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CATA Bulletin
January 30, 2006


NADA, AIADA: 1 too many PACs?

November 18, 2010

Dealers could inadvertently violate federal election law if they donate to the political action committee of the National Automobile Dealers Association and to the newly created PAC of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.


Under federal election law, two kinds of PACs exist: connected and non-connected. The PACs of both dealer associations are connected, meaning they solicit funding from only their members. Federal law forbids a connected PAC even from soliciting contributions from a business owner or employee unless that entity has granted written permission for such solicitation.


Important, a dealer who holds memberships in both the NADA and the AIADA can grant solicitation permission to only one connected PAC a year, effectively banning the dealer from donating to both.


The NADA’s political action committee is named the Dealer Election Action Committee, or DEAC. The AIADA’s political action committee is named AIADA PAC.


Carfax accident report bill still kicking in Springfield

November 18, 2010

For the third spring session in four years, state legislators will consider a bill that would make available in electronic form any accident reports related to a vehicle offered for sale in Illinois. If the measure becomes law, companies that sell vehicle history reports would add such information to their reports, which would harm the values of used vehicles, including customer trade-ins.


Carfax remains the impetus behind the measure. The Fairfax, Va., company wants access to the admittedly inaccurate records maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation.


As part of its latest push, Carfax has established the Used-Car Buyers Right-to-Know Coalition, and a Web site, The coalition includesCarfax and a hodgepodge of unrelated entities such as the Illinois Coaches Association and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.


Detractors of the legislation, Senate Bill 1839, have cited several problems, notably the imprecision of Transportation Department records and the fact that Carfaxdoes not guarantee the accuracy of any accident information in its history reports.


It is vital for all Illinois dealers to contact their state senators, to derail SB 1839 in the senate chamber. To identify a senator, see the Web site of the Illinois State Board of Elections at Searches to identify senators can be conducted by name or by the constituent’s district number or street address.


Inaccuracies related to accident reports are common. Police officers who complete the reports rarely are expert at determining the extent of damage or the costs to correct the damage. Also, a VIN entered wrongly on the report or transposed later by a typist would assign any damage to a different vehicle.


The Carfax Web site states "An error made at the data source may appear on the Carfax Report," and "we will not know about an error until it is brought to our attention." Carfax itself reportedly discards more than 40 percent of the accident reports it reviews in other states because of inaccuracies in the transcripts.


Still, prosecuting attorneys in other states already point to Carfax reports as containing definitive information.


A dealer who sells a used vehicle without disclosing prior damage—known or unknown—can face demands of a refund by the purchaser or a lawsuit.


Chicago Auto show revs engines for 98th edition, Feb. 10-19

November 18, 2010

"Make no little plans"—Daniel Burnham

The Chicago Auto Show, the world’s third-largest auto show and the largest on a continuous floor, opens Feb. 10 for a 10-day public run in the North and South halls of McCormick Place. Show-goers will have to cross 1.3 million square feet of display space to touch it all.


The displays of several manufacturers—General Motors, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Nissan and Infiniti—will be the largest exhibits those automakers erect anywhere in the world. 

"I can’t think of another venue anywhere that has this kind of flexibility. And with a business-friendly city like Chicago to support it, everyone comes up a winner," said 2006 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Arthur Kelly. "It’s what some might call an embarrassment of riches."


Chicago media coverage of the show will go bumper-to-bumper. Watch for a live 60-minute special from NBC5 Chicago at 6 p.m. Feb. 11, followed by an hour-long special on SuperStation WGN-TV. The WGN show will reach 65 million U.S. households, and an edited version of the NBC5 telecast subsequently will air in 13 other markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.


Superlatives about the show will not be limited to English; Telemundo Chicago will present a special tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 11, and Univisionreturns with a special airing a 9 a.m. Feb. 11.


The Spanish language specials acknowledge a Chicagoland Hispanic community that spends nearly $1 billion on vehicles annually. Said Ed Fernandez,Telemundo Chicago’s vice president and general manager, "¡Prepare para un programa magnífico!"


New to the show this year, and adding to the magnificence, is an opportunity for the public to vote for their favorites on the show floor in five categories: 

  • Best All-New Vehicle
  • Best Concept
  • Best Exhibit
  • Best Chicago "World Introduction"
  • Vehicle I most want to see in my driveway


A panel of industry and media experts will identify 10 finalists in the first four categories; the fifth category allows consumers to write in their favorites. 

"This show is renown for its consumer impact and its focus on the buying public, who express their opinions with their dollars in dealership showrooms," Kelly said. " ‘Best of Show’ will give the consumer a multitude of methods to express their opinions on the direction they see our industry going."


Voting will be conducted Feb. 10-18 at, at, and by calling a telephone number managed by U.S. Cellular, a sponsor of the show. 

