The Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association (WATDA), located in the heart of Madison, WI, is the only trade organization representing franchised and used car and truck dealers in Wisconsin.
In 1928, a group of car dealers from Milwaukee joined together for the purpose of taking strong legislative action in the 1929 session. The "Wisconsin Automobile Trades Association" was formed statewide to eliminate the personal property tax on automobiles and on dealer inventory. The tax was killing car sales in the months prior to the annual May first assessment date. By 1934, the dealers' proposal to offset the loss of revenue by repealing the personal property tax with an increase of one cent to the gas tax was accepted by the legislature. This resulted in savings to motorists of hundreds of millions of dollars and increased car sales. Today the Association vigorously fights all attempts to impose a property or excise tax on cars and trucks.
In 1976, Wisconsin Automobile Trades Association changed its name to "Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association (WATDA)".
Additional areas WATDA has been successful on behalf of the dealer body include, pioneering franchise laws to protect dealers from unjust manufacturer action and eliminating the statutory finance reserve $25 cap. In addition, retaining trade-in difference for sales tax, the Sunday closing law, overtime exemptions, and practical disclosure laws are among the issues WATDA has continued to represent dealers' interests to government and the public.