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CATA News

  • Thursday, April 14, 2022 3:57 PM | Anonymous
     

    The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) has selected Vitu as its endorsed Electronic Registration and Title (ERT) partner for the association’s more than 400 franchised, new-car dealer members in the Chicagoland area. Vitu’s innovative ERT platform provides a best-in-class in-state and out-of-state titling and registration solution combined with its award-winning customer service.

    "We took great care in selecting Vitu as CATA’s preferred ERT solution partner. Following an evaluation of all providers in the market, it became clear why an increasing number of our dealers are choosing Vitu’s innovative technology and comprehensive dealer support system," said Kevin Keefe, CATA chairman. "Vitu's commitment to serving dealers' interests will take this partnership to a new level as we work together to continuously improve the Vitu platform and ancillary services and also introduce new title and registration training opportunities for our dealers."

    Vitu pioneered an advanced vehicle registration solution, focused on streamlining operations between the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS), Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and dealerships. Accomplishing this kind of industry-wide change required an in-depth understanding of the needs of each stakeholder, as well as a thorough knowledge of tax, titling and registration regulations. Recent rapid gains in market share prove that Vitu’s inclusive approach is right on target.

    "One of Vitu's core beliefs is that a deep partnership with every stakeholder – from the dealers to our association partners to the SOS/IDOR – is crucial to the overall success of the program. We are grateful to enter into a partnership with an organization that carries the same values. Vitu and CATA both believe in excellence in every part of the ecosystem," said Joe Nemelka, chief operations officer/EVP at Vitu. "In partnering with CATA, we look forward to leveraging our combined skills to strengthen the public/private partnership model and support Chicagoland dealers with innovations that create efficiencies throughout the dealership."

    For more information about the partnership with ViTu contact Dave Sloan at (630) 424-6055 or dsloan@drivechicago.com.

    To arrange for a sale presentation contact Randy Skolnick, Senior Sales Representative VITU-Illinois, at (818) 299-3269
    or rskolnick@vitu.com.

     


  • Thursday, March 31, 2022 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    On Tuesday, March 29, the CATA hosted a seminar focusing on recent vehicle thefts at new-car dealerships. Presenting were Karianne Thomas, Director of Security for the Zeigler Auto Group; Joshua Mailey, President and Security Consultant for Signal 88 Security; Adam Broshous, Lieutenant Illinois Secretary of State Police and Deputy Director Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Task Force; and Roe Conn, Senior Project Manager for the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

    The panel discussed the recent spike in vehicle thefts from new-car dealerships, efforts that can be made to reduce thefts and what to do if a theft happens at your dealership. The CATA recorded the seminar, but because of the sensitive topics discussed, it will only be available to members upon request. Requests for the video and presentations can be made to Mark Bilek, Senior Director of Communications & Technology at the CATA.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • How to best protect your vehicles at your dealership and reduce the risk of theft
    • How to properly respond to theft attempts
    • What to do in the event of a vehicle theft
    • Additional government resources beyond your local police department

    YOU GET HIT: NOW WHAT?

    • As soon as cars are stolen, dealers need to notify local municipality and then second call is to ISATT (708-740-0425). Ensure law enforcement clears the scene.
    • Report dealer plate number AND the letter associated with that plate.
    • Dealers need to keep record and track what plate is on what vehicle.
    • Report it stolen and get correct VIN # into the system. Then as soon as VIN # hits the system, the ISATT is notified.
    • Are keys with or without the vehicle – important to know this.
    • For test drives, get a clear colored copy of Government Issued ID because enforcers can use this to identify the thieves. Secondary ID is also crucial.
    • Dealerships to get cameras like Flock, Genetec or Vigilant systems – as they integrate with local law enforcements.
    • Ensure dealers don’t make contact with the thieves or try to scare them off.
    • Lock down the lot.
    • Help track if factory or aftermarket is available on any or all missing vehicles.
    • Don’t assume the thieves won’t come back: When an attack happens, the next attack could come within hours. Attacks that come overnight, could now come in the day. Making sure to identify people who come in for test drives, make that info available to law enforcement.

