You can bet that NADA's leadership is serious about the campaign to overhaul customer satisfaction surveys.
Outgoing Chairman Alan Starling erased any doubt when he emphasized the issue in his speech at Saturday's opening general session.
But that doesn't mean that Starling and the other NADA directors can't have a little fun with it.
At the NADA board's annual roast for the outgoing chairman held a few days ago, H. Carter Myers III, who preceded Starling as NADA chairman, did a tongue-in-cheek evaluation of Starling's year as chairman in the form of a CSI survey.
It was particularly fitting because Starling says that he and Myers developed a bond and a good working relationship in 2002, the year that Myers was chairman and Starling was vice chairman.
Myers, a gentleman from Virginia, used a classic top-box CSI form, just like the ones that Starling and NADA say are outdated and cumbersome to fill out and don't measure what they're supposed to measure.
The forms also tempt some dealers to manage the process by coaching consumers - or worse - on how to fill out the forms because factories often use CSI results for determining incentive levels or withholding new franchises from dealers.
Honda uses a modified CSI form, and Ford is cutting its survey form, but Starling would have liked to have had commitments for change from more manufacturers by the end of his year as chairman.
He did get the process rolling, though. And Starling is confident that Charley Smith of Hobbs, N.M., who takes over as chairman today, will do more. Starling likens it to having moved the football into the red zone so that Smith can punch it into the end zone.
Still, Myers gave Starling pretty good marks for his accomplishments, which included raising and advancing the CSI issue, and also for his efforts to increase diversity and communicate more quickly and efficiently with NADA's members.
Dealers who saw Myers do the CSI evaluation of Starling said the shtick brought howls of laughter. The biggest reaction came when Myers showed a photo of Starling with other NADA directors.
Said Myers with perfect deadpan delivery: "It looks like there was coaching.''