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  • Friday, August 06, 2021 5:16 PM | Anonymous
    Chicago radio personality Ramblin’ Ray Stevens was driving to a meeting in July when he spotted a young man walking along the road’s shoulder. After his meeting, Stevens saw the same man, still walking.
    "For some reason," Stevens said, "I felt compelled to pick him up, and he jumped in after some hesitation. And your story," he motioned to Braxton Mayes, "garnered national media attention. Isn’t that crazy?"
    The story of Mayes, 20, included six-hour round trip walks from his Montgomery home to his job in Batavia after his SUV broke down. It also included a GoFundMe campaign that raised $10,000, and complimentary repair work by Friendly Ford in Roselle.
    Mayes walked 12 miles to his job after his GMC Yukon with nearly 300,000 miles became disabled. "I was struggling to get a job for a good amount of time," Mayes recounted, "and once I finally got a job, I mean, that was my chance, and I had to keep it. So I had to do whatever I had to do."
    Stevens, who with Wendy Snyder cohosts "The Wendy and Ray Show," Saturdays on WLS-AM, is a longtime customer and friend of the Yockey family, owners of Friendly Ford. Jenny Yockey said that when Stevens described the situation, "We immediately said we would take a look at the car and paid to get it towed to us. We had no idea what kind of vehicle was coming or what was wrong with it, we just knew we wanted to help him out."
    She said it took about 10 days to complete the multiple repairs — a new battery, new brakes, new starter, four new tires, new shocks, new axle, a new air conditioning system, and more — to get the SUV back on the road. The total cost of repairs exceeded $8,000.
    Yockey said the work was comped so that the entire $10,000 could be donated to food pantries in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Mayes’s boss said he was not aware that the 20-year-old had been leaving home at 4 a.m. to reach his job by 7 a.m.

  • Friday, August 06, 2021 5:16 PM | Anonymous
    For the ninth straight year, the CATA is partnering with the USO of Illinois on the USO BBQ for the Troops initiative, set for next month on Saturday, Sept. 18. Dealers are encouraged to join the effort by hosting a USO BBQ for the Troops fundraiser at their stores. 
    The CATA will provide participating dealers with promotional signage and an electronic toolkit including web and social media graphics to help promote their events. Dealers also will be included in a marketwide advertising, public relations and social media campaign to promote their fundraisers and drive people to their stores. 
    To sign up, email or Questions? Call the CATA at (630) 495-2282. 

  • Friday, August 06, 2021 5:16 PM | Anonymous
    Held in the summer for the first time, the five-day Chicago Auto Show Special Edition entertained more than 100,000 attendees during its unprecedented run.
    From the larger selection of vehicles to test drive on city streets to engaging outdoor activations to the evening street fest that celebrated warm temperatures the show had never experienced before, attendees’ feedback at the show overwhelmingly was positive.
    The outcome was pleasing — especially given the number of hurdles that had to be overcome just to open the show, much less finish with positive results.
    The CATA designed an event full of pandemic safety protocols, resulting in being one of the first major events that was approved by city and state officials to open. However, soon after the approvals came, Illinois entered phase 5 reopening and most of those protocols no longer needed to be implemented, forcing organizers to rethink many of the entry procedures.
    "It seemed like every time a challenge was overcome, a new obstacle presented itself," said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Dave Sloan. "For example, exhibitors faced a shortage of display vehicles due to the global chip shortage. Additional conflicts included the shortened move-in window and the busy summertime event schedule for the city that we were competing against."
    A look across the auto show floor saw happy, engaged attendees and automakers getting a return directly proportional to the investment they made. "The exception to that rule," Sloan observed, "were the automakers that chose not to participate. It was evident they lost ground to their competitors."
    Another advantage of the summer show was that nearly a dozen automakers took advantage of activating outdoor test drives: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Kia, Lincoln, Ram, Subaru and Volkswagen. 
    In most cases, manufacturers that ran outdoor test drives far exceeded any goals they had going into the show. Ford reported doubling its test drive goal, while Chevrolet, Kia and Lincoln well exceeded their goals.
    Manufacturers counted 37,000 attendees -— more than one-third of all of them — as registrants for indoor and outdoor rides. That number doesn’t even include the number of people who rode along as passengers.
    The electric vehicles also were intriguing to attendees, noted by manufacturers that offered consumers opportunities to test drive brand-new EVs from Chevrolet, Ford, Kia and Volkswagen. One automaker even reported tripling its total number of test drives in Chicago compared to a recent non-auto show activation in the same market.
    The all-new outdoor Street Fest, which took place the first four evenings of the show, added food trucks, local brews, street musicians and the opportunity for attendees to get a glimpse of an array of vehicles displayed along the street, similar to a summertime cruise night. Adding the Street Fest also provided an opportunity to attract new audiences.
    The CATA plans to return to the show’s traditional February timing next year. Show dates in 2022 are scheduled for Feb. 12-21.

