A new car dealers association is a group of franchise dealerships or companies that engage in the sale of new cars and trucks. These types of associations should not be confused with the National Automotive Dealers Association, which is a national level organization that consists of many types of car dealers, and not only those that sell new vehicles.
While some members of these organizations do sell used cars, all of them sell new vehicles. In fact, the vast majority of members of a new car dealer association are franchise dealers (or dealers authorized by a particular car manufacturer to sell their vehicles).
Most new car associations are established at the city and state level. With the exception of a few manufacturer specific organizations, there are no nationally recognized associations for dealers representing a wide spectrum of carmakers.
In most cases, these organizations are made up of new car dealers that band together to promote ethical business guidelines for selling new cars in their respective areas. While an association may not legally sanction most members, they do voluntarily agree to conduct their business in the manner agreed to by all members of the group. While associations do not have the power to file suit or prosecute members that don’t follow group guidelines, they do have the power to exclude offending members from continued membership.
Whenever you visit a car dealership, keep an eye out for a plaque or an award from a local or state new car dealers association. While this alone does not guarantee your satisfaction, it can be a good indicator that the dealer is serious about customer service. New car dealer organizations are self-policing in many cases and have learned to care a great deal about the reputations of members (especially, since the Internet is an option for car buyers).
Although a dealership’s acceptance into a new car dealer association may not seriously affect the number of cars the dealer is able to sell, there are other benefits the company may find valuable. For instance, many associations provide dealers with access to discounts on insurance and other services that can increase the bottom line of member dealerships. Therefore, many dealers will do what they must in order to stay in the good graces of the association.