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November 23, 2010

Life is full of choices, and that is especially true this month. It is our choice whether or not to be involved in the political process, but I hope every one of you voted on Election Day. Because the actions of politicians and regulators affect our businesses, it behooves us to maintain contact with legislators on both sides of the aisle, so that when they have a choice to make, they will know the impact of their decisions on America's new-car and -truck dealers. The NADA board of directors chose new officers at a recent meeting. The 2005 NADA chairman is Jack Kain, who operates Jack Kain Ford in Versailles, Ky., and Kain Family Ford-Lincoln-Mercury in London, Ky. The vice chairman is William H. Bradshaw, Bradshaw Automotive Group, Greer, S.C.; secretary, Steve West, West Chevrolet, Inc., Alcoa, Tenn.; and treasurer, Leonard Northcutt, Northcutt Chevrolet-Buick Co., Enid, Okla. All will take office during NADA's Convention and Exposition in New Orleans, where you can meet and talk with them in person. A highlight of the convention is a review of the NADA's existing programs, and talk of some new ones. Here's how you can get involved: In October, dealers had a national impact on child passenger safety by hosting hundreds of safety seat events all over the country. Both the individual events and the overall effort created positive press for all of us, while protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Hosting safety seat inspections on a recurring basis extends the benefits to children, parents, the community and, ultimately, to us. We can choose to be ethical or not. The vast majority of dealers make positive choices every day, but we need to do a better job of communicating this to the public and the media. The NADA is again running an insert in Time magazine this month to educate consumers about dealership financing options and procedures. Here are some positive actions your dealership can take to improve the image of dealers nationwide: • Sign the Code of Ethics poster - available in both English and Spanish - and display it prominently in your dealership. • Have your state or metro dealer association adopt the NADA's finance resolution to deal fairly with customers. • Share vehicle-financing information with middle school students by volunteering for Junior Achievement's "Personal Finance" program. Find your local unit at • Educate consumers by making available in your store(s) the "Understanding Vehicle Financing" brochure, created by the NADA and the American Financial Services Association. English and Spanish versions can be downloaded from • Educate yourself with the NADA's vehicle financing training video, "F&I: Absolute Integrity...100 Percent of the Time." • Educate the media by familiarizing yourself with the NADA tool kit, "F&I Under Fire." The best and most cost-effective educational opportunity offered to you by the NADA is the 2005 Convention and Exposition in New Orleans. You can look forward to: • New this year, a Regulatory Affairs Booth with representatives from nine regulatory agencies to answer questions and guide you through "the regulatory maze." • Also new, a Women Dealers' Networking Breakfast featuring Ann Moore, president and chief executive of Time Inc., and hosted by at-large NADA directors Marcy Maguire and Kathleen Sims. • Noted speakers include Carlos Ghosn, legendary CEO of Nissan; Capt. Scott O'Grady, USAF (Ret.), whose daring rescue from Bosnia gripped the nation; stateswoman and humanitarian Queen Noor of Jordan. • Presentation of the prestigious Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award; • A streamlined onsite registration process; • 40-plus workshops on topics in multiple tracks; • Super Workshop speakers from the Pike Place Fish Market and their mentor from BizFutures to share their techniques for success; • More than 300,000 square feet of informationpacked exhibits and hands-on demos; • The chance to meet, hear from and talk to NADA leaders and the association's professional staff; and • A great time in The Big Easy. Advance registration via closes Dec. 10. Afterwards, all registrations must be done onsite. Hotel reservations are conducted through the New Orleans Housing Bureau. Call the bureau at 800-424- 5250.