  • Friday, August 06, 2021 5:16 PM | Anonymous
    Unionized technicians at 56 area dealerships represented by the New Car Dealers Committee voted Aug. 1 to strike rather than work towards a new four-year collective bargaining agreement.
    Instead of narrowing their differences with the agreement under negotiation, Local 701 tried to make the NCDC swallow a one-sided contract without any real compromise. The stance will cost the dealers and their technicians dearly.
    Many technicians who struck in 2017 never recovered the incomes they lost to that work stoppage. Most of the dealers are making plans to keep their service departments open during this strike.
    There are many union and non-union businesses in this extremely competitive automobile service market. The dealers greatly value their dedicated and talented service technicians, but long-term job security can be achieved only by maintaining the competitiveness of all NCDC dealerships.

  • Friday, August 06, 2021 5:15 PM | Anonymous
    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on July 30 signed legislation that changes how manufacturer pay is calculated on warranty work. The bill overcame opposition and takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.
    In addition to establishing an equitable compensation scheme for warranty work, House Bill 3940 prevents manufacturers from imposing cost recovery fees or surcharges to overcome the legislation’s effect. For manufacturers, it preserves their right to approve or disapprove dealership claims, and it ensures manufacturers have a way to charge back any false or unsubstantiated claims they paid.
    The new law requires that the booked time allowances for the diagnosis and performance of warranty work be no less than what is charged to retail customers for the same work, that manufacturers pay dealerships the same effective labor rate as the dealership receives for customer-pay repairs, and that manufacturers reimburse dealerships for any parts provided in satisfaction of a warranty at the prevailing retail price charged by the dealership when sold to retail customers. 
    Mechanics Local 701, whose members include area technicians, worked with the CATA and other groups to advance the legislation. Supporters say it will bring a fairness to the payment process that could attract new technicians to dealerships. Wisconsin has had similar policy in place for more than a decade.
    Pritzker’s signing came two days before unionized technicians at 56 area dealerships voted to strike rather than negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. The latest agreement expired July 31.
    The CATA thanks the legislative efforts of organized labor, the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association and other industry groups in working towards the legislation’s success. Additional thanks are extended to Rep. Lawrence Walsh Jr., D-Joliet, and Sen. Christopher Belt, D-East Saint Louis, for serving as lead sponsors of the legislation.

