After receiving no answer from President Biden to their request in November to “tap the brakes” on strict vehicle emissions standards, car dealers throughout the nation are now urging the White House to “hit the brakes.”

Nearly 5,000 dealers representing all 50 states this week signed onto a letter to the President urging him to bring the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to impose strict tailpipe emissions standards to a temporary halt, calling it “completely unrealistic.”

The letter said the regulations are expected to be finalized in 8-10 weeks.

The “hit the brakes” message is a step up from a November letter signed by more than 3,000 dealers that asked the President to “slow down” the proposed regulations that they said would “essentially mandate a dramatic shift to battery electric vehicles.”

The White House did not respond to the first letter.

“On behalf of our customers,” the new letter said, “we ask that you pause on the electric vehicle mandate.

“Wait for the battery supply chain to develop outside the control of China. Wait for the charging infrastructure to support a significant increase in electric vehicles. And wait for the American consumer to make the choice to buy an electric vehicle, confident that they are affordable and won’t strand them because of a lack of charging stations.”

The dealers, headed by Mickey Anderson of Omaha, Neb.-based Baxter Auto, cited low consumer demand for EVs, high costs, the lack of charging infrastructure and shrinking availability of EV tax incentives as issues that make the potential new standards impossible to meet.

The dealers said both letters “reflected the voice of our customers — the Americans who come to our dealerships every day to buy vehicles that are affordable and meet their needs.”

In an email, Anderson said the proposed rules “will force an extreme shift to battery electric vehicles. This will dramatically limit American consumers’ right to choose a vehicle that meets their needs. Because this mandate is being done by federal bureaucrats at the EPA, and not by Congress, most Americans have no idea what they are about to lose.”

Anderson said the past two months have shown increasingly that the regulations “got too far too soon.”

“Every day seems to bring new headlines about auto companies cutting electric vehicle production because of softening demand, rental car companies divesting of EVs and motorists stranded because they are unable to charge their EVs in the cold,” he said. “As auto dealers, we welcome a conversation to share what we are hearing from customers regarding battery electric vehicles along with the challenges of the proposed regulations.”

Jim Ellis caps holiday giving with $75K donation to food bank

In other dealer group news, Atlanta-based Jim Ellis Automotive Group closed its seventh annual Holiday Giving Campaign with a $75,000 donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

A portion of the profit for each new or used vehicle sold at all of the 20 Jim Ellis dealerships between Nov. 24 and Jan. 2 funded the donation.

Each year, Jim Ellis Automotive selects a local charity to support through its annual Holiday Giving Campaign. Over the past seven years, Jim Ellis Automotive has donated almost $450,000 to groups serving women and children in need across the Atlanta area from the holiday-giving campaigns alone.

The food bank works with nearly 700 community-based nonprofit partners to distribute some 9 million meals across metro Atlanta and North Georgia each month.

“The funds raised with this year’s campaign will help provide nearly 225,000 meals for neighbors in need across North Georgia,” Atlanta Community Food Bank president and CEO Kyle Waide said. “This is particularly critical at the moment, as we continue to see near-record numbers of monthly visits across our pantry system, as many families struggle with higher food costs, rent and other basic necessities.”

In December, Jim Ellis Automotive distributed $146,000 raised during its annual charity golf tournament to 30 local charities selected by its team members.

HGreg opens landmark location in Houston

HGreg announced it has opened its first dealership in Texas, in a landmark location in Houston.

The dealership group, which also operates locations in in Florida, California and Quebec, Canada, acquired the former site of Southwest Lincoln-Mercury in West Houston late last year.

That dealership — which was owned by Bud Adams, the late owner of the NFL’s Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and one of the founders of the American Football League — has been closed for some 20 years, but the showroom, with its gabled roof, remains a local landmark.

Since the purchase, the location has been renovated to “create a state-of-the-art retail facility,” the company said. HGreg said it’s “committed” to making HGreg Houston the largest dealership in Texas in terms of inventory.