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CATA Bulletin
October 28, 2013

 

Reynolds Document Services named CATA preferred provider

October 27, 2013

With an eye toward providing its membership with products that help them reduce litigation risk, the CATA has partnered with Reynolds Document Services for the company to be the association’s approved partner for Retail Installment Sale Contracts.
 
Since the 1920s, Reynolds and Reynolds has been the leader in serving automobile dealerships nationwide with standard and custom documents to help dealers manage their operations and serve their customers more effectively. 
 
Reynolds is the sole provider of the trusted and proven LAW® 553 Retail Installment Sale Contract, often called the LAW 553.
  
Area dealerships may already use the LAW 553 in their F&I departments and are aware of its tremendous value. If not, here are some of its key advantages:
 
• The LAW 553 is available in state-specific versions for Illinois and for Indiana — so CATA-member dealerships in both states can immediately begin using the most widely used and accepted contract in the industry. 
 
• The LAW 553 is reviewed regularly by Hudson Cook, LLP, to keep pace with changes in automotive finance laws, regulations, and court decisions — so dealers have industry-leading support to help with a dealership’s compliance.  
 
• The LAW 553 is accepted by virtually every financial institution — so a dealership can use one contract to finance deals through multiple lending institutions, reducing reworked and lost deals and increasing the store’s F&I revenue. Dealers also benefit from storing fewer documents and saving programming costs by using one contract.
 
Reynolds Document Services understands that the F&I department is a vital part of a dealership’s business operations.  To help CATA members manage the transition to the LAW 553 Retail Installment Sale Contract in the most efficient way possible, a Reynolds Document Services Consultant will contact members shortly, and will be able to answer questions and discuss the many benefits of using the LAW 553.
 
The Reynolds sales support team can be reached at (800) 654-6768; or the local representatives are Steve Fleishman, (847) 456-2895; John Koeneman, (847) 370-7474; and Sue Scheive, (630) 430-0145.
 
Additionally, the CATA strongly encourages that dealers supplement the LAW 553 with an Arbitration Agreement. The CATA’s website, www.cata.info, provides an easy link to upload the Arbitration Agreement which was drafted in 2003 in conjunction with the Chicago and Northern Illinois Better Business Bureau. 
 
The agreement provides for arbitration before the Better Business Bureau and has established fee schedules set from time to time by the BBB.  The buyer or lessee is responsible for the first $100, with the dealership paying the balance.  The CATA strongly recommends that dealers provide this Arbitration Agreement along with the LAW 553.
 
Find out more about the CATA’s Member Benefit program by visiting the association website, specifically www.cata.info/resources/cata_member_benefits/
 
 

New dealership rating system for consumers introduced

October 27, 2013

A new third-party agency on Oct. 7 announced plans to rate dealerships’ reputations with consumers based on a 100-point scale.
 
Consumer Perception Rating calls its scoring system an “unbiased, overall online reputation rating based on how consumers as a whole perceive a dealer’s reputation.”
 
The service works a lot like a credit score, using key metrics such as reviews and ratings from the industry’s most influential review sites to generate an agnostic, independent, third-party, consolidated, consumer-driven score.
 
Dealerships are given a CPR™ Score, based on a 100 point scale, which consumers can then compare against other area dealerships, to help them make informed choices. The company said dealers who score 85 or better have demonstrated a commitment to excellent customer service and consistent consumer satisfaction.
 
According to data collected, 19.4 percent of franchised automotive dealerships in the country have a CPR™ Score of 85 or better.
 
All dealerships receive a CPR Score and CPR Badge, which they can feature on their website or in other advertising. The scores are maintained at two websites: www.ConsumerPerceptionRating.org and www.myCPRscore.org.
 
Dealerships also can also claim their profile on the site, which will include a list of review sites for that dealership, its average rating, the number of reviews and general information such as address and phone number.
 
If a dealership does not have enough relative online review activity, it is assigned a “NR” rating, for Not Rated; company officials note that many “NR” scores are a result of duplicate or erroneous dealer review site listings, which should be removed or consolidated by the dealer.
 
Consumer Perception Rating does not charge for any of its services, the company said, and the only way for a dealership to improve its CPR Score is to receive legitimate positive consumer reviews.
 
Consumer Perception Rating also provides tips on how to improve CPR Scores, and hosts webinars regarding the site and services.
 
 

Dealers seek grreater CFPB transparency oon auto finance

October 27, 2013

By Mark Scarpelli, Chicago Metro NADA Director
 
More than 400 new-car dealers and association execs met with their members of Congress during NADA’s Washington Conference in September to discuss key policy issues facing franchised auto dealerships. The most prominent among them: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s effort to end the discounts car buyers can negotiate when financing a car or truck through a dealership.
 
During visits to Capitol Hill, dealers asked their senators to sign the letter authored by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., which requests that the bureau explain how eliminating a dealer’s ability to “meet or beat” a competitor’s rate is good for consumers.
 
A key ally in the dealers’ fight, Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said he’s “very concerned” about the CFPB’s recent effort to alter the $800 billion auto finance marketplace without a hearing or offering analysis for public scrutiny.
 
The NADA is urging dealers to call both their U.S. senators and ask them to sign the Portman-Shaheen Auto Finance letter, which requests greater transparency from the CFPB on indirect lending.
 
The Senate switchboard can be reached at (202) 224-3121. Operators will direct dealers to the senators from their state. 
 
In other NADA news ...
 
