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Time to get busy

February 22, 2019
By Howard Hakes, 2019 AIADA Chairman
On Jan. 28, I formally accepted the AIADA chairman’s gavel at our Annual Meeting & Luncheon during the NADA convention. The luncheon was the cap to a busy week, featuring friends and family who traveled to support me, several important make meetings, an active convention floor, and quite a bit of AIADA business.
To be honest, I enjoyed all of it. As I’ve learned during my decades as a dealer: Busy is good. Busy means business is booming. Busy means customers are buying and cars are moving. Busy means dealers are in good shape.
Now, as chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, busy has taken on a new meaning for me. It means that legislators are moving in the wrong direction, trade is under attack, and our stores are at risk. Today, the AIADA and its active dealer members are busier than ever — holding meetings with their lawmakers, educating the public and media on our industry, and working to promote sensible trade policies that benefit our businesses, employees, and consumers.
I gave a speech during our luncheon and thanked the dealers in attendance for all their hard work on the AIADA’s behalf. I also reminded them that they are the 20 percent of international nameplate dealers I see at every meeting and every event. They know their representatives in Congress, and are doing all the right things to protect their businesses from anti-trade policies. What the AIADA needs, and what our industry needs, is the other 80 percent of dealers to come out of the shadows and get involved.
What is happening in D.C. today is no joke. Our product, at any moment, could be slapped with 25 percent "232 national security" tariffs.  If you don’t believe me, consider what Toyota’s Bob Carter said at our luncheon:
"Our industry’s greatest risk remains the same: Looming tariff and international trade frictions. ... Should these Section 232 tariffs be enacted, the average vehicle cost, regardless of OEM, will rise by thousands of dollars and reduce sales by an estimated 2 million to 2.5 million units, taking thousands of jobs with it."
That’s a serious threat that requires serious participation by 100 percent of dealers. Start your participation today, by registering to attend the AIADA’s annual Fly-In April 9 and 10 in Washington, D.C. You need to be there because lawmakers need to look you in the eye and hear exactly how these tariffs could impact the men and women of their congressional districts.
I look forward to seeing you there, and I truly look forward to working with you. Now, more than ever, it’s time to get busy.