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CATA News

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As 2024 draws near, now is an excellent time to review your dealership’s tax planning strategies. This guide outlines various potential tax-saving opportunities and year-end tasks. Click to download the checklist from CATA Accountant MichaelSilver: PDF | Word.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CATA Members can now order discounted tickets for the 2024 Chicago Auto Show, which opens Feb. 10 and runs through Feb. 19. Any Day Tickets are sold in blocks of 100 for $7 each. Members can also purchase $5 weekday discount coupons for $1 each, again sold in blocks of 100.

    Click here to download the order form. If you have questions, please contact Donna Young at dyoung@drivechicgo.com.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First Look for Charity stands as one of Chicago’s finest fundraisers, regularly generating nearly $3 million annually for 18 area nonprofits. Held at McCormick Place the evening before the Chicago Auto Show opens, the benevolent event is anticipated by socialites and car buffs alike. Guests are treated to champagne, wine, soft drinks, elegant hors d’oeuvres, and desserts all while being the first to explore the annual edition of the nation’s largest auto show. Additionally, gala attendees have the chance to win a brand-new Chevrolet Blazer.

    For the first time, we now have an opportunity for businesses to show your support as a sponsor at various levels starting at $7,500. Involvement with First Look for Charity puts your company and brand in front of an affluent group of Chicago leaders, business owners, and influencers. To maintain the exclusive nature of the event, sponsorship availability is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Jim OBrill, Marketing Director, Chicago Auto Show at jobrill@drivechicago.com or 630-424-6085 for more details.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Enacted in 2008, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), went largely unnoticed until a few years ago when a handful of cases sparked a flood of class action litigation over the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of biometric information.

    What is BIPA?

    BIPA’s purpose is to protect individuals' privacy rights in their biometric information, including retina or iris scans, fingerprint, voiceprint, hand scans, facial geometry, DNA and other unique, identifying biological information.

    Employers may collect and store this information only if they:

    1.  Inform the person in writing of what data is being collected or stored (e.g., fingerprint scans);
    2. Inform the person in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which the data will be collected, stored, and used. (e.g., scan is used to allow employees to clock in and out of work and will be stored for one year or until employment termination); and
    3. Obtain the person's written consent for the information's collection and storage.

    Employers may not disclose this information to third parties without the individual's written consent.

    A wave of lawsuits followed BIPA's passage. Most were brought by former or current employees whose employers used fingerprints or handprints for timekeeping. For instance, a jury in the first ever BIPA trial (October 2022) found that defendant BNSF Railway Company recklessly or intentionally violated BIPA 45,600 times (once per class member) when it required drivers to register and provide fingerprints each time they used an automated gate system to enter the railyard. The verdict resulted in a $228 million award for the plaintiffs.

    Two recent rulings by the Illinois Supreme Court have increased BIPA exposure. First, the Court found a five-year statute of limitations period applies to BIPA claims, rather than a one-year period. Second, the Court found a BIPA claim accrues each time an entity scans or transmits an individual's biometric identifier or information, instead of a single violation when biometric information is first collected.

    What Employers Should Do to Limit Liability?

    Before employers obtain any biometric data, we recommend they have all employees provide written authorization:

    • Consenting to allow thee employer to collect biometric data used in timekeeping and other reasons related to employment; and
    • Releasing the employer from liability arising from the collection of biometric data.
  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Effective January 1, 2024, a customer’s responsibility for physical damage to a rental vehicle under Section 6-305.2 of the Illinois Vehicle Code has been modified to the following, which is beneficial to loss recovery for your dealership.

    A Customer’s responsibility for damage to, loss of, or theft of a rental vehicle includes:

    • Physical and mechanical damage to the rental vehicle
    • Loss of Use
    • A reasonable administrative fee
    • All costs associated with the enforcement of this Agreement in the collection of Charges, attorney’s fees, collection fees and costs whether or not litigation has occurred.
    • Loss due to theft:
      • If the rental vehicle MSRP is $50,000 or less: up to a maximum of $5,000, unless you fail to exercise ordinary care while in possession of the rental vehicle or commit, or aide in, the theft of the rental vehicle. In that case, you will be liable up to the rental vehicle’s fair market value. Beginning June 1, 2024, the maximum amount recoverable for loss due to theft will increase by $500 on June 1st of each year.
      • If the rental vehicle MSRP is over $50,000: up to a maximum of $53,000 until September 30, 2024, unless you fail to exercise ordinary care while in possession of the rental vehicle or commit, or aide in, the theft of the rental vehicle. In that case, you will be liable up to the Vehicle’s fair market value. Beginning on October 1, 2024, the maximum amount recoverable for loss due to theft will increase by $1,000 on October 1st of each year.

