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President's Message

John O'Donnell

President & CEO

At this writing, auto sales seem unstoppable. With gas prices low, trucks and SUVs are flying off the lot. Plenty of new product, low interest rates (still), available credit and pent-up demand are continuing to drive sales. May 2015 set an impressive annual sales pace of 17.8 million, the highest in nearly 10 years. Most analysts see auto sales continuing to thrive for the rest of the year.

Nonetheless, Congress and Capitol Hill are an inescapable force in the region. In the last two years of the Obama administration, they seem more locked in battle than ever. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for instance, is creating guidelines for auto lenders that some in Congress, working with NADA, are trying to repeal. WANADA is tracking it all and will continue to keep dealers informed. Working as we do with sister association partners and allied business groups, we'll take care to ensure that bad ideas don't become law and that our dealers know the rules of engagement.

One of WANADA's foremost activities is putting on the Washington Auto Show, an annual event that delivers excitement and new vehicle enthusiasm to consumers as it further establishes itself as one of the premier industry events on the global circuit. The show is making a name for itself as the Public Policy Show, where automakers announce their latest innovative products, as Toyota did when it displayed the hydrogen fuel cell Mirai at the 2015 show.

As it has for more than 65 years, WANADA continues to provide insurance solutions to its dealer members on their employee benefits coverage needs through the association's Insurance Agency. The service is becoming more important than ever as dealers try to follow all the twists and turns of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The competition for employees that has driven employer-provided insurance for decades remains intact with Obamacare, the difference being the expansion of coverage to more employees and many new regulatory details that WANADA has made it its business to know.

It's been an eventful year for the auto business and for the Washington area. WANADA will continue to keep dealers informed and to represent their interests with its varied activities. I look forward to serving another year as the association's president.

 

Sincerely,

 

John O'Donnell

President & CEO

 

   
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phone: 202.237.7200 // fax: 202.237.9090 // e-mail: info@wanada.org