In the early 1960s, Japan entered the market. Initially, Japanese imports were not taken seriously by Detroit, but American automakers felt the impact and saw sales decline, with Studebaker folding in 1963.
Edwin Parkinson, or “Parky” as he was affectionately known by his friends and coworkers, became president of PAA in 1962.
Dealers throughout the state painted their names on the sides of cars running at local tracks. When the cars won, these dealers saw immediate traffic in the showroom.
Legislatively, PAA had been working to create dealer qualifications and salesmen licensing laws, and in 1965 was able to get legislation added to Pennsylvania’s vehicle code and signed by Governor William Scranton. Pennsylvania dealers wanted licensed salespersons and dealerships in the state to help restore consumer faith in the industry.
In Harrisburg, a new Department of Transportation was formed, transferring the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Bureau of Highway Safety out of the Department of Revenue’s jurisdiction.
Sweeping national safety laws were enacted that affected everything from the design of cars to showroom floor sales tactics. The first bills to set limits on vehicle emissions were introduced in the 1960s.