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How state dealer associations are tackling EV headwinds — Christine Vinatieri-Erickson

On this episode of Inside Automotive, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Christine Vinatieri-Erickson, president of the South Dakota Auto Dealer Association (SDADA) and the South Dakota Trucking Association (SDTA). Erickson is a former state house and city council official, turned association leader and retail automotive lobbyist, leveraging her connections to support dealers and truckers across South Dakota. Now, she explains the latest automotive trends in her state and how her associations are working to make the car business better for buyers and sellers alike.

Key Takeaways

1. Erickson notes that the SDADA is presently focused on state legislation. She discusses a new catalytic converter bill that will tackle theft by prohibiting cash payments to sellers. Instead, catalytic converter buyers will need to pay their vendors a check, making it easier for the state to trace payments when illegal activity is suspected.

2. The SDTA, on the other hand, is more focused on federal legislation, primarily the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed emissions regulations. Erickson notes that trucks will struggle to meet the standards, making it important that lawmakers know what is and is not feasible and how far the sector has come in terms of improving sustainability.

3. Both associations are focused on the transition to electric vehicles. Erickson explains that battery-powered cars are heavier and thus produce more wear and tear on roads. Typically, gas taxes fund street repairs. However, Erickson argues that if more drivers opt for electric vehicles in the coming years, this will reduce the number of tax dollars available to road repair efforts while also increasing the strain on public roads.

4. The electric vehicle sales share in South Dakota is only 2%, one of the lowest in the nation. However, Erickson notes that the state is colder and lacks the infrastructure needed to support a broader electric vehicle transition.

5. Participating in an association provides dealers with a voice and the opportunity to advocate on issues that impact their business. Erickson notes that retailers have tremendous power to create change thanks to the strong ties they have to their networks.

"We're simply working together to strengthen the franchise model as a whole, and it's absolutely critical for dealerships to be members as well as be a part of the advocacy." — Christine Vinatieri-Erickson

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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