About TADA – Trillium Automobile
Ontario’s new car and truck dealers association for automobile dealers, consumers and government
For over 100 years, our association has been leading progressive and innovative work on behalf of new car and truck dealers. Since 1908, we have been co-operating with government and our members to establish fair and uniform business practices, standards of advertising and training, and proactive programs to enhance customer service for consumers.
New car dealers association: from horseless carriages to space age technology
The Toronto Automobile Dealers' Association began in an era when the horse and buggy ruled cobblestone streets. We’ve supported our members through over a century of boom and depression, peacetime prosperity and two world wars, and we’ve grown and changed with Canada itself. In 2012, we amalgamated with the Ontario Automobile Dealers Association to form the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, serving new car and truck dealers across all of Ontario.
We’ve faced issues ranging from taxation and safety to fair sales practices. Some issues, from safety to government regulation, have remained virtually the same. We are committed to creating the highest possible industry standards and championing sound consumer protection practices. Our members offer automobiles with the best of new designs, performance standards, and technology, blended with a commitment to community.
The Early Years
TADA was devised by a small group of auto dealers in 1908 and has continued to play a significant leadership role in the growth of the Canadian automotive industry. Discover some of the milestones we’ve achieved over the years:
- 1914 - The Association was incorporated and drafted its first bylaws. A year later we became the Toronto Automobile Trade Association Limited. Each member had to buy one share each valued at $100.
- 1917/1918 - TADA began lobbying, meeting with the War Trade Board to resolve issues of wartime excise tax, and fighting increases in motor truck, manufacturing, and dealers license fees. This set the stage for decades of car dealer advocacy.
- 1919 - Import costs became a concern for car dealers. The groundwork was also laid to build what would become a Toronto landmark and showcase for the industry's wares - the CNE's Automotive Building.
- 1920 - TADA opposed the Ontario Government for awarding contracts for trucks without obtaining bids from competitive firms, demonstrating that we were monitoring the public sector and taking action.
- 1922 - Some issues of the day: workmen's compensation rates, setting up "blue books" to appraise used cars, and handling criticism about automobile safety.
- 1928 - Prosperity brought good times, like the Association's golf tournaments, where dealers could relax with friends, a tradition still enjoyed by members today.
- 1930s – An era of unemployment, hunger, and despair, but also gritty, courageous workers and employers.
- By 1933, The Canadian Automotive Trade News reported that auto sales were improving for the first time since the market crash in 1929.
- 1940s - WWII brought gasoline rationing and an almost complete stoppage of new car production until 1947. After the war, the industry revived, and demand was way ahead of supply. The public, frustrated by steel shortages hampering production, blamed auto dealers for making what they saw as substantial profits. Car dealer associations presented a strong front to avoid more government controls. TADA and its Canadian associates continue to fight for fair legislation today.
- 1952 - TADA's faced a five-day Drive for Safety campaign, and sponsored a driving school to boost confidence in driving abilities.
- 1955 - TADA and the province were at odds over proposed legislation for a certificate of title on car sales that would affect claims on repairs, credit, and more. TADA said Bill 125 was too weighty; dogged lobbying paid off and it never passed.
- 1956 – Issues ranged from safety certificates for highway-driven vehicles to labour rates for mechanics and apprentices. One initiative echoes today, recommending standards of practice for advertising and selling automobiles. Questions of accuracy, pricing issues, trade-ins, and financing were as important then as they are now. TADA worked to develop a fair, accurate approach to marketing and advertising new and used cars.
- 1961 – Through the 1950s, the Association bought back shares from dealers and estates when a new charter was established under provincial law, showing the TADA as a corporation without share capital and non-profit in nature.
- 1964 - The Used Car Dealers Act passed in Ontario, restricting the sale of used cars to registered vendors. The Act, supported by most members, was designed to rid the industry of unsavory characters. TADA assisted in the Act's language.
From the late 1960s into the millennium, TADA has adapted many changes. In 1973, we took over the entire operation of the auto show. One of the largest and most successful shows in North America, it moved from the CNE grounds to the International Centre before arriving at its new home in the downtown Metropolitan Toronto Trade Centre.
The modern era of new car dealers
The industry continues to meet consumer needs. Today's cars are sophisticated computerized machines, with a host of features undreamed of only a few years ago. During this fast paced era, TADA has remained at the fore of lobbying for fair legislation, sound business practices, safety, and leadership in community affairs. We recently strengthened the industry's advertising code to make all advertising more transparent to consumers. The new guidelines typify the same commitment to high industry standards first established in 1908.
The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association will continue this tradition into the future to face new challenges posed by an entirely new technological era.