At the time, NADA leaders, including Edwards, said they opted to settle with the Justice Department rather than face litigation that they said would have cost at least $1 million to defend, according to an October 1995 story in Automotive News.
As part of the Sept. 20, 1995, settlement, NADA admitted no fault, promised not to break the law, paid no fine and agreed to the 10 years of Justice Department scrutiny.
Edwards launched his year as NADA president describing himself to Automotive News as a “negotiator” and saying he wanted to improve dealers’ relationships with automakers.
“You don’t have to ‘give ’em hell’ in speeches to deal with the manufacturer,” Edwards said. “I think you can do more by sitting down with them in a closed room and give them your side and listen to their side and trying to work out a compromise.”
Baseball star Hank Aaron was only a car dealer for seven years, but he made his mark in the showroom as well as the batter’s box.
The major league Hall of Famer, philanthropist and voice of civil rights died Jan. 22 at 86. After retiring from baseball in 1976, he became an entrepreneur, opening 17 fast-food franchises and starting Hank Aaron Automotive Group.
The Atlanta-based auto group consisted of Hank Aaron BMW, Hank Aaron Mini, Hank Aaron Honda, Hank Aaron Toyota, Hank Aaron Jaguar and Hank Aaron Land Rover.
In 2004, he was named Auto Dealer of the Year by Black Enterprise, and his group ranked No. 15 on the magazine’s Auto Dealers list in 2006, with $136.7 million in revenue.
When former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez embarked on his own automotive adventure, Aaron advised him on auto retailing with the words, “You’ve got to put in some time with it. If you don’t, it’s not going to work.”
Aaron sold his stores and retired again in 2008.