  • Friday, July 09, 2021 5:18 PM | Anonymous
    By John McElroy, Blue Sky Productions
    All the EV startups are saying "Phooey!" to franchised dealers. They’re pulling an end run around dealers and trying to sell direct to consumers.
    There are some notable advantages to doing this, but there are even bigger drawbacks. I believe that in just a few years, franchised dealers will come out far ahead.
    The startups have logical reasons why they don’t want to use dealers. First and foremost, they believe dealers are a cost burden. Dealers buy cars from the factory, mark them up and sell them. The startups believe there’s more profit by selling those cars themselves, rather than letting dealers take a cut of the action.
    Also, the startups don’t like the fact that dealers (normally) have acres of vehicles parked on giant lots waiting for customers to come buy them. Until they do sell, dealers have to floorplan those vehicles, which adds more cost. The startups believe they can simply make cars to order and avoid the cost of carrying all that inventory.
    Most importantly, the startups want to control the entire sales process. With their own stores, they believe they can deliver a more consistent sales experience than having thousands of dealers who operate independently. I think that’s the one area where the startups got it right.
    But here’s what the startups are overlooking: Franchised dealers are everywhere. They’re in every community from New York to California and Montana to Texas.
    If you’re a low-volume startup that’s content to sell one or two thousand cars a month, maybe you don’t need that kind of reach. But if you want to sell hundreds of thousands of cars a year, or over a million, you have to have lots of stores located where all your customers are.  
    The startups also need lots of local service departments to keep those cars up and running. Not everything can be fixed with an over-the-air update. And roaming service vans can only do simple repairs and maintenance. If it’s pouring rain, snowing hard, or if a car has to go up on a hoist, service vans will not get the job done.
    And God forbid, when these startups have a recall — and they will — they’ll need to fix a flood of cars very quickly. So, they’re going to need lots of stores with lots of service bays. Does anyone believe that building all those stores and service centers will be much cheaper than building dealerships?
    Traditional automakers like to point out that their dealerships are built with OPM – other people’s money. Car companies don’t pay to build dealerships, dealers do. They have to borrow the money, often from the automaker itself. When the startups build their own stores and service centers, all that money comes out of their own pocket.
    While it’s true that dealers buy cars from the factory and mark them up, they have very slim profit margins, the kind of margins you find with grocery stores. Even the biggest, publicly traded dealer groups like AutoNation and Penske Automotive have 3% profit margins or less. And most of that profit comes from selling F&I and service, not from selling cars.
    Far from driving up the cost of cars, dealers are caught in a cutthroat competition that keeps a lid on prices. The average Ford dealer doesn’t compete with the local Chevy dealer. He competes with all the other local Ford dealers.
    He has to offer customers a better deal so they don’t drive down the road and buy the same car from another Ford dealer at a cheaper price. With factory-owned stores, you don’t get that kind of competition. The factory price is the factory price. Take it or leave it.
    People wonder why Tesla is constantly changing its prices. There’s your answer. It doesn’t have independent dealers who are competing against each other and who are constantly juggling prices to close a sale. 
    Demand always varies by season and by region, and dealers have the flexibility to react to that reality. A startup that wants to raise or lower prices has to do it across the board. There is no regional flexibility.
    Tesla has done a decent job of selling directly to customers. But almost half its U.S. sales have been in California, and it’s going to struggle to boost sales significantly in the rest of the country. There are 18 states that either ban direct sales, or limit Tesla to a couple of stores.
    All the other startups will face the same ugly reality. The courts really should overturn this. It’s a blatant restraint of interstate trade. But while Tesla has spent a small fortune in legal fees trying to get this overturned, not much has changed.
    There are over 16,000 dealerships in the U.S. and they’re no longer the mom-and-pop shops of yesterday. More and more of them are getting bought out by large, publicly traded corporations. And those companies are instilling a higher level of professionalism in their operations. They have massive scale and marketing clout. They are formidable competitors who will deliver a consistent sales experience throughout all their stores.
    And that’s why, despite a public image that often disparages dealers, the traditional franchise model will trump the direct-to-consumer model. Yes, I know the direct model has worked wonderfully well in other industries. But we’re talking cars here, not laptops or tablets. You can’t put a car in a box so UPS can deliver it to your doorstep.
    The author is editorial director of Blue Sky Productions and producer of "Autoline Detroit" for WTVS-TV in Detroit.

