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Year-end sales look good

November 23, 2010

With continued economic growth and an end-of-the-year sales race between Ford and Chevrolet, dealers should have many reasons to celebrate this month. According to NADA projections, we are on track for 2004 to tie 2002 as the fourth-best year in automotive retail history with 16.8 million units sold.

Although sales of truck-based SUVs have softened, and amid higher gas prices, the market for
car-based crossover utility vehicles is stronger than ever, according to NADA chief economist Paul Taylor. As for the new year, we can look forward to even more new models, new initiatives, and a new NADA Convention and Exposition packed with "A World of Opportunity."

Other positive news: the NADA and USA Today have kicked off the new Dealer Innovation Awards competition, and we look forward to honoring one award winner at a special event held in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show in April 2005. The topic for this year is consumer finance education, which has been a top priority for NADA Chairman Charley Smith. If you have developed innovative ways to increase public understanding of auto financing, then you should submit your nomination. The entry deadline is Feb. 19. All information and
a brief, interactive entry form are at

Speaking of consumer finance education, there's a wealth of it for you-free-located at and from under "Find a Car" and then "Safety," "Service and Parts" or "More Shopping Tools."

And, the NADA has produced "An Insider's Guide to Car Financing," a comprehensive booklet for customers that highlights the advantages of dealer financing and dispels the myths so popular in the media today.

Copies of the guide, which appeared in the Nov. 8 edition of Time magazine, are available from or by calling (703) 827-7411. That issue of Time also included a full-page ad promoting the good work of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation. The foundation's Frank E. McCarthy Memorial Educational Fund presented its first grant to Canine
Companions for Independence, which used the funds to train and place an assistance dog with an 8-year-old disabled child, Johanna Benthal. Johanna is delighted with her new dog, "Taffy II," who provides mobility assistance and companionship and expands Johanna's opportunities. See photographs under the header "Beyond the Headlines."

Preliminary results from a new survey by Wirthlin Worldwide, sponsored by Automotive Retailing Today, indicate that while dealers in general still rank low in public trust, when asked about "my own automobile dealership," the same people ranked their specific dealer high on
the list, on par with law enforcement and firefighters.

This is good news, but now is no time to be complacent. Make sure you're in compliance with everchanging government regulations.

Visit and choose Government Affairs under Member Services for more info on the following (text in parentheses refers to the government agency involved, to help with your search.):

• The reduction for small business expensing of SUVs that went into effect Dec. 1 (Legislation)

• Why you may have to replace high-intensity headlamps at no charge (NHTSA)

• Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act if you employ persons with intellectual difficulties (EEOC)

• When you have to pay salaried personnel overtime (DOL)

• The new, simplified service station dealer exemption for used oil (EPA)

• What dealers need to do regarding consumer credit "fraud alert" reporting (FTC and FACT Act)

• Where to find the current Fuel Economy Guide (DOE)

• When "listed transactions" are and are not considered "abusive tax shelters" (IRS)

• How often you need to download the National Do-Not-Call Registry for telephone solicitations (FCC)

• The new date for implementing the new, restrictive fax rules (FCC) Stop at the Regulatory Booth, No. 2561, at the 2005 NADA Convention and Exposition in New Orleans, Jan. 29-Feb. 1, where you can ask questions of regulators from 14 federal agencies.

Let me know how the NADA can better serve you in the year to come. And in this season of spirituality and reflection as well as celebration, please keep in your thoughts and prayers the men and women serving so bravely in our armed forces.

And let me extend to everyone my warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season and a prosperous new year.