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Trade Associations Forecast Strong 2020

By Jeffrey Bellant January 06, 2020

 The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and its state affiliates are looking for a strong 2020.

“Our dealers right now are doing well,” said Steve Jordan, NIADA’s CEO. “I think small business confidence is really high right now, especially among our dealers. Buy-here, pay-here dealers are also doing well.”

Jordan said pressure points remain “reasonably priced wholesale inventory and getting access to it.”

Interest rates seem to be leveling off, which is a good thing, Jordan said. That’s not only good for the customer, but for dealers who may have their own lines of credit.

“I think 2020 is going to be a great year,” Jordan said.

Jordan said the USMCA trade deal is going to be a “landscape-changing piece of legislation for used-car dealers and, arguably, the automotive industry as a whole.”

Dealers can expect some big announcements in the coming months regarding NIADA’s summer convention at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Jordan said.

Shaun Petersen, NIADA’s senior VP of legal & government affairs, said while the U.S. House will likely be aggressive in consumer-related legislation, that will likely see pushback in the Senate.

One trend Petersen expects is the move by state attorneys general to step up enforcement actions against dealers – particularly subprime dealers – in the election year.

The association will make a big push in 2020 for NIADA’s new Compliance Management System tool, powered by ComplyNet.

“It’s tailored to a dealership based on size and number of employees,” Petersen said.

To help equip dealers, NIADA will continue to build and expand the dealer 20 Group business.

“That’s a big initiative for us this year,” Jordan said.

He also praised Justin Osburn, an NIADA 20 Group moderator, for retooling the Certified Master Dealer program, drawing close to 100 new CMD dealers in 2019.

“We’ll see more of that in 2020,” Jordan said. “We’re also close to launching a digital learning management program for members.”

Laura Taylor, NAAA president, expects good things in 2020.

“Well, I don’t claim to be an economist, but if I had to make a forecast from my 25 years in the industry, in general I’d say I feel good that the warming trend we saw last year with a shift by dealerships toward more used vehicle sales boosting the used-vehicle market won’t cool off this year,” she said.

NAAA’s move last year to go back to having its own separate convention proved a big success, so this year should be even better, Taylor said.

“(One) of the most exciting things for me is to build on the momentum from last year when we returned to our tradition of hosting our own annual convention again,” she said. “It was such a success that (past-President) Chad Bailey set the bar high for me this year, but I’m ready to take that challenge and kick it up another notch this October in Dallas.”

Both Jordan and Taylor talked about how the two associations will continue to work together on mutual industry issues.

NIADA wants to send a clear message that “you can’t take your foot off of the gas when it comes to compliance,” Jordan said.

On the state dealer level, John Brown, executive director of the Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association, is optimistic.

“I think 2020 is going to be a great year,” he said.

While Brown will continue to keep an eye on his state legislatures, he doesn’t expect any dramatic moves in 2020.

“With it being an election year both locally and nationally, I don’t think you’ll see a whole lot of stuff getting done,” he said.

The challenge in North Carolina is that, like Washington D.C., it is split. The legislature is Democratic-led and a Republican holds the governor’s office.

“They get along a little bit better than they do in D.C., but not much,” he said.

One battle in North Carolina is an issue that would require criminal background checks and fingerprinting for all dealer licenses and dealer salespeople, something not required of accountants or lawyers, Brown said.

Wendy Rinehart, Ohio IADA’s executive director, said the association is hoping to pass continuing education requirement for used-car dealers, which already has pre-licensing requirements.

“We’re thinking of asking for two hours every other year when they have to renew their licenses,” she said.

Half of that requirement would focus on what laws have changed since the last renewal, while the other half would focus on sharpening up on current consumer protection issues.

Henry Mullinax, NIADA president, said working more closely with the states is one of his goals.

Mullinax, who has spent a career pushing for dealers to work together on issues, wants to see NIADA work with state IADAs more in 2020.

“I want it to be more about ‘we,’” he said.


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Last modified on Monday, 06 January 2020 19:47

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