  • Friday, July 09, 2021 5:18 PM | Anonymous
    Save Sept. 18 as the date for this year’s Barbecue for the Troops fundraiser to benefit the USO of Illinois.
    Because the Chicago Auto Show is rescheduled for July 15-19, the CATA decided to postpone this year’s USO campaign. The weather in September still should be mild enough to return barbeque gatherings and community events to dealerships.
    In nine years, CATA dealerships have raised more than $950,000 for the USO of Illinois.

  • Friday, July 09, 2021 5:18 PM | Anonymous
    The Illinois secretary of state’s office on July 8 lifted its weeklong hold on paperwork submitted more than 18 days a vehicle’s sale. Upon submitting such ERT transactions, dealers began receiving previously unseen error messages from the office.
    According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, an application for a certificate of title can be submitted up to 20 days after a vehicle sale. Beginning Aug. 1, the office said it would more aggressively enforce that statutory deadline for both manual and electronic applications.
    The secretary of state plans to issue a memo that specifically addresses their position and enforcement plan.

  • Friday, July 09, 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous
     Taxpayers get a reprieve this month in their remittance of the Cook County use tax, normally due on 20th day each month. In July, payment for June transactions is not owed until July 30.
    The extension was granted because the county’s new online payment portal was not available until July 6. Starting this month, payment can only be made online.
    Taxpayers will want the extra time to file because the ability to upload voluminous data does not yet exist and there is no timetable for when that ability will be available. But Michael Luzzi from the Cook County Revenue Department said that shortcoming is not a deal-breaker. 
    "You can do this (data entry) throughout the month," Luzzi said. "You don’t have to do it (file) in one sitting."
    Cook County’s use tax amounts to 1% of the transactional amount of goods purchased at retail and titled or registered at an address within the county.
    The department relaxed its reporting demands (see reporting FAQs) after listening to feedback from dealerships during June informational webinars about the changeover.
    "We contended that listing all sales separately in Schedule A, along with Sales Invoice Date, Sales Invoice Number, Name of Purchaser, VIN, Amount Subject to Tax, and Cook County Use Tax was overly burdensome. This has been modified to require only the completion of two lines on the schedule: one for New Vehicles and the second for Used Vehicles, with the date being always the last day of the month," said Dennis O’Keefe, the CATA’s general counsel.
    Similarly, lease transactions, reported on Schedule B, require the same data entry. The county also allowed that Sales to a Dealer for Resale (wholesales) need not be scheduled, meaning Schedule D can be left blank. For Purchases for Dealer Use, reported on Schedule E, the transaction amounts from all transactions also can be summarized on one line. 
    Direct questions about the new mandate to (312) 603-6961 or to

