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CATA Bulletin
January 19, 2004

 

'04 Chicago Auto Show ready to roll

November 22, 2010

The automotive industry and the nation's largest auto show are ready to serve as the perfect sales appetite stimulant. With nearly 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concepts and specialty vehicles on display in Chicago's gigantic McCormick Place, consumers will be able to enjoy every morsel of sheet metal eye candy at this year's Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 6-15. "Many contend that before the economy is able to go from trot to gallop, all the pieces have to be in place," said 2004 auto show Chairman Mike McGrath. "From our perspective, the Chicago Auto Show is one of the puzzle pieces that's crucial to the recovery. Before any customer spends, there must be motivated to do so. "There's no better way to create demand for product than displaying the industry's latest offerings in the truly remarkable exhibits that fill McCormick Place." The automotive industry is in a huge roll-out cycle that will treat show-goers to more new products than ever before. Each of the segments of production, from cars to trucks to SUVs to crossovers, have new vehicles to peruse side by side. "From the practical side," said CATA Chairman Casey Wickstrom, "the auto show offers a consumer the very best way to survey all of the brands and styles all in one place. The show visitor can see one brand just a short walk from another, so easy and repeated comparisons can be made. "And they'll be able to judge the practicality of the industry's offerings and peer into the future, with spectacular concept vehicles that someday might grace their driveways-or their children's!" Giving Back to the Community While the auto show is one of the engines of the local and national economy, it also serves to help the community. First Look for Charity, the CATA's annual blacktie preview of the Chicago Auto Show, this year is 6:30- 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5. The event, which benefits 16 local organizations, last year raised $2.2 million. "Over the 13 years we've produced 'First Look,' we've seen it grow into one of the highlight events on Chicago's social calendar," said Jerry H. Cizek III, CATA president and general manager of the auto show. "For the first time we've considered capping the number of tickets we sell in order to keep the event special for its patrons. "While McCormick Place can hold a tremendous number of people, the idea of this night is to offer an elegant look at the show-replete with sumptuous hors d'oeuvres, champagne, wine and two very special drawings for spectacular cars." Through the generosity of two manufacturers, two lucky patrons will be able to leave First Look for Charity with more than the good feeling of helping those in need. "Lexus and the Chicagoland Lexus dealers have offered their elegant SC 430 hardtop convertibles as one of the grand prizes," said Cizek, "and Chicago's Acura dealers and Acura division of Honda have contributed their nimble and gutsy new TL sport-sedan to find its way into yet another patron's family. "Two prizes worth more than $100,000 is a nice way to put a cherry on the top of a very fun night!" Tickets for the black-tie event are $175 each and are available in advance by calling 630-424-1636 or at Will Call the night of the event. Special Days While any visit to the Chicago Auto Show is special, some are of particular note. Tuesday, Feb. 10 will feature programs and a ticket bargain. Women's Day offers a $5 discount off regular admission for all women, who are invited to visit manufacturer displays where ongoing seminars on purchasing, leasing, servicing or playing in their vehicles will be held. "While women are directly involved with the vast majority of automotive purchases, some feel that manufacturers are only targeting males," said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Jerry Cizek. "In reality, females are very high on the priority list for any manufacturer who is serious about selling product-and that's all of them! The seminars held on Women's Day help clear up questions that some are shy about addressing." As an extension of the charitable aspects of the expo, organizers will again feature The Chicago Auto Show Food Drive, which benefits the Chicago Christian Industrial League and their programs to feed the hungry. The drive will be held Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 11-13. Patrons who bring three cans of food to the auto show will receive a $5 discount off regular admission. Food drives tend to center around holiday seasons, but the problem goes on year-round. It's the belief of the CATA's Board of Directors that we can help those in need with this program by offering this weekday discount to show patrons. Through a special arrangement with Jewel Food Stores, an in-store coupon will be given to those who purchase three cans of Jewel-brand canned goods and bring them to the show. The coupon will be good for a $5 discount off full admission price during the Feb. 11-13 food drive. Online Ticket Sales Three years ago, the Chicago Auto Show experimented with online ticket sales via the Internet. The program has grown to the point where show organizers have increased the number of scanners for those who have purchased their tickets in the comfort of their home. Those who wish to take advantage of the Web site sales can simply log on to www.drivechicago.com and click on the ticket icon. A credit card, computer and home printer will deliver a bar-coded ticket to the hands of the purchaser in the blink of an eye. The Chicago Auto Show will be open to the public Feb. 6-15. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, except Feb. 15 when the show closes at 8 p.m. Box offices will sell tickets up to one hour prior to closing every day. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for pre-teens or free when accompanied by a paying parent; $5 for senior citizens.
 

