FTC checks 94 dealerships in 7 states for revised Buyers Guide


Remember when your teacher told you to put all books and materials away because a pop quiz was coming? The Federal Trade Commission sort of did the same thing recently to dealerships.

The FTC, working jointly with 12 partner agencies in seven states, conducted the first compliance sweep of dealerships since the amended Used Car Rule took effect earlier this year.

Under the amended rule, the regulator reiterated that dealers must display a revised window sticker called a “Buyers Guide,” which contains warranty and other important information for consumers, on each used vehicle they offer for sale.

The compliance sweep was conducted between April and June in 20 cities nationwide. The FTC said inspectors found Buyers Guides on 70 percent of the more than 2,300 vehicles inspected, with almost half of those displaying the revised Buyers Guide.

Of the 94 dealerships inspected, officials found that 33 had the revised Buyers Guide on more than half of their vehicles, and 14 had revised Buyers Guides on all of their used vehicles.

Following the sweep, the FTC said it sent letters to each dealership detailing the results of the inspections and providing material to help them come into full compliance with the amended Rule.

Over the coming weeks, the regulator indicated that dealerships that were not displaying the revised Buyers Guide can expect follow-up inspections to ensure they have brought themselves into compliance with the amended rule.

Under the FTC Act, dealers who fail to comply face penalties of up to $41,484 per violation. State and local law enforcement agencies also enforce the recently amended rule.

Through this sweep, the FTC and its partners inspected dealerships in seven states:

— California: Burbank, North Hollywood, Richmond, San Bruno, San Jose, San Pablo and Van Nuys
— Florida: Jacksonville
— Illinois: Chicago
— New York: New York (Queens)
— Ohio: Brooklyn Heights, Cleveland, East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights
— Texas: Arlington, Dallas and Grand Prairie
— Washington: Lakewood, Puyallup and Tacoma

To recap, back on Nov. 18, 2016, the FTC amended the Used Car Rule. Under the amended Rule, as of Jan. 28, dealers are required to display a revised Buyers Guide on all used vehicles they offer for sale. The revised Buyers Guide:

• Changes the description of an “As Is” sale

• Places boxes on the face of the Buyers Guide that dealers can check to indicate whether a vehicle is covered by a third-party warranty and whether a service contract may be available

• Provides a box that dealers can check to indicate that an unexpired manufacturer’s warranty applies

• Adds air bags and catalytic converters to the Buyers Guide’s list of major defects that may occur in used vehicles

• Adds a statement that directs consumers to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for open recalls

• Adds a statement, in Spanish, to the English-language Buyers Guide, advising Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for the Buyers Guide in Spanish if the dealer is conducting the sale in Spanish

• Provides a Spanish translation of the statement that dealers may use to obtain a consumer’s acknowledgement of receipt of the Buyers Guide

The FTC thanked the following partners for their assistance in the current compliance sweep, including:

— California Department of Motor Vehicles Inspection Division
— Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney
— Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
— Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney
— San Mateo County Office of the District Attorney
— Florida Bureau of Dealer Services
— Cuyahoga, Ohio, County Department of Consumer Affairs
— Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
— City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
— New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
— Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
— Washington State Office of the Attorney General

Ally and NAMAD honor rising dealer with inaugural Ally Sees Her Award


Karmala Sutton discovered personal and professional inspiration at an early age; a foundation that's propelled her to wide-ranging successes inside and outside the dealership.

On Thursday, Ally Financial and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) honored Sutton, the dealer in training at Honda of Kenosha in Bristol, Wisc., with the first-ever Ally Sees Her Award during NAMAD’s 2018 Annual Membership Meeting in Chicago.

Officials highlighted Sutton received the award in recognition of her success as an auto retail leader, her dedication to giving back and her commitment to building the next-generation of minority dealers, who are underrepresented across the country.

“I’m humbled to be recognized for doing things that I'm passionate about,” Sutton said upon learning of the award. “I’m committed to the auto industry and look forward to working with NAMAD to help my peers succeed. Without giving back to improve the lives of others and make the communities where we live and work better, success is hollow.”

