Chicago Automobile Trade Association
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CATA Bulletin
September 16, 2013

 

Health insurance exchange notices must be provided by Oct. 1

September 13, 2013

As a reminder, all employers — regardless of whether or not they offer health care coverage — are required under the Affordable Care Act to provide their current employees with a health insurance exchange notice no later than Oct. 1. The notice must inform employees of the existence of the exchange, the services offered, and contact information, allowing them to make informed decisions about health insurance.
 
For area dealers whose employees have health care coverage from unions, Local 731 on Sept. 10 sent the employer notice of exchanges to covered 731 members, thus relieving dealers of the obligation to send notices to employees who have health coverage under the Local 731 plan. By contrast, Local 701 will not be sending such notices, but will send a letter to employers certifying that their plan benefits provide minimum value and are affordable.
 
The CATA hosted an Oct. 10 seminar to review the timeline of the eight-year rollout of the ACA. Get the presentation slides and watch the presentation here, here, here, and here.
 
With the July 3 announcement that parts of the ACA are being delayed, some employers wrongly think they are absolved of any requirements under the law until 2015. But notifying employees of these new health care marketplace coverage options is one requirement all employers still must do before Oct. 1.
 
The purpose of the notification is to inform employees about the new health insurance exchanges and subsidies that will be available to individuals effective Jan. 1, 2014, and to provide information about the employer’s current offerings to employees.
 
The open enrollment period for the state and federal health insurance exchanges begins Oct. 1. The new exchanges will offer a place for individuals and small business to compare and select coverage options via an online marketplace.
 
The notice must be given to all employees, regardless of plan enrollment status, or of part-time or full-time status, but does not need to be issued to dependents or other related individuals who are, or may become eligible, for coverage under this plan.
 
For employees hired after Oct. 1, the notice must be provided upon hire (which the U.S. Department of Labor has indicated means within two weeks of their start date).
 
The U.S. Department of Labor has provided model notices for employers offering insurance coverage to employees, as well as for those not offering coverage.
 
 

DEAC corner

September 13, 2013

Dozens of area dealers have made recent contributions to the Dealers Election Action Committee, the political action committee representing the NADA’s efforts on Capitol Hill. Established in 1975, DEAC is the only political action committee representing the interests of franchised dealers of both domestic and imported new cars and trucks. 
 
DEAC supports pro-dealer, pro-business congressional candidates on a bipartisan basis. DEAC’s Eagle Donor Program honors those dealers contributing at the $1,000, $500 and $250 levels. Take a moment to thank these dealers who are working to strengthen the impact of their industry:
 
John Alfirevich , Apple Chevrolet 
Anthony Augelli, Anthony Buick-GMC 
Dennis Bauer, Arnie Bauer Cadillac-Buick-GMC 
Glenn Bockwinkel, Acura of Libertyville 
Edward Burke, Burke Automotive Group 
Ronald Colosimo, Oak Lawn Toyota-Scion 
Ray Gieselmann, Ray Buick 
James Jennings, Jennings Chevrolet 
John Jennings, Jennings Volkswagen 
John Kaye, DuPage Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep 
Cheryl Nelson, Continental Toyota 
Dominic Pugliani, Pugi of Chicagoland 
Phillip Resnick, Schaumburg Toyota 
Desmond Roberts, Advantage Chevrolet 
Daniel Roesch, Larry Roesch Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge 
Raymond Scarpelli, Raymond Chevrolet & Kia 
Monty Scher, Rogers Auto Group 
William Stasek, Bill Stasek Chevrolet 
A. Jeffrey Victor, Victor Ford 
John Weinberger, Continental Autosports 
John Weinberger, Continental Nissan 
Thomas Wilkins, Wilkins Mazda-Hyundai 
Daniel Wolf, Lexus of Naperville
 
Ray Scarpelli III, the CATA's legislative intern, can help dealers understand the importance of donating to DEAC and facilitate donations. Call him at (630) 424-6016.
 
