Chicago Automobile Trade Association
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CATA Bulletin
March 3, 2003


Chicago Auto Show draws crowds, raves

November 23, 2010

Enthusiastic crowds swelled attendance at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show, and area dealers awaited what subsequently is regarded as the launch of the dealers' spring selling season. The only thing lacking at McCormick Place was snow; the city's lakefront sidestepped two storms that buried areas just miles away. Plentiful media coverage showcased the nearly 1,000 vehicles on display. Some of the show highlights: $28,900 disbursed in Auto Show ACE awards At what marked the final appearance of Oldsmobile at the Chicago Auto Show, a salesman who has worked in the carmaker's display at the last 22 Chicago Auto Shows collected five Awards for Customer Excellence, including the final day's award. Edward Kucic, representing Ettleson Cadillac- Oldsmobile-Buick, has sold the Oldsmobile line since 1981. In fact, the first car Kucic owned was a 1955 Olds. Effective salespeople at the just-concluded auto show netted a combined $28,900 under the ACE program. Salespeople at all vehicle exhibits were evaluated each day by incognito judges who rated the salespeople using various criteria. The prize, $100 cash, can be won by only one salesperson a day at each exhibit. Joining Kucic as a five-time winner is Dave Dymond of Bernard Isuzu. Six others won an ACE three times: Dan Alfaro of Max Madsen Mitsubishi, Len Donnells of Joe Rizza Acura, Jim DuMont of Feeny Chrysler-Jeep, Bill Fleming of Patrick Pontiac-GMC, Mike Sargent of Napleton's Auto Werks of Indiana, and George Zouganelis Jr. of Community Oldsmobile in Wilmington. Food drive nets 12 tons Late weekday crowds benefited the Chicago Christian Industrial League by contributing more than 24,000 pounds of canned food. The CATA extends a $5 discount off regular adult admission to those who bring three cans of food Wednesday through Friday at the show. "Food drives tend to center around holiday seasons, but hunger is a dilemma that goes on year-round," said Jerry Cizek, general manager of the Chicago Auto Show and president of the CATA. "It's the belief of the CATA board of directors that we can help those in need by offering this weekday discount to show patrons." segues from Web to print

November 23, 2010 in Print debuted at February's Chicago Auto Show, where 40,000 copies of the new publication were distributed to show-goers. Another 10,000 copies were placed at retail outlets. The circular showcases the inventories that appear on the Internet of DriveChicago subscriber dealers. in Print portrays 20 vehicles per page with four-color vehicle photos and descriptions. "We feel, as a DriveChicago board, that this publication has been a resounding hit," said Mark Scarpelli, who serves on the entity's board of managers. "There's a lot of buzz about this. We feel it will be a success." Scarpelli said the new circular will print once again in March; then accelerate to two editions each in April, May and June; and culminate with weekly issues beginning in July. The publication is available free at area Shell gas stations, Dominick's and Jewel groceries, Blockbuster movie rental stores and Bally Total Fitness locations.

Jacobs honored for TMQDA nomination

November 23, 2010

William T. Jacobs Jr., proprietor of eight area dealerships, was among 64 dealers nationwide honored as recipients of the 2003 Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, in a Feb. 1 ceremony as part of the annual NADA convention and exposition. The award recognizes new-car dealers for exceptional performance in their business coupled with distinguished community service. "The recipients of this prestigious award," said NADA Chairman Alan Starling, "do a lot more than just sell cars and trucks. They work diligently and untiringly to help their communities and their industry and are an inspiration to all of us." A panel of faculty members from the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration selected five finalists. John Bergstrom, a Chevrolet- Buick-Cadillac dealer from Neenah, Wis., was named winner of the 2003 award. Jacobs earned the nomination of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. Jacobs grew up at his father's dealership and, as the years progressed, held almost every job in the store. Jacobs has spent the past 20-plus years trying to maintain the example his father set as a dealer and a person. Jacobs is proudest of the fact that his father also was a Time Magazine Quality Dealer, in 1970. Over the past five years, Jacobs raised more than $1.5 million to found the Rush Neurobehavioral Center, which deals comprehensively with the issues faced by children with learning disabilities. The center is one of just two or three in the country to join specialists from a variety of areas to identify and address learning disabilities. Jacobs also leads a statewide effort to secure a wheelchair for everyone who needs a wheelchair but cannot afford one.

