Everything Must Go! The Auto Industry is for Sale

Hello, fellow gearheads, service managers, general managers and more! Welcome to this week’s episode of Service Drive Revolution.

On today’s episode, we read and discuss an article by the Wall Street Journal, you’re going to see me get a little fired up about NADA, and Christian, a.k.a Chris-Chin, brainstorms some ideas about how the auto industry needs to start thinking outside the box. Oh and Christian not only blesses us with one of his side-splitting jokes, he gives us TWO! And what is even crazier is that I actually laughed this time. 

Yes, a real laugh. 

No, I am not lying, nor is Christian forcing me to write this.

I sure needed that laugh though, because discussing this Wall Street Journal article is making my blood pressure skyrocket a little. And talking about NADA, or as I like to call them, NADD (National Automobile Dealers Disassociation), doesn’t help either. 

The Wall Street Journal article that I am referencing is named “Everything Must Go! The American Car Dealership is For Sale” by Nora Naughton. 

If you would like to read this article, click here. 

It really is a well-worded article, full of facts and helpful insight, but I can see how it could spark fear or anxiety to those of us who work in the auto industry. We live in a society where humans are becoming so used to instant gratification — or as I like to call it, the “Amazon Prime” business model — and this is beginning to affect dealers across the country. I’m not trying to say “I told you so”, but I tried telling NADA years ago that Tesla’s “no-dealer” business model was going to be the next big thing, but did they listen to me? No, no they did not. And look where we are now. You shoulda listened, Paul. You should have listened. (For legal reasons, this is a joke. I poke fun because I caaaare, NADA.)

Car dealerships are in a huge crisis right now. They’ve been deemed irrelevant by many, and it seems like there’s not much hope for the future of fixed ops dealers. But Christian found some unconventional ways that will save this industry–and make it relevant again!

Christian starts his list of 4 Unconventional Business Practices with everyone’s favorite company: Disney. If you’ve ever been to a Disney park, you know how the fast-pass works. So, what if we could use the same system in our shops? That’s right: it’s time for the Dealership Fast-Pass! 

This business model could definitely work. Not only for priority service for our customers, but for valet/pickup services as well.I think there is a lot of potential here, but we would need to approach it correctly. The only way this could work for dealers is if the fast-pass model is included in every service, not as an extra add-on that the customer pays for. We would want to raise our labor rates to offset the cost of the fast-pass service instead of giving the customers a choice on if they want to purchase that option or not.

So what do you think? Would you like to use this fast-pass system at your dealership? Let me know in the comments!

Christian’s next idea is all about food. Specifically, pancakes. He introduces us to the idea that IHOP’s mindset of “Any news is good news”, is great for media and PR. Making a big hum-drum about the tiniest business decisions – like IHOP changing their name from “International House of Pancakes” to “IHOP” – can convince the masses that the business is worth talking about. Pretty smart, if you ask me!

Christian continues on the subject of food and brings up his next idea. Chick Fil A uses their moral beliefs as a marketing tactic (being closed on Sundays due to religious beliefs); could this work for dealerships, too? I give a different approach and explain that although this tactic definitely reaches a certain audience, it can alienate a large portion of the population as well. 

And last but not least, Christian’s last idea is stolen – ahem, borrowed – from Staples, specifically on how they keep their “sublets” like UPS, in house. What are your thoughts? Should dealerships keep their sublets in house, instead of sending them out? I think this could be incredibly beneficial and could even put your dealership on the map as the local sublet outlet, so to speak.

What do we think of Christian’s ideas? I am a fan for sure, and think that these tactics could benefit dealerships in a way that we have never thought of before. With that being said, I hope you got a kick out of today’s episode, and we will see you next time on Service Drive Revolutioooooooooooooon!

Podcast

On today’s episode, we read and discuss an article by the Wall Street Journal, you’re going to see me get a little fired up about NADA, and Christian, a.k.a Chris-Chin, brainstorms some ideas about how the auto industry needs to start thinking outside the box. Oh and Christian not only blesses us with one of his side-splitting jokes, he gives us TWO! And what is even crazier is that I actually laughed this time. 

Don’t forget to subscribe and call us at (833) 3-ASK-SDR if you have a question. 

 

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