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CATA Bulletin
March 4, 2002

 

Chicago Auto Show draws crowds, raves

November 24, 2010

Somebody call Alan Greenspan and tell him the recession is over. 
Consumers turned out en masse Feb. 8-17 for the 2002 Chicago Auto Show, and they left in good spirits for what is regarded as the launch of the local dealers' spring selling season. 
Enthusiastic and plentiful media coverage of the auto show, including two 60-minute television specials, contributed to an excitement for what awaited on the show floor: about 1,000 new vehicles, including 26 world debuts-19 production models and seven concepts. 
Food drive nets 9 tons 
Late weekday crowds benefited the Chicago Christian Coalition League by contributing more than seven tons of canned food. The CATA extends a $3 discount off regular adult admission to those who bring two cans of food Wednesday through Friday at the show. 
Kellogg Co., one of the auto show's corporate sponsors, and Red Gold., Inc. also donated generous amounts of food to the coalition league. 
$27,800 disbursed in ACE Awards 
Effective salespeople in the displays netted a combined $27,800 under the Award for Cutomer Excellence (ACE) Program. Salespeople at all vehicle exhibits were evaluated each day by incognito judges who rated the salespeople using various criteria. 
Judges considered (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, $100 cash, can be won by only one salesperson a day at each make's display. 
Eight people won the award at least three times during the 10-day show. Jessie Alvarado of Continental Nissan (Countryside) and Len Donnells of Joe Rizza Acura (Orland Park) each won the award four times. 
Three-time winners were Dan Alfaro of Max Madsen M i t s u b i s h i ( D o w n e r s Grove), Tola Ayinde of O a k b r o o k Toyota in Westmont, and Roy Chiovari of Liberty Jeep (Libertyville), Boris DiKopf of Classic Toyota (Waukegan), Bob Jenkins of Glendale Nissan, and Ken Walter of Ed Napleton Dodge (Oak Lawn). 
Judges included members of the CATA board of directors and others. Every winner also received a distinctive certificate. 
Congratulations to all the winners!


2002 Chicago Auto Show World debuts 
Production 
• 2003 Buick LeSabre 
• 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 
• 2003 Dodge Ram 2500/3500 
• 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT 
• 2003 GMC Sierra 
• 2002 Jeep Liberty Renegade 
• 2003 Jeep Wrangler APEX 
• 2003 Kia Sorento sport-utility 
• 2002 Mazda Miata SE 
• 2002 Mercury Cougar special edition 
• 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis 
• 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder/GTS 
• 2003 Nissan Frontier Open Sky 
• 2002 Pontiac Grand Am Hot Wheels show car 
• 2002 Pontiac Grand Am SC T 
• 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix G-Force 
• 2003 Pontiac Sunfire coupe 
• 2003 Saturn L series 
• 2003 Subaru Forester
Concepts 
• Ford CrossTrainer 
• GMC Terra4 pickup 
• Hyundai HCD 7 sedan 
• Mercury Marauder convertible 
• Pontiac Bonneville G/XP 
• Saturn Sky convertible 
• Toyota Tundra stepside

 

Stasek honored for TMQDA nomination

November 24, 2010

William R. Stasek, president of Bill Stasek Chevrolet in Wheeling, was among 66 dealers nationwide honored as recipients of the 2002 Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, in a Jan. 26 ceremony as part of the annual NADA convention and exposition. 
The award recognizes new-car dealers for exceptional performance in their business coupled with distinguished community service. 
"The recipients of this prestigious award," said NADA Chairman Carter Meyers, "do a lot more than just sell cars and trucks. They work diligently and untiringly to help their communities and their industry and are an inspiration to all of us." 
A panel of faculty members from the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration selected five TMQDA finalists. George Nahas of Tavares, Fla., was named winner of the 2002 award. Stasek earned the nomination of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. 
Stasek, a past CATA chairman, joined Tom Todd Chevrolet as a partner in 1978 and later became sole proprietor. His dealership is a 10-time Chevrolet Customer Satisfaction Leader. 
He is a member of the benefit council of The Cradle, a private adoption agency in Evanston that is one of the benefiting organizations of the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity. Stasek also supports OMNI Youth Services in the northwest Chicago suburbs. 
Stasek is active in the Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Northbrook and Deerfield communities near his dealership. In 1996, he won the Wheeling/Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce "Business of the Year" Award.
 Tribune special section spotlights dealers' community goodwill 
A Chicago Tribune special advertising section published on the eve of the Chicago Auto Show enabled local dealers to inform the public of their community goodwill. 
The Feb. 6 section, "Driving Change Across Chicago," featured 32 pages of advertorial content that was delivered to the Tribune's 2 million regular readers and to out-of-town media and manufacturer representatives at select hotels. 
Dozens of dealers identified charitable activities they support and other forms of volunteerism. Their community support also can be measured in the number of workers their dealerships employ.
 