'03 Chicago show world debuts

November 23, 2010

Production 2004 Acura 3.5 RL 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 2004 Ford Freestar minivan 2004 Mercury Monterey minivan 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart performance sedan 2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition 2004 Volvo S80 Concepts Chevrolet Aveo Chevrolet Impala SS Chevrolet Monte Carlo supercharged SS Ford SVT Lightning concept Ford SVT Mustang Cobra 10th Anniversary Package Mazda limited-production Miatas (2) Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Subaru turbo-charged Forester 2.5 XT Suzuki Mid-size Verona Suzuki Premium Compact Forenza Toyota Tundra "Big Rig" double cab pickup Toyota Tundra NASCAR truck

Conducting the test drive correctly

November 23, 2010

To maintain profitability, regardless of the economic climate, a dealership staff must conduct itself properly every time a prospect or customer visits the dealership. A system should exist to identify proper behavior, and the system should be followed every time. One crucial element of a sales system is the test drive, which is the customer's opportunity to experience firsthand all the features and benefits described in the vehicle presentation. The test drive can make or break a sale, so it is worthwhile to establish and adhere to certain guidelines. When planning the demo drive, always • Accompany the customer; • Check the demo vehicle for cleanliness and proper operation; • Use a preplanned route that highlights vehicle features; • Avoid heavy traffic, where possible. For the salesperson's safety, always • Review the person's driver's license and make sure it is valid; • Fill out a demonstration drive "agreement" that includes the prospect's name, address, phone number and details about the demo vehicle; • Inform management of the route to be taken; • Bring another salesperson, if there is a concern about riding alone with the customer; • Insist that the customer operate the vehicle lawfully. When conducting the demo drive, always • Take the wheel first, to let the customer observe the features and the feel of the new-vehicle ride; • Run through the operation of controls and features; • Focus on features that match the customer's expressed expectations and needs; • Change drivers at a midway point; • Point out features as the customer drives; • Allow a few minutes of silence, then answer any questions or concerns; • Subtly ask trial closing questions, like "Is there any additional equipment you'd prefer to have in your new car?" or "Based on all we've looked at, would you say this car fills your needs?" This article was adapted from an NADA management guide, "A Dealer Guide to a Winning Sales System." Copies can be ordered at 800-252-6232 ext. 2. Cost is $10 to NADA members or $20 to nonmembers, plus shipping.

Consumers sue automakers over Canadian import restrictions

November 23, 2010

A lawsuit filed Feb. 20 charges DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford, Honda, Toyota, the NADA, and the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association with breaking antitrust laws by conspiring to prevent Americans from buying cars imported from Canada. The suit, filed by a group of U.S. consumers, states that several automakers have stopped honoring warranties on Canadian cars resold in the U.S. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, says the industry illegally restricts competition by refusing to honor warranties on vehicles bought in Canada for use in the United States. The factories say they are losing out on more profitable U.S. sales when Americans buy cars intended for the Canadian market. Automakers set lower prices in Canada because consumers there have less money to spend than American buyers. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all consumers who bought cars at authorized U.S. dealerships. A similar suit was filed in Chicago.

First Look for Charity raises record sum

November 23, 2010

Seventeen area charities shared in more than $2.2 million raised by the 2003 Chicago Auto Show's benevolent event, First Look for Charity, and one attendee left with a promissory note for a yet-to-be-built 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix. The amount raisedeclipsed the 2001 record sum by about $400,000. The 12- year-old black-tie benefit is held the  evening before the auto show opens its 10-day public run."First Look for Charity is a great instrument for the area's new-car dealers to show the positive impact they have on their community," said Bob Van Iten, chairman of this year's auto show. "All the benefiting charities are involved locally, so the money that's raised in Chicago stays in Chicago." As the name of the event implies, those who attend First Look for Charity are part of the premier viewing of each year's auto show. A highlight of the evening is the drawing for a new vehicle, the event's grand prize. This year's event awarded the Grand Prix to Chad Woehrle of Addison. Woehrle pledged that his first act in his new car would be to "take a long drive." Proceeds of Woehrle's ticket benefited Children's Memorial Hospital. In all, 17 Chicago area charities profited from the event. Tickets to the fund-raiser are $175 each. For the event, the auto show floor is replete with a variety of food and beverage stations.

NADA tries to loosen fax rules for dealers

November 23, 2010

Dealers should be able to fax ads to customers with whom they already have a business relationship, NADA officials recently told the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is considering revising rules that protect consumers from unwanted ads sent by fax or prerecorded phone messages. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act bars businesses from sending such ads without prior express permission. They also permit prerecorded phone ads to those with whom a company has an "established business relationship." The problem: The FCC regulations do not specifically recognize the exception for unsolicited ads via fax. The FCC will decide whether revisions to the regulation are warranted. An O'Fallon, Ill., new-car dealer was fined $6.5 million last July for sending an ad to more than 33,000 local fax machines. Consumers can claim as much as $500 for each unsolicited advertisement they receive.

