NADA has slimmed down and homed in on its core mission under the leadership of Peter Welch.
When Welch became president of the trade association in early 2013, NADA had 350 employees. Today, it has around 190.
Some of the major changes: In 2014, it bulked up its public relations department and launched a defense of the franchised dealership model. In 2015, the organization sold its NADA Used Car Guide to J.D. Power and Associates and got out of the retirement planning business.
It's the "unglamorous stuff," as Welch, 63, puts it.
"What I've spent most of my time doing is reinventing NADA from the inside, revitalizing it and pulling back from some of those less-core issues, whether it's the guidebook business or the 401(k) business, which frees up our staff to really focus on the core," said Welch, who previously led the California New Car Dealers Association. "And the core is legislative, regulatory, dealer operations, advocacy with the manufacturers and, yes, advocacy with the general public."
Welch, borrowing a tool he'd used in California, hired an outside consultant to oversee a strategic planning process in 2015. The consultant surveyed NADA's executive committee, board members and membership. About 2,200 members -- or 14 percent of membership -- turned in the survey. Their top two priorities, according to Welch:
1. Protecting dealers from burdensome and costly regulations.
2. Lobbying Congress for legislation favorable to dealers and defeating unfavorable legislation.