WASHINGTON - Hundreds of import-brand car dealers are headed to the nation's capital for their annual legislative conference - but under circumstances far different from a year ago. Washington, still jittery from Sept. 11, is the capital of a nation at war against terrorism. And the defection of Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords from the Republican Party has changed the balance of power.
But leaders of the American International Automobile Dealers Association say they remain upbeat about their organization's 25th annual Automotive Congress, set for May 21-22.
"Some of the external things have changed, but the issues haven't," said AIADA President Walter Huizenga. He cited his organization's plans to lobby on tax, trade and energy policies.
One potential wild card is AIADA's effort to find ways to help more than 500 Daewoo dealers in the United States who face the loss of their franchises. General Motors is acquiring parts of Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd. of Korea but not its American subsidiary.