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By 1980, with interest rates sky-high and double-digit inflation, the retail automotive industry was in trouble. 


PAA assisted NADA with proposals to increase the Small Business Administration loan guarantee fund so that more dealers were eligible. While dealerships were struggling, the association was also experiencing financial trouble. In 1980, J. Paul McMillen was hired to manage the association’s operations. He implemented several programs and changes and was quickly able to improve the association’s finances. In 1981, he was made Executive Vice President. He would continue in the executive role at PAA until 2010, growing and reshaping the association through strategic partnerships and innovative entrepreneurship.

After several legislative attempts, PAA was successful in 1984 in achieving legislation to re-write and enhance the licensing laws of 1965. The Board of Vehicles Act took effect on January 1, 1984 and clarified the powers, duties, and procedures for the vehicle licensing board. It also began to provide some protections for dealers such as preventing brokering and addressing dealer territory regulations. 
In addition, PAA worked with PennDOT to revise regulations to more realistically conform to dealership business practices. 

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