Automotive Fleet Supplements

AFLA SPIRIT 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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FRAGMENTED INDUSTRY: & ding ofAFLA a group of 12 individuals (including Bobit, Fenton, Bob McGarvey of Beach City Chevrolet, Rosenbaum, and Rosenstock) met at the New York Sheraton and elected Morrison president, as well as designated additional Board members. AFLA was born. In the Beginning: The First Five Years At a seminar at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, in 1969, John Blessing, then president of Commercial Credit Industrial Corp., was quoted as saying: "Te biggest thing that faces the BLESSING leasing company, the feet administrator, the dealer, and the manufacturer is that we can't rely on the traditional ways of doing business. We have to innovate. We have to come up with new ideas. We are in an interchanging community. We have to change with the times." Bobit ofcially opened the seminar with an outline of objectives, which were later approved by the Association's bylaws committee. Tey included: ● To better analyze factory programs and to develop professional techniques for training programs and overall industry relations with volume buyers. ● To develop strong liaisons with NAFA and other related associations that have a basic interest in the feet buying-andselling relationship. At the meeting, Ron Trapani, then director of purchasing for LeasePlan International, also chimed in. "Te automobile business has placed emphasis on sales, but appears to have forgot- ten what the customer needs, and that is service," he said. "Tere is considerable evidence that the pendulum is swinging toward improved service and professionalism." Trapani continued by stating, "Our business rests on a dealer framework, and if that framework is not solid, we do not have a business." It was Trapani's contention that the "present TRAPANI and future success of the car feet industry depends more and more on the depth of service we [lessors-feet dealers] can ofer." With temporary ofcers elected and serving until the ofcial election in the fall of 1969, the Association voted to hold semiannual meetings: one prior to the annual NAFA conference, and the second in New York City during the new-car preview period. Afer that frst meeting, comments abounded from the industry, including one from Richard Hogue of Westinghouse, who said, "In the past, there has always been a gap between feet buyer and feet seller. I think this organization will fll that gap." In subsequent meetings, AFLA worked to establish better cooperation between feet administrators, feet sales managers, and management company ofcials. Te Association quickly grew, with a 30-percent increase in membership by the second-annual meeting, held in Atlanta in 1970. Attendance continued to swell. Te fall 1970 meeting, held in New York City with more than 100 participants, focused on 1971 allowance programs, featured usedcar, condition and accident reporting, car transporting, and dealer selection panels. Over the years, membership and attendance continued to grow. "Tell It Like It Is" was the theme for the Association's fourth annual meeting, which featured more than 30 speakers. Its ffh year emphasized the theme, "Find Out How — Now," and discussed major infuences in the industry at the time. Mac Wilson, the convention chair, introduced the agenda, stating, "With costs skyrocketing, emissions control, and odometer laws looming over the automotive feld, many things are greatly infuencing the industry." Session coverage included the pros and cons of drop shipments, problems with vehicle condition reports, standardizing purchase orders, and auditing auctions. A Young Association Gains Momentum: 1974-1983 Te next 10 years helped the growing Association gain momentum. AFLA weathered the next decade through fuel crises and odometer clocking issues, continued growth and skyrocketing interest rates, and "Reaganomics." Te 1974 conference was the frst to witness the afermath of the fuel crisis. In 1973, the Arab Oil Embargo struck, with one attendee of the sixth annual conference noting that, "Te worst appears behind us." Te conference focused on the settling of the used-car market, the bank leasing approach to purchase and resale, energy and transportation industries, large jumps in running costs, and the growing importance of the role of warranties. Te fall conference reviewed the catalytic converter (discussing its potential for AUTOMOTIVE FLEET & LEASING ASSOCIATION ANNUAL REVIEW 2013 41

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