Giving Thanks — and Giving Back

A Message from VADA President and CEO Don Hall

November 2022

As we pause for the Thanksgiving holiday, I like to remind our dealer community to stop and reflect on the things we are grateful for. Be sure to take a moment over the next week to thank your people, your partners and spouses, children, and family members. They put up with a lot from us in an industry that requires a big commitment of time and energy.

It’s impossible to put into words just how much our world and industry has changed in recent years. Much of it for the better — I don’t need to tell you that. The pandemic and economic pressures pushed us in ways never before seen and, to your credit, many dealers enjoyed record years even in the face of such headwinds. However, there are shifts on the horizon proposed by OEMs that, if we are not vigilant, could pose a threat to our industry’s existence.

Every day, the staff of VADA get to work to protect your business. In recent months this has turned to addressing the many proposed Auto-Manufacturer Controlled sales models from OEMs.

VADA is taking the lead to stop it from happening. Last month, I traveled to Chicago to participate in the Automotive News Retail Forum, where I sat on a panel with others in the industry, including a representative from the OEMs, and discussed these changes. You can read about that panel here in Automotive News.

I and my 12 peers in the Southern Automotive Trade Association Executives (SATAE) also made industry headlines when we adopted a resolution to defend the local dealer franchise system about the content, legality and timeline of the Ford Model e program, which requires those dealers to invest heavily — more than $1 million — to train staff and overhaul the retail experience for Ford EVs.

And in the 2023 Virginia General Assembly, VADA will push groundbreaking legislation, never before seen in America, to protect the franchise system.

Advocating for your business is vital.

And unless we are tireless in our advocacy, Virginia’s political landscape has the potential to dramatically shift next year. Every seat in the state House and Senate up for grabs. Your economic prosperity is solely in the hands of the Virginia General Assembly and it is crucial that we elect candidates who are pro-dealer and pro-business.

You can do that by giving to our Political Action Committee before the end of the year. Many of your dealer peers have already done so, and in record amounts.

We need every member of VADA to contribute to our PAC, including Dealership Owners, General Managers, Dealer Operators, Parts and Service Directors, Finance and Insurance Managers, and Used/New Car Managers. This election will heavily impact not just these dealership leaders, but everyone who reports to them.

Right now is a momentous time in the retail car business. Let’s be sure we take action and keep that momentum going to ensure it prospers for many years to come.