    KEY CONTACTS

    • Joshua Mailey, Signal 88 security, 847-456-0689 or jmailey@signal88.com
    • ISATT (Illinois Secretary of State Police), 708-740-0425

     


  • Thursday, March 31, 2022 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    On Tuesday, March 29, the CATA hosted a seminar focusing on recent vehicle thefts at new-car dealerships. Presenting were Karianne Thomas, Director of Security for the Zeigler Auto Group; Joshua Mailey, President and Security Consultant for Signal 88 Security; Adam Broshous, Lieutenant Illinois Secretary of State Police and Deputy Director Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Task Force; and Roe Conn, Senior Project Manager for the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

    The panel discussed the recent spike in vehicle thefts from new-car dealerships, efforts that can be made to reduce thefts and what to do if a theft happens at your dealership. The CATA recorded the seminar, but because of the sensitive topics discussed, it will only be available to members upon request. Requests for the video and presentations can be made to Mark Bilek, Senior Director of Communications & Technology at the CATA.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • How to best protect your vehicles at your dealership and reduce the risk of theft
    • How to properly respond to theft attempts
    • What to do in the event of a vehicle theft
    • Additional government resources beyond your local police department

    YOU GET HIT: NOW WHAT?

    • As soon as cars are stolen, dealers need to notify local municipality and then second call is to ISATT (708-740-0425). Ensure law enforcement clears the scene.
    • Report dealer plate number AND the letter associated with that plate.
    • Dealers need to keep record and track what plate is on what vehicle.
    • Report it stolen and get correct VIN # into the system. Then as soon as VIN # hits the system, the ISATT is notified.
    • Are keys with or without the vehicle – important to know this.
    • For test drives, get a clear colored copy of Government Issued ID because enforcers can use this to identify the thieves. Secondary ID is also crucial.
    • Dealerships to get cameras like Flock, Genetec or Vigilant systems – as they integrate with local law enforcements.
    • Ensure dealers don’t make contact with the thieves or try to scare them off.
    • Lock down the lot.
    • Help track if factory or aftermarket is available on any or all missing vehicles.
    • Don’t assume the thieves won’t come back: When an attack happens, the next attack could come within hours. Attacks that come overnight, could now come in the day. Making sure to identify people who come in for test drives, make that info available to law enforcement.

    KEY CONTACTS

    • Joshua Mailey, Signal 88 security, 847-456-0689 or jmailey@signal88.com
    • ISATT (Illinois Secretary of State Police), 708-740-0425

     


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:08 PM | Anonymous
    Joseph McKeever, who operated a namesake Volkswagen dealership in Palos Heights and who served on the CATA Board of Directors from 1985 to 1991, died March 7. He was 81.
    He is survived by a daughter, Michelle; a brother, Jack; and many nieces and nephews.


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:08 PM | Anonymous
    Edward M. ("Eddie") Mize, who operated three Des Plaines dealerships and was the 1991-92 president of the CATA, died March 5, weeks from his centennial birthday. 
    He was born Edmund Marion Misiewicz on April 23, 1922, and served as a radar technician for the U.S. Navy in World War II. He later graduated from DePaul University and worked as an accountant at Chicago Avenue Motors Sales in the 1950s before acquiring Ridge Motors, a Pontiac dealership. Mr. Mize later opened O’Hare Honda and O’Hare Hyundai.
    Mr. Mize was an enthusiastic fan of the Chicago Bears, Cubs and Blackhawks. He also was an avid golfer and connoisseur of fine wines. Meeting jazz musician Dave Brubeck was a fond memory.
     
    He was preceded in death by his wife, Maryann, and a son, John. Survivors include sons Gregory and Kevin; a daughter, Michele; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
     
     


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:08 PM | Anonymous
    U.S. auto dealers flush with cash are buying each other at a record pace, but they are not closing stores in the process.
    Defying predictions that the internet and Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales strategy would kill traditional auto dealerships, acquisitions in the sector hit a record $8 billion in value in 2021, according to data from Kerrigan Advisors, a company that tracks transactions among largely private auto dealer groups. That is more than triple the $2.5 billion for 2020.
    Most of the buyers were large public or private auto retail chains such as Asbury Automotive Group and Lithia Motors. Many of the sellers were smaller, family-controlled operations, said Erin Kerrigan, founder of Kerrigan Advisors.
    "We had 338 unique transactions in the industry," Kerrigan said. "The prior peak was 288 in 2020." Publicly traded dealer groups bought over 250 dealerships last year, she said.
     
    Despite the deal activity, the number of stores that car buyers could visit has remained stable for the past decade, according to a survey by Urban Science, a consultancy.
    As of July 1, 2021, Urban Science counted 18,157 dealerships, or "rooftops," in the U.S., up 46 stores from six months earlier. In 98% of local markets in the U.S., Urban Science found no net change in the number of auto dealerships.
    In short, ownership has consolidated, but the U.S. auto retail infrastructure has not.
     
    "As far as the public goes, it looks like the same number of dealers are out there," said Urban Science Global Director of Data Mitch Phillips.
    For consumers, the consolidation of auto dealer ownership could be largely invisible in the short term. But longer term, industry executives say larger dealer groups will be better equipped to deploy technology to enable faster online shopping and financing, allow customers to select from a wider array of vehicles at multiple stores and get repairs done more conveniently.
     
