The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Festivities for the centennial began at the 2017 NADA Convention and Expo in New Orleans, Thursday, January 26.
“It’s not every day that a national trade association reaches its 100-year anniversary, yet NADA is still as strong and relevant as the day it was founded,” said 2016 NADA Chairman Jeff Carlson.
“NADA’s 100th mission for 100 years has been to represent local dealerships and our customers in Washington, D.C., with a goal of keeping personal transportation affordable for everyone,” added Carlson, president of Glenwood Springs Ford and Glenwood Springs Subaru in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and co-owner of Summit Ford in Silverthorne, Colo. “It’s an honor to serve such a respected group.”
For the past 15 years, more than 90 percent of all new-car and -truck dealerships in the United States have been NADA members. Few, if any, other associations have sustained those membership numbers, Carlson added.
Founded in 1917, NADA formed when a group of local dealers set out to fight a new effort by Congress to levy a luxury tax on new automobiles. Thirty dealers from state and local associations traveled to Washington, D.C., and set up base at the Willard Hotel.
By convincing Congress that cars were not luxury items as they were classified, but instead were vital to the economy, the group prevented total factory conversion to wartime work and succeeded in reducing a proposed 5 percent luxury tax to 3 percent.
The incident was the first of many chapters where local dealerships fought to keep new vehicles affordable for their customers.
“Local dealers argued in 1917 that cars are a necessity of American life, not a luxury item,” said 2017 NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli, whose term as chairman coincides with the beginning of a new White House administration and Congress in the nation’s capital. “NADA was formed to make sure that entrepreneurs could open local dealerships and provide affordable cars and transportation to farmers, factory workers and people from all walks of life.”
Scarpelli, president of Raymond Chevrolet and Raymond Kia in Antioch and co-owner of Ray Chevrolet and Ray Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Fox Lake, Ill., officially becomes chairman of NADA during the 2017 NADA convention on Saturday, January 28.
Scarpelli’s top priorities for 2017 include advocating on legislative and regulatory issues in Washington, D.C., promoting the consumer benefits of local dealerships, meeting with auto manufacturer executives, and getting the next generation of dealers involved in their trade associations and on Capitol Hill.
“We’re advocating for clarity with the new administration and Congress, whether it’s related to auto financing, new tax proposals, vehicle recall policy or fuel economy rules,” Scarpelli said. “We’re concerned about vehicle affordability for consumers, period. We have to make sure we keep our customers top of mind when dealing with all of these issues.”
NADA’s public policy initiatives are aimed at protecting consumers from overreaching federal regulations and unintended consequences.
NADA’s centennial festivities begin at the 2017 NADA convention, which runs from Jan. 26-29 in New Orleans. More than 23,000 dealers and auto industry professionals are expected to attend over the four-day event. NADA kicks off yearlong commemorative events beginning with NADA100 Carnival in New Orleans on Thursday, January 26.
Automotive News, on January 23, published an entire issue dedicated to NADA’s 100th Anniversary, featuring interviews with many of the most prominent figures in the automotive industry. Click here for the special edition.
WardsAuto also published a NADA 100 special edition. Click here for the issue.
In addition to the convention, NADA has produced a NADA100 documentary and commemorative issue of its Convention Magazine, which was completely redesigned for the special occasion and includes a timeline of NADA, dealer and other auto-industry milestones. The documentary, magazine and other information highlighting the association over the years are available at nada.org/nada100. NADA also will be celebrating its 100th anniversary throughout the year with digital media initiatives, in speeches and at other industry events.