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Chairwoman'S message

June 19, 2023

Dear Dealer,

As my term in office as 2023/2024 CATA Chairwoman comes to an end and I transition to Chairwoman of the 2025 Chicago Auto Show, I would like to reflect on the many challenges we faced and our successes during the past year.

We began the year with our crucial warranty reimbursement provisions under attack from two sides. First, Volkswagen filed suit in federal court to declare the new warranty provisions unconstitutional. The CATA worked with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and IADA to assist the AG in its Motion to Dismiss the complaint. We were awarded for our efforts on May 6, 2024 when Judge John Tharp, Jr. dismissed the case without prejudice. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the CATA learned that the Governor’s office was considering a legislative move to repeal the warranty reimbursement provisions during the fall veto session. With CATA encouragement and direction, our dealer members and their technicians contacted their state representatives in droves, and the repeal never materialized. Suffice it to say that the CATA will continue to be on guard against any further repeal effort.

As a prelude to the 2024 Chicago Auto Show, the CATA conducted its second Chicago Drives Electric event in September, which included 40 EV vehicles and saw 1,437 registered test drives from over 3,600 attendees. Chicago Drives Electric showcased electric vehicles from Cadillac, Ford, Kia, Audi, Nissan, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo. BMW, Genesis, and Hyundai.

The Chicago Auto Show Committee always has its hands full with the many issues and details that surround a production of this magnitude. However, this year the Committee and CATA staff were challenged by the unexpected decision of Stellantis to pull out of the Show, both with its exhibit space and two tracks, only weeks before the Show was scheduled to begin. The CATA staff went into overdrive to rearrange floor space and pull off a highly successful, albeit smaller, show that garnered rave reviews from exhibitors and consumers alike. Over $2.8 million was raised for the charities participating in the First Look for Charity event, and the Show received a record of over $1.6 million in bonus media during the show period from our loyal media partners.

The CATA Government Relations Committee each year deals with a myriad of bills both in Springfield and Washington that affect CATA members. Our expert lobbyists, Scott Marquardt along with his partner Chip Humes, work closely with the CATA and IADA to ensure the dealers are represented well downstate and that our collective voice is heard. Our political action committee, CATPAC, annually contributes approximately $130,000 to state and local officials, and we seek direct contributions from our members to NADA PAC, which contributes to federal officials. With our help, NADA PAC raised over $55,000 last year from Chicagoland dealers. In addition, CATA representatives meet in person with our state legislators in Springfield and attend the annual NADA Washington Conference in September, where we are able to meet in person to discuss our concerns with many of Illinois’ Congressmen and Congresswomen.

The CATA Finance, Pension, Audit, and Compensation Committee continues to work diligently to find ways to increase CATA revenues and decrease costs, insuring that the CATA has the ability to continue to provide a wide range of benefits to its dealer members.

The CATA Member Benefits Committee researches and vets allied companies in an to provide worthwhile vendors, programs and cost efficiencies for CATA members.

The CATA Employee Benefits Committee this year recommended the retention of SESCO as an employee benefits provider. SESCO has broad experience with a number of state dealer associations, and has brought to bear new insight and expertise to varied employment issues that arise for our members.

The CATA Civic and Dealer Relations Committee continued with the seventeenth year of the Chicagoland Dealers Care program, providing charitable contributions to dealer-sponsored charity events in the community. It also continued with the tenth year of BBQ for the Troops, during which time it has raised over $1.1 million for the USO.

The CATA Media Strategy Committee, with extraordinary enhancements provided by our media partners, directs approximately $440,000 in CATA funding to the Chicago Auto Show, Chicago Drives Electric, BBQ for the Troops, Drive Chicago, and other worthwhile events.

The CATA Drive Chicago Committee has just launched a totally reworked website as it continues in its efforts to be the definitive website for vehicle purchases in the Chicagoland area.

Finally, the CATA Nominating Committee recommended five outstanding candidates for the four vacancies on the CATA Board of Directors. The Committee is dedicated to choosing knowledgeable candidates of the highest integrity to serve as CATA Directors.

I have been fortunate to have 11 fellow CATA Directors who are dedicated to making our businesses better and have served so diligently, to whom I want to express my heartfelt gratitude. I especially want to thank retiring Director Richard Wickstrom for the knowledge, enthusiasm, and expertise he provided during his seven years on the CATA Board. I also want to thank the entire staff of the CATA, ably led by President Jen Morand, with assistance from Executive Vice President Chris Konecki, who have been innovative, hard working, and exceptional in all that they do. Also, I am grateful for the continued wise legal counsel provided to the CATA and to our members by Dennis O’Keefe. Dennis’ experience and in-depth knowledge of the many laws and regulations that affect our industry is invaluable. Finally, my appreciation goes out to Dave Sloan, recently retired after 31 years of dedicated service to and leadership of the CATA.

I congratulate Jared Wickstrom, Dick Wickstrom Chevrolet, for being elected to serve on the CATA Board. I know he will bring great value to this board. I also congratulate Jason Roberts on his election as CATA Chairman for 2024/2025. Jason is extremely well versed in the automobile business and will be a great leader for CATA. I know his father, Desmond, who has served as both a CATA and an NADA Director, will be very proud!

Enclosed is a summary of actions taken by the CATA Board of Directors during the past twelve months.


Kelly Webb RobertsCATA Chairwoman 2023/2024

Chicago Automobile Trade Association
18W200 Butterfield Rd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 
(630) 495-2282


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