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  • Friday, February 04, 2022 4:11 PM | Anonymous
    As reported in November 2021, letters were sent by 20 Senate Democrats and 91 Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives urging the U.S. Treasury Department to act expeditiously to provide relief to dealers on new-vehicle LIFO who will experience significant LIFO recapture as a result of unprecedented inventory declines caused by actions related to the pandemic. 
    In letters responding to Congress, Treasury officials stated that
            (i) "Businesses that primarily source and produce inventory within the United States are not eligible for [Section 473] relief…"; and
    (ii) "If relief is provided, businesses with global supply chains would need to demonstrate … that the decrease in closing inventory … is directly and primarily attributable to the foreign disruption in the supply chain."
    In response, the National Automobile Dealers Association in late January sent a letter to Treasury stating that 
    (i) The first condition imposed by Treasury is not present in either the statute (section 473 of the Internal Revenue Code) or its legislative history and therefore should not preclude relief to otherwise eligible dealer taxpayers, and
    (ii) The second condition has been met by a very strong letter that the Alliance of Automotive Innovators sent to Treasury on Jan. 21 at the NADA’s request.
    The Alliance letter certified and provided supporting data demonstrating that 
    a) "auto dealers have been unable to acquire a sufficient number of new vehicles from manufacturers to replenish their depleted inventories"; and
    b) "[t]his decreased inventory production is primarily a result of the foreign supply chain disruptions caused by actions related to the COVID pandemic, especially with respect to semiconductor shortages."
    The NADA letter also cited a fact sheet released by the White House on Jan. 21 that supports the Alliance’s certification by explaining that pandemic-related disruptions to foreign semiconductor factories have resulted in the reduced production of automobiles. 
    The NADA letter stated that the information provided by the Alliance — as supported by the White House fact sheet — satisfies Treasury’s second condition for relief, and that Treasury therefore should move forward with the issuance of a Federal Register notice authorizing LIFO relief for affected dealers. The NADA further stated that it is prepared to assist Treasury and the IRS with the subsequent development of election and calculation procedures that dealers would need to claim the relief. 
    The NADA expressed appreciation for the Alliance’s efforts to quickly generate and deliver a compelling letter supporting its franchised dealers on this issue. The dealer association will continue to report on related developments.

  • Friday, February 04, 2022 4:11 PM | Anonymous
    It’s all systems go for the 114th edition of the Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 12-21 at McCormick Place. Automakers are eager to show their latest models after so many auto shows have been disrupted since 2020 by the coronavirus.
    The Chicago Auto Show has been one of the few auto shows to be uninterrupted during the pandemic, although the 2021 show was moved to July.
    "While there were many wonderful aspects of our ‘special edition’ summertime show last year, we’re excited to return to February, as it’s historically been an ideal time for consumers to get out and beat the winter doldrums by experiencing the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs," said 2022 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Bill Haggerty. "Plus, the show helps to drive consumer interest in new vehicles and it effectively kicks off the dealers’ spring selling season, solidifying that February is the right time for the show. 
    "That said, we learned a lot from the July 2021 event that we plan to implement in February. The show will also feature popular exhibits like Camp Jeep and Ram Truck Territory indoor test tracks and outdoor test drives on city streets."
    Expect lots of motion on the show floor, with tracks for Jeep and for Ram in the Stellantis display; for the Toyota Tundra; for Ford’s Bronco on its Built Wild track; for Mustang and Lightning electric vehicles; and still another EV track with multiple brands sharing the track. Outdoors, Ford, Kia and Subaru will offer test drives over Chicago byways.
    In addition, the show will feature a lineup of interactive activities within the various exhibits. Step into Subaru’s National Parks display for a five senses immersive experience, and get a first glimpse of new EVs that will soon hit the market, such as the Subaru Solterra and the Toyota bz4X.
    Consumers can get a good look at the show floor by watching three live TV specials. The programs will air at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 on WGN-TV; 6 p.m. Feb. 12 on ABC 7 Chicago (rebroadcast at 12 a.m. Feb. 13 and 4 p.m. Feb. 20); and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 on CBS 2 Chicago.
    Also new this year, show organizers will honor first responders and military personnel by hosting a First Responders and Military Appreciation Day on Tuesday, Feb. 15. On that day, all first responders and military can visit a special location at the event to show their badge or military ID for free entry. Any guests that accompany first responders or military personnel will be receive a discounted admission for $10, valid that day only.
