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Dealers win when failure is not an option

A few weeks ago I chronicled Nissan dealer Doug Wolford's efforts to get anybody and everybody fired up about the importance of exempting car dealers from oversight by a new federal consumer finance agency.

I didn't know it at the time but Wolford was just getting started and failure was not an option.

Here's the rest of the story:

The chairman of the Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association says he contacted at least 500 dealers with emails and phone calls in the few weeks leading up to the vote, telling them to "beg, plead, and yell" or whatever it took to let lawmakers know that dealers are regulated enough.

Convinced that a third of the nation's car dealers would have gone out of business had the initiative failed, Wolford mobilized the 70 employees at his Louisville Nissan dealership. He gave them time to call lawmakers to share how dealers hire thousands of employees, many of whom work long hours finding financing for customers with blemished credit histories.

Wolford also asked personal friends, business associates, his church members and his customers to help get the word out. Wolford's father who lives in Illinois contacted his legislators. His brothers -- one who lives in Texas and another who lives in Louisiana -- and his sister in Florida, did the same.

Careful to make sure that he was working hand-in-hand with NADA, Wolford says he stayed in contact with NADA Chairman Ed Tonkin and President Phil Brady. He also worked closely with former NADA chairman and fellow Kentucky dealer, Jack Kain.

The social media skills of dealership trainer, Grant Cardone, says Wolford, were "magnificent."

He adds: "I didn't want to lose."

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