Tag: car dealer

By on November 25, 2020

Cadillac dealers disinclined to spend a sackful of money on revamping their businesses to sell and service electric vehicles received some moderately good news this month. General Motors is willing to issue them fat stacks of cash for stores that cannot rationalize the sizable expense of installing charging stations, training staff, and retooling the garage.

While it smacks of the consolidation efforts headed by Caddy’s former President Johan de Nysschen in 2016 with Project Pinnacle, and makes us wonder how the brand plans on turning a profit if it keeps eliminating storefronts, GM thinks buying out dealers who don’t want to participate in the EV experience is the way to go. Though the company has expressed an interest in gradually embracing a more digitized sales model as Cadillac strives to become an exclusively electric brand by 2030.

(Read More…)

By on November 23, 2020

Unless you happen to be the primary stakeholder in Amazon, 2020 probably hasn’t’ been the kind of year you’re likely to miss. However, there is no shortage of lobbyist groups and trade organizations willing to praise it as a triumphant time for modernity. This includes the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Chairman Rhett Ricart, who believes digitizing the industry is the best pathway forward. While he hasn’t forgotten that pandemic-related lockdowns closed showrooms and factories, resulting in extremely lean inventories and weak sales, he claims it has accelerated everyone’s willingness to utilize online sales formats.

But there’s little reason to assume such a move would be better for dealerships from our vantage point. Haggle-free, direct pricing and ordering over the internet removes a lot of what the showroom does. This new model runs the risk of obliterating smaller storefronts and relegating the rest into glorified service centers doubling as a delivery hub.

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By on November 2, 2020

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has announced a decision to strengthen diversity quotas by dividing the country into three distinct regions and passing a bylaw amendment that expands the number of at-large seats reserved women and ethnic minorities — moving both from two to three positions.

While the organization had been discussing the matter all summer, with CEO Peter Welch telling NADA members racism and discrimination had “no place in the car business” and needed to be “rooted out,” it has also begun making moves that support new inclusion and equity programs. Roughly 41 percent of the NADA employees are women at present, with another 20 percent representing minorities. But Welch said the group could and should strive to improve those numbers.

(Read More…)

By on February 19, 2019

When I was a lad, there were two family-owned and operated dealerships within walking distance of my home. Upon reaching driving age, one had already closed while the other began adding storefronts in different towns. It now has three locations, ensuring a meaty inheritance and lifelong job security for several members of my graduating class.

It’s the nature of the free market and a familiar story. According to an assessment from the National Automobile Dealers Association, singular showrooms have gone from 7,514 strong to just 4,904 between 2008 and 2018. That’s a 35-percent decline, whereas the number of dealers with 10 or more stores increased 62 percent over the same period.  (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2018

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a typical Nissan dealership, no one’s going to mistake one for the Taj Mahal. They’re functional structures, designed to hold salespeople that can walk you through the terms of a loan. Do they really need to be anything more?

Nissan says no, but it would still like its stores to undergo an ambitious renovation program that would alter the majority for the better. Executives in Japan said the brand intends to update 9,000 of its dealerships around the globe over the next five years. Changes include more prominent signage, updated customer-handling procedures, and more open concept showrooms and service departments.

However, just how much pressure HQ is exerting on North American shops to adhere to the changes is unclear. In the United States, dealerships are already subject to the Nissan Retail Environment Design Initiative (NREDI 2.0), which encourages tons of daylight via glass-fronted showrooms and wide open spaces. The overall look is extremely modern and inviting without feeling showy. Think really nice community college, rather than the hotel lounge experience some premium auto brands attempt to provide. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2018

keys car sale

You’ve just taken your vehicle to the dealership for servicing and find yourself in need of a loaner car. Fortunately, the vehicle is still under warranty and you should be able to get into something without too much trouble. This does not mean loaner vehicles aren’t a major stressor for the dealerships providing them, and it doesn’t guarantee you a car.

Small dealers likely won’t have a surplus of such vehicles and may attempt to bar you from access, especially if you didn’t originally purchase your automobile from that particular store. Luxury brands are more likely to fork over a loaner to keep customers happy. Of course, they want something representative of the brand, not some random hunk of junk sitting idle on the lot. Maintaining a loaner fleet is tedious and opens dealers to all manner of additional expenses they’d rather not have to deal with. It’s expensive and people tend to bring back the vehicles on their own time, not when the dealer needs it for someone else.

So what’s a high-end automaker to do when a customer needs a replacement vehicle while theirs is in the shop? Think laterally. It turns out there’s a multitude of loaner alternatives currently being vetted by dealers, some of which don’t involve providing a replacement vehicle at all.  (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan, Image: Volkswagen of America

Will Volkswagen TDI owners who opt for a buyback be soured on the brand, or can they be lured into a new model?

It’s a big question for dealers, who could stand to benefit from the dealership traffic they’ll see when Volkswagen’s buyback program gets up and running later this year. (Read More…)

By on August 25, 2015

4 a.m.

The alarms clocks ring. Both of them. Just in case I get any funny ideas.

I go through the semi-conscious motions. Clothes… suitcase… glasses… coffee… breakfast. By 4:15 a.m, I’m out the door and driving to the airport in a 21-year-old Geo Prizm. I figured that a 5-speed and a stark lack of noise insulation will keep me alert. Thanks to Atlanta’s penchant for using steel plates to cover up every possible pothole on the road, I am not disappointed.

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By on April 19, 2013

 

The car business can be a pain for three distinct reasons.

The first comes from the cars that you sell. Botched repairs. Unhappy customers. Surprises that just seem to spring up and bite you in the ass. I can deal with that.

The second comes from people in the industry. Employees and contractors with productivity issues. The unending myriad of regulations and paperwork. Continuing ed classes with little relevance to reality. I can deal with that too.

What I can’t deal with is…

(Read More…)

By on October 22, 2012

I have not read Automobile magazine regularly since the late David E. Davis, Jr. departed the Ann Arbor rag a few years ago. I did grab a copy of their November issue while stuck in an airport last week and was treated to a pair of puzzling pieces from Contributing Writer Ezra Dyer. (Read More…)

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