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CATA Bulletin
June 22, 2015

 

McGrath elected CATA chairman for board's 2015-2016 term

June 19, 2015

Mike McGrath’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 16 for their monthly meeting.
 
The new board chairman succeeds Colin Wickstrom, who becomes chairman of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. McGrath will act as the show’s co-chairman.
 
McGrath — who has interests in Acura and Lexus dealerships in Chicago and Westmont, and Honda and Hyundai stores in Chicago — leads a board of 15 directors.
 
Other board officers include Vice Chairman John Hennessy (River View Ford, Oswego); Treasurer Ray Scarpelli Jr. (Ray Chevrolet in Fox Lake, and Raymond Chevrolet-Kia in Antioch); and Secretary Tony Guido (Arlington Heights Ford). Dave Sloan is association president.
 
Two directors — Kurt Schiele and John Webb — retired from the board after service since 2006. During their terms, both dealers ascended to board chairman.
 
 
 

2 newcomers among 5 dealers elected to CATA board of directors in 2015 balloting

June 19, 2015

A cloudless sky and mid-80s temperatures greeted hundreds of golfers on June 9 at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, where the players gathered as part of the CATA’s 2015 annual meeting.
 
And the 38 CATA allied members that sponsored the event helped add festivity to the proceedings.
 
That night at the dinner, results of this month’s balloting for the CATA board of directors showed three incumbents and two newcomers won election to three-year terms.
 
John Alfirevich (Apple Chevrolet, Tinley Park) won a third and final term; and Kevin Keefe (Brilliance Honda, Crystal Lake, and Brilliance Subaru, Elgin) and Thomas Shirey (Shirey Cadillac, Oak Lawn) won second terms. 
 
Jay Hopkins (Hopkins Ford of Elgin) and JC Phelan (Jack Phelan Chevrolet, Lyons and Jack Phelan Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, Countryside) joined the board of directors in their first attempts.
 
Colin Wickstrom, whose term as chairman concluded at the outing, encouraged his fellow dealers to participate on July 18 in the CATA’s third annual Barbecue for the Troops fundraiser for USO of Illinois. Barbecues at scores of area dealerships raised $37,500 in 2013 and $90,000 in 2014.
 
 

Many CATA dealerships to close for July 4, 2015, holiday

June 19, 2015

A quick survey of CATA dealers last week found that many will close their dealerships to commemorate the Independence Day holiday on July 4.
 
Of the respondents to a questionnaire, 75 percent said they will not be open for sales on July 4. All service departments are presumed be closed July 4. The date is recognized as a holiday in all local union contracts.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!
 
 

Time's a-wastin' to sign up to host a July 18 USO barbecue fundraiser

June 19, 2015

For dealerships considering whether to participate in the upcoming USO fundraiser, consider this: It is vital to register right away in order to be included in the various promotions planned by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association.
 
The CATA has arranged for radio advertising and is working with many radio, print, television and social media partners to develop an aggressive promotional campaign leading up to July 18. All CATA messaging will direct individuals to www.DriveChicago.com to find participating dealers nearby. Host dealers will be highlighted on DriveChicago, with links to information on specific events.
After the print ads are developed, it might not be possible to add registration latecomers.
The registration process can be completed in two simple steps: First, visit www.BBQForTheTroops.org, and click on the "Register Here" button. Second, email your dealership name and contact information to Tim McBride, the CATA’s marketing director, at tmcbride@drivechicago.com. McBride also can be reached at (630) 424-6085.
Advance planning for the event included a May 19 meeting at the CATA to help dealerships think of ways to enhance their barbecues and potentially raise more money. All proceeds collected will be donated to USO programs that support deployed troops, military families, wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers, and families of the fallen.
Some of the planned fundraising activities from past years include:
 
• Car Wash, with dealers asking for donations
• Lunch special for employees and their families and friends. They can leave the brown bag at home and eat in, to support the troops
• Cornhole/Bags Games. No American barbecue is complete without a cornhole/bags tourney!
• On Demand DJ, with donations made for song requests
• Social Media Donations. Enlist employees to promote the dealership’s USO Barbecue for the Troops through their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and similar accounts, to collect additional donations through an event page.
 
Jessica Dolan, vice president of development for USO of Illinois, said the $90,000 raised by participating dealers last year enabled the USO to operate the state’s five USO centers for about four months and serve 28,000 service members and their families.
 
The USO, a nonprofit, non-political organization, has for 72 years provided Americans with a tangible way to express appreciation and gratitude for the dedication and sacrifice of the nation’s troops and their families.
 
 

Chicago's minimum wage to increase to $10 an hour on July 1

June 19, 2015

Chicago on July 1 joins a growing list of cities and states to raise the hourly minimum wage for workers, to $10 an hour. The increase was backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and passed last December with a City Council vote of 44-5.
Additional wage hikes will be phased in gradually. After it reaches $13 an hour in 2019, the city’s minimum wage will be pegged to inflation.
Franczek Radelet P.C., the CATA’s labor relations counsel, canvassed the city’s unionized technicians at franchised dealerships in Chicago and found just 16 workers who would not see a raise to the new hourly minimum under the collective bargaining agreement. The firm intends to meet with those workers’ employers to find ways to meet the new $10 hourly minimum.
Meanwhile, Illinois lawmakers are considering a boost to the minimum wage at the state level. Voters backed a hike to $10 on Election Day last November, but that vote was nonbinding.
 
