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Bills to strike Illinois blue law on Sunday car sales move

March 13, 2015
Three Illinois bills that would permit Sunday car sales were assigned March 11 to the Senate Transportation Committee. They all were introduced Feb. 20.
 
The CATA has advised its members to be prepared to contact senators when, and if, the bills get a committee hearing.
 
Senate Bill 1780, the most far-reaching of the trio, would lift Illinois’s blue law that prohibits new- and used-vehicle sales on Sundays. Another, SB 1835, would allow for the sale of motor vehicles by licensed dealers for not more than two hours on Sundays. And SB 1706 would permit Sunday sales of motor vehicles if the licensed dealer is a person who observes religious worship on a day other than Sunday.
 
Obwerweis (R-Sugar Grove) also introduced legislation last year to open dealerships on Sundays, but that effort faltered. The 21-member Senate Transportation Committee, where the 2014 bill failed, is led by Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero.
 
Also March 11, an editorial by the Chicago Sun-Times backed Oberweis’s legislation. "If dealerships want to stay closed on Sundays," the editorial opined, "nobody is stopping them. If they want to open, government should not stop them."
 
The newspaper offered equal space that day for the CATA to point out why dealerships and their customers both benefit from the Sunday closures.
 
"Having Sunday off keeps employee morale high and allows dealers to attract a higher-caliber salesperson. Salespeople make their jobs a career. That reduces turnover and keeps costs lower for dealers. Who wins? The consumer, who pays lower prices for a new or used car in the ultra-competitive Chicago area market," said Dave Sloan, CATA president.
 
Oberweis contends that in today’s 24/7 world, consumers would appreciate being able to buy a car on Sunday. But 84 percent of new-car purchases involve financing which has to be arranged through lenders that are closed Sundays.
 
Sloan said: "Dealers who deliver cars without financing arranged do so at risk and often have to call customers back to the dealership if their efforts to obtain the lowest rates prove fruitless. That makes for unhappy customers.
 
"Dealers, under ever-increasing scrutiny from regulators regarding the financing they arrange, need to do so when the lenders are open, to protect themselves and to treat their customers right."
 
Through the CATA’s production of the Chicago Auto Show and its operation of the consumer website, DriveChicago.com, Sloan said he hasn’t heard from any consumers clamoring to buy a car on Sundays.
 
"In a state where there are plenty of things that are broken and need to be fixed," said Sloan, "this law isn’t one of them. We urge Sen. Oberweis to spend time on issues that matter to Illinois taxpayers."
 
 

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