OMVIC expects smooth shift to the new dealer regs

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This is the second wave of educational campaigns that Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Industry Council has launched to make Ontario’s new- and used-car dealers and their staff aware of the changes to Motor Vehicle Dealer regulations, says executive director Carl Compton.

He said that the council took its educational campaign to 23 different locations across the province and to all the province’s auto auctions in anticipation of an April 2009 proclamation date. It sent out bulletins warning of the changes; dealers and sales people were directed to OMVIC’s website, where they could find a series of articles and audio presentations on the topic.

When the Ontario government postponed proclamation to Jan. 1, Compton said OMVIC staff sallied forth once again with another round of educational appearances at 20 more locations.

“The response has been good, but not as intense as the first time round. We are hoping that’s because people have taken advantage of the (earlier) presentations,” he said.
He also credits the province’s trade associations such as the Toronto and Ontario New Car Dealers Associations and the Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario as well as the auctions with helping get out the word.

Ontario has about roughly 8,500 franchised and independent dealerships (one-fifth are franchised) and 23,000 licensed sales people.

Dealers who have been oblivious to what’s going on – perhaps, they’re not members of any of the above associations – will hear about the regs at the auctions, he expects.
If not, OMVIC is starting its consumer education campaign, so consumers are
going to be hip to what those changes mean to them. And there is and will be plenty of buzz in Ontario’s media.

That means dealers whose operations aren’t in sync with the regs are going to tangle with savvy consumers and that will mean lost sales.

He also reminds that OMVIC’s name must be on every bill of sale and lease,
so consumers will know whom to call if there’s a problem. If that’s the case, can dealers expect the regulator to be taking a hard line when it comes to violations of the regs? Can dealers expect to see a horde of investigators descending on their dealerships? Not exactly.

Compton sees a period of adjustment, where dealers, salespeople and OMVIC will all be learning.

“No,” he says. “It won’t work that way. Dealers are keenly interested in maintaining their licences and their reputations in the community and operating within the law. If there is slippage, it’s going to be through ignorance rather than arrogance. It’s up to us to correct that. As soon as dealers learn that they missed something, they will quickly come into compliance.”