Car dealers seek commonsense solutions in Washington

car dealers seek commonsense solutions in washington
John Connelly

It was good to see that the Biden administration took the time this month to meet with auto executives beyond those from Ford, General Motors and Stellantis to discuss the future of electric vehicle production and infrastructure in the U.S. Our message that all automotive manufacturers need to have a seat at the table, not just manufacturers that employ UAW members, is working.

That being said, the proposal to give an additional $4,500 refundable tax credit for the sale of only union-made EVs is still part of the administration’s wish list. The budget reconciliation bill known as Build Back Better has now morphed into Building a Better America, but don’t be fooled — the same business-destroying language is on the table and it only needs the support of 50 senators.

It would be nice instead to see our government applaud the enormous investments that international automakers are making in America to create thousands of well-paid, stable manufacturing jobs. Just this month, Honda opened a $124 million wind tunnel in Ohio, and Volkswagen announced plans to spend $7.1 billion over the next five years in North America. These companies, and many other automakers that don’t happen to have UAW representation, are invested in America. We must do all we can to stop our government from passing legislation to wipe out their investments.

To accomplish this, we need to work with commonsense legislators who can see beyond petty partisan issues and be sure not to close any doors. A great example of that right now is U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee from Michigan. On one hand, he introduced the proposal in the House of Representatives to pay the additional $4,500 for union-made EVs. On the other hand, he introduced bipartisan legislation this month to provide tax relief for dealerships that use LIFO accounting. It shows that Kildee may have an open mind to listen to the owners of more than 9,000 international automotive franchises when they tell him that his tax credit idea will stifle the sales of all nonunion-made EVs and lead to the loss of investments, stores and jobs — including in his own district.

At the American International Automobile Dealers Association Fly-In next month, former House Speaker John Boehner will be a keynote speaker. If you read his book, On the House, you will get great insight into the madness on Capitol Hill. There are far too few legislators who want to work together to do the right thing for our country. We will have a very difficult job moving forward as a country unless we find common ground. It is up to us as dealers and leaders of our community to lead by example and help develop solutions that benefit all Americans.

The House and Senate are in recess until April 25, so that means you have an opportunity right now to get your legislators to either come visit you at your dealership or get their attention with a video or email sent to their offices.


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