Earlier this week, CATA Co-Presidents Dave Sloan and Jennifer Morand, along with CATA Treasurer and Government Relations Committee Chairman Jason Roberts, and NADA Directors, Desmond Roberts and Joe Massarelli, attended NADA’s Washington Conference. The two-day conference is an annual gathering of the automotive retailing industry including politically active members, national board members and state association leadership. The event highlighted the top legislative and regulatory issues facing dealers and featured keynote addresses from elected officials. Additionally, while in D.C., the team set up meetings on Capitol Hill with congressional representatives to discuss current issues.
The 2022 Washington Conference keynote speaker lineup included Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), political analyst Nathan Gonzales and Marc Short, former chief of staff to Mike Pence.
Congratulations to NADA’s Legislative Committee Chairman Desmond Roberts for what was considered a very successful Washington Conference. He rallied the dealers in attendance from the main stage as they went to the Hill for meetings Wednesday afternoon.
There are three main issues the industry is facing:
FTC Vehicle Transaction Rule
The FTC recently proposed a vehicle transaction rule that would overwhelm car buyers and small businesses with additional paperwork, needlessly lengthening the sales process. The rule was proposed without credible data-driven analysis or the necessary time for public comments to avoid the unintended consequences to consumers and small businesses. Unfair and deceptive practices in vehicle sales or financing are already illegal and heavily regulated.
FTC’s proposed rule would make the auto buying experience worse—not better—for consumers. As the auto industry works to streamline the purchase process post-pandemic, the FTC’s proposed rule would only swamp dealers and car buyers with greater inefficiency and complexity. NADA is actively urging members of Congress to weigh in with the FTC to ensure that this rulemaking process is fair and based on valid research and data rather than assumptions.
Supply Chain Disruption LIFO Relief Act
Vehicle assembly plants and suppliers around the globe ceased or slowed production during the pandemic, drastically reducing new vehicle inventory. The shortfall worsened with the worldwide shortage of semiconductors, which are essential to complete vehicles manufactured today. With no way to replenish vehicle inventory, dealers using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting method face major unanticipated tax liability due to circumstances beyond their control. Treasury recently indicated its support for a legislative solution to this issue and that they will work cooperatively with Congress to that end. NADA is working hard to urge Congress to pass this legislation to allow businesses on LIFO extended time to replace vehicle inventories as pandemic-related global disruptions and reduced auto production have made it nearly impossible to replenish new vehicle supply.
Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Legislation
Catalytic converters are being stolen at increasingly higher rates due to their valuable medals. Thieves can easily steal catalytic converters from unattended vehicles and, since catalytic converters aren’t traceable, there is a lucrative market for those stolen parts. This has been a major issue not only for the Chicagoland area, but also for the nation. The act would assist law enforcement in their efforts to combat this crime by providing a national framework that would mark catalytic converters, establish federal criminal penalties and create a more transparent market that deters theft.
Your association’s leadership took these critical messages to local legislators in meetings on Capitol Hill.
U.S. House Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was receptive to the CATA’s issues and asked for more follow-up details on each. Jason Roberts set the stage by introducing himself as the Vice Treasurer and Board of Director for Chicago’s Little Village Chamber of Commerce, the neighborhood in which Garcia resides. This seemed to resonate immediately with Rep. Garcia, and he gave the team more time than originally allotted as they briefed him on the key issues at hand. His Chief of Staff also seemed fully aware of the challenges with which new-car dealers are currently faced. In fact, two of his staff members recently purchased new vehicles and couldn’t imagine the process being further complicated with more disclosure paperwork, lengthening the total time it takes for the vehicle transaction.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who represents the 8th District of Illinois including Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs, was also receptive to the FTC message and acknowledged how this proposed rule would overcomplicate the car buying process for both consumers and business owners. He asked for more information to review, which was a promising sign. He was also in agreement on the catalytic converter issue, already fully aware of the local problem. Note: Congressman Krishnamoorthi already signed on as a co-sponsor of the Supply Chain Disruption (LIFO) Relief bill.
Congressman Brad Schneider, who represents Illinois’ 10th District, was briefed on the LIFO bill by NADA Directors Joe Massarelli and Desmond Roberts. The first goal was to get Rep. Schneider’s support as a co-sponsor on the LIFO bill, which looks promising. He also understood dealer concerns about the FTC’s proposed rules and suggested taking our counterpoints to the House Oversight Committee.
