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  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2024 Chicago Auto Show came to a successful close on Monday, Feb. 19, after a 10-day run at McCormick Place. The 116th edition of the show welcomed nearly 260,000 guests to experience the latest cars, trucks and SUVs, automotive technology and electric vehicles.

    The 2024 show featured an array of vehicles, new to show attendees, including the world debut of the 2025 Kia Carnival and 2025 Kia K5. Lucid and Tesla both made a first-time Chicago Auto Show debut and Mazda returned, courtesy of Napleton Auto Group. Fans of Mazda were thrilled the full lineup was featured at the show, after a brand absence of a few years. Other notable new vehicles at the show included the Buick Envision, Cadillac Escalade IQ, 2025 Chevrolet Equinox, 2025 Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang Mach-E Bronze, GMC Hummer Earthcruiser, Nissan ARIYA Pole to Pole, Nissan Frontier Forsberg, Tesla Cybertruck, Toyota Land Cruiser and Volkswagen ID.Buzz.

    Three indoor test tracks graced the show floor. Ford’s “Built Wild” track featured the Bronco family of vehicles and gave attendees the thrill of conquering “Bronco Mountain,” a 38-degree hill inside of the show. Hyundai offered rides in a trio of EVs including the Kona Electric, IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6. Chicago Drives Electric’s indoor EV track, powered by ComEd, returned featuring nearly double the number of brands over the previous year. The popular track offered 20 different EVs for attendees to experience from brands including BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Lucid, Nissan, Tesla and Volkswagen.

    “Perhaps what sets our show apart most is that we’ve never shifted our focus away from the consumer; the attendees drive our strategy to produce an event that’s fun, engaging and informative, as research shows that more than 75% of people who attend the Chicago Auto Show are there to shop,” said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Jennifer Morand.

    Even despite the headwinds producers initially faced given the late Stellantis exit—due to cost-cutting efforts in the wake of the UAW strike—the 2024 show only experienced a slight decrease in attendance over the previous year.

    “We’re hopeful this was a one-year decision, and that Stellantis brands will return to the 2025 Chicago Auto Show,” said 2024 Chicago Auto Show Chairman JC Phelan. “The fans deeply missed the presence of these iconic brands this year.”

    Furthermore, third-party research shows that when brands don’t participate in the Chicago Auto Show, 36% attendees report being less likely to purchase from an absent brand and 32% of consumer opinions decline as a result.

    Along those lines, brands that were present had an increased opportunity to gain conquest sales. The lines at Ford’s “Built Wild” experienced record-breaking numbers, with the wait time nearly three hours long on more high-trafficked days.

    Between the show’s three indoor test tracks and three outdoor test drive experiences by Ford, Kia and Subaru, the show produced more than 80,000 in-vehicle driving experiences.

    This year’s themed days and special events drew in large crowds and new audiences to the show. The Toyota Miles Per Hour run once again provided a unique twist for a winter race in Chicago—at 72 degrees indoors McCormick Place! Held inside the Chicago Auto Show and organized by the Chicago Area Runners Association, 650 runners paced a 60-minute run through the show floor for participants to record their own miles per hour. Toyota awarded the top three winners for men’s and women’s times at its post-run celebration in its display; winners clocked in at more than 10 miles.

    Also returning to the show was the popular Chicago Friday Night Flights craft beer sampling event. More than 600 attendees sampled 20 different craft beers from local breweries.

    And new to the programming this year, the inaugural Automotive Career Day hosted more than 1,400 students for a lively morning filled with educational panels, networking and a career fair of local automotive employers.

    “There are so many career opportunities within the auto industry, and the Chicago Auto Show is the perfect backdrop to be able to make those connections to young people,” said Morand. “The 2024 first-year event was a success, and the wheels are already in motion to make the Automotive Career Day event even bigger and better for next year!”

    The show saw fan’s engagement translate to social media as well. Initial Meltwater data reports the Chicago Auto Show's message reached more than 83 million over the last 90 days. Strong engagement is measured between the show and its fans across all social media platforms.