Median age up for U.S. cars, trucks: Polk

November 23, 2010

Americans are keeping older vehicles on the road for longer periods, the R.L. Polk & Co. reported in February, with the median age of cars and light trucks in operation increasing for the first time since 1996. The median age of light trucks increased to 6.6 years in 2002, an 8 percent jump over 2001 and the largest single year increase since Polk first tracked the statistic for trucks in 1993. The median age of cars increased more than 4 percent, to 8.4 years, the fourth largest one-year increase in 33 years. "The 2002 median car age of 8.4 years represents the highest median age since we began tracking the statistic in 1970," said Polk's Mike Gingell. "The median age for light trucks is still significantly lower than cars due to the recent boom in new-truck registrations over the last few years." Eric Papacek of Polk pointed to advances in vehicle quality and engine technology that have enabled Americans to keep their vehicles on the roads longer. "Better overall quality is apparent throughout the passenger car segment- from luxury cars to economy cars," Papacek said. "This represents a double-edged sword for auto manufacturers in that better cars allow consumers to stay out of the market for longer periods, especially in response to a soft economy."

Chicago Auto Show sets for 2003 edition, Feb. 14-23

November 23, 2010

Since 1901, Chicago has distinguished itself as the nation's foremost consumer automotive exposition, and this year's 95th edition will be no different. The 2003 Chicago Auto Show, open to the public Feb. 14-23, will feature more than 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs and the always-readyto- steal-the-show concepts. "We know that not everyone likes everything," said 2003 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Bob Van Iten. "But that's the beauty of our show. There truly is something to entertain every member of the family and inform anyone who is in the market for something new in his driveway. "The auto industry is bringing a bumper crop of new products to a public that is eager to look, to buy or just to dream." "Despite news reports we hear and see nightly that say the economy is stalled, last year the industry sold more than 16 million vehicles, the fourth highest in history," said Chicago Automobile Trade Association Chairman Mike McGrath. "That's an amazing testimony to the ongoing love affair Americans have with their cars and their ability to go virtually anywhere they want, whenever they want. "We see a brighter year for America and our industry, and this show will help shine the light of excitement as we enter the spring selling season." First Look for Charity The 12th First Look for Charity precedes the public show on Thursday evening, Feb. 13, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. The black-tie gala benefits 17 local organizations and is a highlight of Chicago's social calendar. Last year, the event gave attendees a relaxed view of the nation's largest auto show as it raised $1.8 million. "As a Chicagoland newcar dealer, I'm particularly proud of 'First Look' and the millions upon millions of dollars we've been able to give to very worthwhile groups," said Van Iten. "Our area dealers have demonstrated a century of commu- nity involvement, and this special night speaks volumes about how they care for those who are in need." Pontiac Division of General Motors and the Chicagoland Pontiac dealers have donated a 2004 Grand Prix to be awarded to someone in attendance at First Look. "Actor Anthony Edwards will draw the winning ticket, but the real winners are the charities," said Van Iten. "In his role in the hit NBC series 'ER,' he spent a lot of time in Chicago, and we're so pleased that he'll join us again in the Windy City. Charities participating in the event are Advocate Hope Children's Hospital, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Association, Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, Campagna Academy, Children's Memorial Hospital, Clearbrook, The Cradle, and Cure Autism Now Foundation. Also, the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Association, Little City Foundation, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Misericordia Heart of Mercy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the United Negro College Fund Tickets for First Look are available at the door or in advance by calling 630-424-1636. Any tickets purchased after Feb. 5 will be held at Will Call at the event. Special Days and Features While any visit to the Chicago Auto Show is special, some days are of particular note. Tuesday, Feb. 18 will feature programs and a ticket bargain. Women's Day offers a $5 discount off the full $10 admission for all women, who are invited to visit manufacturer displays where ongoing seminars on purchasing, leasing, servicing or just plain enjoying their vehicles will be held. "While women are directly involved with the vast majority of automotive purchases, some feel that manufacturers are only targeting males," said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Jerry Cizek. "In reality, females are very high on the priority list for anyone who is serious about selling product. The seminars held on Women's Day help clear up questions that some are shy about asking." As an extension of the charitable aspects of the exposition, organizers will again feature The Chicago Auto Show Food Drive, which benefits the Chicago Christian Industrial League and its programs to feed the hungry. The drive will be Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 19-21. "Patrons who bring three cans of food to the auto show will receive a $5 discount off the full $10 admission," said Cizek. "Food drives tend to center around holiday seasons, but the problem goes on year-round. It's the belief of the CATA's directors that we can help those in need with this program by offering this weekday discount to show  patrons." is sponsoring "Kids' Concept Cars" at the show, a contest to spark the imagination of the next generation of car designers. Children of all ages will be encouraged to take a seat in the display and draw their favorite cars from the show-or a creation all their own. Their artwork will be digitally scanned and featured on the Web site. At the end of the show, CATA officials will choose a winner in each of three age categories. Winners will receive $50 gift certificates from Toys "R" Us. Contestants and auto company recruiters can log on to on Feb. 25, to see the winning entries. Online Ticket Sales The program to buy Chicago Auto Show admission tickets online began two years ago and in 2002 grew to the point where show organizers had to increase the number of scanners for those who had purchased their tickets in the comfort of their home. "We thought it would spark interest and cut down on some of our box office lines," said Chairman Van Iten, "but we never expected it to fly the way it has. Before long, you'll probably see more lines for scanning Internet tickets than for traditional papers tickets purchased on-site. That's fine with us, obviously, as it contributes to making the entire auto show experience more pleasant for our patrons." To buy a ticket online, go to and click on the ticket icon. A credit card, a computer and a home printer is all that's needed to produce a bar-coded ticket in the blink of an eye. Auto show hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily except Feb. 23, when the show closes at 8 p.m. Box offices close one hour prior to show closing each day. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. Pre-teens also are $5, or free when they accompany a paying parent.

