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Emergency Relief Fund tops $3 million; donations now accepted online

November 22, 2010
By Ray Scarpelli Sr., Metro Chicago NADA Director

In the wake of three devastating hurricanes, the NADA has been very busy helping dealers and their employees. So far, donations to the Emergency Relief Fund of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation (NADCF) have surpassed $3.15 million. Donations now can be made online


Contributions also can be mailed to NADCF Emergency Relief Fund, 8400 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102; please make checks payable to NADCF Emergency Relief Fund. Donations by fax also are accepted: Download a printable donation relief form at, and fax the completed form to 703/821-7030. For more information, call 703-821-7102 or e-mail  

See dramatic coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s impact on Gulf Coast dealerships on NADA-TV Online ( The video segments include interviews with NADA Chairman Jack Kain and NADA President Phil Brady as they visited storm-damaged dealerships in Louisiana and Mississippi. During their visit, Kain and Brady presented funds from the Foundation to dealers and ATAEs, for distribution to dealership employees.


The NADA also is working to protect dealers and consumers from purchasing flood-damaged vehicles—many of which could hit the market over the next few months, if they haven’t already. In a recent speech to Detroit’s Automotive Press Association, Kain said vehicle history and title information should be readily available so that dealers and their customers know what they are buying. 

"We will all benefit when complete title information gets to dealers and consumers more quickly. The integrity of the entire system is at stake," Kain said. "All we need is a list of VINs for totaled vehicles, and the insurance companies should provide this."


Kain proposed the following steps: 


  • Insurance companies should make VIN-based information on totaled vehicles accessible to the public.
  • Automakers should disclose the VINs of the cars and trucks totaled by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as future storms or other causes.
  • State motor-vehicle departments should work with private data vendors to create an electronic vehicle title data system that is uniform and easily accessible.


Kain’s call for a national electronic database could help prevent consumers from purchasing potentially dangerous vehicles. "We could eliminate a great deal of title fraud right now if consumers could run a Web search of title information from all 51 jurisdictions," he said.


Kain also urged Congress to take action by using incentives to make state vehicle title laws more uniform. He said states should be encouraged to carry forward brands. "No one should be able to wipe a title clean simply by obtaining a title from another state," he said. "The front of each title should carry all the brands of the states where that vehicle has been titled."


Resources dealers and consumers can use right now:


  • Experian Automotive, in cooperation with the NADA, has instituted a toll-free number and e-mail address for NADA members to obtain free branded title and other information to check vehicles for hurricane damage. Dealers concerned that a vehicle might be storm-damaged can access these free services at 800-509-5489 or  


The national offer, which will run through the end of 2005, provides branded title and dealer-reported damage information on up to 25 vehicles per dealership. The title information will indicate whether the title reflects any storm damage, as the information becomes available, and whether the vehicle was titled within the last 12 months in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Texas.


Dealers are encouraged to contact Experian to register their own storm- or flood-damaged vehicles. The dealer-reported information will be included in the storm check and provided along with the title records. 

  • Also, the National Insurance Crime Bureau launched a free online database for the public, listing vehicles damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some 70,000 vehicles’ VIN numbers are listed in the database, with more added daily. See the database at


In legislative and regulatory news: 

  • Beware of credit card fraud! Several dealers in recent months have reported being the victim of credit card fraud directed at their parts departments. This should remind dealers to carefully scrutinize telephonic and other credit card orders from unfamiliar individuals. For more information, see the NADA’sCredit Card Fraud Alert at (requires NADA member number).


In other NADA news: 

Automotive Career Week was Oct. 24-29, and more than 700 dealers hosted career events at their dealerships for students. Also, governors in 15 states issued proclamations to recognize the importance of the week. Dealers are encouraged to host career days whenever possible throughout the year. A kit for dealers with guidance on planning events is available; go to, or call 800-252-6232, Ext. 2.


If you have photos of your career-week event, please send them, along with your contact info, to  

NADA Coalition Launches F&I Web Site for Consumers


The NADA has teamed with the American Financial Services Association and most of the major captive financing companies to launch an industry coalition known as AWARE (Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics). 

AWARE’s new Web site,, is designed to teach consumers about dealership finance and insurance practices. The site advises consumers to know their credit scores before they shop for a vehicle, urges them to set a realistic price range that fits their budget before they visit a dealership, and encourages them to compare loan interest rates and financing terms from several sources. The site is available in English and Spanish.


Child Safety-Seat Events 

If you held a child safety-seat inspection in September, during the NADA’s Child Passenger Safety Month, the association would like to know how it went.


Did it draw a good turnout? Was it well received in your community? Did it generate any media coverage? Were the NADA consumer materials helpful? Any other thoughts you’d like to share would also be welcomed.  

Your feedback will help the NADA meet your needs as it plans future safety campaigns. Please send your comments, along with your name and dealership contact information and any pictures of your event, to  


The NADA will host a breakfast for all minority dealers on Feb. 13, during the NADA convention in Orlando.