NADA to unveil 'Hire a Hero' plan at convention

November 22, 2010

Automotive Retailing Today, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, and the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army have teamed to create "Hire the Heroes," an initiative to place military veterans at the nation's dealerships. The qualities demonstrated by military personnel are the same qualities every dealer looks for in an employee, and many military positions provide training that is easily transferred to a dealership job. For example, successfully maintaining and repairing military transport vehicles could translate into a service tech job, and keeping inventory for the military may well qualify a soldier or sailor for a similar position at a dealership. Or, the communications skills of a military instructor might fill the requirements of a showroom sales position. The "Hire a Hero" initiative was scheduled to be rolled out during the NADA Convention, Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Las Vegas.
 

Auto show gala expected to raise $2 million for 16 area charities

November 22, 2010

Sixteen Chicago area charities will benefit from more than $2 million expected to be raised by a black-tie gala held on the eve of the 2004 Chicago Auto Show in February. See the pamphlet accompanying this newsletter for details and a form to order tickets. The coming "First Look" event, on Feb. 5, gives benefactors the chance to see nearly 1,000 new vehicles on display amid an elegance not present when more than 1 million people converge on McCormick Place during the auto show's 10-day consumer run, Feb. 6-15. Benefactors also have the chance to win one of two 2004 premium vehicles: an Acura TL or a Lexus SC 430. About 10,000 attendees at the charity gala will be treated to hors d'oeuvres; champagne, wine, beer and soft drinks; and special entertainment presented by the automakers in their displays. The public phase of the auto show attracts huge crowds each day. First Look for Charity has become one of the special events on the winter schedules of Chicago socialites and car buffs. "The Chicago Auto Show is uniformly regarded as the finest auto show in the country, but the charitable cause demonstrates that this auto show is about more than just vehicles and accessories," said Mike McGrath, chairman of the 2004 show. "It's also about giving something to the charities of our community." The 16 organizations participating in this year's First Look for Charity predominantly are children-oriented. Some operate on a global level; others, locally. The charities receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the event, and all those proceeds are used in their efforts in the Chicago area, McGrath said. Charities involved in the 13th annual First Look for Charity are: Advocate Hope Children's Hospital, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Campagna Academy, Children's Memorial Hospital, Clearbrook, The Cradle, and the Cure Autism Now Foundation. Also, the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Assosication, Little City Foundation, March of Dimes Birth Defects Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities, MisericordiaHeart of Mercy, and the NationalMultiple Sclerosis Society. Tickets to the event are $175 each and can be ordered by calling 630-424- 1636. Benefactors should indicate which charity or charities they want their donation to benefit. Of each ticket, $146 is tax-deductible as a charitable expense. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White serves as honorary chairman of the event. "It's a wonderful event that raises a lot of money for worthwhile causes and gives people an premiere look at the best auto show in the nation," White said. Auto show chairman McGrath said the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which produces First Look for Charity and the Chicago Auto Show, selected the 16 organizations in recognition of their beneficial community efforts.
 