 

NADA responds to inaccurate, irresponsible NYT editorial

June 19, 2015

Peter Welsh, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association sent the following letter to the editor of The New York Times in response to a June 14 editorial, "Putting an End to Abusive Car Loans." The editorial contained false statements and discredited rhetoric about auto finance.
 
Honesty Matters at the Dealership. It Should Matter to The New York Times
 
Consumers have a number of rights when it comes to buying a car. They have the right to negotiate, they have the right to look for a better deal wherever it exists, and they have the right to choose the financing that is best for them. These are real financial advantages that save Americans billions of dollars.
Washington, however, wants to take those rights away. Washington wants to limit consumer choice and deny Americans the ability to benefit from the discounted financing rates that are often available at their local dealerships. It doesn’t take a study or an expert to see how wrong that is.
Consumers also have the right to something just as important - the truth. But they were denied that on Sunday, when a Times editorial, "Putting an End to Abusive Car Loans," chose to ignore the truth about a now-thoroughly debunked statistic claiming that Americans lose - rather than save - money when they finance vehicle purchases through their local dealerships.
Even the Center for Responsible Lending — the original source of the figure used by the Times — has acknowledged that this number is flawed. And numerous sources have explained in detail how CRL’s claims about auto financing are patently false.
For reasons they did not explain, the editorial board of the Times chose to gloss over this reality.
Consumers deserve to know why. They deserve to know that when they’re getting information about how Washington wants to involve itself in auto financing, they’re getting facts. They deserve to know that they’re being told the truth.
Americans take the process of buying a car very, very seriously - and rightly so. In this instance, The New York Times could stand to learn a thing or two from many of its readers.
 
Peter Welch, president, National Automobile Dealers Association
 
 

Many consumers nonplussed, confused with latest tech, survey finds

June 19, 2015

Are automakers spinning their wheels when it comes to infotainment technology? A recent survey of some 14,000 automobile owners seems to suggest they are.
The study, conducted jointly by the polling firm Nielsen and automotive consultants SBD, found in general that manufactures are jamming features into cars that most owners don’t use and often are not even aware of.
"It’s sort of an arms race — who can have the most technology in the vehicle — and consumers are confused," said Nielsen Vice President Mike Chadsey.
The study, conducted via online questionnaires in April and May, found that 43 percent of participants said automakers are adding too much infotainment technology to new vehicles, and that infotainment features available now typically score low in owner satisfaction.
 
Of 42 vehicles features -- from hybrid engines to electronic suspensions to back up cameras -- the 10 that scored lowest were all infotainment-related. The worst, not surprisingly, was voice recognition. Others near the bottom included smart phone integration, built-in apps and customizable instrument panels.
 
Chadsey and SBD Dirctor Andrew Hart presented their findings today at an annual connected-car symposium organized by TU-Automotive. Hart said that automakers add more features because new technology helps attract buyers, and can boost revenue by enticing consumers to add pricey option packages.
 
But dissatisfied owners often don’t necessarily become loyal owners. Car makers can improve loyalty by "getting infotainment right, getting the right set of features that people actually want to use and making them easy to use," Hart said.
 
Infotainment features that car owners typically ignore often include:
 
• In-car hard drives for storing music -- most people keep their music on their phones or iPods, and don’t bother loading songs into their vehicles.
• CD players -- many manufacturers wonder how long they should continue to build them into cars and let them go the way of cassette players.
• Concierge services -- OnStar has a large following but other automakers’ services like BMW Assist and Hyundai BlueLink attract few takers after the introductory free trial expires.
• Voice Recognition -- the technology is improving and the most recent crop of cars and light trucks are significantly better at understanding spoken words. But most consumers who’ve had experience with in-car voice recognition have thrown up their hands and stick with punching buttons.
 
 

In Memoriam: Eileen C. Webb

June 19, 2015

Eileen C. Webb, the mother of two dealers who served as chairman of the CATA, died June 15 at age 90.
 
The beloved wife of the late Packey Webb, Mrs. Webb was a 50-year resident of Glen Ellyn and formerly of Joliet. The couple had 11 children, including Greg, the 2000-2001 CATA chairman, and John, the association’s 2013-2014 chairman. 
 
Other children include sons Patrick, Thomas and J. Bradley; and daughters Carroll, Mary, Sarah, Lisbeth, Joyce, and the late Margaret "Meg." She also is survived by 30 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
 
Memorials appreciated to the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate Retirement Fund, (815) 725-8735; or to Joliet Area Community Hospice, (815) 740-4104; or to CNS Hospice, (630) 665-7000.