Auto Dealer Chairman Says Over-Regulation Risks Stifling Sales

Government’s good intentions on climate change and fair lending are creating a risk of pricing too many U.S. consumers out of the new-car market, reducing the benefits of improved technology, the leader of the national dealer trade group said.

“We’re the solution, not the problem,” said Jeff Carlson, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said Wednesday in Detroit.

The group’s public policy initiatives aim to protect consumers from overreaching federal rules concerning auto financing, recalls and fuel economy, he said. Regulators have been emboldened by systemic failures that led to dozens of deaths related to faulty ignition switches in small cars made by General Motors Co. and to defective Takata Corp. air-bag inflators.

The dealer franchise network benefits consumers, automakers and local communities, said the president of Ford and Subaru dealerships in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and co-owner of a Ford outlet in Silverthorne, Colorado. He represents the state’s dealers on NADA’s board.

NADA represents about 16,500 new-car and -truck dealerships, with both U.S. and international franchises. Carlson spoke at an Automotive Press Association luncheon.