CHICAGO (AP) - Legislation to lift a 32-year-old ban on Sunday car sales in Illinois is under consideration again in the state Senate.
But opposition still comes from the dealers themselves. Some of them have a 60-year history of wanting a mandated day off to spend with their families without worrying that competitors would steal sales.
Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove, the measure’s sponsor, says it’s a simple matter of over-regulation by the government.
“Government has no business telling people when they can or when they can’t sell cars,” Oberweis said.
In a modern, competitive world, some dealers are itching to open the doors on Sundays.
“We do lose a lot of business because people don’t have time these days” during the week, said Al Johnson, general manager of Wheels of Chicago. “They’re busy with kids, they’re busy going shopping, doing home chores.”
Almost from the beginning of the post-war demand for automobiles, Sunday sales have been an issue in Illinois. Some dealers wanted the government to force businesses to put up a “Closed” sign one day a week so they could get rest without losing advantage. Others wanted to stay open because they made their most sales on Sunday.
The day-of-rest argument persists.
“Our business is a draining business as it is,” said John Gavin, senior vice president of AutoMatch USA in Morton Grove. “A lot of hours and one more day of that grind would be rough on our people.”
But there are other reasons. Demand, for one, said Colin Wickstrom of Wickstrom Auto Group in Barrington.
“If our customers were asking for it, we’d want it,” he said.
Additionally, lenders are generally unavailable on the seventh day to OK financing. Loans are required to buy four of five cars, Wickstrom said.
“Financing a car isn’t like buying a toaster or getting a scoop of ice cream” he said.
Oberweis, who owns an ice cream enterprise, isn’t buying it. He points out that nearly three dozen states allow Sunday sales.
He has another piece of legislation to give dealers the choice to close on Sunday or any other day for religious worship.
Neither bill has been assigned to a Senate committee for a hearing.
The bills are SB1706 and SB1780.
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