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Ford, Subaru dealer to lead national auto dealers group

Jeff Carlson, owner of Glenwood Springs Ford, stands for a portrait at his dealership on Thursday.
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent |

Longtime Glenwood Springs auto dealer Jeff Carlson has been appointed vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association for the coming year, which puts him in line to chair the organization in 2016.

Carlson, who is president of the Glenwood Springs Ford and Subaru dealerships and is a partial owner of Summit Ford in Silverthorne, represents Colorado’s dealers on the 63-member NADA board. He currently serves as the board secretary.

“It’s a great honor for me to have my peers elect me to serve them in this capacity for the next two years,” Carlson said. “I appreciate it, and it is humbling.”

Carlson is now in line to become NADA chairman following New York state auto dealer Bill Fox, who will serve as chairman for 2015. The new officer announcements for the coming year were made at the NADA board of directors meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, earlier this month.

A past chairman of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, Carlson explained that the NADA lobbies on behalf of auto dealers on national policy and regulatory issues, while the state association focuses on state policy issues.

Much of that work has to do with controlling regulation of the industry that comes out of Washington.

“There is correct and necessary regulation, but sometimes it can be bad for our business,” Carlson said.

The organization also provides a variety of educational services, consulting and training for new dealers and dealer personnel, he added.

“As vice chairman, I will be representing 17,600 dealers throughout the country,” Carlson said. More than 16,000 of those dealers are members of the national trade association, he said.

Carlson has served in various positions with both the NADA and the Colorado association, and has attended several of the national organization’s annual conventions. He said the 2009 convention in New Orleans, the city’s first major convention after Hurricane Katrina, was particularly memorable and included addresses by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Carlson’s term as chairman will coincide with the lead-up to the NADA’s 100th anniversary in 2017.

“That should be quite memorable, and we can have a lot of fun with it,” he said.

He will be the first Colorado auto dealer to serve as chairman since the early 1980s.

Carlson started in the automotive business in 1973 working for Ford Motor Co., after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1979, he joined Glenwood Springs Ford, Lincoln Mercury as a sales manager and purchased an interest along with longtime dealership owner Jack Nilsson in 1982, then became president in 1986.

Carlson purchased the local Subaru dealership in 2011.


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