As the nation re-mobilized for the Korean War, dealers braced for another halt in production. Price controls were again imposed on the industry. Demands of the war created shortages of certain raw materials, but auto sales continued to climb. By the early 1950s, traffic and congestion were a problem in many cities.
Major manufacturer issues arose, and dealer-manufacturer relations suffered during the deep recession of the early 1950s. This sales blitz led to many of the smaller manufacturers still in existence closing their doors. The American consumer resisted buying a vehicle that wasn’t mainstream or one that might not have future trade-in value. PAA’s Board of Directors argued that manufacturers were making more cars than the market could absorb, loading cars with features the customer didn’t want, and appointing too many dealers, which resulted in steep competition and decreased profits. By 1954, dealerships were struggling to remain profitable. Territory security and labor legislation discussions dominated PAA meetings. There was a ten percent reduction in PAA membership as dealerships across the state began to close.
President Eisenhower, in 1956, signed into law the bill referred to as the Automobile Dealer’s “Day in Court” bill, permitting franchise automobile dealers to bring suit for damages in United States District Courts for the failure of the manufacturer to act in good faith in complying with the terms of the franchise agreement. In 1957, after much dealer discussion, legislation sponsored on PAA’s behalf prohibited dealers from consummating sales on Sundays. Prior to this, many dealership employees were working seven days a week and dealerships wanted to provide a guaranteed day-off each week to their employees.
On October 1, 1958, the automotive sales industry changed drastically. A “Monroney Label” became required to be attached to the window of each new car. The 1958 Truth-inLabeling law gave the customer a way to compare the prices of similar cars, the cost of optional equipment, handling and delivery charges, and federal taxes. This greatly changed the car-buying experience.
Those dealerships who survived the war years turned their attention in the late 1940s to improving the highways and bridges throughout Pennsylvania.
The Board took a proposal to Governor James Duff to increase gas taxes by 1%. Their position was that “many motorists do not use the highways for several reasons, including density of traffic, fear of accidents, and lack of enjoyment under existing conditions.” The Governor implemented the Board’s suggestion, and work to improve Pennsylvania’s roads began. Governor Duff’s road program included an expansion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Philadelphia.