Early in 2000, legislation was introduced on PAA's behalf to prohibit manufacturer ownership of dealerships in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with 150 cosponsors. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate and had 36 co-sponsors.
In a monumental legislative victory, the legislation was passed by both the Senate and House and signed into law by Governor Tom Ridge on October 18, 2000. No votes were cast in opposition to the bill, which was a major victory for the franchise system.
PAA’s executive staff and several dealers were attending NADA’s 26th annual Washington Conference when terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. PAA supported NADA’s survivor’s relief fund.
In 2002, the PAA Foundation was established. Initially, the focus was sponsoring education and safety programs and making charitable contributions to organizations related to the new retail motor vehicle industry. In 2006, the Foundation began its scholarship program, benefiting students enrolled in automotive programs. That year, the structure of the PAA Foundation changed to allow dealers to establish donor-advised accounts and by the end of the decade, the PAA Foundation was granting over one-half a million dollars per year, with invested funds at twenty-million dollars.
The Great Recession officially began in late 2007, though many dealers had been struggling for years. On November 10, 2008, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler asked for $25 billion in government loans to survive the economic crisis. Restructuring plans were submitted. President Bush and later President Obama provided billions of dollars through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. As GM and Chrysler developed viability plans, PAA refocused lobbying efforts to educate policy makers on the negative effects of the financial crisis on the vehicle sales industry and specifically dealers inability to access credit for floorplanning. On April 30, 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. General Motors followed on June 1, 2009. Fiftythree Chrysler dealerships were terminated in Pennsylvania, and 1,300 General Motors dealers nationwide were sent wind-down agreements. Some dealerships were saved, many were not. PAA engaged with the state’s congressional delegation on legislation, “The Automobile Dealer Economic Rights Restoration Act”to restore the protections of state motor vehicle franchise laws to General Motors and Chrysler dealers as they existed prior to each company’s bankruptcies and require General Motors and Chrysler to reinstate franchise agreements in effect prior to each company’s bankruptcies.