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CATA Bulletin
January 16, 2006


Records retention checklist

November 18, 2010

Crowe Chizek & Co., an accounting firm in Oakbrook Terrace and an allied member of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, has developed a schedule for recommended retention of dealership financial records. Dealers should check with their automakers for recommendations on how long to keep franchise records.

Nissan Murano, Infiniti G35 are prizes at ‘First Look’ on Feb. 9

November 18, 2010

Nineteen Chicago area charities will benefit from more than $2.5 million expected to be raised by the 2006 Chicago Auto Show’s black-tie gala, and two lucky attendees will leave with the keys to new vehicles. 

But everyone who attends First Look for Charity on Feb. 9 will feel like a winner. The gala is the night before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public. Last year, the event raised nearly $2.7 million.


First Look for Charity, now in its 15th year, is a unique and elegant way to peruse the nation’s largest auto show before the throngs enter with their elbows a-flyin’. About 13,000 people are expected to attend First Look for Charity, a fraction compared to an average daily attendance during the show’s 10 public days. First Look for Charity attendees are treated to a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres; champagne, wine and soft drinks. 

Tickets are $200 each and can be ordered (1) using the pamphlet included with this newsletter, (2) at or (3) by calling 630-424-1636. For packages of 25 or more tickets, call the CATA’s Erik Higgins at 630-424-6008. Purchasers can designate their ticket proceeds to benefit any or all of the participating charities.


Benefiting charities this year include Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital; Alzheimer’s Association; American Lung Association of Metropolitan Association of Metropolitan Chicago; Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Campagna Academy; and Cancer Health Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago. 

Also, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago; Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet; Children’s Memorial Hospital; Clearbrook; The Cradle; Cure Autism Now Foundation; Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation; and Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities.


And, Illinois Spina Bifida Association; March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; Ronald McDonald House Charities; Misericordia Heart of Mercy; and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

"The Chicago Auto Show is uniformly regarded as the finest auto show in the country," said 2006 show Chairman Arthur Kelly. "But the benevolent cause demonstrates that this auto show is also about giving to the charities of our community."


The G35 is compliments of Nissan North America, Inc., Infiniti Division, and Chicagoland Infiniti dealers. The Murano is compliments of Nissan North America, Inc., and Chicagoland and northwest Indiana Nissan dealers. Vehicle winners must be present.


Auto show ACE judges needed

November 18, 2010

Dealers and their general managers are asked in an annual appeal to participate as judges in the Chicago Auto Show’s Award for Customer Excellence program.


The ACE judges evaluate salespeople at all vehicle exhibits and recommend the top salespeople for $100 cash prizes.  

The incognito judges consider (1) the salesperson’s initial impact, such as attitude, personality and interest in the customer; (2) courtesy, such as asking the prospect’s name and referring the prospect to a convenient dealership; (3) the sales presentation itself; and (4) the overall impression made. The prize can be won by only one salesperson a day at each exhibit.


For their participation, all judges are granted free parking and entrance to the show that day, plus a gift after judging. To serve as a judge, call the CATA’s Erik Higgins at 630-424-6008.


Consider ‘adopting’ a school for next month’s Chicago Auto Show

November 18, 2010

Dealerships can plant a benevolent seed with students by sponsoring a school group’s visit to the 2006 Chicago Auto Show. The measure can be a community relations plumb and establish customer loyalty with young consumers. 

Under the Adopt-A-School Program, a dealership can purchase tickets at $5 each for students in a group. There is no minimum or maximum potential group size. See the flyer in this newsletter.


High schoolers at or near driving age are logical students for a dealership to pair itself with. There are hundreds and hundreds of high schools in the Chicago area, probably more than one within each dealer’s relevant market area. 

Bill Stasek, proprietor of Bill Stasek Chevrolet in Wheeling, last year sponsored more than 100 students each from nearby Buffalo Grove High School, JohnHersey High School in Arlington Heights, and Vanguard School in Wheeling. Accompanying chaperones are admitted at no charge.


"The schools look forward to the auto show so much, and they wouldn’t be able to go without this program," Stasek said. "They really appreciate it, so it creates a lot of goodwill with the schools." 

In the program, dealers contact a school’s principal or assistant principal to arrange the weekday field trip. Stasek met groups at McCormick Place and even popped for lunches for everyone.


Dealers interested in "adopting" a school should contact the CATA’s Donna Young for more details, at 630-424-6045.


