. We applaud these conscious efforts as sensible and beneficial developments that will also help earn greater customer loyalty. They are exactly what we are looking for from financial companies operating in these markets. Our supervision and enforcement work is focused on issues of compliance with law and identifying risk to consumers. It is also helping to drive that cultural change within financial insti-
MA Y 1 8-2 2, 2 0 1 4
4/28/14 5:03 PM
ÛÛÝÛÛÛMay 5, 2014
USED CAR NEWS
HPV UCN AD DUE 2014.02.21 outlined & embedded.ai 1 2/21/2014 3:25:50 PM
Compiled By Jeffrey Bellant
MANHEIM HITS THE ROAD
EASY RIDERS: Several Manheim leaders are joining other motorcycle riders in a coast-tocoast tour, like the one in the 2013 ride shown above, to raise money for charity.
Manheim has partnered with the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America to become the presenting sponsor of its 20th anniversary ride. The coast-to-coast motorcycle tour which started May 3 and runs through 10 serves as a fundraiser for Victory Junction, a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. More than 175 riders were expected to take part in the event that began in Carlsbad, Calif. The participants, including Manheim EVP and Chief Operating Officer Janet Barnard and three other Manheim leaders, will travel more than 2,800 miles to Daytona Beach, Fla. Founded by former NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the ride raises funds and awareness for Victory Junction. “Our company takes pride in sponsoring this event that allows us to help children who are dealing with serious illnesses and medical conditions,” Barnard said. “It’s truly meaningful to sponsor such a worthwhile cause that is making differences in the lives of children their families.”
KCI Revs up Spring Promotions
KCI recently kicked off its 2014 promotional schedule with its 5th annual Auctions and Aces Sale in March and its 4th annual NASCAR Days sale on April 10. During the two-day Auctions and Aces event, customers gambled at the “KCI Casino,” enjoyed a wide array of hors d’oeuvres, won prizes, and had a great selection of units to choose from. “During our Auctions and Aces party we saw a 30 percent increase in attendance, we experienced a 23 percent increase in sale day attendance and our conversion rate was well over 80 percent,” said Doug Doll, KCI Kansas City
co-owner. The NASCAR Day’s sale offered customers the ultimate racing experience with remote control car races and limited edition NASCAR Days jackets. Customers were entered for a chance to win VIP passes for two to the Bojangles’ Southern 500 in Darlington, South Carolina. We invite news items and top-quality photos from our readers to be considered for “Around the Block.” Please include the name of a contact person and a telephone number. Send items and photos to: Jeffrey Bellant Mail: Used Car News, 24114 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores, MI 48080. Fax: (586) 772-9400 e-mail: email@example.com
4/28/14 4:30 PM
May 5, 2014Ă›Ă›Ă?Ă›Ă›~
USED CAR NEWS
Disconnected Jottings From Tony Moorby... I find solace in listening to the radio these days. Itâ€™s a form of escapism â€“ from the television! When I watch a few programs, I walk away feeling that Iâ€™ve totally wasted my time. Itâ€™s a bit like raiding the fridge
Good Morning America, hosted by a very intelligent George Stephanopoulos, has turned into a very shabby circus and I now refuse to watch. CBS This Morning seems to have the most moderate approach.
Ć€É&#x; Ĺ´Ĺ°Ć?3,É&#x;0.,(É&#x;) É&#x;."É&#x;#(/-.,3 Ć€É&#x; ,-#(.É&#x; ,)'É&#x;ĹąĹšĹšĹˇĆ‘Ĺ˛Ĺ°Ĺ°Ĺ°É&#x;) É&#x;É&#x;É&#x; É&#x; /.)').#0 Ć€É&#x; ,0É&#x;-É&#x;Ć‰-É&#x;2/.#0É&#x;0#É&#x;É&#x; É&#x; *,-#(.É&#x;) É&#x;-&-É&#x;(É&#x;',%.#(! Ć€É&#x; )),3É&#x;Ć É&#x;--)#.-É&#x;Ĺ˛Ĺ°Ĺ°ĹśĆ‘*,-(. Ć€É&#x; 1,É&#x;."É&#x;#(!É&#x;) É&#x;)(),É&#x;3É&#x;É&#x; É&#x; Ć€É&#x; É&#x;&&É&#x;) É&#x;',
in the middle of the night â€“ it feels good while youâ€™re doing it, but you creep back into hiding holding a guilty conscience like a secret book under your shirt. Take the news, for instance. It should be factual and presented in a businesslike manner by professionals who know what theyâ€™re doing and have an understanding of the context in which itâ€™s happening. There are many of these but their broadcasters insist on turning a news program into an entertainment empire.
Meanwhile, CNN and Fox battle things out with overopinionated presenters who think more of themselves than the importance of the world around them. Wolf Blitzer looks like he represents the eye-bulging lunatic fringe while the men and women of Fox exude those simpering smiles of condescension, implying that their viewers canâ€™t hold a sensible opinion of their own and need to be force-fed like a goose for fois gras. Iâ€™ve said before that I
C R O S S WO R D
believe â€œreality televisionâ€™ is an assault to oneâ€™s intelligence but whatâ€™s really worrying is that it seems to be growing in popularity. I suppose the watcher is somehow supposed to live vicariously through the antics of screaming housewives from various parts of the country who are incapable of holding a civilized conversation and whose vocabulary is so deficient itâ€™s entirely dependent upon the use of expletives. You know I like to cook and even cooking programs, hitherto the realm of quiet study and reward, have turned into rowdy competitions run by hosts who stand with their hands on their hips or cross-armed assuming an authority that, for the most part, is totally unwarranted. Either that or they visit restaurants and nod to the camera in platitudinous gratification while they force as much food down their gullets as the anatomy will allow. It gives me heartburn just thinking about it. Childrenâ€™s TV programs, perhaps with the exception of PBS, are populated by
fractious, screaming characters, cartoon or not, exhibiting neither manners nor moral compass. I suppose itâ€™s getting our kids used to the rude, inyour-face world in which they are going to grow up. Or will they make it more so? That would be a real tragedy as standards of decency continue their decline. Iâ€™ve said before that political correctness is being misdirected to allow anyone to do anything to anyone they want to without fear of retribution from the majority. I know this has been another winge (English expression for complaint) and Iâ€™m not really as cantankerous as I sometimes make out. But I often wonder about the correlation of wanton violence in the news being in direct proportion to that in the
programs and it all seems to be escalating with no abatement in sight. It could be the other way round, of course â€“ the programs reflecting a society that now accepts violence as a way of life and seeking edgier titillation for entertainment. Itâ€™s like marijuana smoking leading to a cocaine addiction or looking at bikini-clad girls and ending up addicted to pornography. In any case, itâ€™s a sorry direction that goes to a downward spiral. Maybe we should take a lesson from Bhutan, near Tibet, where they measure Gross National Happiness as an artistic and psychological well-being test not just Gross National Product. Perhaps television and the Internet hasnâ€™t reached there, yet.
To see past columns from Tony Moorby, visit www.usedcarnews.com/ columnists/tony-moorby
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