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CATA Bulletin
June 28, 2010


Foley elected CATA chairman for 2010-2011 board of directors term

November 11, 2010

Steve Foley Jr.’s fellow directors of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association voted him chairman of the board for the next 12 months, when the directors met June 21 for their monthly meeting.

The new board chairman succeeds Kevin Mize, who becomes chairman of the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Foley will act as the show’s co-chairman.

Foley, principal of Steve Foley Cadillac and Rolls-Royce in Northbrook and Bentley Northbrook, leads a board of 18 dealers.

Other board officers include Vice Chairman Mike Ettleson (Ettleson Cadillac-Buick-GMC, Hodgkins; and Ettleson Hyundai, Countryside); Treasurer Kurt Schiele(Elmhurst Toyota-Scion, Elmhurst  BMW, and Jaguar Elmhurst); and Secretary John Webb (Packey Webb Ford, Downers Grove). David Sloan is association president.

Three directors—John Phelan, Mark Scarpelli and Dave Taylor—retired from the board after service since 2001. During their terms, both Phelan and Scarpelli ascended to board chairman. Mize steps down after February's auto show.


3 newcomers among 5 dealers elected to CATA board of directors

November 11, 2010

Results announced at successful premiere EXPO

An enthusiastic crowd of dealers and their managers showed up June 17 for the inaugural CATA Dealer Meeting & EXPO, and they liked what they saw: 40 allied members explaining their products and services, and five educational seminars repeated throughout the day.

At the luncheon, held under a big tent, results of this month’s balloting for the CATA board of directors showed two incumbents and three newcomers won election to three-year terms. Mike Ettleson, the board vice chairman, was elected to his third and final term, and Dennis Bauer won a second term.

Other election winners were Tony Guido (Arlington Heights Ford), John Hennessy (River Oaks Ford in Calumet City and River View Ford in Oswego), and Ray Scarpelli Jr. (Ray Chevrolet-Suzuki in Fox Lake).

Kevin Mize, whose term as board chairman concluded after the EXPO, spoke positively of new member benefits like the EXPO, which provided dealers one-stop shopping to see ways the allied members can help save them time and money.

Mize also mentioned the first-ever CATA Town Hall Meeting on July 21, which will give dealers and Illinois legislators a chance to interact; and new relationships with Utility Management Group and Sprint that can save dealers money on energy bills and mobile telephones, respectively.


Dealers win exemption from proposed financial regulator

November 11, 2010

When all-night negotiations over financial reform ended at dawn June 25, the nation’s 18,000 new-vehicle dealers got what they wanted: protection from oversight by a new consumer protection regulator.

Instead, House and Senate conferees agreed that the Federal Trade Commission would remain watchdog over dealers, with expedited authority to enact regulation when necessary.

The creation of a consumer protection regulator, with broad authority to write and enforce rules protecting borrowers, is a centerpiece of the financial legislation. Its jurisdiction would include banks, mortgage lenders and other companies whose primary business is making loans to consumers.

The agreement is to be submitted to the full House and Senate for votes this week, and then to President Obama, who has indicated he would sign it.

The two largest groups to gain exemption from the new regulator are dealers and community banks. Their victories are a classic instance of the maxim that politics are local. Banks and dealerships are important businesses in every Congressional district, and both their concerns and donations have been embraced on Capitol Hill.

The new agency, housed in the Federal Reserve, would oversee mortgages, credit cards and other consumer financial products in the wake of the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression.

But dealers’ role in arranging loans for new-car customers would not be subject to supervision, enforcement or rule-writing by the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Instead, the agency would oversee the financial institutions that extend credit to auto customers, as well as the few dealers that provide direct financing themselves.

Auto dealers argued that they already were subject to various federal regulations, mostly enforced by the FTC. Dealers would continue to fall under the supervision of the FTC and state authorities.

The conference agreement represents a hard-fought victory for the National Automobile Dealers Association over a powerful coalition that included Obama, the Pentagon, senior Democratic lawmakers, military families, consumer advocates and civil-rights activists.