  • Friday, July 09, 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous
    By Emily Cadman, Bloomberg
    Just a few years ago, obituaries were being written for vehicles. Millennials and Gen-Zers, the argument went, were going to swerve away from car ownership as more of them moved to cities with myriad public transport options and ride-hailing services like Uber. Besides, concern about the adverse impact on the environment would deter young people from making purchases. 
    Then the pandemic hit. Now, as the world recovers, used-car prices are going through the roof. Waiting times for driving tests have blown out. And online requests for driving directions are soaring, while public transit route inquiries have plunged.
    One survey of 3,300 consumers in nine countries found that 32% of non-car owners said they intended to get a car in the next six months. About half of those prospective buyers were millennials. Georgios Basdanis, a 32-year-old doctor in London, is one of those who’s already taken the plunge. He bought a second-hand Mini with 10,000 miles on the clock for about $15,600, financed over two years.
    "If it weren’t for the pandemic, I wouldn’t have thought about getting a car," Basdanis said. "I would have thought it a hassle."
    He lives in an apartment complex, which, pre-pandemic, had a no-car policy, meaning expensive and often scarce street space was the main option for parking. Additionally, in congested London, many journeys had been much quicker on the Tube, the U.K. capital’s subway system.
    But these calculations changed during the pandemic, when taking public transport to his hospital job at the height of the U.K.’s outbreak was an anxiety-inducing experience. Being able to drive himself seemed much safer.
    He’d have loved an electric car, but he said that option was too expensive — not only the purchase price but also the insurance costs. Unlike in China, where a new bare-bones electric vehicle can sell for about $4,500, EVs tend to be pricier in Western markets than their gas-guzzling counterparts, impeding the conversion of a green conscience into an actual purchase.
    Now fully vaccinated, and seeing traffic-jams picking up, Basdanis said he’s likely to be back on the Tube for his daily commute soon. But that doesn’t mean he’s likely to sell the car.
    "It’s certainly a useful thing to have, for out of hours work or just driving to the gym on a weekend," Basdanis said. "Also trips. I can just jump in the car and go to the countryside for a day."
    That sense of convenience and freedom is the stuff of a thousand TV commercials — as well as legions of pop songs.
    Yet it’s also a direct challenge to pre-pandemic public policy. For decades, authorities around the world have been pushing to try and get people out of their cars and onto public transport, both to accommodate growing city populations and reduce air pollution — still a major health issue even in developed countries.
    "There will be a strong push of cities trying to limit and reduce the number of cars," said Eric Zayer, a partner in Bain & Co.’s automotive and mobility practice in Munich. "They have made huge investments in public transport, and they need to be amortized. They will not give up on their mass transport systems."
    It’s not just in the West where attitudes have changed. In Japan, where in pre-pandemic times more than 10 million people a day jammed onto Tokyo’s subway lines, interest in car ownership is rising. The number of new driver’s licenses issued increased in 2020 for the first time in eight years, according to the country’s National Police Agency, with much of that growth came from people aged in their 20s and 30s. Wait times to take a driving test have more than doubled. 
    Authorities betting on a return to normal face a battle to win over those like Gypsy Byrne, a 19-year-old student in Melbourne, who has rethought her transport usage. She’d always had access to public transport, so getting her driver’s license was more of a vague goal than a priority in pre-pandemic times. Then the main bus near her house became an infection hotspot.
    "You can’t trust public transport now," said Byrne, who lives about 12 miles west of the city center. "I got my driving instructor to start doing five-hour lessons instead of one because I just need my Ps [provisional license plates] to be able to get out and do things."
    While she’ll use a car for work when she qualifies as a disabled care assistant, it will also be a big social boon. Relying on others for lifts in the pandemic "just gets really tedious" she said. Byrne has her test on July 31 and, assuming she passes, is one of the lucky ones who won’t need to buy a car — because she’s inherited a Toyota Aurion from her grandparents.
    Car companies are responding to the twin anxieties of pandemic exposure and environmental degradation with beefed up marketing efforts. Ford, for instance, has been pitching its Lincoln SUV as a car that can provide a "sanctuary" space with serene lighting, aromatherapy and what one company designer calls "in-vehicle experiences that don’t involve driving."
    At the same time, traditional auto makers are keen to brandish their green credentials. On Friday, BMW AG started series production of its iX SUV at a plant near Munich. The plant has an entire sustainability portfolio that includes energy-efficient installations and something the firm calls "packaging planning". 
    Even before the pandemic, younger would-be homebuyers on the hunt for affordable accommodation had been venturing further away from big city centers and locations with dense public transport systems. That trend has accelerated in the wake of Covid as workers newly able to work at least some of the time from home fan out into smaller cities and suburbs, where owning a car is seen as more normal.
    Yet if the trend of remote work persists and more people buy cars, that may not mean more congestion on roads. So far in the U.S. at least, the booming interest in cars hasn’t meant more miles being driven on aggregate as people take fewer trips overall.
    "A resurgence of car ownership might be more of the story versus a resurgence of car usage," said Michael Brisson, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in the U.S. "People may want the ability to travel and may be taking more short trips, but I can’t see anywhere that shows they are driving more miles." 

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


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