    "The Chicago Auto Show has a longstanding tradition of providing people a fun, indoor activity within an otherwise quiet, cold month," said Dave Sloan, Chicago Auto Show General Manager. "We’re thrilled to offer 10 days of entertainment to fans who look forward to this event each year."
    Based on guidance from Chicago health officials, the following protocols will be in effect:
    1. Masks are REQUIRED for all attendees age 2 and older, except when eating and drinking. Masks must cover the nose and mouth.
    2. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination WILL NOT be required for admission. However, designated areas will be set up for the consumption of food and beverage, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination WILL BE required for entry into those areas. Because of this requirement, outside food and beverages are not permitted into the 2022 Chicago Auto Show. 
    All bags are subject to search. Patrons will be randomly selected for security screening.
    Admission is $15 for adults, and $10 for seniors aged 62 and older and children ages 4-12. Children 3 and younger are free when they accompany a paying adult family member.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:18 PM | Anonymous
    Julius Marks, 90, who was president and owner of Libertyville Lincoln and president of Classic Toyota and Kia in Waukegan, died Jan. 9.
    A U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War, Mr. Marks lived in Libertyville beginning in 1972. The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association in 1991 nominated Mr. Marks for the prestigious Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, which recognizes new-vehicle dealers for exceptional performance in their dealerships combined with distinguished community service. 
    He was chairman of the Condell Medical Center’s strategic planning committee; chairman of the Libertyville High School citizens advisory committee; a past director of the LMV Chamber of Commerce (Libertyville, Mundelein, and Vernon Hills); a former trustee of Barat College in Lake Forest; and a member of the Rotary Club of Libertyville.
    He also was a director of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Foundation, a supporter of the Big Brothers Inner City Schools Program of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and he also once formed a testimonial committee to raise money for a heart transplant patient. 
    Survivors include Janet, his wife of 60 years; sons Daniel and Fred; a daughter, Sheila; and eight grandchildren. Memorials appreciated to Catholic Charities of Lake County.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:18 PM | Anonymous
    A decade or so ago, doomsayers claimed personal vehicle ownership would tank, largely because young people of the time (millennials) weren’t interested in buying vehicles.
    Well, scratch that item off the endangered list. Today’s Americans might not have a love affair with cars like they supposedly did in earlier times. But they sure need and want them.
    That’s one of the findings of the 2022 State of the American Driver Report from a company named Jerry. It has an app that connects consumers with car insurers.
    Among its survey standouts is that 80% of American drivers consider a vehicle as essential to daily and weekly activities.
    But wait. Weren’t ride-hailing services expected to take over the transportation world? Who would need to buy a car if the likes of Uber and Lyft can be used?
    "One of the most interesting results of the survey is that 50% of Americans have never used a ride-hailing app, even though ride-hailing feels ubiquitous," said Lakshmi Iyengar,  a Jerry data scientist.
    Why’s that? First, such services typically aren’t available outside of urban areas. (Midwesterners are most likely to never have used a ride-hailing app.) Try summoning Uber from a farm town.
    Moreover, the COVID pandemic has made many people apprehensive about getting into a ride-hailing car that’s had multiple occupancies throughout the day.
    American consumer feelings about electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles were other survey topics.
    A third of those polled never expect to drive an EV in their lifetime, while half expect to do so within 10 years.
    However, many people with an interest in buying an EV aren’t necessarily out to save the planet. Fuel savings motivate them the most.
    According to the survey, millennials (ages 25-40) are most eager to go electric, followed by Gen Z (ages 16-24).
    Boomers (ages 57-75) are the least likely to show an interest in buying an EV, yet they were the only generation to first cite concern for the environment as a purchase reason. Gen Z’s primary interest is because EVs are "cool."
    Topping the list, 47% of polled millennials are interested in buying an EV as their next vehicle. Gen Z followed at 41%, Gen X at 38% and baby boomers at 28%. Men were more interested (43%) compared to women (36%).
    "The EV results are really interesting," Iyengar said. "EVs are getting close to a tipping point. As EVs scale in the next 10-15 years, we’ll see lower prices and cost benefits play out."
    Regarding autonomous vehicles, Americans are split about their potential use in future daily life. Forty percent of polled drivers never expect to use a self-driving vehicle.
    Gen Z drivers were most likely to say they expect to use a fully autonomous vehicle within five years. (That might stem from youthful optimism, because it’s questionable whether Level 5 autonomous vehicles will be on the market by 2027.)  
    "As expected, younger drivers are the most optimistic, but in their lifetime they have seen such rapid technological progress," Iyengar said. "They have come to expect it."