"The goal all along was to keep a new, untested government agency from creating burdensome and unnecessary rules that would make it harder and more expensive for car buyers to access auto credit," NADA spokesman Bailey Wood said.


Ballots sent to elect Scarpelli or Paddor next NADA director

November 11, 2010

Election ballots mailed June 25 to dealers in Cook, Lake and DuPage Counties, for the dealers to elect a director to represent them to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Rob Paddor, principal of Evanston Subaru in Skokie, and Mark Scarpelli, who owns Raymond Chevrolet-Kia in Antioch, are vying to become the next Metro Chicago NADA director.

Completed ballots must be postmarked by July 16. The winner will succeed Ray Scarpelli Sr., who has held the post since 2003.

Dealers in other Illinois counties also are poised to elect a new NADA director. The spot has been vacant since March, when Rick Gregg closed his dealership in Joliet. There are two potential candidates: Desmond Roberts of Advantage Chevrolet in Bolingbrook, and Jamie Auffenberg, president of the Auffenberg Dealer Group of Illinois, near St. Louis.

Scarpelli is a 26-year dealer who just completed a nine-year tenure on the CATA board of directors. As a CATA director, Scarpelli lobbied in Springfield on legislation affecting dealers and other small businesses.

He was a chairman of the CATA and the Chicago Auto Show and he has been a director for the Better Business Bureau since 2001.

"While my time at the CATA is over," Scarpelli said, "I still want to give back to my fellow dealers, to help mold our mutual fate. The times we face call for strong leadership on many levels, which is why I ask for your vote."

Paddor, who has been in dealerships since 1977, is a member of the Chicago Metro Subaru Dealer Advisory Board. He previously held positions with the Nissan Chicago Advertising Committee and Hyundai’s Chicago Advertising Committee.

"I have probably been to Washington, D.C., 20 times or more to do the lobbying required to protect our automotive interests," Paddor said. If elected an NADA director, he said, "I’d do what I do best: communicate.

"I’d ask dealers for input on all topics of concern—sales, service, parts, marketing, distribution, incentives, technology, accounting and more."


1st CATA Dealer Meeting & EXPO a success

November 11, 2010

The offices of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association were transformed June 17, when the premiere CATA Dealer Meeting & EXPO was held. Forty booths located throughout the facility and staffed by CATA allied member companies offered time- and money-saving solutions, and five repeating educational seminars touched on a range of topics. Many of the exhibitors added to the festivity by awarding gifts.

A list of the winners appears below. Special thanks to Noteable Events, for providing the barbeque lunch; to GES, which provided podium and the pipe drape, table skirts, signs and holders for the booth exhibits; and to Phillip’s Flowers & Gifts for the centerpieces.




Winner’s name

DealerTrack Inc.

