Reflecting on 2016

Dear Member Dealer:

This has been a year full of fun and challenges, both for me as CADA’s 2016 chairman, and for the association. It’s been a real privilege to serve and to work with Tim Jackson and such a high-functioning board and staff. Very rewarding.

I think we were in luck this year with Colorado’s Jeff Carlson at the helm of NADA. He’s a great spokesman for Colorado and for the industry in general. It was also very interesting and rewarding to get involved at the level where I could see what the national association does for dealers and what it does for Colorado to keep our businesses viable and profitable.

It’s worth noting that we’ve been through some very interesting times this year. We had a hailstorm for our golf event and a snowstorm for our annual meeting and gala. In between hail, snow and rain, the association did a great job of keeping dealers informed and doing things for Colorado.

Our triple-play events in March did very well. The Denver Auto Show brought in record revenues, and it was the fifth best attended in history. Likewise, the Charity Preview Party scored tops in attendance, sponsorship dollars, net revenues and the amount we could donate to our charity partners: National Jewish Health, Denver Post Community Foundation and the Clear the Air Foundation. The Innovative Dealer Summit didn’t set attendance records but the content was very meaningful and well received. In fact, this year’s IDS generated the best reviews ever.

What can be said about the annual golf event? It was the first time in 12 years that we got hailed/rained out. It will go down as “the best event that never happened.” We hope that those who attended will be able to get back to the Air Force Academy to play a round of golf on that spectacular course.

The board had a successful visit with CADA Project D.C. to the nation’s capital which allowed us to talk with our elected federal representatives face-to-face. It was fun, beneficial and enlightening. We also heard some dynamic speakers at the NADA Washington Conference.

Looking forward to 2017, we are anticipating that there will be a very important legislative session as far as issues go impacting our industry. A Sunset Review is scheduled of the agency that regulates retail automotive transactions. The legislature is “raising the hood,” so to speak, on the industry’s regulatory structure and looking for ways to improve it. We will be there to put it back to what it’s been, because we believe it serves consumers well in its’ current format. Important to the Sunset Review process is a recommendation to repeal the ban on Sunday sales. Of course, CADA will object strongly to that.

Another legislative priority for CADA is trying to raise the cap on GAP – Guaranteed Automotive Protections. What’s in place now is $300, which we believe is arbitrarily low and should be increased to $500.

Most importantly, CADA has been laying the groundwork for updating Colorado’s franchise law. It has been reworked many times, including a tweak in 2013. It needs to be brought up to date with other states and address newfound challenges existing in sales and service with our respective manufacturers. We are proposing an eight-part bill that would fine-tune the franchise laws in the future with an eye toward customer protection and consumer interests.

These priorities were the result of some very hard work by our Legislative Policy Committee. We had a seven-hour meeting on October 27 to hammer out the CADA Focus. There were a record number of participants – 31! And even more heartening, nobody left early! That is a great indication of how important this work is for the automotive industry.

Finally, in 2016, I thought it was very exciting that we were able to get more young dealers involved in CADA’s work. I think the quality of the young people we’ve been able to get involved in the Next Gen Dealers program indicates that there are some really good young, up-and-coming leaders in Colorado’s auto industry. We need to keep working with them and helping to develop them because they’re going to be our association’s next generation of leaders.

My best wishes for 2017 to our incoming chairman, Ed Dobbs, general manager of Land Rover Flatirons in Superior. I know he’ll do a great job for CADA and for you.

Have a great holiday season.

Best regards,

Fletcher Flower,
2016 CADA Chairman