    Another survey finding: One in four American drivers are planning to car shop in 2022, but they anticipate facing continued supply-and-demand issues as a global microchip shortage has led to vehicle inventory shortages and increased prices.
    Iyengar said some consumers need to buy a car while others with ample wherewithal want a new vehicle — and are willing to pay more. A third say they will shop if prices drop. "Americans experienced sticker shock when shopping for new and used cars in 2021, and no relief is in sight this year," she said.
    The online survey of 1,250 respondents was conducted in December.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:17 PM | Anonymous
    Norway in 2021 reached a milestone: Only about 8% of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids.
    For years, Norway has been the world’s leader in shifting away from traditional cars, thanks to government benefits that made electric vehicles far more affordable and offered extras like letting electric car owners skip some fees for parking and toll roads.
    Still, electric car enthusiasts are stunned by the speed at which the internal combustion engine has become an endangered species in Norway.
    "It has surprised most people how quickly things have changed," said Christina Bu, the secretary general of the Norwegian EV Association. In 2015, electric cars were about 20% of new-car sales, and now they are "the new normal," Bu said. (Her organization is like AAA for electric vehicle drivers.)
    Americans might view Norwegians as environmental die-hards who were eager to ditch gas cars. But Bu and other transportation experts said that Norwegians started with much of the same electric-vehicle skepticism as Americans.
    That changed because of government policies that picked off the easier wins first and a growing number of appealing electric cars. Over time, that combination helped more Norwegians believe electric cars were for them. Bu said that if Norway could do it, the U.S. and other countries could, too.
    Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and climate scientists have said that moving away from combustion engine vehicles is essential to avoiding the worst effects of a warming planet. U.S. electric car sales are increasing fast, but at about 3% of new passenger vehicles, percentages are far lower than those in most other rich countries.
    So what did Norway do right? Bu said that the country’s policies focused first on what was the least difficult: nudging people who were considering a new car to go electric.
    Norwegians who bought new electric cars didn’t have to pay the country’s very high taxes on new-vehicle sales. That made electric cars a no-brainer for many people, and it didn’t hurt people who already owned conventional cars or those who bought used ones.
    Bu also said that Norway didn’t become paralyzed by the reasonable objections to electric vehicles — What about places to charge them? Are electric car subsidies a government benefit for the rich? In other words, Norway didn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
    Not every country has a tax system that’s as well suited to encourage electric vehicle purchases. (Gas taxes are also very high in Norway.) But Bu suggested that for this to work in America, the U.S. could impose higher taxes on the most polluting new-car models, and use that money to subsidize electric vehicle purchases.
    The U.S. federal government and many states already offer tax breaks on some electric cars. We don’t tend to tax gas guzzlers, partly because Americans don’t love using higher taxes to discourage behaviors.
    Subsidies for electric cars aren’t enough on their own to boost electric vehicle ownership, although they did help create momentum in Norway. As more new electric cars hit the road, it made it more palatable to build more places to charge them. Car companies started to devote more of their marketing to electric vehicles and released more models at a range of prices and features. That’s just starting to happen in the U.S.
    These are no easy policy choices in Norway or anywhere else, said Norwgian planning and engineering consultant Anders Hartmann. Letting electric vehicle drivers skip parking or toll fees was manageable when few were on the roads, he said, but some local governments more recently said they were losing out on money they used to fund public transportation. 
    Norway’s legislature has discussed scaling back the tax breaks for electric vehicles, but it’s difficult because they are popular.
    Bu said that the biggest change in Norway is that most people came to believe that electric cars were for them. "What really surprised me was the shift of mentality," she said.
    Her father once was one of those people who said they would never buy an electric car. Now, she said, her parents own one, too.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:17 PM | Anonymous
    Hollywood can over-dramatize artificial intelligence. As proof, see 2015’s "Chappie," a movie about a police force of mechanized droids patrolling the streets.
    In real life, AI is less ominous. Used in the business world, it can reduce stress and increase profits, according to CDK Global’s newly released "Artificial Intelligence in Automotive Retail Report."
    Dealerships aren’t using AI to conquer the world. They are using it to increase sales, boost auto-technician efficiency and get to know customers better — particularly their individual buying behaviors.
    The CDK survey highlights the use of AI tools in automotive retail today and gauges how dealers might benefit from such systems in the future.
    "We don’t want to look at AI in the Hollywood way, but rather as to how it can (non-theatrically) help dealers become more productive," said Peter Kahn, the senior director of marketing research at CDK, an automotive information technology company.