    Different bets
    Buyers and sellers are making different bets about the future for brick-and-mortar dealerships.
    Sellers tend to be family-run businesses faced with making substantial investments in new equipment and technology to sell and service electric vehicles. They are concerned that automakers want to squeeze dealer profit margins to recover the enormous investments they have made in electrification, said George Karolis, president of the Presidio Group, a dealership transaction adviser.
    "They face large investments to keep up with the digitization of the business," Karolis said. With profits high and valuations for dealerships strong, smaller owners are deciding now is the right time to exit, he said.
    Buyers — especially public chains such as AutoNation or Sonic Automotive — are using cheap capital and cash generated during the pandemic to get bigger, banking on economies of scale to overcome the challenges that drove sellers to the table.
    With its size, Lithia can borrow money at lower interest cost and get products and services from vendors at 20% to 30% lower cost than smaller dealers, Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said.
     
    Lithia also can as much as double an acquired store’s used-car business by reconditioning and selling vehicles more than 5 years old, and use its own brand of replacement parts to keep customers from going elsewhere for service, he said.
    Whether the franchise model survives depends on how dealers adapt, said Asbury Automotive CEO David Hult. Asbury launched two of the biggest deals in the current M&A boom, acquiring Park Place Dealerships for $735 million and spending $3.2 billion last year for the Larry H. Miller Group, then the eighth-largest U.S. auto retail group.
    Asbury needs larger scale as it invests in online sales technology, develops systems that will allow service customers to track their vehicle through the repair process and considers revamping sales and service facilities, Hult said.
    "If you know the world is going to be electric ... you don’t need stores to be as big as they are. Maybe a small showroom ... and smaller service centers" in more locations, he said. "You’ll have fewer owners, owning more stores."
    Lithia’s DeBoer said he would welcome a move to an "agency model" where dealers are paid set amounts for handling a vehicle sale, haggling over price is eliminated and dealers are not expected to stock large numbers of vehicles.
    "A lot of our SG&A costs are negotiation costs," he said. "We could be a lot more productive."
    Auto retail executives say consumers shopping online still want places to see vehicles and get them repaired.
    "If you have a footprint in a market, you don’t have a plan of closing" stores, said AutoNation Executive Vice President Marc Cannon. "Our plan is to develop them out and maximize them."
     


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:07 PM | Anonymous
    Auto dealerships that need to hire good service technicians don’t need to go far to find them, according to Mike Coley, president of ASE Education Foundation. Their future employees are right down the street.
     
    "We need more technicians in the industry, but where are we going to get them? What we want to promote is there are high schools [and] colleges in your community that you could be partnering with," Coley said.
    To help dealers tap into those community resources, the ASE Education Foundation has created an "Adopt A School" toolkit that outlines the different activities that dealerships can take to connect and engage with schools and students. 
    Some of those activities include becoming part of the school’s advisory committee, participating in a local school’s Career Day and instituting a work-shadow program at a dealership.
    NADA Foundation Chairwoman Annette Sykora said she makes sure her dealership is an active partner with her local high schools and community colleges. 
    "All of the dealers in our community, we put together a wish list, a new program, new equipment, new lifts at our local community college. And guess what? The program is overflowing with students," she said.
    The goal of the free adopt-a-school toolkit is to extend dealership participation and engagement across the country, Coley said.
    "We work with 2,300 different high school and college programs and impact over 120,000 students every year. Our reach is large, but we have a national problem, with a local solution.
     
    "Unless you show up at the school and get involved, students won’t know what great [career] opportunities we have," Coley said.
     


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:07 PM | Anonymous
    There has been a lot of conversation the past few years surrounding new-car inventory and prices. What key things can dealers do to stay ahead in 2022’s next three quarters? 
    Brian Finkelmeyer, the senior director of new-vehicle solutions at Cox Automotive, said the automotive industry is in a circular pattern of low new-car inventory and high consumer demand. Many dealers are still running with single-digit day supplies, and the recent U.S.-Candian border protests slowed things down further. 
    On the demand side, Finkelymeyer said there has been a little softening of consumer sentiment that likely is caused by the global economic hardships surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
    Consumers still seem to be more than willing to pay full sticker price, or close to it, for new vehicles. In fact, data show that pre-pandemic, 75% of new-car buyers paid below MSRP for their vehicles. Today, 75% are paying exactly the MSRP or above. Despite this, Cox Automotive’s 2021 Car Buyer Journey Study revealed that consumers still are more satisfied with their shopping experiences than they were pre-pandemic.
    Industry experts, including Cox Automotive’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, are saying supply conditions will improve but maybe not for at least six to eight more months. Dealers will need to be strategic in order to succeed with their inventories during the spring selling season. 
    Finkelmeyer said dealers should consider three things when it comes to managing inventory right now:
     
    1. Gross profit versus turn. Manufacturers reward dealers who turn and earn the fastest. Button up on any reporting the day before the allocation runs.
     
