Recovering from facial injuries suffered in a fall here earlier this week, Bill Fox touts the all-round benefits of the dealer-franchise system in his first speech as the National Automobile Dealers Assn.’s 2015 chairman.
“The automotive franchise system is the best and most efficient method of bringing new vehicles to the driving public,” he tells a NADA convention audience. “The franchise system breeds competition that benefits consumers, manufacturers and local communities alike.”
He jokes about his accident. He suffered facial and dental injuries when he tripped and fell face-first onto a restaurant’s sidewalk menu board on Geary St.
For his onstage appearance, he wears makeup to cover the injuries. “I was in pretty bad shape, but I got dental attention, and here I am, all made up,” says the multi-franchise upstate New York dealer.
Challenging critics who allege dealership franchise laws thwart marketplace competition, Fox says “someone who says that knows exactly nothing about this business.”
Fox, a practicing attorney before becoming a dealer, adds “These laws, which vary from state to state, have a common objective: They seek to level the playing field between dealers and the manufacturers, for the benefit of the citizens of those states.”
As has become the custom for NADA chairman speeches, Fox goes down a list of dealer economic contributions.
“We saw total sales of more than $700 billion, more than 15% of all retail sales. We employ more than 1.2 million people in well-paying jobs averaging $53,000 per year that cannot be exported. That adds up to a $55 billion payroll. And we generate $13 billion in taxes.”
He adds: “We advocate for our customers on warranty and recall claims with manufacturers. For dealers, the return is a mere 2.2% on sales. Does that sound like we aren’t competitive? Not to me.”