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NADA town hall meetings help open dialogue with dealers

November 17, 2010
By Ray Scarpelli Sr., Metro Chicago NADA Director

The NADA recently held a town hall-style meeting in each of its four regions, to give members greater exposure to the association’s programs and services and to get feedback from the attendees. Dale Willey, the NADA chairman, wanted to increase dealer involvement in the association when he came up with the idea for the meetings, which were held recently in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Atlanta. "I believe that most of our nearly 20,000 members don’t fully understand all that the NADA does for them," Willey said.


Senior staff members conducted the meetings, where they noted "all the good things being done for dealers," said Willey. "And all it costs is their dues, which is not an expense, but an investment in their dealership." 

NADA vice president and general counsel Andy Koblenz, who oversaw the town hall initiative, said the meetings not only gave dealers greater exposure to the NADA, but also opened communication in the other direction. Attendees voiced concerns on certain vehicle manufacturer programs and expressed appreciation for the NADA’s work in the environmental debate.


The association was represented by at least two senior staff members at each of the four meetings, including the vice presidents of NADA Legislative Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Industry Affairs, and Dealership Services. The elected dealer regional vice chairman from each area hosted the meetings.


Koblenz said the NADA’s "desire and commitment to reach out" to its members continues, but there are no immediate plans for more town hall meetings. "We’re still digesting lessons we learned from this," he said. Willey said he thinks the meetings "got the ball moving. The overriding response from most attendees was, ‘Gosh, I had no idea NADA did so much for me.’ "


In other NADA news . . . 

  • The NADA Board of Directors elected Annette Sykora of Texas as its 2008 chairman and John McEleney of Iowa as vice chairman. The dealers assume office at the NADA annual convention, Feb. 9-12 in San Francisco.
  • In a speech to the Automotive Press Association on Oct. 9, NADA Chairman Dale Willey said auto dealers can overcome market challenges with help from car manufacturers and elected officials. He said the Detroit 3 should focus on designing and building more fuel-efficient automobiles, and elected officials need to pass responsible emissions laws. The NADA supports the Hill-Terry CAFE bill, which would raise combined corporate average fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 32 to 35 miles per gallon by 2022. A competing Senate bill would increase CAFE standards to a minimum 35 mpg average by 2020. Willey said the Senate bill "would pose a significant threat to vehicle choice, safety and affordability." 
  • The NADA 2008 Convention & Expo, Feb. 9-12 in San Francisco, will have 600 exhibiting companies spanning nearly 400,000 net square feet. The newMoscone West will house registration, exhibits, franchise meetings, and workshops, as well as a German Hoffbrau and a wine tasting area. Confirmed speakers include GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner; comedian and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno; ABC News anchor and reporter Bob Woodruff; longtime NBC newsman and author Tom Brokaw; and author Jeffrey Gitomer. For convention registration and more details, visit 


In legislative and regulatory news . . .


  • The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will distribute the 2008 model year Fuel Economy Guide to dealers this month so they can provide their customers with information about fuel economy and the benefits of using more fuel-efficient vehicles. EPA requires dealers to prominently display the booklet and make it available free to the public. This year’s guide contains fuel economy estimates based on updated EPA calculation methods. The EPA and the DOE will electronically distribute the guide, which must be printed from the e-mailed file or from the government Web site, Or printed paper versions of the guide can be ordered until Nov. 30 at 877-337-3463.
  • Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently proposed an additional 50 cents per gallon tax on gasoline as part of his effort to reduce the effects of global climate change. In a statement, Dingell suggested that the gas tax hike and other proposals—such as a cap-and-trade program, a fee on carbon emissions, and a phaseout of the mortgage interest deduction on large homes—can effectively "curb emission and to make alternatives economically viable." While a stimulated energy debate is important, the NADA intends to demonstrate to congressional leadership that there is bipartisan support for the Hill-Terry CAFE alternative (H.R. 2927). Dealers should focus on urging their representatives to support the Hill-Terry bill and encouraging them to become bill cosponsors if they have not yet done so. More information can be found at: