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  • Friday, February 21, 2020 7:12 PM | Anonymous
    In the wake of Illinois legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the CATA is expanding the syllabus of a course that teaches dealership managers how to detect whether employees are under the influence of the drug at work.
    The collective bargaining agreement with Mechanics Local 701 stipulates that, for a manager to accuse an employee of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the manager must be trained to do so.
    The association offers a 90-minute online training certification course, "Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors," for $20.
    Course topics include:
    • The effects of substance abuse in the workplace
    • The Supervisor’s role and responsibilities in making and documenting reasonable suspicion determinations
    • Confidentiality
    • Alcohol: its effects on the human body, stages/levels of intoxication
    • Dangers and costs of alcohol misuse in the workplace
    • Alcohol testing (such as types of testing and best practices),
    • Detailed Signs and Symptoms of alcohol use
    • Binge drinking, alcohol abuse, alcohol poisoning, and hangover
    • The costs and dangers of drug abuse in the workplace
    • How drug use affects a person’s life, health, and safety
    • An in-depth breakdown of the most common drugs of abuses
    • The Signs and Symptoms of the most common drugs of abuse
    • Signals indicating possible substance abuse on the job
    According to the 701 contract: "Current employees shall not be tested for drugs or alcohol unless the Employer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the employee is under the influence … .
    "Reasonable suspicion shall be established where Employer supervisors who are trained in the detection of drug or alcohol abuse reasonably believe that an employee is under the influence as defined above."
    Reasonable suspicion also can be established if an employee is involved in a workplace and/or work-related accident that involves bodily injury or damages of $500 or more.

  • Friday, February 21, 2020 7:12 PM | Anonymous
    The Chicago Auto Show’s black-tie benefit, held the evening before the show’s public opening, raised $2.9 million for 18 vital area nonprofits, with results still being counted.
    A highlight of First Look for Charity was the drawing for the event’s grand prize, this year a 2020 Ford Explorer ST. After the five-minute allowance for a winner to match the first ticket stub drawn expired, Mychel Watts of Calumet Park, in south suburban Cook County, screamed that she’d matched the second number even before the countdown clock began ticking.
    Watts directed the proceeds of her $275 ticket purchase to benefit all the event’s charities.

  • Friday, February 21, 2020 7:11 PM | Anonymous
    Enthusiastic crowds greeted the 112th edition of the nation’s largest and longest-running auto show, which ran Feb. 8-17 at McCormick Place. Plentiful media coverage showcased the nearly 1,000 vehicles on display at the Chicago Auto Show. Some of the show highlights:
    Best of Show
    For the 15th consecutive year, consumer voters selected their favorites in five categories in Best of Show balloting. The Chicago Auto Show is the only major auto show that polls its attendees’ favorite vehicles and exhibit. In voting over the show’s 10 public days, the 2020 winners are:
    All-New Production Vehicle: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
    Concept Car: Acura Type S
    Green Car: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E
    Best Exhibit: Jeep
    Car I would most like to have in my driveway: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
    "We think of our attendees as one enormous focus group that we can leverage to analyze data and assess trends," said Dave Sloan, the show’s general manager. "Best of Show voting has become a benchmark measure of what the public deems the most exciting, impressive and innovative on the show floor."
    Special-themed days helped keep the proceedings lively. For the first time, Chicago Auto Show organizers partnered with the Chicago Area Runners Association to host Honda Miles Per Hour, a unique indoor run that guided participants on a 2.4-mile loop through the nation’s largest auto show. The event’s moniker accurately describes the premise of the run: Participants cover as much distance as possible in one hour.
    Other themed days:
    • As part of its Women’s Day, all women on Feb. 11 were admitted for $8. Various manufacturers presented special women-oriented programs on the purchase and lease of cars and on vehicle maintenance.
    • Since 2007, the Chicago Auto Show has partnered with Telemundo Chicago to present Hispanic Heritage Day. Special themed programs on Feb. 14 showcased the vibrancy of the Hispanic culture.
    Chicago Friday Night Flights is a beer-tasting event that showcases Chicago’s dynamic craft brewing scene. Back for another round at the Chicago Auto Show, a tasting pass provided access to the show floor and samplings of 10 three-ounce pours of craft beer.
    • Attendees showed their sports team pride when visiting the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 10. Those who wore an Illinois team jersey, shirt, or jacket got a discounted admission. Sports Team Pride Day was presented by the Marquee Sports Network.
    • The Chicago Auto Show partnered with the Daily Herald to present Family Day at the Chicago Auto Show. Held annually on Presidents Day, Family Day plays host to special themed programs designed to engage and entertain children of all ages.
    • Show patrons who donated three cans of food received a coupon for reduced adult admission. All food collected by the Chicago Auto Show Food Drive was donated to A Safe Haven Foundation. Organizers said more than 24,000 pounds of canned food was collected.
  • Friday, February 21, 2020 7:11 PM | Anonymous
    "I think the best and easiest way to describe what’s happening in the automotive industry today is to describe it as the Wild West. It took a full five years to sell the first million electric vehicles. After that, it took a year and a half. And then 10 months. And then six months.
    "Today, there’ve been over 7 million e-vs sold across the globe, a truly astronomical number given that, in 2011, no market existed," said Cody Thacker, head of electrification for Audi of America. "By the end of 2020, we expect we’ll reach the 10 million mark."
    Thacker was the keynote speaker Feb. 6 at the monthly Economic Club of Chicago luncheon, which for the past 10 Februarys has convened at McCormick Place during the Chicago Auto Show’s media preview.
    "Now," he continued, "we’re to the point where a million electric vehicles will be sold across the globe every four months."
    Thacker projected that electric vehicles will hold a 60 percent market share in the U.S. by 2040, meaning that 4 in 10 vehicles sold then will have internal combustion engines.
    He identified four barriers to greater acceptance of electric vehicles: cost, range, charging availability, and apathy. "We want to think people are driven by environmental concerns when making a vehicle purchase," Thacker said. "But the fact of the matter is, they’re simply not."
    But the other three barriers might be easier to surmount. While electric vehicles today carry a higher price point than their ICE counterparts, Thacker said falling costs for battery packs will bring price parity by 2025. Also, he said, "public charging infrastructure is catching up, and catching up fast."
    As for range, he said the average commute for workers is 30 miles, adding, "When you only drive 30 miles a day, a vehicle with a 200-mile range becomes very practical."