Inspired by the Association of National Advertisers #SeeHer campaign to elevate women in media and marketing, Ally created the award to recognize promising, young women leaders in the auto retail industry. 

As part of the award, Ally will make a $10,000 donation to the charity of Sutton's choice: CRU Agape Center, a Chicago based non-profit that works with local churches and community centers. Sutton has earmarked the funds to help the homeless and children in communities troubled by violence.

“Being from the Chicago area and having the NAMAD meeting here in Chicago this year, it made sense to have the donation make a difference here in the city, especially in the communities that need it most,” Sutton said.

Her dedication to giving back to the community can be traced back to values instilled in her by her church and a high school mission trip to Ghana with Opportunity International, a micro finance not-for-profit that helps economic development in poor areas throughout the world. During her college years, she became involved with Locks of Love, giving her time and even her own hair to the non-profit.

Through her dealership, Sutton has led efforts to benefit Toys for Tots. She also has volunteered on NAMAD NextGen’s executive board for four years, serving as president for the last two years. NextGen helps prepare aspiring auto dealers to succeed in the industry.

Sutton has been an influential voice in NAMAD’s efforts to mobilize the sons and daughters of our current dealers and also shed a bright light on our current up and coming minority managers who will be our future dealers, according to NAMAD president Damon Lester.

“Her commitment to helping her peers become strong dealers who carry our industry into a bright future is an inspiration,” Lester said.

Sutton began her automotive career as a co-chair of the Northwood University Auto Show of the Palm Beaches while attending college. She graduated from Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2010 with a bachelor’s in business administration and an associate degree in hospitality management.

After graduation, Sutton worked as a buyer for CarMax, where she honed her skills and found a love for the automotive retail industry. She then went to work at her family’s Honda of Kenosha dealership as the pre-owned manager. As the dealer in training, Sutton works beside her father, Nathaniel Sutton, owner of Sutton Auto Team, to understand the business. Sutton Auto Team has two additional dealerships in suburban Chicago.

“We’re excited to honor Karmala with the inaugural Ally Sees Her Award. She embodies the hard work, determination and leadership potential that this award was designed to recognize and we look forward to all she will accomplish in the years to come,” said Jacqueline Howard, senior director of corporate citizenship at Ally. “Her enthusiasm for giving back also makes her a beacon of caring in the community, which is fundamental to being a strong dealer.”

Howard added, “At Ally, our motto is ‘Do It Right,’ which means supporting dealers who are often the backbone of their communities and are helping move the industry forward. It also means promoting diversity and women in leadership. The more young women and girls see leaders like Karmala, the more they are empowered to rise to become leaders themselves.”

In addition to supporting Sutton's chosen charity, Ally will make an additional $5,000 available to charities selected by NAMAD members.

During the annual conference, Ally will give $100 gift cards to 50 NAMAD members, who can use the cards to make donations to the charities of their choice.

RedCap partners with Lyft, catering to service-drive customers

WESTLAKE, Texas - 

Now dealerships can help their customers get a “lift” from Lyft when they’re catering to their needs within the service drive.

RedCap Technologies, a Solera Holdings company and innovators of frictionless customer experiences that can enable OEMs and dealers to provide simple, easy and convenient means for consumers to service their vehicle, has partnered with Lyft to expand its dealership-wide mobility platform.

The new offering leverages RedCap's existing mobility platform and taps into Lyft's Concierge API platform in an effort to deliver a smooth and convenient experience for both dealers and customers.

Through this partnership, dealers can request Lyft rides for customers who are not able to get a loaner vehicle while their vehicle is being serviced, meaning customers no longer have to sit in a waiting room or wait for a shuttle van to return to their home or office.

Participating customers do not pay for the ride and do not need the Lyft app to get a ride from the dealership, according to a news release distributed this week.

The companies highlighted this integration continues the reinvention of customer experience and enables a seamless future for customers interacting with traditional automotive dealerships.

While convenience remains a top priority for customers in the automotive space, dealers are looking to retain a greater percentage of repair business by proactively offering services, like picking up and delivering vehicles for service, to effectively repair vehicles without customers having to ever leave their home or office.

