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1992 NADA PRESIDENT STRAUSS CALLS FOR A 'FRESH NEW LOOK'

 1992 NADA PRESIDENT STRAUSS CALLS FOR A 'FRESH NEW LOOK'
 DALLAS, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- "The time has come for a fresh new look at the way we do business," Dick Strauss, 1992 president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, told dealers at the closing session of the association's 75th Annual Convention and Exhibition in Dallas.
 Strauss, a Ford-Isuzu-Suzuki dealer from Richmond, Va., called on government, manufacturers and dealers to work together for "the recovery and continued health of our industry."
 He congratulated dealers for surviving a very tough year and said, "Now your toughness, your tenacity, your willingness to do whatever it takes to get through a prolonged downturn is going to pay off. Because 1992 is going to be a turnaround year. ... I guarantee it!"
 Strauss' message to the leaders of government was "to understand how important our auto industry is to the welfare of this country" and take the measures necessary "to move this economy forward."
 Strauss asked Congress to reinstate the deductibility of interest on car loans; reinstate the investment tax credit for the purchase of cars and trucks by business; offer a tax credit to accelerate the scrappage of cars 8 years old or older; and repeal the luxury tax on automobiles.
 He added that NADA will also continue to oppose "excessive legislation and regulations ... that could be potentially harmful to our industry." That includes protectionist trade legislation such as the recently proposed Gephardt/Reigle Trade Enhancement Act.
 "I believe a much better approach to the problems in this industry is for us to put aside our traditional adversarial relationship and begin to look for more government/industry cooperation," said Strauss.
 The biggest challenge facing both manufacturers and dealers in the coming year is "how to make money again selling new cars and trucks," said Strauss.
 He scolded manufacturers for marketing strategies that have "created a monster in the marketplace. ... A monster that is now eating you and your dealers alive."
 He said constant rebates, subvented loans and other buyer incentives had "destroyed the integrity of our pricing system and the dealer's ability to make money in the new-vehicle department, and now I say it's time to repair the damage."
 Strauss called on manufacturers to put some sanity back into marketing cars and get back to realistic pricing of the product. "We need to stress value, benefits and quality," he added.
 Strauss told dealers, "We cannot continue to discount these cars and trucks to the extent we have in order to maintain market share. That's what the factories have done, and look at their losses!"
 With the aid of a one-page analysis developed by the NADA staff, Strauss asked all dealers to figure out their real costs of selling a new car. "Then determine what you can afford to sell a car for and make sure every deal you make has at least enough profit to cover your cost of doing business."
 Strauss challenged dealers to "take a hard look at the way we market our cars, the way we pay our salespeople, the way we approach customers on the floor and present the deal, and the way we treat each other. ... We must improve the climate in our showrooms so we can sell our products and not just price. We have to make buying a car fun again!"
 He enthusiastically endorsed NADA's new salesperson certification program developed to improve the car-buying experience for consumers. But Strauss warned dealers: "A well-trained, professional sales force can only perform in a professional environment. So it's up to each and every one of us to build better values throughout our dealerships and strengthen our commitment to higher quality, productivity and customer service."
 Strauss reminded dealers that NADA is only 75 years old. "We've just started. America's car dealers will rise to the challenges as they have so many times in the past, and we will turn these challenges into opportunities for the future."
 The National Automobile Dealers Association represents more than 19,000 franchised new-car and -truck dealers holding 35,000 separate franchises, import and domestic.
 -0- 2/11/92
 /CONTACT: Ted Orme of the National Automobile Dealers Association, 703-827-7407/ CO: National Automobile Dealers Association ST: Texas IN: AUT SU:


DC -- DC001 -- 8866 02/11/92 14:30 EST
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Date:Feb 11, 1992
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