Chicago Automobile Trade Association
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CATA Bulletin
January 28, 2008

 

CATA's H.Q. to close Feb. 1-17 for auto show

November 16, 2010

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association building in Oakbrook Terrace will close Feb. 1 and reopen Feb. 18. The CATA staff moves temporarily to McCormick Place to produce the 2008 Chicago Auto Show.

Because the CATA building will be closed, association members must make a few adjustments:

  • Make sure to order any forms provided free by the CATA—odometer statements, used-car buyer’s guides, used-car limited warranty statements—by Jan. 29 to ensure the orders can be processed by Jan. 31.
  • Use of meeting rooms at the CATA is suspended Feb. 1-17.

Calls to the CATA office will automatically be forwarded to CATA staff at McCormick Place.

 

Chicago's is world's first auto show to reach 100 editions

November 16, 2010

"If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times!" How many times does a parent mutter that to a growing child? Likely more than 100.

But Chicago next month adds another distinction using that nice round number: the Chicago Auto Show is about to debut its 100th edition, making it the world’s first auto show to hold 100 shows.

Since the first official Chicago Auto Show was staged in 1901, most people in the year 2008 would reasonably deduce: "Wow, 107 Chicago Auto Shows. What an accomplishment!"

But the vagaries of geopolitical strife—tempered with a healthy dose of history—get in the way of simple math. In the years during and immediately after World War II, there simply were no auto shows being staged in the United States. The country was far too busy producing tanks and trucks to worry about family transportation.

So the American auto show clock was placed in suspended animation until 1950, when the Windy City put the genre back on track for the world to witness. It hasn’t stopped since in timing, content and importance to the industry and public.

"We understand that there might be a bit of confusion," said 2008 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Bob Loquercio. "But simply put: there’s no other auto show on earth that has produced 100 editions. We’re darn proud of that, not only for its longevity and staying power with a car-hungry public, but also for the industry that has for decades used this show as a barometer of how well their products resonate in real-world application."

The CATA has owned and produced the Chicago Auto Show since 1935. In celebration of the storied past of the Chicago Auto Show, the CATA commissioned a special display featuring many vehicles from the exposition’s earliest years.

"We’ve done a great deal of research on our early years," said Mark Scarpelli, co-chairman of the ‘08 show. "That, teamed up with some very cooperative manufacturers and private collections, should provide a wonderful look back at some of our industry’s milestone vehicles.

"Our www.ChicagoAutoShow.com Web site’s historic section always gets huge play, but this year we expect it to be off-the-chart busy."

The nation’s biggest auto show will stage its customary two-day media preview Feb. 6-7, and the black-tie benevolent event, First Look for Charity is Feb. 7. The show’s 10 public days are Feb. 8-17.

 

Auto Outlook posted online

November 16, 2010

The latest quarterly Chicago Auto Outlook publication, examining sales activity and projections from the fourth quarter of 2007, is posted on the CATA Web site, http://cata.drivechicago.com. Click on the Publications category along the tan line across the top of the homepage, then select Chicago Auto Outlook from the drop-down menu.

A link to the pdf file also is available on the CATA e-Bulletin, which is distributed via e-mail every other Friday. To be included on that distribution list, send e-mail addresses to newsletter editor, Erik Higgins, at ehiggins@cata.info.

 

Court: Employer must tell worker if time off counts as FLMA Leave

November 16, 2010

A recent federal appeals court decision serves to remind employers that they must notify employees when medical leave time is to be counted against their available leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Susan Downey, a sheriff’s deputy in Louisiana, took time off work to have surgery on her knee. Sheriff Rodney Strain counted the time against her available FMLA leave but failed to notify her that it would do so.

Downey did not return to work until after she exhausted her remaining FMLA leave. Although she was not discharged, she was reassigned to a different job that offered fewer benefits than the one she held before her leave. Downey argued in her suit, Downey vs. Strain, that had her employer said her leave would be counted against her 12 weeks of FMLA leave, she would have re-scheduled her surgery and not exhausted her leave.

A Department of Labor regulation requires employers to notify employees when their leave will be designated as FMLA leave and counted against their 12-week leave entitlement.

The regulation also includes a penalty provision wherein an employer cannot count leave against an employee’s FMLA entitlement unless the employee is so notified—meaning the FMLA "clock" does not begin ticking until the employer provides notice.

Under this penalty rule, employers who fail to provide the required notice would be required to give the affected employees more than the 12 weeks of leave provided for under the statute.

In another case, Ragsdale v. Wolverine Worldwide, Inc., the Supreme Court struck down this automatic penalty. However, the court left open the possibility that the notice requirement might be enforceable if an employee was actually harmed by the employer’s failure to give notice. 

In Downey, the appeals court found that Downey was harmed by her employer’s failure to notify her that her absence would count as FMLA leave, and that the notice requirement in itself was a valid and enforceable regulation. Accordingly, it affirmed the jury verdict against Downey’s employer.

While other federal appeals courts have yet to address this issue, this case is likely to influence future rulings. Employers should continue to carefully follow theFMLA’s notice requirements, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ragsdale. 

