Commentary: Navigating the Maze of Federal Regulations

By Bill Fox
March 2015


It's clear by now that new-car dealers are not just responsible for facilitating the complex transactions of vehicle sales to the American public, but also for complying with numerous federal and state regulations on a daily basis. And to assist dealers with this ongoing challenge, the National Automobile Dealers Association is providing its members with another essential tool to help navigate the maze of federal regulations. It's called A Dealer Guide to Federal Advertising Requirements.

In January 2014, NADA rolled out a vital resource for its members. The NADA Fair Credit Compliance Policy & Program serves as an optional tool to help dealers comply with fair credit requirements. Just like auto finance, several important federal requirements govern the field of advertising, and cover everything from credit and lease advertising to prize promotions to green-marketing claims. 

To demonstrate its commitment to advertising compliance, NADA released its comprehensive guide on federal advertising requirements at the 2015 NADA Convention and Expo. This provides a compliance resource in an area that has come under intense scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission, and that has resulted in a series of enforcement actions against dealers across the country.

This guide—like the fair credit guide—is a pdf that is easily accessible at www.nada.org. It provides dealers and others in the industry with information on 41 federal advertising topics; a series of examples of 'bad' and 'good' ads; and the ability to quickly hyperlink throughout the document and to additional information on various advertising topics. The guide focuses on advertising standards at the federal level, so it is important that dealers consult with their state dealer associations on additional requirements imposed at the state level.

NADA's goal this year is steadfast; to defend the efficient business model of dealers from the challenges posed in our nation's capital, and be an effective advocate for the thousands of franchised new-car dealers across the country. 

This is a moment in the auto industry when all franchised new-car dealers must show their cards and their diligence—to our supporters and critics—so that we can continue to thrive and proudly serve our customers, manufacturers and communities.

NADA will continue to provide the tools dealers need to manage the increasingly complex web of federal regulatory requirements that apply to our businesses.

Bill Fox, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, is a partner at Fox Dealerships, Inc., in the upstate New York cities of Auburn and Phoenix.