Created on Friday, 21 May 2010
My name is Joel Cohen, and I am this year's incoming president of the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association (TADA).
The new-car dealers of the Toronto region are grateful to the Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation newspaper, which provides this forum to discuss industry topics.
Traditionally, we have focused on dealerships and consumers. This year, I would like to widen the coverage and help educate readers on the role of the TADA (www.tada.ca).
First, some background: I am a Toyota and Lexus dealer in Mississauga, and I am proud to represent their products in our market area.
My interest in automobiles dates back to my teenage years and it continues to this day.
After university, my introduction to the car business began with training in risk management for a large commercial fleet.
This later led to automotive fleet management, and eventually retail management with a multi-store automotive chain in the auto repair aftermarket.
A few years later, I joined a large-volume new-car dealership, with an extensive fleet portfolio.
Here, I had the opportunity to interact with the retail side of the business and develop strong relationships with many experienced and talented people.
In 2001, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to become involved in the acquisition of the new-car franchise that my partners and I enjoy today.
On a personal level, I have a strong interest in classic cars — especially those of a 1960s vintage, which evoke memories of my younger years.
Being involved with the TADA at the board level is a thrilling experience. This association has a proud and continuous history dating to 1908.
My involvement with TADA allows me a wider perspective on the industry and a front-row seat on many planning and policy initiatives that affect our members.
For instance, I've had a chance to view the extensive planning and logistics required to operate the Canadian International AutoShow. TADA owns and operates this world-class show, which draws more than 300,000 visitors each year.
It takes a full year of planning and behind-the-scene work to make the AutoShow the success that it is. The team responsible, under the direction of Tom Tonks, does an outstanding job.
Last year, I was particularly pleased when TAD Foundation, the charitable arm of TADA, formalized its pledge of $2 million to the Ronald McDonald House Toronto (RMHT), capital campaign. Groundbreaking has already taken place for the new Ronald McDonald House, which will be the largest in the world.
Within the facility, the TADA Gift of Life Wing, established specifically in support of organ and tissue donation for children needing transplants, will continue a relationship that TADA started some 25 years ago.
This weekly column will deal with current issues that affect new-car buyers and their perceptions of our members. I will also discuss how TADA is involved in community, legislative and marketing issues that effect both customers and new car dealers.
One of the goals for this column is to encourage reader feedback and participation.
If you want to praise or criticize some aspect of our business, or the TADA, if there's something you don't understand, or if you want to comment on an article that I've written, please email me and I'll try to address it.
Finally, I'd like to thank Ron Loveys and all of the previous TADA presidents who were responsible for developing this column and the wide readership that it enjoys.
They have helped to make my transition to this role much smoother.
I'm sure there will be times that I'll need their wisdom and guidance, as I navigate my way in the days and weeks ahead.