For customers who prefer to visit their dealership for repair, the Lyft integration allows them to minimize the amount of time spent waiting if repairs take longer than estimated, which they often do.

Additionally, the experience is white labeled for the dealer, allowing their brand to align with a quick and positive customer experience.

“Time is a person’s most valuable commodity, keeping this in mind, we’ve got to deliver solutions that keep convenience as the top priority,” said David Zwick, managing director of RedCap.

“Creating a seamless experience is a major focus for OEMs and dealers. If we don’t develop these types of convenient solutions, customers will vote with their wallet and take their business elsewhere,” Zwick continued.

Offering this type of ideal repair experience can help dealers cater to the immediate delivery and customer service expectations of today.

“Technology has changed expectations, so we’ve changed our approach to meet and hopefully exceed those expectations,” Zwick said.

Ben Sternsmith, area vice president of Lyft Business, added, “We’re excited to partner with RedCap to expand alternative transportation options for dealerships and improve the user experience.

“By leveraging the platform, dealerships are able to minimize wait times and friction for customers, while simultaneously improving efficiencies for their business,” Sternsmith went on to say.

How independent dealer no longer loses track of cars


Camacho Auto Sales, an independent auto dealership with three used car operations serving the Palmdale and Lancaster, Calif., markets outside Los Angeles, reconditions 220 vehicles a month to keep its lots filled with fresh inventory that sells faster.

Camacho’s used car superstore at the Palmdale Auto Mall does reconditioning for the operation.

Vehicles sent out to sublets for some phases of that work often were forgotten or otherwise delayed. That lost time cost Camacho Auto Sales considerable financial loss.

Second-generator operator Gus Camacho says he’s now solved that problem — one that troubles many independent auto dealers, losing control and track of used-car inventory.

“Things were a mess,” says Camacho, who also owns the nearby Camacho Mitsubishi.

“We are talking here about thousands and thousands of dollars,” adds Camacho, who stepped into his father’s footsteps when the elder Camacho retired in 1996.

Anything that delays cars’ speed from acquisition to their sale erodes vehicle sales margin. Dealers have the most control over this time to line (T2L) during vehicle reconditioning. “Delay getting cars ready to be sold increases floorplan expense, ties up money in products not available for sale, and contributes to vehicle depreciation,” Camacho notes.

The core of this problem is lack of visibility. Without T2L recon workflow software to provide real-time insight into recon flow and sublet movements, inventory problems aren’t noticed until month-end inventory. Camacho says he rarely knew how long cars were at sublets or otherwise delayed unless he checked when repair orders on those vehicles were opened, too late to address the real problem.

Spot-on vehicle tracking

Rapid Recon’s step-tracking, accountability, and location tools keep cars moving through reconditioning.

“With Rapid Recon, we know exactly where our cars are — and how long a sublet is taking to get them back to us. If that time is unacceptable, we now have the data to discuss that problem with the sublet in objective ways,” Camacho notes.

Rapid Recon software automatically organizes the many steps, tasks, and people to recondition used cars quickly so dealers can generate more profit from them.  T2L automatic vehicle tracking and accountability provide real-time inventory location via QR Code and mobile tools.

The Camacho team routinely checks this software as an app on their mobile device. Notes appended to vehicle status also inform about where the vehicle is to go next in the recon process, who is responsible for those next steps, and time when vehicle will be sale-ready.

Dealers using Rapid Recon streamline recon processes, eliminate duplicate or otherwise wasteful steps and procedures, and typically reduce T2L from as much as two weeks to five to seven days or fewer. Every 2.5 days eliminated from T2L translates into one additional inventory turn, which means more used-car profit.

Schumer urges FTC to intensify Used Car Rule to weed out flooded vehicles


Even with all of the clashes happening on Capitol Hill nowadays, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer over the weekend delivered a letter to the Federal Trade Commission to outline his significant concerns about what the New York lawmaker dubbed, “hurricane cars.”