    Finally, the show saw support from new and returning sponsors. 2024 premier partners included Cars.com, ComEd and Powering Chicago. Official sponsors were AT&T, U.S. Army, Volta Charging—a member of the Shell Group—and Wintrust. Additional show sponsors included Bosch Tools, Furniture Firm, NASCAR and Weber.

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Environmental groups pushed the reintroduction of House Bill (HB) 1634 mandating the state of Illinois to adopt California’s emissions standards, which would effectively require 100% of Illinois vehicle sales to be fully electric by 2035. This was met with a wave of opposition, preventing its passage in committee.

    Furthermore, earlier this week, Governor Pritzker came out publicly with his opposition of the proposed legislation. He said that now isn’t the right time for Illinois to adopt California standards, even though Illinois is working its way to having zero emissions on the road. He said the strategy there is to create incentives to lead people in that direction versus enforcing strict standards.

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    [From Wards Auto] The dealer is still a vital part of the car-buying process, especially for younger consumers,  according to the recently released Cars Commerce Industry Insights Report.

    “The fact that 80 percent of Gen Z want to finish their transaction at the dealership is a really significant number,” Rebecca Lindland, senior director of industry data and insights at Cars Commerce, tells WardsAuto. “For us, it reinforces the idea that dealers are really valuable.”

    In January, 80 percent of all consumers said they preferred to buy their vehicles in person, according to the report. The report notes 89 percent of Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are likelier to prefer an in-person purchase. But 80 percent of Gen Z – born between 1997 and 2017 – also prefer buying their vehicles from dealerships, although that group often purchases from online retail sites. The most likely to purchase their cars online, at 16 percent, are millennials – those born between 1981 and 1984.

    Cars Commerce finds that 59 percent of all consumers say it is important to touch, feel and test drive a car before purchase. That usually means going to a dealership. A car is still most people’s second-largest purchase after a home, Lindland says.

    “They want to know who they are doing business with,” she says. “There is an element of authenticity that you want to look the person in the face.”

    Discussions with friends or family are their most-used car-buying information source.  Gen Z buyers are more likely to have purchased a used car than any other generation. At 12 percent, this generation also is the most likely to have leased a vehicle. The preference for leasing or buying used vehicles may reflect the high prices of new cars, but that may change. The number of affordable new-car options is growing, the report says.

    In January, the report says entry-priced inventory, which Cars Commerce defines as costing $29,000 or less, rose by 63.1 percent compared to the same month in 2023. Entry-priced inventory is still 79 percent below the January 2019 level, however. Growing the number of affordable options faster faces multiple challenges, Lindland says.

    “Vehicles are becoming more expensive because the safety requirements are growing. Also, manufacturers have to earn back their investment,” she says. “It is a combination of things that are driving prices up. It’s really, really challenging, but we are seeing a 63% increase in the entry-level market. It is just not back to where it once was.”

    The average list price on Cars.com for a new vehicle in January was $49,096. That is down less than 1 percent compared to January 2023 and December 2023. The Cars Commerce New Car Price Index (NCPI) estimates the total cost to purchase and finance a new vehicle, including estimated options, taxes, fees and interest for the entire loan term.

    According to the NCPI report, the total cost to purchase and finance a new vehicle was down 3.3 percent in January, but it was still 32.7 percent above MSRP, the report says. There are more vehicles to choose from now, however: Inventory was up 36 percent in January compared to the same month in 2023. That means a buyer’s market is returning, Lindland says. For dealers, she emphasizes the need to respond promptly when a consumer is interested in a particular vehicle.

    “Consumers have more choices now,” Lindland says. “Maybe that vehicle is available on someone else’s lot when it may not have been (previously). Be responsive and knowledgeable; we encourage dealers to have the same type of experience online and on the lot.”

