I recently spent an energising few days in the Top End – Darwin to be specific – doing one of the things that makes my role as CEO of your Association so rewarding – rubbing shoulders with our dealers.
We were in town to brief the Hyundai dealers on the latest developments in the legislative and policy areas of our business and to listen to their concerns and issues as our ever-changing industry rolls towards its future – a future that while undoubtedly exciting and filled with opportunity, can at times, seem clouded with uncertainties.
I’ll come back to that theme a little later.
In the meantime, let me share a story with you.
During a quick visit to the Darwin Military Museum we learned much about the dark days of the WW II bombing raids on the city – and there were dozens of such raids, with many acts of heroism and sacrifice by the civilian and military defenders stationed there.
However, one display among the many really stood out for me because it was so unique. It concerns the death of Major George Earl Preddy Jr. of the USAF.
Maj George E. Preddy Jr, 1919-1944
Preddy was stationed in Darwin shortly after the 1942 air raids and survived a tragic training accident there in which another pilot was killed. He went on to play a leading role in the US air war in Europe becoming the highest-achieving P51-Mustang air ace in USAF history with 26 credited kills.
Ironically, his brilliant contribution to the war was cut short by American anti-aircraft fire.
You can read his full story here: George Preddy
How is that rather poignant tale relevant for us?
Well, in my view, it makes no difference if you’re taken out by the enemy, or by friendly fire – the result is the same. And after a year at the helm of your Association I’ve learned that lesson more than once as it relates to policy formulation.
Much of our effort is directed at sustaining useful dialog with our political representatives, and with the powerful regulators entrusted by parliament to act in the best interests of Australian consumers, and businesses.
In many of these conversations we try to point out the risks of ‘friendly fire’.
Last week, we took the Hyundai dealers through the latest status on:
- The issues around ASIC’s likely final regulations on flex commissions
- Concerns embedded in ASIC’s likely add-on insurance sales process rules
- The important areas of ACCC’s Retail Market Study including likely proposals on access to repair data and intellectual property (see our recent Dealer Bulletin on this issue)
- A brief review of our work status on the Australian Motor Dealer Council’s list of open issues including cyber-cars, franchise agreements and incentive programs/target setting
Needless to say, we did point out some of the many ‘friendly fire’ risks we’ve unearthed in the proposals around all of these important matters. That said, feedback from the meeting was strongly positive, suggesting that the session was well worth-while for the dealers attending.
For me, it was also a productive and informative session that will help to keep the AADA up-to-date with the many real and contemporary concerns that dealers presently face in maintaining profitability and building value into their franchises.
In the next month or so, we expect to receive more definitive updates from ASIC, ACCC and the government when we meet with the relevant senior regulators and the Ministers responsible for these critical matters.
We will of course keep you fully informed of progress.
Finally, we are now only a few weeks away from the best-ever AADA Convention which will be staged at the new International Convention Centre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, September 19-20, 2017.
The Convention will feature Mr Rod Sims, Chairman of the ACCC and the Hon Paul Fletcher, MP, Minister for Urban Infrastructure, to name just two from a long list of outstanding presenters. The Convention will allow you to hear, first-hand, how these important leaders plan to advance their agendas and deliver on their objectives in the next few years.
By attending the Convention and understanding more about the facts around likely policy and regulatory directions you might increase your chances of doing better than Major Preddy – you might avoid some ‘friendly fire’.
As ever, I wish you all…
Good luck, and Good Selling!
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Automotive Dealer Association Ltd