    Among the report’s findings:
    • Most dealers are familiar with artificial intelligence (75%), with 40% feeling extremely or very familiar with it.
    • Sixty-eight percent of polled dealerships are already using AI or at least plan to do so within the next three to five years.
    • A majority of dealers (56%) who don’t use AI today, but plan to in the future, anticipate ultimately positive outcomes.
    And although every survey pool has its outliers, only 2% of this one’s respondents say they don’t see their dealership using AI-based applications in the future.
    "The results of our research are encouraging and tell us dealers are excited about the possibilities of AI and how it will help them meet their financial and customer satisfaction goals," said Mahesh Shah, CDK’s chief product and technology officer.
    Kahn said he was rather surprised at dealers’ "high level of enthusiasm" about the topic.  
    Conventional wisdom might suggest big dealership chains are the dominant users of AI systems. But the survey results indicate it’s not just the big dogs. Auto retailers interested in AI include "everyday dealers, middle-volume dealers located across America," Kahn said.
    The CDK survey was based on a national sample of 243 dealership department heads and executives.
    CDK sought to determine from the onset whether survey participants actually knew what AI is, Kahn said. "We asked if they were familiar with it, and then asked them to give examples of it." 
    Essentially, AI is a branch of computer science focused on systems capable of learning and performing tasks that typically require human intelligence.
    That doesn’t mean bots will replace humans in showrooms someday soon. But it does mean systems can lend a hand to people throughout a dealership.
    Kahn said AI can help tackle current dealer challenges, including:
    • Addressing employee and skills shortages by replacing resource-intensive tasks and augmenting employee skills.
    • Attracting customers by looking at existing sales and service profiles and determining propensity to buy based on prior buying cycles and behavior.
    • Retaining existing service department customers through proactive and personalized service and by better predicting potential vehicle service issues.
    "AI," Kahn said, "can help both variable operations (sales) and fixed operations. It can help BDCs (business development centers focused on drumming up sales). It can help auto technician productivity. It can help a dealership to better know customers and their buying patterns."
    And in doing so, AI systems "can learn and improve" as they accrue more and more data, he said.
    In the service department such systems can take on something of a mentorship role by aiding rookie auto technicians in their work. "It can help the apprentice journey with diagnosis equipment that recommends things to do," Kahn said. Consequently, "young technicians understand their job better and do a better job."

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:17 PM | Anonymous
    The Federal Trade Commission has amended its Safeguards Rule, which requires non-banking financial institutions including dealerships to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive security system to keep their customers’ information safe.
    Under the current Safeguards Rule, one or more individuals could be designated to oversee and implement the information security program. Under the Rule change, a single "Qualified Individual" must be responsible for overseeing and implementing the information security program.
    The new requirements are effective Dec. 9, 2022, but they are not policies and procedures that can be implemented overnight. See this link for details of the FTC amendments.
    The revised Safeguards Rule has been years in the making. When the FTC sought comment in 2019 on its proposed Rule changes, Andrew Smith, then-director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the changes would better protect consumers and provide more certainty for business.
    Smith said, "While our original groundbreaking Safeguards Rule from 2003 has served consumers well, the proposed changes are informed by the FTC’s almost 20 years of enforcement experience. It also shows that, where we have rulemaking authority, we will exercise it as necessary to keep up with marketplace trends and respond to technological developments."
    The new Rule also updates the employee security training requirement. Security awareness training must be updated to reflect risks identified in a risk assessment. Also, ongoing training for security personnel is required. That includes verification that security personnel are taking steps to stay current on emerging threats and countermeasures.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:17 PM | Anonymous
    Materials shipped this month to all members of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association in good standing, to help them get through the coming year and to help publicize the Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 12-21 at McCormick Place. It’s your show; please promote it.
    Packages sent via United Parcel Service to dealer principals and company presidents include the following:
    • 1 CATA-member 2022 window decal; and
    • 1 form to order free supplies of odometer statements, used-car buyer’s guides, used-car limited warranty statements, and emission control equipment statements.
    Also, to promote the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, the shipment includes:
     • 4 Chicago Auto Show easel cards;
    • 2 Chicago Auto Show posters;
    • 1 First Look for Charity poster;
    • 2 Honored Guest tickets good for repeated admission throughout the auto show;
    • 50 Employee Appreciation Day admission tickets, valid once Feb. 14-18 and Feb. 21; and
    • 200 vouchers to offer customers and others for discounted admission to the show.
    Don’t forget to purchase additional admission tickets to the auto show as well as any First Look for Charity tickets.