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Businesses, tax professionals and others who want to learn more about resolving incorrect Employee Retention Credit claims can view the IRS’s free webinar about the ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program and other IRS efforts to help taxpayers who may have been misled by aggressive marketing and misinformation around ERC eligibility.

    The recorded webinar “Employee Retention Credit – Voluntary Disclosure Program” is now available on the IRS Video Portal. The deadline to apply to the program is March 22, 2024.

    This 75-minute webinar focuses on:

    • Who can participate in the ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program
    • How to apply
    • Advantages of the program and what happens after applying.
    • ERC resources available from the IRS.
    • The question-and-answer session that followed the original presentation.

    This webinar may be useful to:

    • Employers who are exploring options to resolve an inaccurate ERC claim that was processed and paid.
    • Employers who would like to withdraw a questionable claim that has not been processed or paid.
    • Tax professionals helping clients with incorrect ERC claims.

    ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program: The ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program helps employers whose claims were paid by Dec. 21, 2023, pay back the money they received after filing ERC claims in error. The key benefit of the program is that employers have to pay back only 80% of the ERC they received, with no penalties or interest. The deadline to apply is March 22, 2024.

    ERC withdrawal process: The ERC claim withdrawal program is still available. Businesses who want to withdraw a claim that hasn’t been processed or paid should quickly pursue this process if they see their claim is now ineligible. The IRS will treat withdrawn claims as if they were never filed. No penalties or interest will apply.

    ERC moratorium update: On Sept. 14, 2023, following concerns about aggressive ERC marketing, the IRS announced a moratorium on processing new ERC claims. A specific resumption date hasn’t been determined. The IRS continues to process ERC claims submitted before the moratorium, but with additional scrutiny and at a much slower rate than before the agency’s approach changed last year. During the coming months, the IRS plans to continue program integrity measures before the agency anticipates processing claims submitted after the moratorium began.

    More information:

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the ever-evolving world of vehicle fraud crimes, the CATA has seen a new manner of identity theft, both personal and business identities, strike dealerships.

    Recently, a local car dealership was contacted by McHenry County Sheriff’s office regarding a stolen identity, of both a business and the business owner. The bad guy had used the business name to fund and purchase a 2023 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, using a (fraudulent) IL driver’s license with his photo on it. Law enforcement is currently looking for the vehicle.

    • This was an in-person deal
    • The fake driver’s license had all the actual DL information of the victim, just the bad guy’s picture
    • All business paperwork was presented, and was accurate and the deal funded in the business name

    It did not have LoJack, and Uconnect is no longer providing a location. Last known location is the City of Chicago.

    After discovery of this business deal, a review of other deals for businesses produced another 2023 Dodge Durango SRT, purchased in a business name and week after the first discovery.

    • This was an in-person deal
    • The fake driver’s license had all the DL information of the victim, with a slight variation of first name and the bad guy’s picture
    • All business paperwork was presented, and was accurate and the deal funded in the business name

    The vehicle was equipped with LoJack but it appears it was removed approximately 2 weeks after delivery.

    As you can see the same tactic was used for both deals and additionally it has been discovered that both bad guys used the same insurance policy number on their documents. With this correlation, this is more than a tactic but an active criminal ring. They are very schooled as what business documents are necessary to purchase a vehicle in a business name. The typical red flags are not present.

    • Be diligent with all paperwork and verification
    • A call to the actual business would be prudent now that we are aware of this
  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Forecasters expect U.S. auto sales in February to increase modestly, but only modestly – a percent increase of low single digits vs. February 2023, adjusting for the fact that February 2024 has an extra day, since it’s a Leap Year. For example, analysts for S&P Global Mobility, and in a joint forecast from J.D. Power and GlobalData separately each predict a forecast for U.S. new-vehicle sales that rounds up to about 1.2 million cars and trucks, in February 2024.
    Source: Forbes [LINK: February Auto Sales: Selection Is Better, But Rates And Payments Are High (forbes.com)]

  • Friday, March 01, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Automotive News released its “Best Place to Work” application for dealers. With new categories, and an expanded list of 150 winners, dealers may opt to complete the application to be considered as the “Best Place to Work.”