As a storm currently brews off of the North Carolina coast and is predicted to drift out to sea, Schumer fears scores of vehicles damaged during previous hurricanes currently are in dealership inventory. Therefore, the powerful Senator wants the FTC to increase the regulatory capability of the Used Car Rule already in place in an effort to keep flooded vehicles from being retailed.

“While the FTC has been sounding the alarm on ‘hurricane cars,’ consumers are still at risk of being duped and burdened by a financial road of ruin if they unknowingly buy one,” Schumer said in a news release distributed on Sunday. “That’s why the FTC needs to drive forward with more than a consumer warning and hit the gas on a plan that uses the ‘Used Car Rule’ already on the books to ensure that the sticker slapped on every used car in a lot details a robust ‘flood check.’

“In many cases, ethical used car dealers are already performing this kind of check anyway, as part of the inspection process, and all we are saying today is that disclosure of this information should be one of the rules before these cars are able to hit the road,” he continued.

“Whether you’re a New Yorker looking to buy in New York, or a New Yorker looking on the internet for a car parked in another state, the risk of winding up in the driver’s seat of a ‘hurricane car’ is a headache at the least, but a real danger, too,” Schumer went on to say.

Schumer cited estimates of more than 600,000 vehicles being damaged during last year’s hurricane season, including the record-setting flooding in Texas stemming from Hurricane Harvey. Schumer said that in many cases “a ‘hurricane car’ can be ‘cleaned up’ for as little as $2,000 and then sold to an unsuspecting consumer.”

So the Senate Minority Leader made his case to Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simmons in a five-paragraph letter.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the quality of so many of these vehicles ravaged by flooding during past storms and new industry data showing used car sales are surging to their highest levels in five years, I respectively urge you to reevaluate the Used Car Rule and consider incorporating a flood check as part of the required disclosures included in the Buyers Guide offered on used cars, so that consumers know up-front when cars may have been impact by serious weather elements,” Schumer wrote.

“Incorporating a flood check is the right type of sound policy that could help consumers make educated vehicle purchases, and possibly save lives,” he added.

NADA chairman: Auto tariffs are the wrong way to address trade concerns

TYSONS, Va. - 

When the National Automobile Dealers Association board of directors met last month in New York, developments in Washington, D.C., once again dominated the conversation among directors from all over the country. No surprise there.

But what was surprising was the specific area of policy currently under consideration in Washington. I’m referring, of course, to the possibility of tariffs of as much as 25 percent on potentially all imported vehicles and automotive parts.

Our directors had a number of questions before we even got to specific concerns. How did we get here so quickly? How did we go from tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from certain countries to a potential across-the-board tariff on imported vehicles? How will the process of the Department of Commerce’s “national security” investigation unfold?

Perhaps most importantly, how can a president who’s done so much good for our industry and the nation’s economy – through a historic tax cut and tax policies allowing dealerships to invest more in their businesses and their employees – now be proposing something that could raise new vehicle prices by thousands of dollars?

My view is that you have to look beyond the tariffs themselves in order to understand what is unfolding in Washington. And in that respect, I believe President Trump is rightly concerned with three things. The first is the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. over the past 40 years. The second is the U.S. trade deficit, which was a staggering $568 billion in 2017. And the third is an unlevel playing field when it comes to international trade that puts the U.S. at a significant disadvantage in many areas, even with our strongest trading partners.

The president wants to negotiate better trade deals for the U.S., American workers and American consumers. He’s right to be concerned about the trade deficit. But the tactic of new and steep tariffs on auto and auto parts imports, if implemented broadly, would hurt the auto industry and our customers and have severe unintended consequences.

The first job for dealers and our partners on the manufacturing and supply side is to educate the administration on the complexity and interconnectedness of the auto industry. The notion that there are truly “domestic” and “international” brands simply isn’t true any longer. Manufacturers are globally integrated, and their supply chains routinely span international boundaries. In fact, many international brand vehicles are assembled in the U.S. with mostly American-made parts, while some domestic brands have models that are manufactured abroad and imported here. Consequently, some domestic brands could get hit harder with tariffs than some international brands.

