Charles Teel has an extensive history in the used-car industry. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of New Car Franchise and Chief Executive Manager of a BHPH LLC Holding Company, he’s held prominent roles since he began working in the car business in the spring of 1990. Additionally, he’s an executive committee member of GIADA and a former NIADA and GIADA president. As a seasoned executive in the business, Teel gives us his perspective on GIADA’s involvement in legislative issues, industry changes and the future of the industry.
Q. Could you tell me about yourself?
A. I’m a practicing Methodist and I’ve been going to the same church for the past 45 years. I’ll be happily married to my wife, Diane, for 55 years on May 24, 2018. We have three children – Paige, Robin and Jon Charles.
Q. What recent trends have you noticed in the used-car industry?
A. The voice of politics has changed. We must reach out to politicians and communicate our beliefs and support them in their efforts to fully represent constituents. You always have to have a plan. I recently reread the story of David and Goliath. While reading, I thought about David’s choice of five stones. Here’s a young man with confidence and the spirit of God and determination. Undergirded by tremendous faith, he told Goliath that God would defeat him. His strategy was to have enough ammo. I think we can all use this message about planning. No matter how confident we feel about our efforts, we have to plan, know our strategy and have contingencies. As the old adage goes, “Set your goals in concrete and your plans in sand.” As an association, we have an understanding of who we are and who we want to be. This plan will ensure we have all the “stones” we need in our pocket.
Q. What’s changed since the beginning of your career?
A. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there” – Will Rodgers
I believe the used-car dealer, as it pertains to the internet, has changed. Also, in the 2011 legislative session, the General Assembly passed HB 112, which gave the Department of Revenue the authority to make changes to the Temporary Tag Program. This was a Department of Revenue change that stated all temporary tags would be processed electronically at your dealership and immediately register with state and law enforcement agents/agencies. In working with the Department of Revenue and using our expertise in compliance education, other educational resources and the combined efforts of Paul John and members of the board, GIADA was contractually appointed (five years) the primary source for TOPS program for Georgia used vehicles. Internet access is required and TOPs program is handled through our website, www.GIADA.org. Another change happened in January 2018 when ELT and ETR were ‘mandated’ by the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Q. As you know, GIADA has managed to stop legislators from increasing TAVT tax on used-car purchases. What are your thoughts about GIADA’s effort?
A. Stopping the TAVT increase showed GIADA’s concern for independent dealers in Georgia. GIADA has a 62-year history of fighting for the used-car dealer. If we’re going to have 62 more, we have to continually ask used-car dealers and associated industry leaders to get involved. All used-car dealers should support Georgia Independent Auto Dealers Association because GIADA supports them!
Q. Why is it important that we’re involved in legislative issues?
A. H.R. 3126, “Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009,” restricted auto finance and created unintended consequences, increasing consumer costs that further depressed auto sales. Congress came up with the “Cash for Clunkers” program during the time the government owned part of General Motors and Chrysler. There were serious questions about how the program affected demand, inventory and pricing. At that time, it seemed in the eyes of Congress, government owned auto companies and manufactures needed to sell 10 million new vehicles in the year it was passed. Whatever money it needed to produce those results, the administration would keep going until they accomplished their goal. Keep this quote in mind, “Expect the best, plan for the worst and prepare to be surprised.” – Denis Waitley
Q. What motivates you? What’s most rewarding about your job?
A. I can answer that in one word; CHANGE. Change challenges us no matter our age. Change that comes into children’s lives tend to be in the direction of added ability and increasing powers. Change challenges young adults to live in the present and look toward the future. In the lives of the elderly, change usually leads to loss of power and strength. The older generation realizes that most of their lives are invested in the past. The diversity and range of perspectives represented in GIADA make us strong. Change motivates me and rewards my efforts at the same time.
Q. How has your experience in the industry helped you understand used-car dealers?
A. I think listening to the problems, circumstances and experiences of our members urges us to produce solutions that will help all of us go further, rather than holding us back. We seek counsel from the past that will help turn us toward the future.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. On May 24, 2018, Diane and I will celebrate our 55th year of marriage. In June, we have the NIADA Convention and in July, I’ll be attending the GIADA Convention. I’m expecting 2018 to be a great and glorious year, aren’t you?
Q. Do you like where the future of the used-car industry is headed?
A. Changing challenges will be conquered, friendships will be formed, hurts will be healed, obstacles will be overcome, riddles will be resolved and God will be glorified. The Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Paul John’s team at GIADA possess background, qualifications, attributes and skills that provide GIADA with a broad range of experience in all aspects of our industry to take us to the next level. I very much like where the future I headed.
Q. Is there anything you’d like to add?
A. It’s been a great journey for me and my family and I really appreciate my ride with car dealers and vendors. Thank you and God Bless!