  • Friday, February 21, 2020 7:10 PM | Anonymous
    One hundred thirty-five CATA dealer members reported a combined 416 unemployment claims during the fourth quarter of 2019 to Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., which has been serving CATA dealers under various names since 1979. The company’s efforts saved those dealers a total of $1.2 million in benefit charges by contesting the claims.
    Sedgwick monitors any unemployment claims against its clients and contests all unwarranted claims and charges. The company counts about 237 CATA dealers among its clients.
    Claims that can be protested and subsequently denied help minimize an employer’s unemployment tax rate. The rate can vary between 0.475 percent and 6.4 percent of each employee’s first $12,960 in earnings.
    The 2019 average unemployment tax rate & new employer rate for Illinois employers is 3.175 percent, or about $411.50 annually per employee ($418 in 2018). The rate has inched down each year from 2007, as the Illinois economy continues to improve.
    "The unemployment tax is really the only controllable tax in business, in that it’s experience-driven," said Bruce Kijewski of Sedgwick. An ex-employee’s claim affects the employer’s tax rate for three years.
    For new enrollees, Sedgwick client fees amount to $2.85 per employee, per fiscal quarter. For the fee, Sedgwick monitors all unemployment claims; files any appeals; prepares employer witnesses for hearings, as necessary; represents the client at any hearings; verifies the benefit charge statements; and confirms the client’s unemployment tax rate.
    For more information and information on how to retain Sedgwick’s unemployment services, contact Kijewski at (773) 824-4322 or

  • Friday, February 21, 2020 7:10 PM | Anonymous
    "MotorWeek," television’s longest-running automotive magazine series, returned to the Chicago Auto Show to announce the winners of its 2020 Drivers’ Choice Awards:
    • Best Small Car: Mazda3
    • Best Family Sedan: Hyundai Sonata
    • Best Convertible: BMW Z4
    • Best Luxury Sedan: Audi A6
    • Best Sport Sedan: BMW 3 Series
    • Best Sport Coupe: Toyota GR Supra
    • Best Performance Car: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
    • Best Small Utility: Toyota RAV4
    • Best Midsize Utility: Honda Passport
    • Best Large Utility: Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride (tie)
    • Best Luxury Utility: Mercedes-Benz GLE
    • Best Pickup Truck: Ram pickup trucks
    • Best Eco-Friendly: Kia Niro
    • Best Dream Machine: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Mercedes-AMG GT R, and Porsche Taycan Turbo S (tie)
    The editorial staff of "MotorWeek" evaluates more than 150 cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles every year. The award selection is based on driving performance, technology, practicality, fuel efficiency, and value.

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 7:15 PM | Anonymous
    The CATA Bulletin will take a one issue break on Feb. 10, in deference to the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.
    The next edition is Feb. 24.

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 7:15 PM | Anonymous
    Jay Van Dahm Jr., co-owner of a a namesake new-car dealership in Oak Lawn, died Jan. 16. He was 78.
    Van Dahm Lincoln-Mercury operated 1965-1997 at 10201 S. Cicero Ave.
    Survivors include daughters Cheryl, Laura and Michelle; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
    Memorial appreciated to Camp Manitoqua, 8122 W. Sauk Trail, Frankfort, IL 60423.

