(TADA) this year and represent 1,400 of the franchised automobile dealers in 290 Texas cities and towns. I have tremendous respect for the TADA Staff because they have put together a great organization. I’m proud to be part of that. The TADA brings together many diverse and innovative individuals in different stages of the dealer path, so that we can all learn from each other. There were times when we all needed mentoring and I hope that I can return that favor by mentoring others and represent the franchised dealer network in Texas. I am humbled by the responsibility that this office bears. If you are not part of the solution, you become part of the problem. Getting involved in the TADA for me was becoming part of the solution.
As dealers, we all have a responsibility to self-govern and make good decisions for the benefit of our customers, our communities and our economy. Our role in the free enterprise system greatly impacts the communities we serve. For generations local franchised car dealers have often been the backbone of the immediate community, providing not just convenient sales and service of automobiles but being forefront in the support of local schools, churches, non-profits, law enforcement, neighborhood events, and fundraisers in times of need.
Despite the hurdles we face today as our franchised dealer network is challenged, it is my belief that we can overcome any adversity we encounter as a united and focused dealer network. Together we can and will not only preserve what we have worked so hard to achieve, but with a combined resolve, improve it and continue to be the most cost effective model of a factory and dealer partnership to sell and service new and used vehicles for the consumer.
There is no doubt that we are facing unprecedented threats to the future of the franchised dealer network with new industry players and third parties intervening between the customer and the dealer. The disruption of the franchised dealer network as we know it would have a profound effect on the local, state and national economy as well as a devastating effect on the individual communities we as dealers serve every day.
It is a unique and hopeful time for Texas dealers. We have extraordinary opportunities for growth with light vehicle sales topping 1.6 million in 2019, autonomous car technology at our doorstep as well as advances in technology that make consumer convenience, gas mileage, electric vehicle battery life, and overall safety at the highest levels in history.
Now more than ever, being a franchised car dealer is not for the faint of heart, but the system that has served us well has never been stronger. In the face of adversity we will continue to prevail, succeed and prosper. In Texas alone, the approximately ¼ million total direct and indirect jobs we create, the over 6 billion dollars in direct payroll we provide, the 289 cities we serve, and over 100,000 auto dealer employees we represent, are certainly counting on all of us to support the franchise system with eyes wide open and a focused, united determination.
I look forward to working and collaborating with all of you. We have far too many people in this great state of Texas depending on us. Now more than ever, individually and as a dealer network, we must all strive to be the best at everything we do.