What women want

November 22, 2010

Female car buyers look for features that fit their lives

Draped in plush leather, deluxe acoustic systems and elegant wood trim, the $150,000 Bentley Continental GT is the kind of vehicle designed to satisfy a driver's every desire. Except for one detail. "There's still no place for your purse," said Denesha Evans, an account executive in Michigan, as she sat in the driver's seat looking for a place to stash her handbag. Based on a survey released this month by the Women's Economic Club and past market research, female consumers generally want more storage, better safety features and more room in their vehicles-extras that don't rank high in importance among men. But despite research that shows women purchase 50 percent of new cars and influence 80 percent of car-buying decisions, their preferences in vehicle design often have been overlooked by the auto industry. Looking at the amped-up stereos, menacing front grilles and other macho attributes of autos past and present, it's apparent why Detroit became home of the adage that "you can sell a guy's car to women, but you can't sell a woman's car to a guy." In recent years, responding to growing power among female consumers and industry executives, automakers have toned down the testosterone to a certain extent, tacking on safety features by the score and revamping interiors to handle loose change and a super-sized soda from the drive-through. The Volkswagen Beetle even features a built-in bud vase, complete with a fake daisy, to soften the interior atmosphere. But there still is room for improvement, according to the Women's Economic Club survey. Women asked for better windshield wipers, adjustable pedals that can be operated in high heels and computer chargers or ports. According to past research, males tend to prefer appearance and performance attributes above practical ones. Even the seemingly innocuous bench seat is a heated battleground between the genders, said Art Spinella, an auto industry analyst at CNW Marketing in Bandon, Ore. On a scale of 1 to 10, Spinella said, surveys have shown women on average rate the bench seat an 8, because it enables them to place items conveniently within reach of the driver. Men, meanwhile, tend to think the bench seat is lame, rating it a 2.2. Males prefer the appearance of bucket seats, giving them a 6.3, while women rate separated seats at a 3.4. "Women tend to be more practical as consumers, rating things such as safety as very important. Men tend to be more concerned with appearance and rating the stereo system as very important," Spinella said. "It's something that is even apparent in children (who are surveyed)." Not everyone agrees the differences between "men's" cars and "women's" cars are all that striking. John and Susan Kibele said they had very similar reactions when car shopping, chalking up any differences to personal preference, not gender. "I don't think it has a whole lot to do with gender," Susan Kibele said. "My daughter drives a truck. I don't think women want much different than men generally." Whether or not the difference in preferences between genders is as big as the industry thinks, they'll likely keep cranking out cars aimed mostly at men, Spinella said. "Up to this point, they'll just use what they think men want and figure women will just buy it anyway," he said. "That's why you see so many bucket seats as standard equipment."

 

E-mail restrictions take effect

November 22, 2010

File this under "government in action": Legislation to prohibit unsolicited commercial e-mail took effect Jan. 1, but the Federal Trade Commission has not yet issued rules that fully define the compliance requirements. Nevertheless, compliance is mandatory. The "can spam" legislation- an acronym for the "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003"-imposes certain restrictions on the use of com- mercial e-mail messages, but excludes restrictions on transactional or relationship e-mails. A commercial e-mail message is defined as "any electronic mail message, the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet Web site operated for a commercial purpose)." When transmitting commercial email, dealers must prominently offer their customers the opportunity to opt out of any future commercial e-mail solicitations. Dealers also must ensure that each commercial e-mail solicitation (1) identifies the message as an advertisement or solicitation, (2) includes a functioning return e-mail address which the recipient can use to submit an opt-out request, and (3) provides a valid physical postal address for the dealer's business. Dealers must process opt-out requests within 10 business days of receipt and ensure future e-mail solicitations are not sent to the requesters. A business is not violating the new law if the functioning return e-mail address is unexpectedly and temporarily unable to receive messages for a reasonable time. Mere inclusion in an e-mail message  of a reference, or link, to a Web site of commercial entity does not, by itself, categorize the message as commercial e-mail if the contents or circumstances of the e-mail indicate a "primary purpose" other than the advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service. The FTC will issue regulations by the end of 2004 that define the "primary purpose" of an e-mail. By June, the FTC will establish a "do-not-e-mail" registry.
 