$100 American Express gift card

Sue Bursoni - O'Hare Honda

Daily Herald Media Group

$50 Chicago Prime Steakhouse gift card

Joe Hoobyar - Volkswagen of Orland Park


$50 Chicago Prime Steakhouse gift card

John Ridings - McGrath Acura Morton Grove


$50 John Barleycorn gift card

Rich Carusiello - Al Piemonte Chevy


Best Buy gift card

Bernie Fitzgerald - Grossinger


4 Cubs tickets

Kevin Green - Midway Dodge

WGN Radio

4 Cubs tickets

Tom Dolan - Freeway Ford


4 Cubs tickets

Tony Nitti - Bill Stasek Chevrolet

Clear Channel Chicago

4 Cubs tickets

Glenn Corrie - Bill Walsh Auto Group


$7500 Ad Campaign

E. William Nugent - Steve Foley Cadillac

Crowe Horwath

Mike Ditka's Restaurant gift cards

Sam Oginni - Crystal Lake Pontiac GMC



Arnie De Jong - Subaru of Merriville



Glenn Corrie - Bill Walsh Auto Group

NBC Chicago & TelemundoChicago

Lynyrd Skynyrd tickets

Mike Mizwicki - Pugi VW, Hyundai and Mazda


Lynyrd Skynyrd tickets

Tom Puchalski - Bill Stasek Chevrolet


Lynyrd Skynyrd tickets

Roland Frankel - Rosen Motors


4 BMW Championship tickets

Jeff Dowell - McGrath Honda St. Charles


10 Chicago Fire suite tickets w/ parking

Kevin Connon - Bob Loquercio Dealer Group


2 Chicago Bears pre-season tickets

Robert Paddor - Evanston Subaru


2 White Sox tickets

Tom Conlin - Gjovik Ford


2 BMW Championship tickets

Franz Mausser - Barrington Volvo


2 Cubs tickets

Krystal Roberts - Advantage Chevrolet


2 BMW Championship tickets

Sam Oginni - Crystal Lake Pontiac GMC


2 BMW Championship tickets

Todd Budish - Packey Webb Ford

S&S Automotive Group

4 White Sox tickets w/ parking

Krystal Roberts - Advantage Auto Group


19" flat panel TV

Ray Eichenlaub - Evanston Subaru


Tom Tom portable navigation system

Amy Garbo - Ray Chevrolet


Dan Hampton autographed football

Todd Budish - Packey Webb Ford

LoJack Corporation

LoJack stolen vehicle recovery system

Kurt Schiele - Elmhurst Toyota


Gift Basket, include Flip mini camcorder

Todd Budish - Packey Webb Ford

Sun-Times Media

2 Diamond Suite tickets to Crosstown Classic

Thomas Taylor - Lisle Auto Plaza

Richard T. DeSimone & Co.

White Sox box seats w/ parking

Jared Wickstrom - Wickstrom Chevrolet


LEYE gift card

Tom Dolan - Freeway Ford


LEYE gGift card

Bernie Fitzgerald - Grossinger

WLS-AM 890 & 94.7 WLS-FM

$100 Carnival Restaurant gift card

Tom Conlin - Gjovik Ford


2 Eagles concert tickets

Karl Dash - Muller Honda


2 Notre Dame tickets

Arnie De Jong - Subaru of Merriville

ABC 7 Chicago

2 suite tickets to Tom Petty concert

Arnie De Jong - Subaru of Merriville

Universal Lenders LLC

TaylorMade Burner Driver

Mike Ettleson - Ettleson Auto Group


one foursome on Dubsdread at Cog Hill Golf Club

Dan Roesch - Larry Roesch Chrysler - Jeep - Dodge


iPOD touch

Karl Dash - Muller Honda


2 tickets to Nationwide NASCAR Race, Joliet

Kevin Green - Midway Dodge


2 White Sox tickets w/ parking

Larry Schibilla - Elmhurst BMW


$5,000 advertising campaign

Dan Roesch - Larry Roesch Chrysler - Jeep - Dodge

Franczek Radelet

$500 Visa gift card

Jen Rodriguez - Continental Motors

Sheraton Chicago

2 night stay

Chuck Burt - Chevrolet of Naperville

Westin Chicago

2 night stay

Denny Bauer - Arnie Bauer Cadillac


Mobile Hot Spot

Veronica Weinberger - Continental Honda-Nissan

Road Dealer

$100 Visa gift card

Bob Rogacki - Jack Phelan Chevrolet


$100 Visa gift card

Monty Scher - Rogers Auto Group


We also thank the balance of exhibitors for supporting this event:


Allied Inventory Company, Inc.

Aspen Marketing Services

Automotive Career Builders

Automotive Compliance Consultants, Inc.

Automotive Parts Service Co.