More to the point, though, it’s our customers who would feel the most dramatic effect of broad import tariffs through a combination of higher prices and fewer choices, as all imported vehicles and even U.S. built vehicles get dramatically more expensive, and some imported models are no longer offered for sale in the U.S. altogether.

Even from a distance, it’s easy to see that broad-based tariffs on vehicles and auto parts would result in seismic unintended consequences. So, as we have done so many times before, NADA is rolling up its sleeves and getting to work. We are hard at work educating the administration about the reality of the auto industry, and we are urging Congress to exercise oversight on this process and identify the potential economic impacts of any new tariffs. We are working on an independent economic impact study designed to measure the potential impact that tariffs would have on dealerships and their American customers, and we will present the results of that study to the Department of Commerce through our testimony at a July public hearing.

And we will be clear throughout: NADA is not opposed at all to the president’s goals of addressing unfair trade practices and preserving American jobs. But we must find the right tools for accomplishing those goals. Overbroad tariffs on autos and auto parts are the wrong tools because they will raise prices on new cars and trucks and jeopardize affordability and choice for millions of our customers.

Lutz is the 2018 NADA chairman and president of Extreme Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Jackson, Mich. This commentary originally appeared on .

One of Hyundai’s top CPO dealers also busy with OEM’s charitable endeavors


June was a busy month for Scott Fink, the president and chief executive officer of Hyundai of New Port Richey — one of Hyundai’s top-selling certified pre-owned dealers and AuSM’s 2014 CPO Dealer of the Year.

Not only is Fink ensuring that certified metal continues to roll over the curb, but he is also chairman of the board of directors for Hyundai Hope On Wheels, the automaker’s philanthropic arm that gave out seven of its 21 planned $100,000 Hyundai Impact Awards. The honors and funds are given to pediatric oncology departments at select children’s hospitals nationwide.

“For 20 years, Hyundai and its dealers have dedicated their mission to saving lives and creating hope through Hyundai Hope On Wheels. We are proud of the research work that has been done and the lives that have been saved by the dedicated research community,” said Fink, whose store turned 1,072 certified Hyundai vehicles last year to rank second nationally, according to sales data shared by the automaker.

“We know that for too many pediatric cancers there remain little progress and few good treatment options for children. That’s why we provided these large awards to some of the finest research-scientists, who are finding new treatment approaches and better ideas to finding more cures for the disease,” Fink continued.

“We believe this is a fight we can win, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal,” he went on to say.

In June alone, $100,000 Hyundai Impact Awards were distributed to:

— UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles

— Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children's Cancer and Hematology Clinic in McAllen, Texas

— Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Tacoma, Wash.

— University of Wisconsin - American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisc.

— Phoenix Children’s Hospital

— Children’s of Alabama and UAB in Birmingham, Ala.

— Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

And the pace didn’t slow to start July, as this week another $100,000 Hyundai Impact Award went to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“Throughout the country, talented doctors are working tirelessly to help kids fight cancer by conducting research or providing bedside care,” Fink said. “Our goal at Hope On Wheels is to provide these doctors with the grant funds they need to perform their lifesaving work.”

Begun in 1998 by Hyundai and its U.S. dealers, Hyundai Hope On Wheels is one of the longest continuously running initiatives in the auto industry and is dedicated to helping kids fight cancer. The program was started in the Boston area and quickly traveled to support children’s hospitals throughout the U.S. with research grants to help find cures and to improve care for children fighting cancer.

“A key priority for Hyundai dealers is to give back to society and to make sure children have the best possible future for success. We believe that future should be in a world that is free from pediatric cancer,” Fink said.

“We know that progress has been made in finding cures for pediatric cancer. With HHOW grants over the past 20 years, innovative therapies and new treatments have been developed,” he continued.

“The Hyundai dealers' across the nation are proud to support this important cause. But our work is not over, and you can count on the Hyundai dealers to remain committed to this fight for as long as it takes,” Fink went on to say.

For more information about Hyundai Hope On Wheels and to view a complete list of grant winners, visit .