• Jose Munoz, Nissan’s new senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas, will deliver keynote remarks at the 2013 Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles on Nov. 19. The half-day conference, presented by the NADA and J.D. Power, also includes Stewart Reed, chairman of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., who will deliver a special keynote presentation, “Identifying and Cultivating Emerging Talent in Transportation Design.”
 
The second annual conference, which precedes the Los Angeles Auto Show’s media days, includes a panel discussion on “Diversity Marketing,” with an emphasis on the Hispanic market. An OEM panel, “Positioning Your Brand for 2015 and Beyond,” will be moderated by CNBC’s Phil LeBeau and includes James O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North America Operations; William Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division; and Thomas Loveless, executive vice president of sales for Kia Motors America.
 
Other speakers include David Westcott, NADA chairman; Finbarr O’Neill, president of J.D. Power; Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at Standard & Poor’s; and John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations for J.D. Power.
 
The conference will be held at the Biltmore Hotel. For more information or to register, go to www.jdpower.com/events/2013-western-automotive-conference.
 
• There’s plenty to get jazzed about with the upcoming 97th annual NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans next January. For one thing, the city has invested billions of dollars in major restoration projects, and the convention center was updated just this year. Plus, there’s been a 55 percent increase in the number of restaurants over the past seven years, nearly $800 million in hotel upgrades and $77 million in street improvements, including a new streetcar line.
 
“Twenty-one of 33 convention hotels have already sold out, so we’re encouraging attendees to register as soon as possible,” said Desmond Roberts, chairman of the NADA’s convention committee. “Exhibit sales on the expo floor are also running higher than the past convention.”
 
The NADA convention runs Friday, Jan. 24, to Monday, Jan. 27. This will be the 10th time the convention has been held in the Big Easy since 1973. Considered the “Automotive Industry Event of the Year,” the convention includes dealer-manufacturer franchise meetings, educational workshops, hundreds of exhibits on the expo floor and numerous networking events.
 
“The city has a festive atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else—from the amazing Creole cuisine and culture to the historic sites and music,” added Roberts, who operates Advantage Chevrolet in Hodgkiins and Bolingbrook. “New Orleans looks better today than it ever has.” Dealers and their managers who register in advance by Jan. 16 will receive a $75 discount from the on-site rate. For more information or to register, visit www.nadaconvention.org.
 
• Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina and Global Preparedness Authority, will deliver keynote remarks at the 2014 American Truck Dealers (ATD) Convention & Expo, which runs Jan. 24-27 in New Orleans. As commander of the task force, Honoré led the Defense Department’s response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
 
Honoré will speak at the ATD luncheon/general session on Monday, Jan. 27. Other speakers include Philip Byrd, incoming chairman of the American Trucking Associations, and ATD Chairman Dick Witcher, CEO of Minuteman Trucks in Walpole, Mass.
The 51st annual ATD convention runs concurrently with the NADA Convention & Expo. ATD dealers and their managers can attend the NADA speaker sessions and workshops. All attendees who register in advance by Jan. 16 will receive a $100 discount from the onsite rate. For more information or to register, visit www.atdconvention.org
 
 

Don't neglect mobile strategy: Edmunds to dealers

October 27, 2013

Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are changing the way consumers shop for their vehicles, making it critical for dealers to invest in mobile websites and mobile ads.
 
That’s the key message conveyed Oct. 16 by Edmunds.com at the 15th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.
  
Edmunds.com, a source for car shopping and automotive information, offers three statistics:
 
• There are an estimated 137.5 million smartphone users in the U.S. today, and that number is expected to jump by another 55 million by 2016.
 
• About 35 percent of Edmunds.com site traffic today originates from mobile devices, up from about 5 percent of site traffic in 2010.
 
• A recent study found that mobile users are 88 percent more likely to do business with an auto dealership that has a mobile site. 
  
“As mobile Internet usage grows, dealers who have embraced a mobile strategy are in a far better position to reach a customer who is ready to buy,” said Kerri Wise, Edmunds.com’s senior director of dealer training.
 
Edmunds.com offers other statistics and insights into today’s car-shopping behaviors in its 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report, which is  available for free download at www.edmunds.com/industry-center/car-shopping-trends/
 
 

2 vehicles stolen from dealer had been purchased at same auction

October 27, 2013

An Illinois dealer who recently bought seven vehicles at a Michigan auction house said he was victimized four days later when two of the vehicles were stolen from his dealerships, which are 81 miles apart.
 
Coincidence? The vehicle stolen from one store was seen on surveillance video when the second vehicle was stolen. Also, the dealer said that for at least one of the two stolen vehicles, the auction house in Carleton, Mich., issued only one set of keys, and he still has the keys.
 
Police continue to investigate the matter, and the dealer said the vehicles, a 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie and a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, have not been recovered.
 
 

New rules for telemarketing calls and texts

October 27, 2013

Federal Communication Commission regulations that guide business telemarketing calls and messages changed Oct. 16. Businesses now must obtain express written consent before making a call that is prerecorded or placed with an automated dialing system — so-called “robocalls.”
 
That means that before making such calls, businesses must get written consent signed by the customer that specifically indicates the business will be making the calls; and it must identify the telephone number for which consent is being given. As such, the established business relationship exemption to the consent requirement is eliminated for those types of calls.
 
Businesses already in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s more stringent rules under the Telemarketing Sales Rule generally will not have to change their practices to comply with the FCC changes, with respect to calls placed to residential land telephone lines.
 
Prerecorded or autodialed calls of any kind generally cannot be made to a mobile phone without prior express consent, including calls that are purely informational, such as a call to notify a customer that her vehicle is ready for pickup in the service department.
 
Dealers should work closely with third-party vendors to ensure compliance with the new requirements.