 

Wireless phone charging next big thing for cars

September 13, 2013

Wireless smartphone charging in your car may soon be as common as touchscreens and voice-activated technology.
 
Powermat Technologies Ltd. will offer wireless smartphone charging on some 2014 General Motors Co. vehicles, Ran Poliakine, CEO of the Israeli-based firm, said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
 
GM is an investor in Powermat — it has a $5 million stake — and the automaker joins a handful of other automakers racing to add the technology inside vehicles.
 
Toyota Motor Corp. offers wireless charging, supplied by supplier DENSO Corp., in its Avalon Limited midsize sedan. Chrysler Group LLC offers wireless phone charging on its Dart Mopar-edition compact car and will offer the technology as a factory option on its 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
 
GM had previously said the technology could be used in vehicles by 2012. The Detroit automaker also said the Chevrolet Volt range-extended plug-in hybrid would be one of the first vehicles to get the technology, though a spokeswoman this month declined to discuss specific vehicle plans.
 
To charge a smartphone in today’s vehicles, a consumer must use a cord to draw energy from either a USB port or by a phone charger . But for those future vehicles equipped with a Powermat electromagnetic charging mat, a consumer needs only to place their cellphone on the surface to charge.
 
Phones and other electronic devices must be capable of wireless recharging. Consumer also can buy cellphone cases that allow for wireless recharging.
 
Other major companies from other industries, such as Starbucks, Duracell and AT&T, have already adopted Powermat’s wireless charging platform.
 
Consulting and data firm IHS Inc. projects that global shipments of wireless charging devices will rise to almost 100 million by 2015 compared to 5 million units last year.
 
Wireless smartphone charging is the latest in a series of in-car upgrades that automakers have added or plan to add to better connect consumers with devices generally used outside vehicles. Other examples include touchscreens and voice-activated systems that allow drivers to use their cellphones without taking their hands off the steering wheel.
 
Several industry groups are promoting different standards for wireless charging, according to Bloomberg News research: Power Matters Alliance, which includes Powermat, BlackBerry and AT&T Inc.; Wireless Power Consortium, with Nokia Oyj, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Verizon Wireless; and Alliance for Wireless Power, whose supporters include HTC Corp., Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. Some companies joined multiple associations.
 
 

54% of Gen Y online shoppers open to buying any brand: J.D. Power

September 13, 2013

More than half of Generation Y online shoppers are open to buying any brand at the beginning of the shopping process, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study released Sept. 9.
 
The 2013 New Autoshopper Study — which explores how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices such as smartphones and tablets to gather information before a purchase as well as what websites and apps were used — found that 50 percent of online car shoppers will consider any brand at first, with the figure rising to 54 percent among Gen Y.
 
The study is based on input from 17,012 buyers and leasees of 2011-13 model-year new vehicles “who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process.”
 
“It is important for brands and websites to pay special attention to Gen Y buyers, as they are increasing in market share at the greatest rate among all new-vehicle buyers” and are now responsible for more than 20 percent of all retail sales, Arianne Walker, senior director of automotive media and marketing at J.D. Power, said in a statement.
 
The study finds that almost all Automotive Internet Users (98 percent) visit manufacturer sites during their shopping process, followed by dealer sites (83 percent); third-party sites (80 percent); and social media sites (7 percent). Such AIUs more frequently indicate that third-party (54 percent) and manufacturer (52 percent) websites are very helpful during the new-vehicle shopping process, compared with dealer and social media sites/apps.
 
“As AIUs continue to rely heavily on automotive manufacturer and third-party websites, an opportunity is created for sites to differentiate themselves further by providing engaging content and useful shopping tools that target consumers at each stage of the shopping process,” said Walker.
 
The study finds that Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) are among the most frequently visited third-party websites, with AIUs visiting these sites more often than the other 33 third-party websites measured in the study.
 
Additionally, the users said that the model pricing information, vehicle ratings and reviews and vehicle comparison information are among the most useful third-party website content when making a purchase decision. 
 