NADA hopes administration’s 3 trade goals can happen without burdening tariffs

TYSONS, Va. - 

As stores got Fourth of July sales campaigns into full swing, the National Automobile Dealers Association delivered comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce in an effort to make it clear that franchised dealers oppose the imposition of new tariffs or quotas on imported vehicles or parts.

In comments sent to the federal agency ahead of Independence Day, NADA said that the association fears that any new tariffs or quotas will result in higher vehicle prices and reduced choice for Americans ready to purchase an automobile.

NADA reiterated that it fully appreciates the administration’s trade goals, including:

— Enhancing the domestic production, sale, and export of American-made vehicles and automotive parts

— Curbing unfair foreign trade practices involving automobiles and automotive parts

— Reducing America’s trade deficits and increasing domestic jobs for Americans.

But the association stressed that broad-based tariffs will result in significant negative impacts on NADA’s 100-percent American automobile dealers and the American working families and American businesses who buy automobiles and automotive parts from them. NADA pinpointed these impacts include higher vehicle prices, as well as a reduction in the number, or even the elimination, of imported vehicle models, thereby reducing competition and customer choice, and ultimately depressing demand.

“The president is rightfully concerned about trade imbalances and manufacturing jobs in the United States,” NADA president and chief executive Peter Welch said. “But automobile production today is so deeply integrated across international boundaries that virtually all cars and trucks, domestic and international, have foreign components even if they are assembled in the United States.

“And a tariff, depending on how it is implemented, could raise prices dramatically for customers and threaten auto industry jobs at home. We look forward to working with the administration to find solutions that don’t dramatically increase prices or limit choices for our customers,” Welch added.

NADA’s comments were filed with the Commerce Department in response to proceedings being conducted under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 intended to determine the effects on the national security of imported automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks and of imported automotive parts.

Dealers can read .

AAA research reinforces value of Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto


New research from AAA could make the late-model vehicles in your inventory equipped with Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto even more appealing to your dealership’s potential buyers, especially the purchasers who rate safety as one of the main criteria during the shopping process.

According to a research project orchestrated by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are less distracting to drivers when compared to built-in vehicle infotainment systems designed by automakers.

While AAA acknowledged many of today’s infotainment systems create potentially unsafe levels of distraction by allowing drivers to perform complex tasks like programming navigation or sending a text, researchers discovered CarPlay and Android Auto were 24 percent (5 seconds) faster on average than the vehicle’s native system when making a call and 31 percent (15 seconds) faster when programming navigation.

Experts said this difference is critical, as drivers who take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds double their risk of a crash. AAA is encouraged by these findings as the organization said they indicate that popular infotainment systems can be designed in a way that is less distracting.

Distracted driving is responsible for more than 390,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths every year, according to AAA

“Google and Apple are proving that it is possible to reduce the level of demand in-vehicle infotainment technology places on drivers,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“While improvements are necessary before any of the systems can be considered safe to use while driving, this research shows that smartphone-based software has the potential to offer a simpler, more familiar design that is less confusing to drivers, and therefore less demanding,” Yang continued.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety teamed with researchers from the University of Utah to evaluate five vehicles to determine the amount of visual and mental demand placed on drivers by CarPlay, Android Auto and each vehicle’s native infotainment system. The specific units involved in the study included”

• 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E (HondaLink)
• 2017 Ford Mustang GT (SYNC 3)
• 2018 Chevrolet Silverado LT (MyLink)
• 2018 Kia Optima (UVO)
• 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie (Uconnect)

While CarPlay and Android Auto can still create potentially unsafe levels of distraction and should not be used to perform complex tasks when behind the wheel, researchers determined they decrease the demand placed on drivers compared to similar technologies offered by automakers.

Researchers also found that CarPlay and Android Auto did not differ significantly from one another in the level of overall demand. A rating scale was used to measure the visual (eyes-off-road) demand, cognitive (mental) demand, and the time it took drivers to complete a task using the systems. The scale ranged from low to very high levels of demand.

 A low level of demand equates to listening to the radio or an audiobook, while very high demand equates to an industry standard that produces demand similar to balancing a checkbook while driving.