    2. Be mindful of aging vehicles and inventory updates on dealer websites. On average, 15% of inventory shown on a dealer’s website is 90 days or older.
    3. About 42% of dealers’ used-car inventories come from trade-ins and new-car sales. It is a critical piece of the business that helps generate the overall profitability of a store.
    The EV market still is small, but it is a fierce and feisty segment. In January ’22, about 4.1% of new-vehicle sales were EVs. This will be an exciting year for the industry, said Finkelmeyer. A number of EV launches are taking place, but consumer adoption still is questionable. Many of the launches are full-size EV pickups. Will that be enough to sway the average consumer? Only time will tell.
     


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:07 PM | Anonymous
    Dealerships must be in compliance by Dec. 9, 2022, with a new Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Safeguards Rule that contains a series of extensive and complicated new data security requirements, the Federal Trade Commission announced recently.
    A series of compliance aids for dealers, including an FAQ document and a well-attended webinar for dealerships, were prepared by the National Automobile Dealers Association. In addition, the NADA this month issued its comprehensive and updated "Driven Guide to the FTC Safeguards Rule," which is available to all NADA members. 
    The guide’s primary author is a former FTC attorney, and it contains extensive guidance on compliance with the new requirements, as well as IT guidance from a professional IT firm. It also includes several appendices containing sample polices and links to governmental and other regulatory guidance on data security. A portion of the appendix material was provided by one of the NADA Affinity program providers. 
    The NADA will continue to provide compliance guidance throughout the year, but in the meantime, dealers are encouraged to review the guide and work closely with their vendors, IT professionals, attorneys, OEM partners, and others to ensure they can fully comply with the new requirements by Dec. 9, 2022. 
     


  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 4:07 PM | Anonymous
    In collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Energy and Plug In America, the National Automobile Dealers Association on March 11 announced a new nationwide program to greatly enhance electric vehicle education at franchised dealerships. The dealership program developed through this partnership is supported by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which will engage all vehicle manufacturers to further dealership participation across the U.S.
    While automakers continue to bring more EVs to market, providing future EV buyers with the information and expertise to get them comfortable and confident with their first EV purchase is far more crucial to mass-market adoption and fleet turnover than just product alone. Franchised new-car and -truck dealerships are the key as consumers depend upon dealership sales and support staff to educate them on the current and forthcoming EV models, charging options, EV infrastructure, service requirements and the additional facets related to EV ownership.
    "By bringing these two EV-focused powerhouse organizations together with the NADA, we will efficiently educate dealers and help accelerate the mass market adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S.," said Mike Stanton, the NADA president and CEO. "The dealership training program leverages the strengths of each organization and will ensure dealers are more than prepared to sell and service the EV future."
    The online, interactive program will be designed to complement OEM model-specific training and will serve as a brand-agnostic review of essential content that dealership sales staff need to be able to communicate with customers to efficiently close EV sales. The program offers quick, easily digestible talking points that allow sales staff to confidently encourage potential EV buyers, and includes short modules to appeal to different learning styles.
    "The electric vehicle market is moving beyond early adopters to consumers who have lots of questions about what it’s like to own an EV," said CSE President Lawrence Goldenhersh. "Auto dealer sales staff sit at the nexus in this market transition, and will be called upon to provide confidence-creating, point-of-sale education to millions of auto buyers considering the move to an EV. We are honored to be working with NADA to provide the training that will empower these sales teams to be a trusted resource to the auto buyers they serve."
    Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America, said: "The transition to electric vehicles is now inevitable and dealers play an important role in helping consumers as they make the switch. "We are excited to work with the NADA and the CSE to help dealers educate consumers about the many benefits of EVs, from cleaner air to convenience to the great driving experience."
    As a result of successfully completing the course, dealership sales staff will receive a program certification that documents their full understanding of and proficiency in various core competencies. Additionally, successful program participants will also receive Plug In America’s PlugStar certification. Sales staff who earn a certification will be eligible to participate in the all-new Dealer Referral Network, a consumer resource for identifying dealerships with staff trained and certified in EV sales.
    "The auto industry is undergoing a significant transformation, and preparing the workforce will be key as new electric vehicle technologies come to market," said Alliance for Automotive Innovation president and CEO John Bozzella. "We look forward to working with our dealer partners on this program."
     


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