NADA puts Michigan dealer Wes Lutz in line to be 2018 chairman

NADA elected Michigan dealer Wes Lutz, left, vice chairman and Chicago-area dealer Mark Scarpelli chairman for 2017.

UPDATED: 10/12/16 2:28 pm ET — adds details

The National Automobile Dealers Association chose Michigan dealer Wes Lutz to be its 2017 vice chairman, putting him in line to be chairman in 2018.

Lutz, owner of Extreme Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Jackson, Mich., was elected by the association’s board at a meeting in Rancho Mirage, Calif., NADA said in a statement today. He currently leads the organization’s regulatory affairs committee.

Lutz ran unopposed for the vice chairman post.

As expected, Illinois dealer and current vice chairman Mark Scarpelli was elected to succeed Chairman Jeff Carlson. Scarpelli, 52, will take over in January at the NADA convention in New Orleans.

Scarpelli is president of Raymond Chevrolet and Raymond Kia in Antioch, Ill., and co-owner of Ray Chevrolet in Fox Lake, Ill.

Lutz has been a Chrysler dealer since 1976, and is a past president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and was a Time Dealer of the Year for the state of Michigan in 2009.

Delaware dealer Bill Willis was re-elected as secretary. He is president of Willis Automotive Group (Chevrolet-Buick-Ford) in Smyrna, Del.

Nebraska dealer Brian Hamilton will be treasurer. He is president of Midway Chevrolet-Cadillac-Buick and Midway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Kearney as well as Beardmore Subaru.

‘Payback problem’

In August, Lutz spoke on a panel at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. He addressed what tightening fuel-economy standards were doing to consumers’ ability to purchase new vehicles.

“We have a payback problem” with expensive fuel-efficient technologies, Lutz said. “We know from the data presented that the length of payback cycles is unrealistic” if fuel prices remain low. And frankly, he added, “the prospect of paying a premium to see a payback seems too much like a dollar chasing a dime.”

“There’s a very real danger of pricing millions of Americans out of the new-car market,” he said, adding that the result will be “a whole bunch of new, more fuel-efficient cars that don’t get sold.”

In the statement, Scarpelli said his agenda includes “promoting the consumer benefits of the franchise system, working with auto manufacturers and advocating our issues on Capitol Hill, as well as identifying and getting the next generation of dealers involved with NADA.”

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