Happy New Year?

November 22, 2010

BY RAY SCARPELLI METRO CHICAGO NADA DIRECTOR

E-mail spam regulations On Dec. 16, President Bush signed the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act) of 2003. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, imposes new restrictions on dealers who use e-mail to market their products and services. Among the new responsibilities imposed by the law is that dealers must prominently offer their customers the opportunity to opt out of future commercial e-mail solicitations. Dealers also must ensure that each commercial e-mail solicitation • identifies the message as an advertisement or solicitation; • includes a functioning return email address that the recipient can use to submit an opt-out request; and • provides a valid physical postal address for the dealer's business. Opt-out requests must be processed within 10 business days of receipt and ensure future e-mail solicitations are not sent to the requesters. These requirements do not apply to transactional or relationship e-mail messages, which are defined in a summary prepared by the NADA's Regulatory Affairs staff. As you can see, this legislation provided very little lead-time to comply with the new requirements, which dealers must do immediately. The summary is available on the Member Sevices>Government Affairs>Regulation page of www.nada.org or through the NADA's fax-on-demand service. Call 800-778-7209 and request Document No. 85. The NADA will keep dealers updated on any regulatory developments in what continues to be a steady stream of congressional mandates and regulations. Las Vegas, here we come! As we begin a new year, the NADA is in the final stages of  preparation for our Industry Event of the Year, the NADA Convention and Exposition, which begins Jan. 31. Anyone who is not pre-registered must register on-site. The Convention Committee, led by NADA director Carl Barnett, has a fantastic program with wonderful speakers, informative exhibits, and the chance to meet face-to-face with your fellow dealers and senior manufacturer representatives. Don't miss a thing! For information on the programs, speakers, workshops, exhibits, lifestyle programs, hotels and tours, and to schedule your time at the show, visitwww.nada.org and click on the home page Convention icon. This year, for the first time, the American Financial Services Association has invited us to come early and enjoy the association's Auto Finance Conference and Exposition, Jan. 28-30 at the Ritz Carlton Lake Las Vegas. With all the media attention given to auto dealers and financing, this is a most timely invitation. Speakers leading a panel discussion include Mike Jackson of AutoNation; Allan Gilmour, vice chairman of Ford Motor Co.; and Lin Peacock, executive director of the NADA Industry Affairs Division. Happy 25th, Dealer Academy! The NADA Dealer Academy marks 25 years this month. The first Dealer Candidate Academy class in 1979 had 16 students, and the DCA remains the most popular course today. More than 400 students are expected to participate in the program this year alone. Classes have opened for dealership managers and expanded to include auction courses and weekend refresher courses for past students. All GM minority dealer candidates can enroll in the DCA program to boost their success, and many other manufacturers encourage future dealers to take the NADA's premier training. In other news: • I hope you're all using NADAExpress Internet home page to make your day easier. It's a personal planner that presents information customized to your specifications. Select from NADA information, online publications, financial info sources, leisure pursuit sites, and other options to have what you need-right at your fingertips and free, a benefit of NADA membership. • The NADA continues to defend dealers and the franchise system in the media against unwarranted criticism by the Wall Street Journal, "Dateline NBC" and Public Citizen. NADA Chairman Alan Starling's remarks and letters have appeared in several media outlets. Exposing the critics' affiliations has called into question their comments. Please review the NADA's Code of Ethics to be sure your dealership rises above the naysayers' cries of fraud and deception. As always, as your NADA board member, I stand ready to bring your views to the national office, and national office to you, so keep in touch. I hope to see you in Las Vegas!

 

Fuel economy guide no longer mailed

November 22, 2010

Unless specially requested, the fuel economy guides produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Energy Department no longer will be mailed to dealers. However, dealers still must display the guide and provide copies to customers on request. The guide can be downloaded from the Energy Department's Web site, www.fueleconomy.gov/ The NADA notified all dealers of the change on Jan. 8, and the DOE will send a similar letter later this month.