Clint Newell says manufacturers need to address problematic dealerships individually, rather than react with 'broad-brush' policies that impact the entire retail network. The veteran Oregon dealer says while automakers have made significant strides in areas such as vehicle distribution and product mix, some factory programs are reducing retailers' fixed coverage ratios.
Adam Lee isn't your prototypical dealer. He has promoted stiffer fuel-economy standards; he drives a Tesla; and he says he's not a “car guy.” But with his green focus, which has been shaped by growing up in Maine, Lee says his chain is the No. 1 seller of hybrids in the state.
Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai says the company is preparing for ‘a new era’ that begins with a product blitz in 2019 and follows with the opening of its joint U.S. plant with Toyota in 2021. Kogai believes those efforts, along with a renewed focus on customer loyalty, will stimulate Mazda’s U.S. sales.
Fullerton Automotive is helping families juggle the costs of cars and college by offering customers a free one-year membership in a tuition-discount program. The perk generates sales referrals, strengthens customer loyalty and gives buyers the chance to shave thousands of dollars off the price of higher education.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda feels the pressure of steering his company through a rapidly transforming industry where new entrants and technological advancements are forcing the family scion to rethink an 80-year-old business. As a result, he's betting on alliances and investments in areas from fuel cells to artificial intelligence. One thing the 61-year-old sees enduring through the decades is people's “friendship” with their cars.