Dealers must keep communication open to deflect unions: attorneys

November 23, 2010

When employees intent on unionizing confront a business owner or president, he too often views that act as the first sign of trouble. Rather, it represents the sound of the second shoe dropping. Such disconnection between managers and subordinates is fertile ground for unions to sprout. Various unions represent workers at about 35 percent of the Chicago area's 600 new-vehicle dealerships, a figure markedly higher than the 13 percent unionization rate nationally, and the local unions actively seek additional inroads. What radiates from dealership management often determines whether a union can take root. "People are reaching out, and the question is, are they going to reach out to a union or are they going to reach out to you?" David Radelet told an audience of 40 dealers, general managers and service managers at a CATA seminar Jan. 29. Radelet's law firm, Franczek Sullivan, represents CATA dealers in employment matters, including fights to deflect unions. Radelet and three colleagues led the seminar, which traced scenarios of when and where union organizers typically contact employees; what employers may do that unwittingly causes them to recognize a union; and what an employer can do in the days before an election to help the dealership turn back a union. Effective communication is the foundation for remaining union-free. Managers must be attuned to their subordinates and be able to detect office vibes to measure the organization's health. Radelet recounted one instance of a dealer who called him upon being served notice of a unionization petition. To measure the service manager's level of engagement with his technicians, Radelet posed a series of questions: What are the technicians' names? Are they married? Do they have children? Hobbies? Tellingly, the first question could not be answered completely. The goal is not an ongo- ing coffee klatsch in the service bay. But knowing such details creates personal ties in a workforce that help to promote dignity, credibility, respect and trust-human needs a union seeks to fill when there is a void with management. Francek Sullivan's Sally Scott said management should regularly make clear, through words and deeds, why workers are served better by management. First, management should be competitive with the salary rates negotiated for unionized employees. Regarding benefits, nearly every health care and retirement plan offered at non union shops outshines the union plans. Employees considering a union should be reminded that unions spend the money they collect from initiation fees, dues, fines and other assessments on property, administrative salaries, and vehicles for those administrators. For instance, Scott said Teamsters Local 731 has assets exceeding $2 million. Union organizers often appeal to workers by promising many things they may not, and often cannot, deliver. If unionization ultimately is ratified, the workers have won nothing more than the right to have the union negotiate on their behalf. And the process to decertify a union is arduous. Scott said, "You can't just 'try on' a union." A dealer can fend off thoughts of unionization by remaining visible and accessible. Healthy employer-employee communications can diffuse an us-versus-them mentality by workers. Communications can be maintained through such mechanisms as periodic company and department meetings, bulletin boards, and formal and informal policies of conduct. Dealers who are members in good standing for at least the past six months can qualify for legal representation that is three-fourths paid for by the CATA, to try to ward off unionization attempts.
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