Illinois legislative session up, running

November 24, 2010

Lobbyists for the CATA worked to introduce six bills in the Illinois General Assembly in February. The bills range from a proposal to reduce from $65 to $13 the cost to dealers to obtain a vehicle title to the umpteenth introduction of legislation to amend the way leased vehicles are taxed. 
All 137 fees imposed by the Illinois secretary of state's office increased Jan. 1, 2000, to help fund Gov. George Ryan's statewide infrastructure initiative, Illinois FIRST. Among the increases, new title fees jumped fivefold, from $13 to $65. 
A new bill, Senate Bill 1852, would restore the original title fee for licensed new- and used-car dealers only. Duplicate and corrected titles would remain at $65. 
Another bill expands the list of components on a new vehicle which can be repaired without triggering damage disclosure. Dealers must disclose new-vehicle damage when the cost to repair the damage exceeds 6 percent of MSRP. 
Damage to glass, tires, bumpers and in-dash audio equipment can be replaced with OEM equipment without triggering disclosure. Senate Bill 1851 adds video and telephonic elements to that list. 
House Bill 4353 would make it illegal for anyone to install or reinstall in a vehicle any object in lieu of an air bag which is designed specifically for the make, model and year of that vehicle, according to federal safety regulations. 
House Bill 4975 would shift insurance liability on loaner vehicles to make the driver's insurance primary, not the dealer's. The dealer's insurance still would be primary on test-drive vehicles. A test-drive vehicle, as defined in the bill, is driven by a customer for less than 12 hours, with the dealer's permission. 
A similar bill advanced from the General Assembly in 1999, but Gov. Ryan vetoed the bill after lobbyists for the state's trial lawyers assailed the measure. 
Senate Bill 2157 would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to permit vehicles which weigh up to 8,000 pounds and which are not used for commercial purposes to display passenger plates. 
If passed, the new law would help efforts in Chicago to allow pickup trucks on the city's Lake Shore Drive and other boulevards that currently prohibit B plates. 
State senators get the initial chance this spring to mull legislation to revamp leased-vehicle taxes. Senate Bill 1853, which in previous incarnations died on the vine or came under gubernatorial veto, is back. 
Lessees now pay a lump tax, at lease inception, based on the vehicle's sale price. The bill proposes that taxes instead be based on the monthly payments and spread over the life of the lease. 
Representatives of the CATA's lobbying firm, Roger C. Marquardt & Co., Inc., cautioned that it is unlikely legislators would advance "revenue-reducing bills" this session, given the budget deficits facing lawmakers.
 

DriveChicago portal traffic swells thanks to auto show

November 24, 2010

Heavy promotion and a prime presence on the show floor at McCormick Place contributed to a 170 percent increase in visitors to www.drivechicago.com during the 2002 Chicago Auto Show, compared to the the 2001 auto show period. 
"Automotive sites that draw on a national basis would be proud to have this level of traffic," said Paul Budvitis, DriveChicago general manager. "Based on the traffic increases we have seen, the promotions were a success." 
The portal was prominent on the NBC5 television special Feb. 9 and in the official auto show guide.
 Auto show display attracts job hopefuls 
Nearly 500 visitors to this year's Chicago Auto Show completed a brief flyer to indicate their desire to work at a new-car dealership and their fluency in various languages. 
The flyer queried job hopefuls on what positions interest them-sales, technician, service writer, parts department, technical support, porter, receptionist or other-and what languages they speak in addition to English. 
The language prompts on the flyer included Spanish, Korean, Polish, Russian, and a blank line to indicate any other languages the candidate speaks. On the completed flyers, French and Croatian appear most often under "other." 
The CATA can present the candidates to dealers in a variety of ways: all used-car sales hopefuls, all service writers who also speak Polish, all applicants in a specific ZIP code, and so forth. 
Call the CATA's Erik Higgins at 630- 495-2282 to review the applicants. Please be prepared to indicate specific traits desired; don't say "Send me all the names you've got." Remember, there are nearly 500 names. 
Univision, WGBO-TV in Chicago, promoted the job candidate display on its programs, which helped greatly to attract the applicants.
 

