Chicago Automobile Trade Association

A new year at the NADA

January 26, 2018
By Mark Scarpelli, chairman, National Automobile Dealers Association
I am extremely proud of the thousands of franchised auto dealers across the nation. Despite an ever-changing landscape in our retail business, we closed out 2017 with 17 million new-car and -truck sales. We are looking toward 2018 with optimism and confidence. 
We saw many challenges to the dealer business over the past year and, thanks to the passion and hard work I’ve seen around me, we are in much better standing for 2018. I am proud to say that we have been successful in our efforts to prevent elimination of dealer discretion and consumer discounts in auto financing. We rightly advocated for our customers and Washington heard us loud and clear. 
The NADA’s alternative policy ensures fair credit compliance and also preserves the ability of dealers to offer discounts to our customers. We also successfully fought attempts to ground all used vehicles at the dealership with open recalls — again standing with our customers and preventing Washington from imposing a costly trade-in tax on consumers. And most recently we preserved 100-percent deductibility on floor plan interest, a cornerstone of the dealership business model. 
However, the work never ceases. The NADA is pushing ahead so that we have a secure and stable industry into the future. The newest challenges have come in the form of legislation to regulate self-driving vehicles, and we are continuing to advocate legislation that explicitly preserves state vehicle licensing and franchise laws. And as we navigate the Trump Administration, we are staying on top of tax reform and critical issues that will affect our operations, such as LIFO and the estate tax.
We have worked harder than ever to build stronger relationships with our manufacturers. I have made it my priority to address the negative impact of stair-step programs head-on. During my chairmanship, the NADA has had many meetings with OEMs to share the results of our landmark study that highlights the importance of transparency, trust, loyalty and commitment to our brands. 
Dealers are in resounding agreement that factory efforts should help our customers and our businesses, not harm them. You can be sure the NADA will continue to expand this platform so that dealers and OEMs work symbiotically, as we should. It was my privilege to address this very issue in front of the automotive press in Detroit last October as an advocate for my fellow dealers. 
Finally, the fight to defend our franchise system will never end. The NADA has embraced a dynamic approach, and we have pushed newer social media platforms to spread the news about the benefits of the franchise system — especially in times of dire need. The 2017 hurricanes and California wildfires ravaged homes, businesses and families. But the amazing network of dealers who quickly stepped up to help fellow dealer families in their darkest hours, has made lasting impacts on thousands of our employees. I’m proud that together we have raised millions of dollars for the NADA Emergency Relief Fund—funds that are still being distributed today. 
I cannot say this enough: I’m so proud to be an auto dealer. And I’m proud of the work we’ve done to power this industry for more than a century. We have stood the test of time, and we are ready to tackle the next 100 years. 
I hope to see you all in Las Vegas for the 2018 NADA Show, where we will ring in our 101st year as your national association and your strongest ally. I wish you and your employees a prosperous 2018!  
Mark Scarpelli is a Chevrolet and Kia dealer in Antioch, Ill.


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