ComplyNet Corporation

Experian Automotive

JM&A Group

Omnibus Advertising and Marketing

Plante Moran PLLC

ProCredit Express

Reynolds and Reynolds

South Bend Mishawaka Auto Auction

The Oak Group

The Pomykala Group LLC

Tri-State Auto Auction

Vin Solutions



Promoting your dealership in the 21st century

November 11, 2010

By Tony French

Just for fun, let’s go back in time about 15 years. Let’s say it’s 1995 and you are a typical car dealer. One day your advertising rep calls you and says, "Mr. Dealer, I’ve got great news. I can get your inventory in practically every newspaper in the country. And the commercial you shot last week, I can get that on a network that has an audience of 300 million people.  And the best part, it’s all free."

How many dealers would have jumped on that opportunity? Probably all of them, right?

The interesting aspect of marketing in today’s Internet environment is that this actually is possible. In fact, many of the more progressive dealers are doing just that.

Millions and millions of people search online automotive every month. They are looking for new cars, used cars, cars with specific equipment, dealerships, reviews on vehicles and dealerships, new models, old models, hot rods, off-road vehicles with crazy modifications—they are looking at everything automotive.

Some of these shoppers are enthusiasts, others beginners. Some are knowledgeable and some are just looking to get a good deal. Some know what they’re looking for and others are just browsing.

Some dealers understand this online phenomenon and are using the Internet to gain market share. Others have no clue.

The key to winning in today’s Internet market is to leverage as many online opportunities as possible to get people to find your dealership and inventory. Once they find you, it’s just as important to sell them on your dealership experience.

To begin, let’s start with something that everyone has heard about but few actually understand – SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a moving target, and no one really has the exact recipe. But we know most of the ingredients.

It’s important that dealerships begin to understand SEO because this is the battleground for your customer. If you don’t understand the importance of winning the battle for search, I guarantee that many of your competitors are beginning to understand it, and your monthly numbers will begin to reflect it, if they haven’t already.

Let’s move beyond SEO to some easier, concrete steps that can help you and your dealership gain more exposure (which may actually help in SEO).

Free Sites: There are many automotive portals that will gladly list your inventory for free. For the most part, all it usually takes is for you to let your inventory distribution company (HomenetAutoUpLInkUSA, Dealer Specialties and others) know that you want your inventory sent to all the "no-charge-free" sites. Then practically overnight you’re there.

Once you’re listed, the most important aspect is to make sure that you receive the lead on your pre-owned vehicle. To test this, find one of your cars on a free site (feel free to test and fill out the lead form as if you’re a customer interested in the car. Then see if you receive the lead at the store. If you don’t get the lead, it’s usually because the site has an outdated internet address for your dealership. It’s important to test this because there is no sense in marketing your inventory if you can’t receive the information of the customer who is interested in your vehicle.  

Online Directories: There are more than 1,200 popular search engines, online directories and local search sites, and most of them will list your dealership for free. Submitting, managing, monitoring and updating your dealership’s information and reviews across the Web is time-consuming but very important. For example, if you have the wrong phone number, you may lose an opportunity. The customer may immediately call another dealership. Or your dealership listing may have been claimed by a competitor or spammer, and the phone number and links go to a competitor. So having your dealership information correct on all these sites is very important.

Reputation Management: It is very important to manage your online reputation on the Web. It’s beginning to be so important, there’s actually an acronym for it —ORM, for Online Reputation Management. It’s the equivalent to having your SSI/CSI survey results posted on thousands of sites for everyone to review. But unlike the surveys from your OEM, they aren’t just handed to you to review; you have to spend time and effort finding them on all of these sites. The goal is to have people say nice things about your dealership online, and many progressive dealers are starting to manage the online buzz by engaging people positively and requesting that they write about their experience.

Facebook and other social media sites: There is a huge opportunity cost for not embracing social media and networking. Social media is becoming a mandatory piece of today’s marketing formula. Facebook is a free site that helps you connect with your existing customers. Facebook today has more than 100 million members in the United States and over 300 million people across the world. Progressive dealers are using Facebook to build a dealership-sponsored community that provides interesting content, engaging video of the dealership experience, photos and video of your inventory, articles, reviews and other goodies. Some people believe thatFacebook will change the way people use the Internet.   