New CATA Employee Relations counsel named

November 24, 2010

A Chicago law firm, Franczek Sullivan P.C., has been retained by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association to represent the association's dealer members in labor, employment and educational matters. 
The chief contact at Franczek Sullivan is David Radelet, a founding partner of the firm. Radelet succeeds James F. Hendricks Jr. and Fisher & Phillips LLP as the CATA's Employee Relations Counsel. The change is effective April 1. 
Among other duties, Franczek Sullivan will administer current and future contracts with the four unions present in CATA dealerships: I.A.M. Local No. 701, Standard Automotive and Ford Truck Agreements; Teamsters Local No. 731 Garage Attendants; Teamsters Local No. 179 and I.A.M. Lodge No. 1749 (both in the Joliet New Car & Truck Dealers Association) and I.A.M. District Lodge No. 377 (Chicago Heights Automobile Dealers). 
In union-related matters, Radelet has represented management in scores of union organizing and decertification elections, unfair labor practice or other NLRB proceedings, collective bargaining negotiations, and arbitration proceedings. 
Radelet and his associates can be reached at Franczek Sullivan P.C., 300 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60606. The office phone is 312-986- 0300; the fax is 312-986-9192. 
"The CATA board of directors is confident that Franczek Sullivan will provide exemplary employee relations counsel for the association's dealers," said CATA Chairman Bob Van Iten.
 

First Look for Charity raises $1.8 million

November 24, 2010

Seventeen area charities shared in more than $1.8 million raised by the 2002 Chicago Auto Show's benevolent event, First Look for Charity, and one attendee left with the keys to a new Ford Thunderbird. 
The amount, $1,800,609, and the 12,004 tickets sold both were record figures for the 11-year-old black-tie benefit, which is held the evening before the auto show opens its 10-day public run. 
"First Look for Charity is a great instrument for the area's new-car dealers to show the positive impact they have on their community," said Greg Webb, chairman of this year's auto show. "All the benefiting charities are involved locally, so the money that's raised in Chicago stays in Chicago." 
As the name of the event implies, those who attend First Look for Charity are part of the premier viewing of each year's Chicago Auto Show. 
Tickets to the fund-raiser are $150 each, and purchasers can elect to have their proceeds equally benefit all participating charities, or any one charity for which they have an affinity. For the event, the auto show floor is replete with a variety of food and beverage stations. A highlight of the evening is the drawing for a new vehicle, the event's grand prize. This year's event awarded the Thunderbird to Peter Grace of Oak Park, Ill. 
"I'm here tonight with some friends who had an extra ticket," Grace said as he was handed the keys to the prize. "I feel a little guilty about winning, but not guilty enough to give it up. This is a car that's special enough to save for one of my children." 
Proceeds of Grace's ticket benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities. In all, seventeen Chicago area charities benefited from the event.
 

Leasing companies can take tax credits when retailing off-lease vehicles

November 24, 2010

A change to the Illinois Revenue Department's Form ST-556 allows a leasing company to take a tax credit when a vehicle the company originally purchased to lease subsequently is sold at retail by the company.

Form ST-556 has been changed slightly to report any qualified tax credits. The updated form is apparent by the revision date on the upper left corner of the return. The revision date is October 2001; it appears as R-10/01.

The changed ST-556 primarily impacts leasing companies. However, it affects all businesses that file the ST-556 return because of the revisions made to the form itself. Dealers have to make certain adjustments to computer programs to use the new edition.

Now, dealers who both lease items in Illinois and retail the same items at the end of the lease may take credit for the previously paid tax.

If the original tax was $1,000, and then $600 is due when the vehicle is sold, the business may report a $600 credit on Line 10 of the revised ST-556. No balance remains for the other $400; that difference is gone.

The new regulations change is different than an advance trade-in credit, which is established when a leasing company trades in an off-lease vehicle towards a future purchase of a vehicle to be leased. The new tax credit is allowed only when a leasing company sells an off-lease vehicle at retail.

Dealers should have received an informational bulletin from the Revenue Department in December that fully explains the new tax credit.

Form ST-556 must be filed with the revenue department to report the retail sale of items which must be titled-vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, trailers and mobile homes-in Illinois.

The tax credit change is not the result of any new legislation. For more information, call 1-800-732-8866.

 

In Memoriam

November 24, 2010

William Hartigan Sr., founder of Hartigan Chevrolet and Heritage Cadillac, died Jan. 27. He was 75.

He operated Hartigan Chevrolet in Chicago briefly in the 1950s, then opened Heritage Cadillac, on Roosevelt Road in Lombard, in 1967. The Cadillac dealership now is operated by William Hartigan Jr., who is a director of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association.

In addition to William Jr., William Hartigan Sr. is survived by his wife, Jean; a daughter, Nancy; a son, Thomas; and five grandchildren.