Dealer members of the CATA can discuss the matter with the association’s labor relations counsel, Franczek Sullivan, at 312-986-0300.

 

Vehicle recalls increase 30% in 2007 vs. 2006

November 16, 2010

Automakers recalled nearly 15 million vehicles for repairs at dealerships last year, the government reported this month, an increase of about 30 percent over 2006.

Carmakers frequently ask owners to take their vehicles to dealerships to fix faulty parts and address potential safety problems. Recalls have become more common as many companies build vehicles that share common platforms and components and respond more quickly to deal with potential safety hazards.

Recalls have been more common since the federal TREAD Act was enacted in 2000, to help spot safety defects earlier. The law responded to the recall of more than 10 million Firestone tires in 2000.

The industry set a record of 30.8 million recalled vehicles in 2004, according to data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Automakers have averaged about 524 separate recalls involving 18.9 million vehicles a year since 2000, according to an Associated Press analysis of the NHTSA data. In the eight previous years, 1992-1999, the industry averaged 281 individual recalls.

"The manufacturers are more willing to do a recall before the agency starts an investigation, which is a good thing for consumers and a good thing for manufacturers because . . . you are going to catch them before they get big," said Clarence Ditlow, president of the Center for Auto Safety, a watchdog group.

 

Nominations due Feb. 15 for Innovation Award

November 16, 2010

Nominations must be submitted by Feb. 15 to be considered for this year’s USA Today Dealer Innovation Award. Four winners will be featured in a full-page ad in the newspaper and in the NADA’s Auto Exec magazine.

One grand winner, selected from among the four, will be honored at a special ceremony on March 18 at the New York Auto Show and will receive roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations for two in New York City.

Launched in 2001, the award honors automobile and truck dealers who have used innovative ideas and business practices to better serve their customers, communities and employees.

Examples of improvements that save energy and/or decrease a dealership "footprint" include:

 

  • switching to more energy efficient lighting, heating or cooling.
  • adding insulation or coatings to buildings, heaters or windows to reduce energy use.
  • increasing exterior plantings to reduce runoff, provide shade, or lower the effects of pollution.
  • installing more eco-friendly building materials.
  • creating, monitoring or using equipment differently to save energy or supplies.
  • recycling or reusing to create less waste.

For a nomination form, go to the NADA Web site, www.nada.org, and look in the "Programs & Awards" category.

 

Last year’s winner, Kim Maxwell of Pennsylvania, built a state-of-the-art dealership three times bigger than his previous store which costs 77 percent less per square foot in energy to operate. Among other things, he installed an ambient floor heating system, a wash-recycling system, a light-colored roofing to reflect heat, and fluorescent and metal halide lighting.

 

Unemployment claims deflected

November 16, 2010

One hundred thirty-seven CATA dealer members reported a combined 522 unemployment claims during the fourth quarter of 2007 to Cambridge Integrated Services Group, Inc., which formerly operated as the Martin Boyer Co. The company’s efforts saved those dealers a total of $1.21 million in benefits by contesting the claims.

Cambridge monitors any unemployment claims against its clients. The company counts about 230 CATA dealers among its clients.

Claims that can be protested and subsequently denied help minimize an employer’s unemployment tax rate. The rate can vary between 1.0 percent and 8.2 percent of each employee’s first $11,500 in earnings. The 2006 average unemployment tax rate among Illinois employers was 3.9 percent, or about $448.50 annually. That is nearly double the 2003 rate.

"The unemployment tax is really the only controllable tax, in that it’s experience-driven," said Paul Schardt, senior vice president of Cambridge. An ex-employee’s claim affects the employer’s tax rate for three years.

Client fees amount to $2.20 per employee, per fiscal quarter. For the fee, Cambridge monitors all unemployment claims, files any appeals, represents the client at any hearings, verifies the benefit charge statements and confirms the client’s unemployment tax rate.

The former Martin Boyer Co. has represented CATA members since 1979. To discuss retaining the company, call Schardt at 312-381-8241.

 

In Memoriam

November 16, 2010

Sales Ambitious, goal-oriented, professionally skilled in all aspects of relationship-building. Persuasive communicator, negotiator, motivator. Jeffrey Stark, 847-322-9640.

Résumé on file at the CATA.

 

January 2008 Vitality Report

November 16, 2010

Franchised New Car Dealers in the 8-county CATA area

as of 1 January 2008

 

Car Line

Chicago

only

Rest of

CookCty

Lake

County

DuPage

County

McHenry

County

Kane

County

Will

County

LakeCounty

PorterCounty

Total

[prior]

Total

[present]

 

Illinois

Illinois

Illinois

Illinois

Illinois

Illinois

Illinois

Indiana

Indiana

7/1/2007

1/1/2008

Acura

0

4

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

9

9

Aston Martin

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Audi

1

3

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

8

8

Bentley

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

3

2

BMW

1

4

1

3

1

0

0

1

0

11

11

Bugatti

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

Buick

CATA Bulletin on hiatus
 

The biweekly CATA Bulletin will take a one-issue break, in deference to the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. The next edition is Feb. 25.

 

 
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