The show’s public days actually are the Chicago Auto Show’s third segment, preceded by the Media Preview and the black-tie First Look for Charity event.


Watch for news of nearly 20 world and North American introductions during news conferences Feb. 8 and 9.  

First Look for Charity hopes to improve on the record $2.7 million raised in 2005 for 19 area charities. To order tickets, call 630-424-1636 or see


The Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) schools will staff two booths at this year’s show. In addition to the AYES booth, the group will again partner with the Chicagoland & northwest Indiana Chevrolet Dealers to host the Chevy Cobalt "Tuner" Booth.   

The high school and college-level students will install and remove "tuner" parts from the Chevy Cobalt and HHR series vehicles. All Snap-on tools used in the booth will be donated to the AYES schools at the conclusion of the Chicago Auto Show.


Look for the displays in the show’s North hall. For more information, call Jim Butcher at 630-424-6020.


Consider more when hiring than what’s on the résumé

November 18, 2010

A dealership has its own values, strategy and culture. Its best employees fit that culture, largely because they share the same qualities. When hiring, a manager must identify those qualities, then hire candidates who exhibit those key attributes.


How important is "attitude"? Certainly, an employee with a positive attitude, even a can-do attitude, is attractive. How about teamwork? Is it desirable to foster a sense that every employee is part of a team? Or is a "rugged individualist" preferable? 

Consistency, follow-through, enthusiasm for the job . . . . Must an employee be self-motivated, or is it sufficient that a worker can simply follow directions correctly? How productive is "productive"? How important is it for an employee to insist on quality in whatever piece of the business he "owns"? Moreover, how important is it to a manager that his employees take ownership of their work?


Responses to all those questions—and others, added by hiring authorities as they consider the workplace and who they want working there—identify the attributes that should be sought in job candidates. Proper evaluations result in smart hiring decisions. 

A candidate need not excel in every identified trait. Certain qualities can be developed. As a guide, identify six to 10 key attributes for each position, and make sure the person who gets hired possesses at least the top four. Assuming a hire has the basics—the résumé items—skills can be trained.


Hiring smart means hiring on data. Interviewing for key attributes supplies data additional to—and often more important than—the technical data that prove the candidate has the skills for the job. Be wary of first impressions that are overly favorable or unfavorable, and be sure to interview top candidates a second time. 

Provide all candidates a consistent job description, and don’t oversell or undersell the job. Tell the candidates what they can expect, over and above the pay.


Once the hiring choice is made, take care of the employee. Have open lines of communication, provide appropriate training, and conduct regular performance evaluations. 

Have hiring authorities review themselves also. After the new worker has been on the job for six months, review all documents from the interview. Would the same key attributes still be identified, or would adjustments be warranted?


The article was adapted from an NADA publication, "Hiring Smart (ER15)." Check the NADA Management Education’s catalog for the full publication,


Northwood degree goes online

November 18, 2010

Candidates for a Northwood University bachelor’s degree in automotive marketing and management now can complete coursework online.



"The online program," said Marcella Matzke, Northwood’s distance education program center manager, "provides dealership employees the convenience of 24/7 access to real management and retail automotive education that they can immediately apply to improve their performance as well as the competitiveness of their dealership."


Northwood also allows for workplace experience to earn credit for up to one year’s classes, through a Work-Life Learning evaluation. The university’s longstanding relationship with the NADA Dealer Academy also enables Northwood to grant Academy graduates with even more credits toward degree completion.


Curriculum for the automotive marketing associate degree requires 90 hours of coursework, and all online classes represent four hours, at $190 a class. To review the program, and to complete a Work-Life Learning evaluation, see the university’s Web site,


In Memoriam

November 18, 2010

Jay "Bud" Van Dahm Sr., who was a Chicago area dealer for 63 years, died Jan. 16 at age 95. 

He owned and operated South Racine Nash-Rambler, at 6935 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, from 1935 to 1970. In 1965, he opened Van Dahm Lincoln-Mercury, at 10201 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn, with his sons Jay Jr. and George. That dealership operated until 1998.


Van Dahm also served on the board of directors of Chicago Christian High School and Trinity Christian College, both in Palos Heights.


He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; sons Jay Jr. and George; a daughter, Joan; nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Memorials can be made to Calvary Church of Orland Park, 708-429-2200.


Alan Jacobs, who operated a namesake Buick-Mazda dealership in Countryside from 1985 to 1998, died of cancer Jan. 4 in Naples, Fla. He was 77.


Survivors include his wife, Nancy; daughters Ellyn, Carolyn and Leslie; six grandchildren; and twin brother Harold, who is the retired president of the Jacobs Twin franchises in Chicago.


A memorial service was held Jan. 29 in Naples. Contributions can be made to the Alan Jacobs Memorial Fund, Northern Trust Bank, 375 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102-6549.