Update from NADA Washington Conference

Friday, September 16, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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.

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