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CATA Bulletin
January 6, 2003


CATA radio ad campaign spotlights dealer service departments, used-car selections

November 23, 2010

Radio commercials that tout Chicago area new-vehicle dealers as the best source to buy used vehicles and to service vehicles began airing in late December, in a campaign conceived and funded by the CATA. The spots this year are scheduled to air the first two weeks of each month, thereby setting the table for the majority of dealer group and individual dealer messages, which air more heavily toward a month's end. One spot, titled "The Lullaby," portrays a father singing to his daughter at bedtime. To the daughter's chagrin, the lullaby is repeated nightly: Trustworthy, factory-trained technicians make the area's dealers the best place to have cars and trucks serviced. The father also praises dealers for using genuine factory parts, for fixing vehicles on the first visit, and for competitive prices. Another spot, "The Song," lauds the prices and selection of used vehicles at new-vehicle dealerships. Both spots fade with the jingle that new-vehicle dealers offer customers "a great deal and a great deal more," and instruction to use to find a nearby dealer. All CATA member dealers are listed on the Internet portal. Consultant Mike Hillstrom of Select Marketing Group joined eight dealers who sit on the committee that devised the campaign: John Guido (Arlington Heights Ford); William Hawkinson (Hawkinson Ford in Oak Lawn); Jeff Jacobs (Jacobs Twin in Chicago); Art Kelly (Kelly Nissan, Oak Lawn); Kevin Mize (O'Hare Honda); John Phelan (Jack Phelan Chevrolet, Lyons); Dan Roesch (Roesch Dealer Group, Bensenville); and Casey Wickstrom (Wickstrom Chevrolet, Roselle).

Help promote the show!

November 23, 2010

Auto show perks, other materials coming to help CATA members in '03

All members of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association in good standing will receive materials this week to help them in the coming year and to help publicize this year's Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 14-23 at McCormick Place. It's your show; please promote it. Packages sent Jan. 3 via United Parcel Service to dealer principals and company presidents include the following: • 1  CATA-member 2003 window decal; • 1 three-ring 2003 CATA Bulletin binder; and • 1 form to photocopy to order free supplies of odometer statements, used car buyer's guides, used-car limited warranty statements, and emission control equipment statements. And, to promote the 2003 Chicago Auto Show, the shipment includes: • 4 Chicago Auto Show easel cards; • 2 Chicago Auto Show posters; • 1 First Look for Charity poster; • 2 CATA member tickets valid for admission throughout the auto show; • 50 Employee Appreciation Day admission tickets, valid Feb. 14 and 17; and • 200 tickets valid for half-price admission any weekday of the show, to offer to customers. Don't forget to purchase additional admission tickets to the auto show as well as any First Look for Charity tickets that may traditionally have been supplied by functioning dealer line groups and advertising associations. Any member in good standing who does not receive the UPS shipment by Jan. 17 should notify the CATA. The shipments are trackable, to help resolve problems.


Area's AYES program embarks on the new year with momentum

November 23, 2010

With so many vehicles on the road in Illinois, particularly in the Chicago area, the need for new technicians is a growing concern. Automotive Youth Educational Services attempts to meet that need by working with area high school automotive programs to place qualified students in entry level technician positions. Three years ago, when AYES launched in Illinois, the initiative's success was uncertain. As with all programs, there is a learning curve. The schools have tightened their requirements for qualified students to secure an internship, and dealers have realized that AYES offers them a chance to "grow their own" employees. The future of AYES appears bright locally, thanks to funding from the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association. Four area high schools participate in AYES: Currie Metro and Farragut Career Academy, both in Chicago; Lake County Technical Center in Grayslake; and Technology Center of DuPage in Addison. Since 2000, the schools have placed almost 70 students at area dealerships. Jim Butcher, the state's AYES manager, said he hopes to place 60 more students into area internships this year. "Sixty students will about max out the four participating schools," said Butcher, who keeps an office at the CATA. "The dealer group is beginning to turn out for this program. We are seeing some real positive responses to our students," Butcher said. "I haven't spoken to any service manager who is unhappy with one of our AYES students." Butcher's tasks include helping more high schools to gain AYES certification, usually a two-year process. He also interacts with dealerships and the students and their parents. "Our children grow from an early age with a desire to become policemen and firemen. Why? Because the school system does an excellent job of taking the children on field trips to police and fire stations," Butcher said. "The question for our industry is, Why aren't these children out visiting dealerships?"

