The executive manager of a factory-owned dealership can now be a director of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
On Friday, Feb. 5, the board amended the NADA bylaws and eliminated the requirement that a director must have an ownership interest in a dealership. Instead, a director candidate simply must be a dealer, general manager or executive manager recognized by the manufacturer and have some kind of interest in a dealership.
For example, the board candidate could own the dealership real estate or participate in the store's profits. He or she would not have to own stock in the company.
Dealer reaction to the new requirements for board members was mixed. Many traditional entrepreneurs are suspicious of factory-owned stores and are troubled by the change in the bylaws.
'I don't think it's right,' said Mike Clemons, owner of Lake Chevrolet in Clear Lake, Iowa. 'You should be an owner to have a voice on the board. The factory operations could put some (traditional) dealers out of business.'
Others, however, are more accepting, seeing the change as a sign of the times.
'With the changes that are taking place in the industry I think everybody (including factory stores) is going to be on the same sheet,' said Bert Arnlund, president of Kari Chrysler-Dodge-Plymouth-Hyundai in Kalispell, Mont.
'I might have had a different opinion two years ago, but now I think it's part of the times.'
Bill Newman, NADA's chief of regulatory affairs, said not to worry: 'Board members are not appointed. They have to be elected by the dealers in their state.'
Just over a year ago the board opened its membership to general mangers of publicly held dealership groups. But this is the first time it has accommodated factory-owned stores.