    The law change requires that a notice outlining these changes be posted in a conspicuous place for the customer to see. A copy of the sample notice is attached for your usage.

    Additionally, the current Illinois version of the Vehicle Use Agreement (VUA) will be updated and available January 1, 2024, adding the updated loss payment conditions by your Fleet Management Software company and printing vendors.

    Click here to view sample notice for your dealership.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Form 8300 is used for businesses to report any transaction in which the business receives more than $10,000 cash. Form 8300 provides the IRS with valuable information to aid their efforts to combat money laundering. Previously, a business was only required to file electronically when 250 or more information returns (Form 1099, Form W2, Form 8300, etc.) were filed in the year. In 2024, businesses that file 10 or more information returns are required to e-file those returns.

    To help with this process, the IRS has created a new, free online portal, known as the Information Returns Intake System (IRIS) to help businesses file information returns electronically. If you have not used IRIS in the past, you can create an account by clicking “Sign in to IRIS” from the link above and then clicking “Create an account”. To sign up for IRIS, you’ll need the business’ Employer Identification Number (EIN) and the business’ Transmitter Control Code (TCC). If you do not have a TCC, you can apply for one here.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Friendly Ford of Roselle is hosting a Holiday Toy Drive that runs through Dec. 9. Those willing to donate should visit the dealership during regular business hours to drop off a new, unwrapped toy for a child in need. In addition, Friendly Ford is matching all donations and dropping them off at the Humanitarian Service Project.

    On Dec. 9 Apple Chevrolet is hosting its 9th Annual Toy Drive Party. The event will include live entertainment, a visit from Santa Claus, Balloons and Joey’s Food Truck. For more information or to donate online, visit, https://www.applechevy.com/.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    [From the Desk of CATA Council, Dennis O’Keefe] Dealers are asking how can I retail vehicles under recall and still protect myself? The answer is probably not what we want to hear.

    First of all, most dealers understand that they are prohibited by federal law from retailing new vehicles that are subject to recall. But how about used vehicles? Is a notice of the recall to my customer sufficient? What if I have my customer execute a Hold Harmless Agreement? How do recalls affect Certified pre-owned vehicles? And what are my obligations to notify customers in the service lane?

    As an example of a notice of an air bag deficiency, Carfax uses the following language: "Specifically, in some vehicles, the driver's front airbag inflators could produce excessive internal pressure upon deployment. If an affected airbag deploys, the increased internal pressure may cause the inflators to rupture (break apart) and deploy abnormally. In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material possibly causing serious injury or fatality to you or others in the vehicle. Past ruptures like this have killed and injured vehicle drivers." Certainly, such language might dissuade a customer from purchasing this vehicle. But will it protect you, the seller, from possibly being sued and being held liable? Hardly! To the contrary, what such language accomplishes is to show that you, the dealer, had actual knowledge of a potential injury-causing condition and sold the vehicle notwithstanding, a recipe for a lawsuit.

    Some manufacturers are suggesting notice language for possible future air bag recalls. Again, such notice, while valuable to the customer, would hardly protect you, as again you now have knowledge of a potential injury-causing condition.

    What about having your customer sign a Hold Harmless Agreement? While such an agreement MIGHT protect you from a personal injury claim by your customer, it would not protect you from a claim from a passenger or third party who sustained injury due to a faulty air bag deployment or other recall defect. Again, a recipe for a lawsuit.

    So, it appears the only way to protect against potential personal injury liability is to not retail the vehicle until it is fixed. This means potentially a lot of vehicles sitting on your lot and depreciating-not a pretty picture, but vastly superior to a multi-million-dollar lawsuit.

    What does this mean for CPO, "warranted" or "guaranteed" vehicles with open recalls? Back in January, because of investigations concerning this issue, the FTC entered into a consent decree with General Motors and several dealers that prohibits dealers from claiming their used vehicles are safe or have been subject to a rigorous inspection (CPO) unless they are free of unrepaired safety recalls or unless the companies clearly disclose the recalls in close proximity to the inspection claims. This standard would apply to all.

    The so-called FAST Act (Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act) of 2015 provides that a dealer can lose its federal statutory entitlement to be fairly reimbursed for performing safety recall repairs if it fails to notify an "in-brand" service customer of any unremedied safety recalls applicable to their vehicles, if their franchise, operating, or any other agreement with their manufacturer requires such a service lane notice.

