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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Great Falls Daily Tribune
January 11, 1920

Sure Way to Start a Fight Is to Use Those Terms With Dealers, Says Roy E. McKnight, Local Overland Distributor.

If you want to start something with one of Great Falls motor car dealers—speak of a "pleasure car" or of the "automobile game."

This is the warning given by Roy E. McKnight, of the Overland-Great Falls company, distributors of Overland cars here.

McKnight says that the dealers are starting a vigorous campaign to eliminate those two words from their own vocabularies and from those of the men with whom they associate either in business or socially. In other words, these terms mean "fight" in the language of the automobile men. The campaign was inaugurated by the National Automobile Dealers' Association.

Refers to Use.

"Pleasure cars," says McKnight, "are automobiles used for pleasure only. It refers to the use of the car rather than to the type or model. If one per cent of the cars in use today are used entirely for pleasure—and are therefore fittingly called by this term—I am badly mistaken.

"The National Automobile Dealers' Association has started a campaign to eliminate these misnomers. The word 'passenger' car is applicable to distinguish that type of car from trucks. It is a word that refers to the type of machine—a passenger carrying vehicle. It is a useful and descriptive word. Why need the other be used? As I have said, it refers to the use to which a car might be put. And as no two automobiles are put to the same use it is not general enough to apply.

Discredits Industry.

"Little things like this tend to discredit the industry. Motor car manufacturers believe and are convinced that they are producing vehicles of the greatest commercial importance — vehicles that are used for business, and that helped built the twentieth century to its present state of industry and progression. Is it any wonedr, then, that they object to the reference that their automobiles are created and developed for no other purpose than to create excitement?

"It is true that they make riding as pleasant as possible. Much money is spent annually to develop this phase. But it is merely an attribute of the machine—not its fundamental purpose."

McKnight also objects to the reference, often made, to the "autohobile game." The mere fact, he says, that the automotive industry is now recognized as the third largest in the world, is proof that it is founded on legitimate and very sound business principles and not the gambling or chance elements of the game.

Bars "Auto Game."

"I met a man the other day," he said, "who had recently vacated a small tumbled down shop in favor of the automobile business. 'What are you doing now?' I asked him. 'I see you have closed your shop.' 'Yes,' he replied, 'I have left my old business for the automobile game.' Which illustrated my point. He referred to the old tumbled down business "and the automobile "game"—a difference which would be significant if true.

"Those men who consider their business a game are sooner or later to be listed among the failures. And I believe, above all others, the automobile industry has the right to be termed a "business" or "industry" whenever it is spoken of or thought of.

"The dealers want the co-operation of everybody on this point and with the assistance of the National Automobile Dealers Association, there soon will be a general campaign throughout the United States.

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