WANADA Chairman John Bowis reviews 2018, from CFPB to Auto Show

In his Chairman’s Report, John Bowis of Chevy Chase Acura spoke of WANADA’s many activities and accomplishments in the past year, in the public policy arena, with The Washington Auto Show, and with services provided to dealer members.

Much of WANADA’s work on the legislative and regulatory front was achieved in concert with NADA, AIADA, and locally with MADA and VADA. One of the top national issues was the CFPB.

“We have kept a close eye on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…to take care that its broad regulatory oversight of auto loans doesn’t constrain the vital service dealers provide consumers in acquiring auto financing,” Bowis said. NADA successfully persuaded Congress to “dial back the initial regulatory direction CFPB had on auto loans that would have been problematic for dealers.”

NADA and AIADA also took care to ensure that the tax bill that passed Congress preserved important dealer protections, to include, the floor plan interest deduction and LIFO and no Border Adjustment Tax. Especially important to Washington area dealers, NADA and AIADA made sure that proposed changes to the Military Lending Act did not affect dealers’ ability to arrange auto loans for military personnel who are a strong demographic group here.

The U.S. Supreme Court does not normally affect auto dealer business, Bowis said, but this year the Court handed dealers two helpful decisions. The high court upheld the rule that service writers are exempt from overtime pay, and it affirmed the right of businesses to ban class action lawsuits in arbitration agreements with consumers.

Bowis also talked about one of WANADA’s finest annual events.

“In the realm of promoting the automobile business, which is central to WANADA’s mission, The Washington Auto Show delivered a bell ringer of an industry event earlier this year at the Washington, DC, Convention Center,” Bowis said. He singled out John Ourisman, Ourisman Automotive, and the Auto Show Committee that he headed up, for producing MobilityTalks International, which preceded the Auto Show and focused on autonomous vehicle technology and where it is taking the auto industry.

This year’s MobilityTalks saw a first, as the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee conducted a field hearing on the floor of The Washington Auto Show! The topic was “Driving Automotive Innovation and Federal Public Policy.” Speakers at MobilityTalks included Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and U.S. EPA Director of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum.

As for the public response to the Auto Show, this year was one of the four best attended shows in Washington’s history!

Bowis touched on the many dealer services WANADA offers, including employee benefits coverage, dealer management seminars and leadership sessions. WANADA supports career education through its Auto Dealer Education Institute, which trains the next generation of auto technicians and sales representatives. And WANADA is active in the community through such things as its longstanding support of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, which dealers help found here 40 years ago.

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