    Because of the above, dealers might want to consult with their own counsel. However, the CATA urges all dealers to log on to the safercar.gov website, on a regular basis as it is frequently updated, to check the VIN numbers of all used vehicles in inventory prior to sale. The website apparently can retain the information as to who logged in to check a particular VIN, so use this feature to your advantage, not your disadvantage. Don't let your employees make a mistake that will cost you! In the service lane, make sure you are notifying customers about in-brand service recalls, and obtain an acknowledgement from those customers stating either that they authorize recall work to be done, they are declining the recall work, or they will return to have the work done when the remedy becomes available.

  • Friday, December 08, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    [From CATA Preferred Partner, ACV Auctions] In the automotive retail industry, we can’t know what tomorrow will bring. But we can prepare for it the best we can. Not knowing what turns are ahead for our industry doesn’t put us behind the 8-ball. Instead, it allows us to learn and thrive. Currently, we are nearing the end of Q4 in 2023. Are we where we thought we would be a year ago?

    Maybe.

    I’m sure some guesses have been long forgotten. Perhaps some strong voices made predictions that stuck. The truth is, however, that we are at a point where we have decisions to make about the future. Automotive retail is robust even in the face of disruptions. The question will remain as to how we can overcome struggles and move from surviving to thriving. To answer this, we need to uncover where value rests in the process for the modern consumer. Everything you do from sourcing, managing, and selling automobiles needs to be done in a proactive manner.

    Start with how you acquire. For many dealerships, what you can’t see can hurt you. This applies to the appraisal process and how you source inventory. If you are operating with blinders on, deploying an inefficient trade-in process, or not breaking free from outdated practices, you are putting yourself at risk.

    What does this mean?

    Simply put, the survival of your lot and business depends on vehicles. Automobiles are the lifeblood of your operations. However, the used car market continues to ebb and flow. This means that the better your stock, the better your ability to provide options to your community. If you couple a strategic approach to consumer acquisition with a data-backed philosophy, you gain insights that tell you not only what and why to stock…but where to get it.

    There are plenty of modern solutions available to help you remedy this situation. It’s up to you to pick one and move beyond a simple sandwich board out in front of your lot.

    But, don’t stop there. Build value into how you manage your inventory with a next-generation system. Never before has there been such a glut of solutions for your dealership. With data as a component, you learn the best cadence for your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. You’ll get the upper hand on merchandising and marketing, and discover new avenues to connect with consumers and improve the overall experience. This impacts customer satisfaction, retention, and brand loyalty.

    Now, value will never go out of style. As it stands, there are different approaches and styles to how a dealership can sell vehicles to the public. But every shopper is different. Their story, their trade-in, their desire…it produces a unique method for how they want to engage with your dealership, find their automobile, and finally drive it home.

    Never discount how much the brick-and-mortar or digital shopping experience can bring a smile to a consumer’s face. Your dealership needs to offer multiple touchpoints. And each of these touchpoints needs to provide value. Always be giving and thinking outside the box. What would you want if you were purchasing a vehicle for yourself?

    While many consumers will view buying a car as simply a transaction, you need to build further value into the process in order to create repeat business, drive brand awareness, and manage your reputation. Specifically for the importance of your ratings, encourage customers to engage with you on multiple levels through social media or search engines. Google is your friend and brings many options to enhance your brand’s presence online.

    However, not seeing the full picture can hurt you. Much like if you do not take the time to properly assess a vehicle or walk a customer through the appraisal process, ignoring the building or nurturing aspect of the transaction will leave a bad taste in the shopper’s mouth.

    Value is valuable. It’s up to you to break down your operations into a series of spots where you can give more to the customer. Only then will you be able to integrate new technologies that streamline consumer acquisition, maximize inventory management, and bolster your ability to sell more vehicles at a higher gross. Modern consumers are looking for benefits. And modern dealerships are poised to deliver value more than ever before.

  • Friday, November 24, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The NADA recently sent a letter urging U.S. House members to vote in favor of H.R. 4821, the House Interior-Environment Appropriations bill, which includes a one-year limitation to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using funds to finalize or implement its unrealistic electric vehicle (EV) mandate that the fleet be 67.5% by 2032. H.R. 4821 passed the House on November 3.

     The inclusion of the “no funds shall” language was aided by the McClain letter, which urges Republican leadership to preserve the House language stopping these EV mandates and attempting to keep the provision in the final Fiscal Year 2024 funding bill. That letter currently has more than 200 signers by state (issue brief). There will also likely be a Democratic letter to discuss the problems with the EV mandate.  

    Along the same line, the CATA has heard from a handful of its dealer members who signed on to an electronic petition that has been circulating urging the Biden administration to “tap the brakes” on the proposed EPA mandates. More than 1,000 dealers have signed the petition. Read and consider the petition here.

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