CATA offices closed Feb. 7-24 for auto show; order any supplies now

November 23, 2010

The offices of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association will close in Oakbrook Terrace Feb. 6 and not reopen until Feb. 25. Far from taking a two-week cruise, the CATA staff will be relocated to McCormick Place to produce the 2003 Chicago Auto Show. Because the CATA office will be closed, association members must make the following adjustments: • Dealership personnel responsible for securing any forms provided by the CATA-odometer statements, used-car buyer's guides, used-car limited warranty statements and emission control equipment statements-must place orders by Feb. 4 to ensure the orders can be processed by Feb. 6. Don't be caught with an empty supply shelf. • Responses to faxed requests for license plate information will not be possible. For information in the interim, call the Illinois Secretary of State's dealer inquiry service at 217-782-6877. • Meeting rooms at the CATA will be inaccessible during February. Calls to the CATA office during the auto show will automatically be forwarded to the CATA staff at McCormick Place.

Friday breakfasts in the service department can heat up a slow day

November 23, 2010

Many small improvements which are considered are not enacted because management thinks they won't have much of an impact. But many small improvements can add up to big increases in productivity and profitability. One dealer at an NADA 20 Group meeting said he considered ways to build traffic in his service department on Friday mornings, since it seemed to be the slowest period of the week. "We had an idea to start having breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This was a big hit with the customers. They loved the extra attention, and it took their minds off their cars being serviced," the dealer said. "We advertised in the newspaper, and customers spread the word to others about the experiences they had. Our Friday morning appointments went sky high, it was easy to do, and it cost us less than $100 a week. Consider the following menu: ABC Motor's Diner • Two eggs, grits and toast • Fried egg and cheese sandwich on a hard roll • Toast, bagel or English muffin • Oatmeal with milk • Coffee It pays to look around the dealership, ask employees, and enact a few lowcost ideas to increase customer traffic. Measuring the results can confirm that small changes can make big differences. This submission was excerpted from "Ideas 2002," produced by the NADA 20 Group staff. For information on joining a NADA 20 Group, call 800-252- 6232, ext. 3.

NADA forecast: End of luxury tax should spur auto sales in 2003

November 23, 2010

The elimination of the federal luxury tax on automobiles on Dec. 31, 2002, likely will save consumers more than $200 million a year and should increase demand for those vehicles that sell for more than $40,000, according to an NADA news release. Paul Taylor, chief economist for the NADA, said 2002's 3 percent tax rate applied to selling prices over $40,000- the final thresholds in a six-year phaseout of the tax-added $1,200 to the cost of many high-end luxury cars and SUVs. "That amount coming off the transaction price in 2003 provides an impact of nearly the same magnitude as a $1,200 cash rebate," Taylor said. "Just as cash rebates and other incentives helped luxury car sales in 2002, the repeal of the luxury tax should help boost sales in 2003," he said. An estimated 700,000 vehicles purchased in 2002 were subject to the luxury tax. The tax generated more than $4 billion since its inception in 1991.

State's supreme court to hear case involving local dealer

November 23, 2010

A dealer facing a lawsuit from a customer offers a settlement amount that the customer rejects. When the case proceeds to trial, the judge orders damages against the dealer that are less than the dealer's pretrial offer. In a case that will be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court, the customer in that scenario would be liable for the dealer's attorney fees. The CATA and the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association are helping to fund the court action. The case would discourage aggressive attorneys from churning cases in order to escalate their fees, without good-faith efforts to settle cases.

CATA readies for new session of Illinois General Assembly

November 23, 2010

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association and its lobbyists are preparing for the new session of the state's General Assembly, which convenes next week, to petition for legislation that would benefit CATA dealers. One matter dealers have discussed pertains to a law that took effect last week, wherein a driver's insurance is primary on loaner vehicles. Previously, a dealer's insurance was primary both for loaners and test-drives. However, the new law indicates that a dealer's insurance reverts to primary status if the driver's insurance policy does not carry a 100/ 300/50 liability minimum ($100,000 for bodily injury or death of any person; $300,000 for bodily injury or death of any two or more persons in one accident; and $50,000 for property damage). The state's current minimum insurance amounts are 20/40/15. Some dealers have indicated they could be hampered by the 100/300/50 minimum stipulation because insurance coverage amounts do not appear on drivers insurance cards, and few drivers can readily recite their coverage limits. Lobbyists for the CATA said they might appeal for a reduction to state liability minimums so that it is clear whose insurance is primary if an accident occurs involving a loaner vehicle. Any bills to be considered during this year's session of the General Assembly must be submitted in January or February. If CATA dealers have a matter they believe can be resolved by legislation, they should contact the association this month. Lobbyists have cautioned that 2003 may be a challenging session with a new administration in the governor's mansion.