Penske: Too many dealers, not enough customers hurt automakers

November 18, 2010

Domestic automakers suffer from dealer networks that are too big and bogged down by weak performers, said Roger Penske, the racing legend and billionaire businessman who heads one of the largest chains of auto dealerships. 

In a Jan. 3 interview with The Associated Press, Penske, chairman and chief executive of United Auto Group Inc., also predicted that the Big Three would soon look to foreign markets for the bulk of their income.


The U.S. automakers are struggling with sliding market share and increasing health care and pension costs. Industry leader General Motors Corp. lost $3.8 billion in the first nine months of 2005 and plans to cut 30,000 jobs and close 12 facilities over the next two years. 

No. 2 U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co., which saw its net income slide 45 percent in the January-September period, is to announce its restructuring plan later this month. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group has fared somewhat better, improving its market share last year with new products.


Penske, who bought a controlling stake in UAG in 1999 and owns a separate chain of foreign-brand dealerships called Penske Automotive Group Inc., said that from his perspective at the retail level, U.S. automakers need a leaner distribution network. 

GM, which through November had a market share of 26 percent, had 7,384 dealers as of Nov. 30, spokeswoman Susan Garontakos said. Toyota Motor Corp., with a market share of 13.3 percent, has about 1,400 dealers, spokesman Xavier Dominicis said.


Garontakos said domestic automakers have ended up with more dealers because they have been selling vehicles in the United States much longer than foreign companies. But she said GM officials do not believe they have too large a distribution network, especially since the company has eight brands. 

"We may have underperforming dealers, but we provide lots of counsel," she said. "We work with them to help them become successful."


Garontakos said the company encourages dealers of one GM brand to pick up others that are a good fit. 

Penske’s own dealerships are heavily skewed toward the Big Three’s competitors. El Monte, Calif.-based Penske Automotive Group sells Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Honda. Bloomfield Hills-based UAG, the second-largest publicly traded auto retailer after AutoNation Inc., operates 166 dealerships in the United States and 103 abroad, with foreign brands accounting for 86 percent of its revenue.


Nevertheless, Penske said he believes the Big Three have largely caught up with their competitors in terms of quality. The bigger problems, he said, are consumer perception and resale value. The U.S. automakers have struggled with low resale values in part because they sell a large percentage of vehicles to corporate and rental-car fleets at lower prices. 

Penske said he was confident the U.S. automakers would recover from their current doldrums.


"This is not about survival," he said. "You hear all these crazy words—bankruptcy and things like this. These companies have huge assets in brand recognition. They’ve got a lot of good people, there’s tremendous technology." 

The trick will be to look toward global markets, said Penske, who has made a career of taking over and turning around once-ailing companies, such as UAG. At home, the Big Three face enormous health care and pension burdens, as well as union wages critics contend the companies can no longer afford. But there are plenty of markets where such issues don’t exist, Penske said.


"GM, Ford and Chrysler are global companies today, and they’re smart people," he said. "And what they’re going to do is not have the majority of their business in the U.S."


Northwood’s Fry to receive AIADA’s 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award

November 18, 2010

David E. Fry, president and chief executive of Northwood University, will receive the American International Automobile Dealers Association’s 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award, the association’s highest award.


Dr. Fry will be honored Feb. 13 in Orlando, at the AIADA’s annual meeting and luncheon. The award is bestowed for Fry’s "continual dedication to the international nameplate automobile industry and (for) promoting the value of a free market and practical global management at one of the country’s premier private institutions of higher education."



November 18, 2010

Nine area Ford dealers are winners of Ford Customer Service Division’s 2005 3rd Quarter Genuine Challenge, for maintaining overall service satisfaction, reaching an all-time high First Service Appointment Retention of 55 percent, and growing retail parts and labor sales 10 percent. The dealerships are BredemannFord in GlenviewBuss Ford Sales, McHenry; Elm Ford, Newark; Fair Oaks Ford, Naperville; Paul Heuring Motors, Hobart, Ind.; McCarthy Ford, Chicago; AlPiemonte Ford Sales, Melrose Park; Victor Ford, Wauconda; and Willowbrook Ford.


November 17, 2010

Office Manager 28 years’ experience. Strong background in all aspects of accounting. Natural and persuasive communicator, recognized among colleagues for keen ability to energize and inspire individuals to work towards common goal. Linda Bodene, 630-833-1720.


Comptroller/Office Manager 30 years’ experience as office manager, comptroller, general manager. Bob Blink, 21-365-2429 or 219-308-4621.


Résumés of both candidates on file at the CATA.