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More Than 450 Celebrate NJ CAR Annual Meeting Success

Oct 27, 2004

NJ CAR took over the Hilton East Brunswick on October 13 and 14, when it hosted its Annual Meeting and Business Expo 2004, the Coalition’s biggest event of the year.Setting a new attendance record, this year’s two-day event attracted more than 450 dealer principals, managers, exhibitors and service providers. With so many legislative and regulatory challenges facing the retail auto industry, this year’s meeting theme, “Retaining Profitability While Remaining Compliant,” focused on the complexity of meeting your business obligations while still making it worthwhile to own and operate a profitable business. Seminar topics included regulatory compliance, wage and hour laws, employment law, identify theft, credit fraud, do-not-call laws, F&I practices, the Safeguards Rule, and Motor Vehicle issues, including the implementation of the new, up-front 4-year registrations on new passenger vehicles that began October 1. NJ CAR’s premier event offered something for everyone: dealer principals and general managers, office managers and controllers, service and parts managers and F&I managers, each had a seminar track designed with their responsibilities in mind. Interspersed between the educational seminars were several extended refreshment breaks, luncheons and receptions during which attendees socialized with each other.Attendees also talked business with the more than three dozen exhibitors and service providers who were clamoring to participate in this year’s event and spilled out of the hotel ballroom and into the pre-function space. Following an opening address by New Jersey Senate President (and soon-to-be Acting Governor) Richard Codey, Chairman Ed Barlow, Jr. reviewed the Coalition’s accomplishmentsduring the past year.Mr. Barlow’s comments to those in attendance have been included in this issue of the NewsLetter. Incoming Chairman Jim Tino, Jr., whose term begins November 1, 2004, addressed the Annual Meeting and discussed several topics that will impact NJ CAR members. In addition to the upcoming Presidential election, Mr. Tino spoke about NJ CAR’s focus on the potential impact of the New Jersey General Assembly and Gubernatorial elections in 2005.He reported that NJ CAR and the Coalition of Automotive Retailers’ Political Action Committee (CAR-PAC) will work closely with the Codey Administration, and the leaders of both parties, to make sure the interests of franchised new car and truck retailers in New Jersey are understood and addressed and the industry remains well positioned. Mr. Tino also discussed the status of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process, which was formally dissolved earlier this month.(See accompanying story in this issue of the NewsLetter that discusses the current status of the ADR process.)His comments also touched on the need for both federal and State tort reform and, while any kind of meaningful reform will take time, Mr. Tino stated that NJ CAR must work with other business associations to start laying the groundwork to eliminate costly, frivolous class-action-type lawsuits.Mr. Tino also said he was looking forward to serving the membership and invited dealer members to forward to him any suggestions they may have regarding NJ CAR services or programs. The Annual Meeting & Business Expo 2004 also featured two high-profile keynote speakers, John Stossel, co anchor of ABC’s newsmagazine 20/20, and Attorney General Peter Harvey, both of whom provided entertaining and informative addresses and were tremendous hits at this year’s gathering. Plans are already under way for an even bigger program in 2005.Attendees will soon be receiving a survey to collect their feedback on the event.We welcome suggestions from any member regarding programs or speakers you might like to see at a future Annual Meetings.Please contact Director of Member Programs Judi McGinley at 609.883.5056, ext. 338, or Director of Communications Brian Hughes at ext. 315, with any questions or suggestions.