    Any member who does not receive the UPS shipment by Jan. 25 should notify the CATA. The shipments are traceable, to help resolve problems.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 4:15 PM | Anonymous
    After a one-year absence, First Look for Charity returns to the 2022 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 11. The black-tie gala will benefit 17 area nonprofits.
    The coming First Look for Charity event gives benefactors the chance to see hundreds of new vehicles on display amid an elegance not present when the masses converge on McCormick Place during the auto show’s 10-day consumer run, Feb. 12-21. 
    Benefactors also have the chance to win one of two 2022 vehicles: a Buick Enclave Avenir or a GMC Yukon Denali. Attendees at the gala will be treated to heavy hors d’oeuvres; champagne, spirits, wine, beer and soft drinks; and special entertainment presented by the automakers in their displays.
    First Look for Charity is one of the special events on the winter schedules of Chicago socialites and car buffs, said Bill Haggerty, chairman of the 2022 Chicago Auto Show.
    "The Chicago Auto Show is uniformly regarded as the finest auto show in the country, but the charitable cause demonstrates that this auto show is about more than just vehicles and accessories," he said. "It’s also about giving something to the charities of our community." 
    The 16 organizations participating in this year’s First Look for Charity predominantly are children-oriented. Some operate on a global level; others, locally. The charities use the proceeds they raise from the event in their efforts in the Chicago area, Haggerty said. 
    Charities involved in the 30th annual First Look for Charity are the 100 Club of Chicago, Advocate Health Care, ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet.
    Also, Franciscan Community Benefit Services, Glenwood Academy, Habitat for Humanity, Susan G. Komen Chicago, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Lydia Home & Safe Families for Children.
    And, Misericordia, New Star, Special Olympics Illinois, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, and the Jesse White Tumbling Team.
    Tickets to the event are $275 each and can be ordered at chicagoautoshow.com or by calling (630) 495-2282. 
    Benefactors should indicate which charity or charities they want their donation to benefit. Of each ticket, $223 is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.

  • Saturday, January 08, 2022 4:18 PM | Anonymous
    The Supreme Court held a special session on Jan. 7 to consider two challenges to the Biden administration’s workplace vaccine requirements.
    The first one challenges the rule that private employers require workers to be vaccinated or wear masks on the job and submit to weekly testing, and the second challenges the administration’s rule that employees at health care facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding be vaccinated.
    The vaccine rules affect up to 100 million workers. 
    The clock is ticking for the justices. In an unusual move, the court said it would move with exceptional speed on the two measures.
    The Biden administration has said it would start requiring compliance with the healthcare worker policy on Jan. 10, though companies would have until Feb. 9 to set up testing programs. In the states where this regulation has not been blocked, workers are required to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28.
    Employers are currently unsure how to proceed, with some concerned about losing staff in a tight labor market if they impose vaccine or testing requirements, said Todd Logsdon, a lawyer based in Louisville, Kentucky who represents companies on workplace safety.
    "The quicker they can issue the decision the better," Logsdon said of the Supreme Court.
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the vaccine-or-test mandate on Nov. 5. It requires all employers with more than 100 employees to mandate that those employees be either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly and wear masks at work.
    The White House has pointed to OSHA’s authority to issue emergency workplace rules for up to six months to protect employees from "substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards." That authority gives OSHA the responsibility to act, the administration has said.
    The private employer mandate applies to companies with 100 or more workers. Critics say the government is over-reaching. Critics say the rules would force millions of workers to "choose between losing their jobs or complying with an unlawful federal mandate."
    The more sweeping of the two measures, directed at businesses with 100 or more employees, would affect more than 84 million workers and is central to the administration’s efforts to address the pandemic. The administration estimated that the measure would cause 22 million people to get vaccinated and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations.
    The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld state vaccine mandates in a variety of settings against constitutional challenges. But the new cases are different, because they primarily present the question of whether Congress has authorized the executive branch to institute the requirements.
    The vaccination-or-testing requirement for large employers was issued in November by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
    Employers are allowed to give their workers the option to be tested weekly instead of getting the vaccine, though they are not required to pay for the testing. The rule makes an exception for employees who do not come into close contact with other people at their jobs, like those who work at home or exclusively outdoors.
    Under a 1970 law, OSHA has the authority to issue emergency rules for workplace safety, provided it can show that workers are exposed to a grave danger and that the rule is necessary.
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the vaccine-or-test mandate on Nov. 5. It requires all employers with more than 100 employees to mandate that those employees be either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly and wear masks at work.

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


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