J.D. Power research finds the following Internet shopping behaviors among AIUs:
 
• On average, the entire vehicle-shopping process for AIUs takes about four months.
 
• On average, AIUs access 10 automotive websites before purchasing a vehicle (including third-party, dealer and manufacturer sites).
 
• 90 percent or more of AIUs use model information and vehicle pricing. However, only 19 percent of AIUs access dealer ratings/reviews prior to purchase.
 
 

CATA techie partners with Google

September 13, 2013

Automotive Internet Media, Inc., the CATA’s technology provider that powers DriveChicago.com, recently teamed up with Google’s social platform to enhance its already successful social media offering. 
 
AIM is looking for 20 beta dealers to launch the pilot program in the Midwest. Whether you are looking to build brand awareness, capture more leads or amplify your dealership’s marketing reach, this solution will enhance your digital presence.
 
“Google’s Social Platform puts your social media marketing on steroids,” said Tony French, AIM. “We plan to integrate the platform into all of our successful social media accounts. By partnering with Google, we will leverage their social platform to increase engagement and help dealers use social media to sell more vehicles.”
 
AIM’s social media program is built on creating unique and engaging content for each dealership with syndication to social media networks (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest), to increase organic traffic. AIM’s social program, combined with Google’s social platform, Wildfire, will create a best-of-breed social solution for the automotive industry.
 
Auto dealers looking to get the first-mover advantage can contact French at tony@automotiveinternetmedia.com or (866) 423-0246.
 
 

Auction alternative makes partnership with Chicago Tribune

September 13, 2013

RoadDealer.com, a CATA allied member that offers dealers an online platform to buy, sell, and trade aged and wholesale vehicles between other dealerships, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Chicago Tribune.   
 
Through its members-only website, RoadDealer.com’s database of inventory holds more than 20,000 vehicles ready for dealerships to buy from fellow dealerships, creating an online community of dealers, providing an alternative to using auctions.
 
RoadDealer.com’s exclusive platform eliminates auction fees and replaces them with one low monthly fee.
 
“For many years, the Chicago Tribune has been working with all of the Chicagoland automotive dealers, and the goal has always been to create ROI and value. We feel very strongly about being able to accomplish those goals by partnering with RoadDealer,” Chicago Tribune Manager Ron Salata said.
 
The partnership with the Chicago Tribune is the company’s third, following newly created partnerships with the CATA and the Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee.
 
Jim Battista, president of RoadDealer.com said: “We felt it was a mutually beneficial decision to form this relationship. They have been serving dealers for years. The Tribune Co. does not have a wholesale platform, and we were confident that RoadDealer.com would fill that need, providing dealers another program to better serve their customers by quickly and easily finding retail-ready cars.”
 
Battista and Salata share the common belief that helping a dealership’s bottom line should not be complicated.
 
“The RoadDealer program offers dealerships the chance to improve their bottom line while improving the process of buying and selling their used car inventories,” Salata said. Battista knows creating new partnerships furthers his company’s success.
 
“We believe that RoadDealer.com and the Tribune Co. will build a long-term relationship and provide the perfect platform to aid dealers with their car sourcing needs,” Battista said.
 
For more about RoadDealer.com, visit www.roaddealer.com.
 
 

Batteries, plug-ins dominate Frankfurt

September 13, 2013

Every year, automakers of the world fill the Frankfurt International Motor Show with the newest car technology and designs. This year, that means hybrids and full-electric cars are stealing the show, which ends Sept. 22, with a large number of the 70 world-premiere vehicles running on either battery power or hybrid gas-electric systems.
 
That’s in part a result of increased Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards spurring technological innovation. The Obama administration set new standards in 2012 requiring fuel economy to reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 for 90 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S.
 
That standard will require significant market penetration — more than 50 percent — by hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research. That would reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and reduce the amount of CO2 produced by cars by about 5 percent.
 
The move toward electric engines comes as U.S. new-car sales rebound, with 1.5 million units sold in August, the highest monthly count in six years.
 
 
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