Earlier this month I had the privilege of addressing the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. I told the journalists there that American auto dealers share the same passion: to serve the needs of the car-buying public as efficiently as we can. And to do that dealers want to preserve the symbiotic relationship with those who impact our industry, whether it’s the federal government or our manufacturers.
New-car dealers are projected to sell 17.1 million new cars and light trucks in 2017. With an improving economy and lower gas prices, consumers are opting for bigger vehicles such as light trucks and SUVs. The overall consumer demand for new vehicles is healthy. So let us make the process of purchasing a car as streamlined and transparent as possible for our consumers. Throughout the year NADA has strongly advocated for limiting complicated and unfair OEM market strategies—those that produce huge discrepancies in prices and kill trust and loyalty in our brands. I am confident that when dealers and manufacturers engage in open and constructive discussions—and when both sides are mindful of one another—we will make the best choices that benefit our consumers.
I told the Detroit auto press that, when it comes to the auto industry, there is a seesaw effect between good intentions and unintended consequences. For the past few years, NADA has worked hard to mitigate these effects, especially in Washington, D.C. Every so often, we saw various policy proposals crop up—like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s overreach into vehicle financing—that started out as well-intentioned, but held negative consequences to the business of selling and servicing vehicles to our millions of customers.
I am proud of the hard work that we’ve put in. Our efforts have resulted in more enlightened and effective policy outcomes for both our customers and our businesses. This is the work we will continue to do so that our sales forecasts can reach 17 million or more for years to come.
The retail auto industry has stood the test of time for the last 100 years. 2017 in particular is proof-positive that the need and desire for reliable and affordable personal transportation is alive and well. We, at NADA, are confident that sales of new vehicles will continue to be a cornerstone of the industry—and broader economic health—for years to come. The nation’s auto dealers are ready to take on the next 100 years of selling and servicing cars. And if we do it together—with OEMs, dealers and regulators taking each other into account—then our good intentions will be met with positive results.
Mark Scarpelli, 2017 NADA chairman, is a Chevrolet and Kia dealer in Antioch, Ill.