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NADA dealers and their customers: safe and sound

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

Ah, summer! It’s the time when people head to the mountains, the shore and other vacation destinations. Summer also is a great time for America’s dealers to continue their efforts to ensure safety on our nation’s roads. Notify your local media about dealership safety programs, to both increase your attendance and improve dealer image.


The NADA is working to safeguard dealer rights in the legislative and regulatory arenas:


  • The NADA continues to push for reasonable CAFE legislation that does not unduly restrict product availability, consumer cost or passenger safety. To that end, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee defeated a measure that would have required automakers to boost to 27.5 mpg by 2011 the fuel economy of trucks and SUVs sold in the United States.
  • As part of a coalition of business organizations, the NADA wrote to Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Max Baucus (D-Mont.), arguing that to eliminate expensing of business-use SUVs over 6,000 lbs GVR would amount to a tax increase on small entrepreneurs. The proposal now seems less likely to take effect.
  • Ed Tonkin, the NADA’s Regulatory Affairs Committee chairman, testified before the U.S. Small Business Administration in support of a proposal to replace many of its gross-receipts-based small-business size standards with ones based on the number of employees in a company. The proposal would decrease and simplify the number of size standard levels and help reduce the need to update and adjust the levels for inflation.
  • A Minnesota appellate court ruled that "lenders aren’t required to disclose to retail vehicle loan customers the difference between the annual percentage rate they offer dealerships . . . and the interest rate that dealerships quote to customers." The NADA encourages and supports clear written disclosure to consumers that states: 


(a) the annual percentage rate for the installment sale of an automobile may be negotiated with the dealership; and


(b) the dealership may receive some portion of the finance charge or receive other compensation for providing the financing.


  • A new Federal Trade Commission rule sets forth the format, type size and manner of the "opt-out" disclosures that must accompany pre-approved (or prescreened) offers of credit sent to consumers based on information contained in their credit files. Short- and long-form notices must be sent with the solicitation. The new rule takes effect Aug. 1. Log onto for more information.
  • A federal regulatory fairness hearing sponsored by the SBA will be held July 20 in Spokane, Wash., where small business owners can express concerns about unfair practices or burdensome policies imposed by federal agencies. More information is at


Summer is the perfect time to catch your U.S. senators and representatives in their home state. Make sure you maintain grassroots contact and voice your views, and invite them to your dealership events. E-mail photos of legislators at your dealership to; we’ll send you back a framed print.


Plan for these NADA consumer awareness programs now:


  • Host tire safety events to be sure your customers are ready for longer summer trips and provide service reminders to reduce accidents and keep customers from being stranded in unfamiliar locations. Free information on the "Be Tire Smart, Play Your PART" (Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread) campaign is at     
  • Automotive Career Week kit order forms are included with the July AutoExec. The kits are free and contain everything you need to plan your event for middle- and high-school teens. Information and forms are also on the newly created Web page Start planning now for your event during the week of Oct. 24-29.
  • The NADA’s newest video, "From Trucks to Bucks: Great Careers at Truck Dealerships," is another excellent way to reach young people. All NADA truck dealers recently received a copy. Get future employees excited about working in auto and truck dealerships — especially yours. 
  • Child Passenger Safety Month is this September. A Child Passenger Safety event "tool kit" was included with the June AutoExec to help you begin your event planning. Information is also posted to under Auto Safety.


In other NADA news, Automotive Retailing Today’s recent survey found that consumers believe salespeople are consistent throughout transactions (84 percent of minority and 93 percent of non-minority respondents agreed); take the time to listen to the buyer’s needs (79 percent minority, 88 percent non-minority); and are willing to negotiate to satisfy all parties (82 percent minority, 88 percent non-minority). For complete results, go to  

NADA’s chief economist says, "The NADA expects light-vehicle sales to strengthen over the course of the year to yield total sales of 16.9 million units for the entire year, compared with 16.86 million units last year." Let’s see if we can inch that up to 17 million!


Have a profitable summer by making use of NADA programs, products, and services, and let me know how they work for you.