By Leigh M. Dicks, CAE, Executive Director
Virginia Independent Automobile Dealers Association
I’d like to begin by saying ‘thank you’ to the dealers who contacted the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board (MVDB) staff and personally shared their concerns, and the impact, the new business closing guidance document would have on their business.
VIADA also took action and sent a letter to William Childress, Executive Director of the MVDB. In reply to that letter, Childress responded that he considered ‘test drives as being at work.” He further stated that the sole proprietor could continue to place a visible note at the entrance, as had been done in the past, where both customers and the field rep could see it. Also, for test drives, the sole proprietor/dealership DOES NOT have to contact the Board about being away for a short period of time to do a test drive with a customer.
If there is an emergency, then the dealer should deal with it first and then contact the Richmond office or their field rep to let them know what happened. Childress further stated, “Addressing emergencies after the fact is not going to become a write-up or violation, unless we are not notified. And even then, the process will allow the dealer to respond to the matter, which will more than likely be dismissed because of the situation.”
It is important that each dealership work with their assigned field rep. Many field reps attend the district dinner meetings where you have the opportunity to get to know them better (other than when they are conducting an official inspection). I’ve also been assured that the field reps will not unjustifiably punish dealers in order to enforce the guideline. Field reps are receiving weekly briefings to work with the dealer about this matter and even if someone gets written up, the final decision to move forward with disciplinary action will be decided by Childress and Lisa Mack-Nelson.
VIADA will continue to monitor, report, and take appropriate action on behalf of its members when necessary. Having members who are also willing to be vocal about the impact laws and regulations have on them, increases VIADA’s effectiveness.
So, thank you for renewing your membership and please encourage other dealers to join. The more dealers VIADA represents (i.e., members), the more effective we can be when representing your interests before the State Legislature, DMV and the MVDB.