Congressman Mike Quigley, who represents Illinois’ 5th District, is another pro-business Democrat who is always willing to listen to dealer concerns. He and his chief of staff promised to investigate dealer concerns about the FTC overreach on its proposed rulemaking. They also understood the LIFO issue and the catalytic converter issue asked for follow up on each.
EV Federal Tax Credits and Incentives
With the federal push for widespread EV adoption, the team also shared the reasons that franchised new-car dealers are critical to this next phase of the consumer EV revolution. NADA created a helpful infographic that helps break down the timeline for new clean vehicles tax credits available today through 2032.
National, state and metro associations along with dealers’ grassroots efforts remain crucial, and our voices are heard collectively when action is taken. With the help of the NADA, CATA and all our dealers, our voice resonates when tackling these important legislative issues. To that end, we want to reiterate the importance of the NADA PAC to assist in these efforts. To find out more about NADA PAC and its support of pro-dealer candidates, please call Dave Sloan at the CATA at 630-424-6055. If we don’t already have your NADA PAC permission on file, please find the form here and submit it to NADA.
Digital retailing is the future, and the future is now! It is true that adapting digital sales techniques in your dealership will make your digital retailing platform more effective and more profitable, but digital sales also make your sales team achieve these same goals.
Do you really know what digital retailing means? Digital retailing is a solution that drives more online transactions to start the purchase or lease of a vehicle. The goal is to take the shopper from browsing to trade appraisal, to financing, and even the close all from the comfort of their home.
According to Automotive News, 76% of car buyers are open to buying completely online and 64% of car buyers want to handle more of their purchase online compared to the last time they purchased a vehicle. In 2021, U.S Commerce totaled $933B and are projected to grow 23.4% by 2025. Digital retailing applications, such as WebBuy, accounted for 13.3 percent of all eCommerce sales in 2021.
Of course, not all of these sales were completed from the comfort of the buyer’s couch. Many online consumers started the application process outside the dealership and completed the application in the showroom. However, some digital sales savvy dealerships have trained their sales teams to start and close the showroom sale on the digital application.
It's not enough to install an application on your dealership’s website. Effective digital retailing takes total investment and cooperation from the dealership from owners and GMs through the entire sales team. When done properly, digital sales can take your dealership to the next level.
There are many advantages for a dealership to embrace digital retailing as the overall sales program and consumers have seen the benefits including total transparency of the car buying experience.
The CATA is hosting a Digital Sales seminar on Thursday, September 22, 2022, from 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM.
Click Here to Register.
For the first time since 1999, the cars were the stars at an auto show in the Motor City. Slimmed down and transitioning from its traditional January date, the 2022 Detroit Auto Show (formerly known as the North American International Auto Show) begins its 10-day public run today. The ’22 show is about half the size of previous editions and had manufacturer displays from General Motors, Ford, Stellantis, Toyota and Subaru. The show also bade use of the warmer weather to host a few outside events including alternative mobility displays, monster truck demonstrations and a dinosaur exhibit.
Detroit’s media preview was highlighted by a visit from President Biden and Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and featured a few key vehicle introductions, including the seventh-generation Ford Mustang. Also, interesting to note was a bevvy of new concept vehicles on the show floor, including the Buick Wildcat, Lexus Electrified Sport, Lincoln L100 and Star Concept, and Dodge Charger Daytona SRT. Other notable auto-show debuts included the 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV, 2023 Chrysler 300C, 2023 Dodge Hornet, 2023 GMC Canyon, and 2023 Toyota Crown.
The return of Detroit to the auto show circuit came with mixed reviews, but bodes well for the future of auto shows, at least in major markets. Many of the concepts are likely to appear at other major shows like Los Angles, New York and in Chicago this coming February.
Speaking of Chicago, plans are well underway for the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. Not only will it grow in size compared to the 2022 show, but also include several manufacturers that we not present and add at least one additional indoor test track opportunity.
[from Automotive News] Ford's U.S. dealers must invest as much as $1.2 million and adhere to rigorous sales standards if they want to sell electric vehicles beyond 2023 as the brand tweaks its retail model to better compete with direct-sales startups.