Both CarPlay and Android Auto generated an overall moderate level of demand while the native vehicle systems created very high levels of demand for drivers. AAA recommends that industry strive to design in-vehicle technology systems that do not exceed a low level of demand.

“Automakers are experts at building safer cars, but Google and Apple are more skilled at building safer vehicle infotainment technology,” AAA president and chief executive officer Marshall Doney said. “By leveraging their strengths, the two industries must work together to significantly improve the design, functionality and safety of these technologies.”

AAA cautions that not all vehicles are created equal when examining the overall performance of CarPlay and Android Auto.

Researchers noticed the interface design of some vehicles’ native systems resulted in additional menus and text on vehicle touchscreen displays, which increases the overall workload on drivers. Each vehicle’s system also influenced what features were locked out while the vehicle was in motion when using Android Auto and CarPlay.

For example, AAA found that some vehicles allowed drivers to access their entire list when calling or texting, while others limited the number of s shown or completely blocked access — resulting in the smartphone-based systems performing differently across various vehicle models.

AAA urged drivers not to use in-vehicle infotainment technology to perform non-driving related tasks when behind the wheel to avoid driving while distracted. Even with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto requiring less overall demand and time to complete a task, drivers still took up to 33 seconds to complete a navigation task compared to 48 seconds for native systems.

At 25 mph, researchers calculated that drivers can travel the length of three football fields during this time.

“Drivers must use common sense when it comes to technology inside the vehicle. Just because it is available, doesn’t make it safe to use,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety and advocacy.

“Smartphone companies and automakers must collaborate to reduce the potential for distraction that technology places on drivers. The airline industry doesn’t compete on safety, and neither should automakers. Motorists deserve better,” Nelson went on to say.

Nelson added that locking out high-demand functions such as programming navigation and text messaging can significantly reduce the level of demand created by in-vehicle infotainment technology; a step recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Since the vehicle’s software influences which features are locked out, AAA emphasized that it is important that automakers and software designers work together to improve the safety of in-vehicle infotainment technology. 

“AAA is sharing this new research with automakers and system designers to help advance the dialogue about ways to improve the functionality and design of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers,” Doney said.

“By working together to leverage the design benefits of CarPlay and Android Auto and addressing the issues that prevent the software from effectively interacting with a vehicle’s system, automakers and smartphone companies can improve the driving experience and limit distraction on the road,” Doney went on to say.

Expanding on research released in October 2017, AAA also evaluated distraction levels caused by built-in (native) infotainment systems in 10 other 2017 and 2018 model-year vehicles. A total of 76 drivers ages 21 to 35 participated in the study of these additional vehicles.

Research found that none of the 10 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while six systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers.


Top Ohio dealer places winning $26K- bid at ADESA charity sale


Not only did the Haus Auto Group owner from Canfield, Ohio place the winning bid for charity on a 2018 Honda Accord at the 72nd Annual NIADA Convention and Expo, Chris Haus was also honored as Ohio's State Quality Dealer award winner last week.

While Haus was one of 13 nominees in the running for NIADA's highest dealer honor, during a ceremony at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Randy Crump, president of Friendly Auto Sales in Jasper, Ala., was named the 2018 National Quality Dealer of the Year last week.

At the charity sale hosted by ADESA on the final day of the convention, NIADA announced that Haus bid $26,500 to take home a silver a 2018 Honda Accord with just 1,188 miles on the odometer.

According to the company, all proceeds from the sale went to the NIADA Foundation. The foundation coordinates charitable giving and provides scholarships to college-bound students across the country for NIADA.

In just six years, charity auctions sponsored by ADESA and other KAR business units at the NIADA Convention and Expo have raised a total of $151,700 for the NIADA Foundation.

Last year, Michigan dealer Jeff Baker bid $28,000 for charity to take home a 2016 Nissan Frontier SV pickup.

“You don't get to buy cars for charity often,” Haus said. “So, when it happens, it's the right thing to do.”

Haus’ dealership works with charities such as Special Olympics and the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, according to the NIADA.

“For us, it's good to be part of this charitable cause,” he said. “It really ties in with what we do day-to-day.”