LAS VEGAS — In his first speech as chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), William P. Underriner said now is the right time to raise questions about the federal government’s fuel economy proposal of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which threatens to price millions of Americans out of the market.
Highlights from 2012 NADA Chairman Bill Underriner’s speech:
– “NADA is asking tough questions about this proposed [fuel economy] rule. And so far the government hasn’t provided any answers. We want a full and fair public debate on the underlying assumptions of this rule. And we simply don’t understand the rush.”
– “NADA has long supported fuel economy improvements. We want vehicles to be as efficient as possible. We are fighting for sound public policy. Not policy based on wishful thinking or happy talk or public opinion polls.”
– “Our entire economy is based on freedom of mobility. Without a car, you are less likely to have a job. Without a car, your chances of moving up the economic ladder are cut short.”
“NADA is asking tough questions about this proposed rule. And so far the government hasn’t provided any answers,” said Underriner, a multi-franchise dealer from Billings, Mont. “We want a full and fair public debate on the underlying assumptions of this rule. And we simply don’t understand the rush.”
Underriner took the helm of NADA today at its annual Convention and Expo in Las Vegas. The convention, which began Friday and ends today, is expected to draw nearly 23,000 total attendees.
“Let’s not forget that new, aggressive fuel economy regulations went into effect just last year,” Underriner added. “We need to see how the market responds to that first phase before rushing to the second phase.”
Underriner said NADA and its dealer members have been advocating on behalf of consumers for vehicle affordability since the association’s birth in 1917, when 30 auto dealers traveled to Washington to convince Congress not to impose a luxury tax on automobiles.
“As they knew then and we all know now … automobiles are not a luxury,” Underriner said. “They are a necessity of American life. “After 95 years, we are still fighting to keep the automobile affordable for the average American.”
By the Environmental Protection Agency’s own estimate, the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements for model years 2025 and beyond will add more than $3,000 to the cost of a new vehicle, Underriner said. And while NADA “has long supported fuel economy improvements,” Underriner said the association continues to ask tough questions about how the rules will affect consumer choice and affordability.
“We are fighting for sound public policy,” Underriner said, “not policy based on wishful thinking or ‘happy talk’ or public opinion polls.”
Underriner also spoke about NADA’s long-range planning efforts, including its review of almost every aspect of the annual convention, streamlining communications with members and use of social media.
As NADA vice-chairman in 2011, Underriner launched an initiative to get more “next generation” dealers involved in the association by appointing a NextGen member to each of NADA’s major operating committees, including Convention, Dealership Operations, Industry Relations, Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Public Affairs.
“It’s no secret that the next generation communicates differently, and we are adapting,” he said. “We’re active on a variety of social media. We are keeping in touch with them and getting them involved.”
Underriner replaces 2011 NADA Chairman Stephen W. Wade, whose term ended today.
Click here for Underriner’s full remarks.
The NADA Story
The NADA story began in 1917 when 30 auto dealers traveled to the nation’s capital to convince Congress not to impose a luxury tax on the automobile. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that experience was born the National Automobile Dealers Association. Today, NADA represents nearly 16,000 new-car and -truck dealerships with 32,500 franchises, both domestic and international. For more information, visit www.nada.org.