It is indeed a dubious honor to be the new chairman of an association that Automotive News believes should just "fade away" (March 3, Page 14).
While that would certainly free up time for me to run my dealership, manage my current building project and return my golf game to a much more competitive level, the problem with such an assertion is that the mission of the American International Automobile Dealers Association is every bit as alive today as it was 30 years ago.
Issues come up all the time that have an impact on international nameplates that is quite different from the impact they have on the membership of the National Automobile Dealers Association. AIADA is vigilant to identify those issues and is prepared to react immediately as they develop.
For example, last year Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., added a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act requiring automobiles imported into the United States to be aboard U.S. flag carriers.
Our lobbyists called on our grass-roots network to contact legislators working on the bill, and the provision was eliminated. We averted an approximate $425 increase on each car coming into the United States.
The war in Iraq is another example. The discord over the war is straining relationships and increasing tension on economic links throughout the world.
We stand on the verge of a consumer backlash on international products from countries that don't support U.S. military involvement.
In addition, rising unemployment and a growing trade deficit could manifest themselves into decreasing levels of support for free trade in Washington and throughout the country.
Our members are looking for a special focus on our issues that NADA cannot and should not give.
How can issues affecting 340 BMW dealers or 1,000 Honda dealers or 550 Hyundai dealers receive the kind of focus they warrant in an organization that has more than 4,500 Ford Motor Co. dealerships?