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By 1932, domestic auto production had plummeted, and the used car rose to prominence. Even dealerships that sold top-selling cars survived by virtue of their parts and service departments

Members of PAA’s Board of Directors loaned the association thousands of dollars to keep the association solvent. This, in addition to steady titlework and a ten percent reduction in staff salaries, allowed PAA to continue operations. The Depression was devastating to the already declining railroad industry. In Pennsylvania, the railroads launched a propaganda campaign to try to curtail the use of “dangerous highways”. PAA responded with radio and newspaper advertisements and served on Governor Pinchot’s Safety Conference. Many dealers in Pennsylvania used the Depression as a time to invest in their dealerships and in their communities. 

By the late 1930s, new car sales were on the rise. PAA began working with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles under the Department of Revenue on registrations. Legislatively, PAA accomplished having the enforcement of safety inspections through Pennsylvania’s police officers instead of the Department of Revenue. This led to greater and more consistent enforcement and therefore safer cars on the roads. A safety inspection at the time cost five cents. In the early 1930s,
PAA assisted the Department of Public Instruction in the creation of vocational training schools​.

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