2015 - Year in Review

Dear CADA Dealer Member:

All in all, I think 2015 has been an excellent year for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. This year was dubbed “The 101,” since we officially have been organized as an association for 101 years. My top priority for my chairmanship was to continue improving service to our members and communicating better the value of membership in CADA, and I think we’ve made progress toward that goal.

I completely agree with 2015 NADA Chairman Bill Fox who said that “the retail-automobile industry is a pillar of the nation’s economy, and the dealer-franchise network remains the best, most competitive and most cost-efficient way to distribute and sell new cars.” That’s true in Colorado, as well. I believe that a nimble and effective CADA is vital to keeping the retail automobile industry in Colorado competitive and thriving because we face many challenges.

We did some good work toward that, and had a lot of fun along the way, this year. I’d like to celebrate some of our 2015 successes:

  • At last year’s Board of Directors’ four-year strategic planning meeting we agreed that we’d make a concerted effort to engage the next generation of automobile dealers and top managers. We had an excellent turnout for the first meeting on June 3rd at the Vehicle Vault. We followed that up with a meeting at The Forney Museum in August and then a meeting in November at Johnny Martin’s Car Central. We also had a NextGen dealer, Ben Faricy, along with us on the 2015 CADA Project DC trip in late September. I think it’s been a great start and we hope that the energy will keep this initiative going strong into the future. The industry, and CADA, needs younger people involved.

  • The Denver Auto Show and its two related events – the Innovative Dealer Summit and Charity Preview Party – were great successes.

  • This was the 114th edition of the Denver Auto Show, held April 8th-12th at the Colorado Convention Center. With its 400,000 square feet of new cars and accessories, our auto show is the largest between Chicago and L.A. Chairman Gregg Stone of Kuni Lexus of Greenwood Village and his committee did a wonderful job; it was the fifth-best attended show in history and we set an all-time revenue record.

  • The 7th Annual Charity Preview Party on April 7th was a huge success. The theme was “Rocky Mountain Riviera” and it featured casino games, entertainment by the Hazel Miller Bank and some great food and drink. Attendance of 1,388 was an all-time high. The party set a record for sponsorships; total revenues were $249,000, up from $231,000 last year. UMB Bank returned as our presenting sponsor. Our success allowed us to make generous donations to the CADA-supported Clear the Air Foundation, Denver Post Community Foundation and National Jewish Health. We also were able to fund scholarships for young people pursuing careers in the automotive industry.

  • We had a record-breaking Innovative Dealer Summit on April 7th and 8th. Attendance grew to 325 participants who came to learn cutting-edge ideas and techniques from 36 industry experts in everything from digital marketing, mobile apps and social media, to customer and employee relations and legal issues. Our keynote speaker was Lt. Col. (ret.) Rob “Waldo” Waldman, best-selling author, talking about “NEVER FLY SOLO! ® Lead with Courage, Build Trusting Partnerships, and Reach New Heights in Business.”

  • We brought together more than 100 dealer members plus allied and endorsed providers for the 11th Annual CADA Member Golf Event on July 27th at The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden. We had a great time playing the spectacular 18-hole championship course.

  • The 2015 CADA Project DC trip took the Board of Directors to Washington, D.C. between September 27th and October 1st to meet with Colorado’s elected officials and to attend the annual NADA Washington Conference. At the NADA meeting we were briefed about important industry legislation, including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau reform bill, open recall bills and changes to LIFO policies. We had one-on-one meetings on Capitol Hill with Congressmen Ed Perlmutter, Doug Lamborn, Jared Polis, Ken Buck and Sen. Cory Gardner. All of them were attentive and receptive to our views. We also met with several of our state legislators while we were there.

  • Along those same lines, we’ve had several Grassroots Legislative Meetings this year, and also met with Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. These will continue moving into the New Year and a new legislative session. Among our issues for the 2016 session are:

  • Fuel-efficiency tax credits
  • Sales tax issues
  • Franchise relationships
  • Motor Vehicle Dealer Board

  • The October Regional Meeting Road Trip was a success. Attendance was excellent at most of our stops. CADA is committed to providing exceptional service to all of our dealer members throughout the state of Colorado.

All of these have to be viewed in the context of the past several years. Here, too our results have been overwhelmingly positive.

Among all those positives, there was one very sober note…the passing on August 22nd of long-time executive director Bill Barrow at age 72. Bill served as our president for 28 years, from 1976 to 2005. He had been ill for several years, ever since having a liver transplant at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. Bill had subsequent brushes with cancer and then suffered a stroke last spring. There were many eloquent tributes to Bill and we hosted a celebration of his life at our headquarters building – aptly named the William D. Barrow Building – on September 15th.

And now my year as chairman of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association is over. It has flown by and it’s been interesting, challenging and fulfilling. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to serve Colorado’s new car dealers. And I pledge that I’ll continue to be active in CADA because I believe it’s an important responsibility to keep advocating for our industry.

I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to the members of the Board of Directors, the dealers who have been active in promoting and supporting CADA and the industry, and to Tim Jackson and our extraordinary staff, who keep things running smoothly.

Best regards,

Thom Buckley, Chairman