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Inside this issue
Maverick Auto Dealer Ron Tonkin Dies at 82
Protecting Dealer Reserve Became Westcott's Priority
Commentary: New-Car Dealers Face Both Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
Worry About Rising Health Care Costs Makes Retailers Cautiously Optimistic This Year
NADA Foundation and Ally Financial to Donate $50,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Maverick Auto Dealer Ron Tonkin Dies at 82


Ron Tonkin, the Oregon auto dealer who crusaded against overbearing factories while president of the National Automobile Dealers Association in 1989, has died at age 82. Tonkin, who founded the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships in Portland, Ore., died Friday of end-stage renal failure, according to the Web site for The Oregonian newspaper. Tonkin became known as a firebrand for dealers for his forceful pushback against automakers during his one-year leadership of NADA beginning in February 1989. While president of the dealers' association, Tonkin railed against manufacturers' fleet subsidies, retail rebates, cost transfers and mandatory advertising association memberships. In founding a group of dealers called the Rough Riders, he encouraged dealers to resist manufacturers' attempts to force excess inventories onto dealership lots.
Source: Automotive News


Editor's note:
Ron Tonkin served on NADA's board of directors from 1983 - 1993. He was NADA president in 1989, and became an honorary NADA director in 1990. He served on numerous committees and held leadership positions with NADA's Executive Committee, Used Car Guide Company, Dealers Election Action Committee (DEAC), Industry Relations and Project 2000 Committee. Tonkin was a DEAC trustee from 1992 - 2002, and was DEAC chairman from 1997 - 2001. He was a member of the DEAC President's Club for 27 years.

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Protecting Dealer Reserve Became Westcott's Priority

When David Westcott became chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association a year ago, two-tier pricing and dealership facility guidelines topped his agenda. Then the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau set its sights on the dealer reserve, the interest rate markup on vehicle loans that dealerships arrange for customers. Westcott and new NADA President Peter Welch had another battle to fight. "That became priority No. 1," said Westcott, who owns David Westcott Buick-GMC in Burlington, N.C. "The others didn't go away, but that was first and foremost one of our major things we had to work on." Westcott, 67, spoke with Staff Reporter Amy Wilson.
Source: Automotive News


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Commentary: New-Car Dealers Face Both Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
By Dave Westcott / NADA Chairman

New-car dealers and their nearly 1 million employees across the nation worked hard last year, and we began to see our industry regain momentum. As we closed out 2013 with 15.6 million new-car and light truck sales, we can only hope to accelerate from here. While other industries struggled within the rebounding economy, ours soared. Auto sales have risen to their highest level since the recession. Last year’s sales increased 8 percent from 2012, and favorable circumstances — available credit, a wide selection of new vehicles and pent-up demand — all helped to bring customers back into our showrooms. Despite forecasts of new-vehicle sales to surpass more than 16 million units this year, the road back still has many obstacles ahead. Click here for the full commentary.
Source: NADA Chairman's Column

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Worry About Rising Health Care Costs Makes Retailers Cautiously Optimistic This Year

As dealers head to New Orleans for the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, they're looking forward to this year. But they're concerned about rising personnel expenses, linked in large part to health care costs. That's the message from an unscientific online survey Automotive News conducted Jan. 8-10. Of the 145 respondents, 74 percent said they expect unit sales at their dealerships this year to be better or much better than last year. Only 3 percent expect unit sales to be worse or much worse.
Source: Automotive News

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NADA Foundation and Ally Financial to Donate $50,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans

The National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation and Ally Financial will each donate $25,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans for a total of $50,000. Natalie Jayroe, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank; David Westcott, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association; and Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance at Ally Financial, will provide remarks at the food bank in New Orleans on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The donation is part of week-long activities hosted by the 2014 NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, which runs Jan. 24-27. New Orleans has hosted the NADA convention 10 times since 1973.
Source: NADA/Ally Financial

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Quotable
"The franchise system is the gold standard that, without a doubt, makes the U.S. model the most competitive in the world."

    -- NADA Chairman Dave Westcott, in a commentary in this month's NADA Chairman's Column, January 2014 

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