Dealers have until Oct. 31 to opt into one of two EV certification tiers that cover varying investment levels in fast chargers and staff training. Those who choose not to invest will be limited to selling internal-combustion vehicles and hybrids from the Ford brand.
EV dealers must sell the products at nonnegotiable prices, and those who choose the lower-priced certification tier won't be allowed to carry them in inventory, instead having customers order exactly what they want for later delivery.
Read more here: https://www.autonews.com/dealers/ford-dealers-must-set-no-haggle-prices-invest-12-million-keep-selling-evs
President Biden visited the Detroit Auto Show Wednesday, using the backdrop to announce $900 million in grants for electric vehicle charging systems distributed to 35 states. The grants from the initial investment in what will become $5 billion allocated as part of last November’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
“You are going to be part of a network of 500,000 charging stations,” Biden said a crowd of union workers at the show. “The great American road trip is going to be fully electrified whether you’re driving along the coast, or on I-75 here in Michigan.”
Upgrading the country’s charging network is critical to Biden’s national goal for electric vehicles to make up 50% of all vehicles sold in the United States by 2030. Per the terms of the next round of EV tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act, the White House and Congress are attempting to make both new and used EVs affordable, as well as bolstering the auto industry generally.
Buick will offer to buy out any of its U.S. dealers who do not want to make the investments necessary as the brand transitions to an all-electric lineup by the end of this decade.
A spokeswoman for the brand confirmed the plan to offer buyouts, which Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick and GMC, is outlining to dealers during a virtual meeting Friday. The Wall Street Journal first reported the buyout plan Friday, citing an interview with Aldred.
Buick had 1,963 U.S. dealerships at the start of 2022, according to Automotive News' Dealer Census. Only 13 of those were standalone stores — the majority have dual showrooms with GMC — so virtually all dealers who take a buyout likely would continue with other General Motors brands.
"Not everyone necessarily wants to make that journey, depending on where they're located or the level of expenditure that the transition will demand," Aldred told the Journal. "So if they want to exit the Buick franchise, then we will give them monetary assistance to do so."
Buick does not plan to introduce any new internal combustion vehicles after 2024, when its first full-electric vehicle is scheduled to arrive. The brand is reviving the Electra name for the planned EV lineup in combination with an alphanumeric code to distinguish the various models.
Read more here: https://www.autonews.com/dealers/buick-offer-buyouts-all-us-dealers
The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), the area’s new-car dealer association and producer of the Chicago Auto Show, is plugging into the electric vehicle (EV) revolution by hosting its first-ever Chicago Drives Electric event, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, aimed at educating media and consumers on the topic and how franchised new-car dealerships play a critical role in widespread EV adoption. The event will also serve as a forum for policy makers to share their EV adoption and infrastructure plans around the initiative.
In alignment with National Drive Electric week, Chicago Drives Electric will help raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and help consumers understand how EVs can fit individual needs and lifestyles. In addition to putting interested parties behind the wheel of some of the latest EVs, event organizers are bringing in a variety of experts to help break down the various aspects of EV ownership and tackle complex topics such as range anxiety; at-home charging solutions; on-the-go charging and infrastructure; tax credits and incentives; and where people can begin their search. On-hand experts will include Cars.com, CHARGE Enterprises, ComEd and Powering Chicago.
Automakers will have product specialists on hand throughout the event who will field consumer questions and as they relate to the vehicle brands they represent. Participating automakers include Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Volkswagen and Volvo showcasing a variety of EVs like the Ford F-150 Lightning, Kia EV6 and Volkswagen ID.4, among others.
Registrations for the event were limited to a first come, first served basis. The consumer interest and initial response has been overwhelming; all registration timeslots were filled in less than 12 hours from a single email invitation to the Chicago Auto Show attendee database.
The CATA plans to carry the Chicago Drives Electric branding and name over to the 2023 Chicago Auto Show with the Chicago Drives Electric Indoor EV Track. To help the burgeoning EV market grow faster than it already has, the Chicago Auto Show debuted its first indoor multi-brand EV track during the 2022 Chicago Auto Show last February. Next year, organizers say the track will triple in size and the area will be enhanced as an EV education destination for show-goers, featuring panel discussions with experts available throughout the show to address consumer questions.