YouTube: Visitors to YouTube have increased to more than 300 million a month. It’s the fourth largest site on the Internet, and in August 2008, YouTube became the No. 2 search engine over Yahoo on the Web. (Google is No. 1.) If your dealership doesn’t have video and a YouTube channel, you are missing out on millions of opportunities—you’re not even in the game. As my dad says, "this one’s a no-brainer."

Blogs & Micro Sites: Car dealer blogs and micro sites are the No. 1 SEO tactic being used by progressive dealers today. Content and linking are both key ingredients in accelerating Web search results and increasing lead generation. Dealers need to be setting up their own blogs so they can compete in their local market and increase the traffic to their dealership Web site. Blogs and micro sites are both an aggressive marketing tactic and defense strategy to eliminate their competition from relevant search terms.

All the studies and statistics indicate that the majority of consumers are going online before they visit your dealership. I’m sure there still are people who shop for a car the old-fashioned way: driving around, kicking tires. You might also believe that a majority of your customers didn’t go online because they didn’t come through your Internet department. As a good friend of mine says, "that’s crazy talk."

Sure, a small percentage of your customers are repeat buyers and others just stop in. But if you are banking for the future on that "model," think Tower Records, Blockbuster Video, Olan Mills Portraits and the Polaroid camera. Not that these are exact parallels, but my point is that these companies didn’t realize the power of the Internet until it was too late.

Let’s take a look at Blockbuster Video and compare it to Netflix. First off, Netflix started out as a movie-in-the- mail business, but they named their company "Netflix." Ever wonder why? The reason is because Reed Hasting, the founder and CEO of Netflix, realized the future of movie rental is through the Internet, but the technology didn’t support that model in 1997.

But Hasting knew that one day it would, so he started a business that would build a customer base until technology caught up to his vision. That day is now, and Netflix is positioned perfectly for streaming video rental. If you are a non-believer, just check out their latest stock price. 

My point is not to sell anyone on Netflix, although I really dig their business model and service. What I hope to do is to help people understand that traditional ways of marketing and selling cars are gone the way of the Polaroid camera.  One only has to look to the past to understand the future.

You know the saying, "history is written by the victor."  The question is, will the author be you?

Tony French is the president of Automotive Internet Media Inc., an integrated network of highly specialized consumer Web sites that leverages search engine optimization to drive online traffic. To learn more, visit


New CATA, Sprint partnership can save dealers 16% on phone bills

November 11, 2010

The CATA has signed a two-year agreement with Sprint that makes significant cell-phone discounts available to CATA dealers.

Highlights of the plan include an across-the-board 17 percent discount on business lines and lowest available pricing on equipment. Also, Sprint will cover early termination fees and provide a $100 credit for each line that is switched from a competing carrier.

Said CATA Chairman Steve Foley Jr.: "This agreement is a great example of how the CATA is expanding its offering of benefits to members. It allows dealers to consolidate and reduce cell phone costs with no expense, and perhaps a even a credit."

The CATA selected Sprint because it offers quality equipment, the largest 4G network in Chicagoland and, most important, the best pricing plans. Details of the plan include:

• 17 percent Corporate Liable NVP Discount
• Flat Rate Pricing (lowest pricing available) on equipment
• Waiving of Early Termination 
• $100 Port-In Credit per line switched over from a competing carrier
• A discretionary credit per phone purchased to bring device cost to as close to zero cost as possible, up to a maximum of $100.
• Buyback program available when ordering new HTC EVO 4G device
• Free Blackberry Enterprise Server
• Direct Wireless Account Manager & Solutions Consultant
• Dedicated Support Rep (with a minimum of 25 lines)
• Sprint’s Premier Customer Care

Sprint also would extend a 16 percent discount on all customer-liable lines, as a perk dealers can offer to their employees.

For more information, contact Gregg A. Gatto, the dedicated Sprint account manager, at (847) 477-7778 or