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Washington Conference draws record attendance

November 17, 2010
By Ray Scarpelli Sr., Metro Chicago NADA Director

More than 520 new-car dealers and state and metro dealer association executives (ATAEs) from around the country were in the nation’s capital for the NADA’s32nd annual Washington Conference, Sept. 11-12.


"With the current climate on Capitol Hill, it is vital that dealers be highly visible and absolutely clear in presenting their views to Congress," NADA President Phil Brady said.


In other Washington Conference news: 

  • The Mexican Auto Dealers Association (AMDA) attended this year’s conference, the first time a dealer association from outside the United States was invited to participate. AMDA representatives also met with the NADA’s International Dealer Task Force and attended a meeting organized by the NADA’sGovernment Affairs office to discuss the total-loss disclosure bill with various government agencies. The AMDA has expressed support for the bill.
  • In conjunction with the Washington Conference, the NADA and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers launched a new Web site, The site, which contains actual vehicle registration data from 39 states, clearly illustrates that trucks—pickups, minivans and vans—were the No. 1 selling vehicle type in 2006. The data will give Congress a better understanding of the need for an aggressive but reasonable fuel economy boost, as well as separate car and truck fuel economy standards. 
  • With renewed media attention and a rising number of bipartisan cosponsors of the total-loss disclosure bills, H.R. 1029 and S. 545, dealers have the opportunity to use the momentum to seek total-loss disclosure support from their own congressional delegations.


Significant progress was made in September as 10 new House members cosponsored H.R. 1029, the Damaged Vehicle Information Act. Also, the NADA owes a special thanks to the efforts of our North Dakota and New Hampshire dealers for securing additional cosponsors for the Senate version of the bill, S. 545. Through their efforts, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) signed onto the legislation. These developments come on the heels of increased media attention on total-loss vehicles from recent stories related to the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Consult for updates, and contact federal lawmakers who have not yet cosponsored the bills.


In legislative and regulatory news: 

  • As of Sept. 1, vehicle manufacturers were required to include National Highway Traffic Safety Administration New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) safety ratings on automobile Monroney labels. By law, automobiles include passenger cars and vans, station wagons, sport-utility vehicles, crossovers, and small buses under 10,000 lb. gross vehicle weight rating. Because NCAP assigns star ratings based on test performance, the new safety information label is known as "stars for cars" and features a one- to five-star graphic display.


The NHTSA conducts NCAP testing on a rolling basis throughout the model year, but does not test all models and doesn’t always conduct all tests for each model. Manufacturers are required to add safety label information to Monroney labels within 30 days of receiving NCAP test results. The NHTSA offers an explanatory brochure titled "Coming to a Window Sticker Near You." It includes sample labels and can be used to help consumers understand the new safety information. The new labels reference and the NHTSA’s hotline.


The NHTSA also requires dealerships that alter covered vehicles to attach a second label adjacent to the Monroney label stating that the vehicle has been altered. Changes made to used vehicles are not subject to alteration labeling.


  • Dealerships may receive "no-match" letters when an employee’s name or Social Security number on an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification or W-2 form does not match government records. Discrepancies should be addressed within 90 days. If a discrepancy persists, the dealership may have to terminate the employee or risk a finding by the Department of Homeland Security that it had constructive knowledge of an illegal alien being employed.


The DHS issued a notice, effective Sept. 14, describing safe harbor procedures for how to address no-match letters from the Social Security Administration. To verify a SSN, call the SSA at 800.772.6270, or go to or For more information, call 800.421.7105 or visit, the DHS Safe Harbor Information Center.


In NADA news:


  • Thousands of new-car dealers around the country hosted free child safety seat inspections at their dealerships last month as part of the fifth annual "Boost for Safety" national campaign, a program developed by the NADA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.