“Hosting Chicago Drives Electric this fall will be a great way to test drive the programs we want to implement during the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, while making essential connections in the EV space,”
said Jennifer Morand, co-president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and co-general manager, Chicago Auto Show. “This next stage of EV adoption will mean getting everyday consumers into mass-market vehicles, and new-car dealerships will be critical to this process.”
In the largest and most comprehensive survey ever conducted of prospective EV buyers in the U.S., the independent analytics firm Escalent presented future EV buyers with a factory sales model and a franchise dealership model. The study found 57% of potential EV buyers prefer the traditional approach to car buying.
In addition, most of the 30,000 people Escalent surveyed said they prefer to have many of the phases of the car-buying process, including test driving, completing the transaction and getting the EV services, take place in-person at a dealership.
This research proves that the franchised dealership model works just as well for EVs as it does for gas-powered vehicles.
“The EV customers of yesterday can’t be compared to today’s EV buyer,” added JC Phelan, CATA chairman. “With game-changing technology like EVs, personal service and education is needed now more than ever before. Plus, the customer wins. Because local dealerships compete for customers on sales and service, the result is that pricing is competitive, and service is plentiful with a nationwide network of local new-car dealers.”
To Register, visit: Chicago Auto Trade Association - Chicago Drives Electric - Dealer Session (cata.info)
For more information, visit: https://www.chicagoautoshow.com/about-the-show/chicago-drives-electric-2022. Chicago Drives Electric test drives are reserved exclusively for the public who pre-registered for the event. A waitlist has opened at ChicagoAutoShow.com.
Interview and b-roll opportunities available on Thursday, Sept. 29 at the CATA headquarters, 18W200 Butterfield Rd., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. 60181. Additional media opportunities can be arranged with Mark Bilek (email@example.com) or Hayley Feichter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The NADA released a new animated video explaining how the FTC proposed rule would dramatically complicate the car buying process for American consumers. (Watch the video here.)
The video shows how the regulation, first proposed by the Federal Trade Commission in June, would force consumers who finance their vehicles to sign new forms and disclosures each time they ask about the price of vehicles on the lot.
The FTC, which is fast-tracking the proposal, last week denied NADA’s request to extend the deliberation period. NADA and state dealer associations are filing detailed comments to the FTC opposing the proposal.
The FTC has yet to field test the proposal, and has provided no quantitative data showing how the proposal would help consumers. Dealers are encouraged to submit a comment on the proposed rule before the Sept. 12 deadline. Also, tell the FTC in a short letter that this rule is unwarranted and unnecessary. Your comments are critical and can be submitted online here.
Charities and civic organizations know that Chicagoland new-car dealers are an integral part of their communities and are often deeply involved in charitable causes. However, dealers rarely receive the recognition they deserve for their efforts. The Chicago Automobile Trade Association created Chicagoland Dealers Care in 2008 to raise awareness of dealers' local charitable efforts and, in many cases, assist with the programs.
When it comes to donations, the Chicagoland Dealers Care program, the CATA will match your local, charitable contribution up to $1,500 to maximize the impact dealers make in your community. Grant requests can be made every three years for a variety of causes: academic programs, cultural arts, performing arts, medical research, and even humanitarian needs, to name just a few.
Since its inception in 2008, the grassroots Chicagoland Dealers Care program has donated more than $123,000 to local charitable organizations. Additionally, since 1992, the association has raised more than $59 million for significant Chicago-area charities during the annual First Look for Charity black-tie event, traditionally held the evening before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public. Learn more about the Chicagoland Dealers Care program and how you can get involved. To submit a match request, download this form and email it to Hayley Feichter (email@example.com).
New-car dealers are in desperate need for auto techs, parts counter employees, service writers and managers. Though many offer scholarships and paid training, there is also another pool of scholarships available through aftermarket parts organizations.
These scholarships are available for: Full time students at an accredited U.S. college or university or an ASE/NATEF Certified post-secondary automotive, heavy duty, or collision repair school, graduating high school seniors planning to be full time students at the previously mentioned schools. According to the website, in 2021, 427 scholarships were awarded for a record of $706,2500 and 881 complete applications were considered for scholarships by more than 40 donor organizations.
Click here for more information about these scholarships: https://automotivescholarships.com/.
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