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 7:14 PM | Anonymous
    White remained the most popular car color in 2019, according to Germany-based chemical company BASF, which does an annual report on automotive coatings.
    About 39% of all cars built globally are white. In North America, white, black, silver and gray make up 77% of the market.
    Smaller vehicles are more likely to show a blast of color, according to the report that also said pickup trucks in North America are trending toward deep, rich blacks.    
    Paul Czornij, a designer for BASF in Michigan, recounted that silver was the most popular global color in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "A lot of that," he said, "related to automotive technology and how silver represented that."
    Czornij said white made inroads because other industries because other industries began using it to demonstrate the face of technology. A software and computer company led the way by making white a popular color for phones, radios and gadgets.
    "The automotive market said, ‘OK, what can we do to bring white as a color that would be more than what it had been in the past?’ " he recounted. "There was an advent of a pearlescent look to white. It is associated with sophistication, beauty and purity. It’s even being used now to show off environmentally friendly vehicles."
    When people think "environmentally friendly, they probably think "green." Czornij said that color had its highest popularity in the mid-1990s. "It was pretty significant," he said. "We’re seeing more movement in green, but it might be a while before it starts showing up more on cars. Right now, white seems to rule the roost." 
    Juan Flores from Kelley Blue Book said that emerald green looks great on the new-car lot but doesn’t do so well in the used-car market. It loses $500 to $700 of its residual value just because of the color.
    Czornij said there is a prevailing line of thought that one has to have a neutral color – usually white, black, silver or gray – to make the car easier to sell the car. "Also," he said, "if you buy, say, a silver or gray car, you can probably rest easy that color won’t fall out of fashion. Whereas, if you buy a bright purple car, that might not be the case. 
    "You may like a particular color on your cellphone or something small. It gives a certain impression. But if you take that same color and spread it out on a big surface like a car, it will have a different look and feel."  
    Mike Jackson, the retired CEO of AutoNation once said, "Do you know how many people go to a dealership looking for a white vehicle, and end up driving away in a black one?" His point was that car shoppers can be flexible on colors, even contrasting colors. 
    "You’ll get a mixed bag of people and how they reach a car-buying decision. There are people influenced by the dealer, Czornij said. "They walk in wanting an orange car, and leave in a gray car because they were convinced it may be more prudent as far as resale value. Other people are going to stick to their original color decision and will walk if they can’t get it at a dealership.
    "Think about it. With an exterior car color, you are projecting a piece of yourself to the world. The interior is your more personal space, but what you put on the car projects your image to the rest of society. It’s more complex than a lot of people give it credit for."

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 7:14 PM | Anonymous
    New rules enacting President Donald Trump’s reductions in fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles through 2026 moved closer to reality when U.S. agencies on Jan. 14 sent proposals to the White House for final review.
    After more than 17 months of discussion, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget proposed rules for model years 2021-2026 fuel efficiency, the agencies said.
    Final rules are expected as early as late February or March, officials said.
    The administration of former President Barack Obama had required car manufacturers to achieve roughly 5% annual increases in vehicle fuel efficiency through the 2026 model year.
    The Trump administration in August 2018 proposed freezing fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels through 2026, erasing the increases the Obama administration enacted. But officials will not finalize that proposal.
    "We’re not going to be flat, as was proposed," Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens told Reuters in a recent interview. "We’re going to set standards that are reasonable and achievable."
    Several automakers told Reuters they anticipate annual fuel efficiency increases of about 1.5%, much less stringent than the Obama rules, but administration aides said the proposal, which is about 2,000 pages, underwent significant revisions.
    The EPA said the final rules "will benefit all Americans by improving the U.S. fleet’s fuel economy, reducing air pollution, and making new vehicles more affordable for all Americans."
    The administration has argued that the rollbacks are necessary for economic and safety reasons, but California and environmentalists reject that analysis, saying consumers would spend hundreds of billions more in fuel costs.
    The administration’s 2018 proposal would have resulted in average fuel efficiency of 37 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2026, compared with 46.7 mpg under rules adopted in 2012.
    The Trump administration’s "preferred option" would have hiked U.S. oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels per day by the 2030s but reduced automakers’ regulatory costs by more than $300 billion.
    Trump has sought to reverse Obama’s climate change policy, which was aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    In November, California and 22 other states challenged the administration’s decision in September to revoke California’s authority to set stiff vehicle tailpipe emissions rules and require a rising number of zero emission vehicles.
    They also vowed to sue when the administration finalized the new requirements.
    Major automakers -- including General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV -- backed the administration’s effort to bar California from setting tailpipe standards.

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