DETROIT -- The chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association cautioned policymakers Wednesday: Do not implement policies that make buying, financing, trading in and servicing vehicles more expensive for consumers.
“We’re trying to take the message to policymakers that whatever they need to do, they need to keep the cars affordable,” Jeff Carlson said as part of NADA’s annual policy speech here at the Automotive Press Association.
Carlson, president of Glenwood Springs Ford and Glenwood Springs Subaru, both in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and Summit Ford in Silverthorne, Colo., outlined several examples of how decisions in Washington and elsewhere could lead to higher costs for consumers and more difficult sales for dealers.
According to Carlson:
Carlson said NADA supports many consumer-protection and environmental objectives, just not on “the backs of our consumers.”
He said NADA has urged Congress to pass legislation rescinding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “flawed auto finance guidance -- legislation that passed the House by a veto-proof, bipartisan majority of 332-96.” The proposed legislation is now before the Senate.
Likewise, recalled vehicles should be fixed, he said, but not in a way that drives consumers to sell their cars in an “unregulated private sales market.”
To improve the recall repair completion rate, Carlson said NADA, automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must work together to emphasize to consumers that failing to have recall work completed can hurt trade-in values. Knowing that their trade-ins would be worth more if recall work is completed should encourage consumers to take their cars to dealerships for the repairs.
Finally, if the government wants consumers to have purchase options, it cannot eliminate the savings that result from retail competition, he said.
Carlson said NADA has told Federal Trade Commission and others that they “should embrace the franchised dealer network as the best, most-efficient and most-pro-consumer way of selling new cars and trucks.”
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