DONNA HARRIS

Cookie cutters are for cookies -- not dealerships

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News.

OK, mea culpa time. There was a headline on a blog I wrote last week suggesting that clinker tile might be a "clunker," depending on which dealer you ask. The blog was about dealership building upgrades.

Well, I got a call from a vendor who sells clinker tile. The upshot? The characterization was unfair.

To be clear: Clinker tile is a durable and attractive tile that many dealers swear by.

I didn't intend to pick on clinker tile.

And I don't mean to backtrack on the point of the original blog: Factories have picky and often expensive building requirements for dealerships. They want to control every detail right down to the last tile, and dealers are fiercely independent entrepreneurs who don't like being micromanaged.

The message I hear from dealers is this: You use a cookie cutter to bake cookies -- not to design dealerships.

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