    Click here to apply: Home (bestdealershipstoworkfor.com)  

    The deadline to apply is April 19, 2024.

  • Thursday, February 29, 2024 3:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As part of the Biden administration’s Regulatory Plan, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has released its 2024 regulatory agenda.

    The DOL first summarized the final rules that it issued during 2023, which included the following:

    • A final rule updating provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts to ensure the payment of locally prevailing wages to construction workers on federally funded or assisted construction projects;
    • A final rule rescinding certain provisions concerning the religious exemption for federal contractors and subcontractors to comply with the nondiscrimination principles of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and reaffirming nondiscrimination protections for employees of federal contractors;
    • A final rule modifying DOL procedures for removing barriers to equal employment opportunity, particularly by resolving potential employment discrimination at federal contractor workplaces;

    A final rule to provide better guidance on whether a worker is an employer or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA);The DOL also outlined its priority agenda items for divisions of the agency as follows.

    Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

    • A final rule updating the executive, administration, and professional exemptions for the FLSA; and
    • A final rule offering certain employees employed under federal service contracts a right of first refusal of employment when contracts change over to retain skilled workers in the federal services workforce.

    Employee and Training Administration (ETA)

    • A proposed rule to establish a National Apprenticeship System.

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

    • A proposed rule on Infectious Diseases to protect employees in healthcare and other high-risk environments from exposure to and transmission of persistent and new infectious diseases; and

    A proposed rule updating standards for emergency response and preparedness to reflect the full range of hazards and concerns first responders face and changes in performance specifications for PPE. As a reminder, as benefit of CATA membership, dealers  receive employee relations and HR counsel from SESCO. Benefits include telephone, e-mail and research assistance regarding terminations and disciplinary matters, collective bargaining agreements, federal and state employment regulations, difficult people matters and all other HR Systems and Practices. In addition, CATA members receive attorney analysis and review of personnel policies, work rules and employee handbooks as well as HR assessment for wage and hour compliance.

    SESCO also produces a bi-monthly newsletter. Highlights for this issue include:

    • A Case for and Against the Add-On Bonus Incentive
    • Immigration Law Compliance
    • FLSA Update

    Download the latest issue HERE

    Contact Jamie Hasty with specific questions at jamie@sescomgt.com or 804-931-6281.

  • Thursday, February 29, 2024 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    [From the desk of CATA General Counsel Dennis O'Keefe] Section 6 (b) of the Illinois Warranty Law (815 ILCS 710/6) contains two provisions that dealers should be aware of. The first provision states:

    There shall be no reduction in payments due to pre-established market norms or market averages. Manufacturers are prohibited from establishing restrictions or limitations of customer repair frequency due to failure rate indexes or national failure averages.

    The second provision states:

    If a manufacturer imposes a recall or stop sale on any new vehicle in a dealer’s inventory that prevents the sale of the vehicle, the manufacturer shall compensate the dealer for any interest and storage until the vehicle is repaired and made ready for sale.

    With regard to the second provision, each OEM might have a different method for dealers to recoup interest and storage. However, should any OEM take a position that is contrary to either of these provisions, or ignore either provision, dealers should make the OEM aware of the statutory language quoted above.

  • Friday, February 23, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Presented by:

    • Laura Perrotta | President | American Truck Dealers
    • Scott Pearson | ATD Chairman | President/Dealer Principal | Peterbilt of Atlanta
    • Daniel Ingber | Vice President, Regulatory Affairs | NADA
    • Kaye Lynch-Sparks | Associate Director, Legal and Regulatory Affairs | NADA

    Tuesday, March 5 | 3-4pm ET

    Join the ATD Chairman, President, and members of the Regulatory Affairs team as they provide an overview of the new CARB regulations, the EPA NOx regulation, the pending EPA GHG Phase 3 regulation and the impact they will have on the truck market. REGISTER.

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