Lamborghini Broward in Davie, Fla., has created an atmosphere of inclusiveness for those who enter the store. All customers at the Warren Henry Auto Group dealership can touch the pricey cars without an elitist screening process. And that sense of openness has shaped a happier workplace where employees are promoted from within and have a voice in day-to-day operations. The strategy helped the store rank No. 1 on the sixth annual Automotive News list of the Best Dealerships To Work For.
Covering other shifts, passing the hat and providing emotional support during tough times are common practices among employees at Advantage Toyota Valley Stream near New York City. Staffers also follow their general manager's lead when it comes to having a strong work ethic, rehiring 'good people' and creating a respectful environment at the store, which has been named to Automotive News' Best Dealerships to Work For list for the first time.
After working at Honda, Liza Borches joined the family dealership business just as her father, former NADA Chairman Carter Myers, was thinking about an exit strategy. He has stepped back enough to allow her to make her own decisions - some of them painful learning experiences. Those lessons have shaped a distinct growth strategy and helped her deal with pressure from automakers with inventory to unload.
Bill McDaniels has survived the scrutiny of manufacturers suspicious of the fact that he builds his own dealerships. But he doesn't see much chance for his smaller peers outlasting other trends. While seeking to expand his six-rooftop group, he foresees an automotive retail world governed by an Amazon-style ordering system and controlled by big chains. All this as he maps his own, emotional exit from the business.
Second-generation car dealer Aaron Zeigler went to buy a snowmobile and instead bought the store. Zeigler then used his experience as an auto retailer to build a dazzling motorsports facility that features greeters, an indoor service lane and a menu-based F&I system. The strategy has created group-wide cost savings in service, allowed staffers to work on both sides of the business and spawned a leadership training center.
A homeless man gave Kenneth Banks a piece of life-changing advice: “Go work for a car dealership.” Banks listened and overcame poverty and professional rejection to eventually become director of variable operations at Denver-based Mike Shaw Automotive. In this video report, hear how Banks and other members of the 2017 40 Under 40 retail class beat the odds and ascended to key positions at their dealerships.
Online retailing giant Amazon plans to expand into the auto industry by turning Alexa, its voice-enabled intelligent personal assistant, into a virtual passenger. Automotive News reporter Michael Wayland demonstrates some of the current “skills” offered by automakers that allow owners to command Alexa to perform traditional key fob functions such as remote start and unlocking a vehicle.
69-year-old Florida dealer Alan Starling has plenty of advice for his retail and factory colleagues. The ex-NADA chairman is lobbying the trade group to advocate more 'forcefully.' He also weighs in on the flaws of General Motors' system for assessing dealer performance and some handicaps he sees confronting Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
New Jersey dealer Steve Kalafer has survived recessions, product failures, brand-destroying incentives and self-destructing automakers. In this video, he reflects on his career with the same “fight for the customer” mindset he brings to his sideline as a documentary filmmaker. “I'm very proud that we are not afraid of any manufacturer when they are doing something wrong.”
Alan Batey's job is to keep GM's highly-profitable North America business humming. That's why Batey, who also heads Global Chevrolet, is closely monitoring the tightening U.S. pickup sales race without dumping huge spiffs on the hoods of trucks. He's also strengthening a 'sterile' GMC advertising strategy by showing the brand's personality. Batey says the moves are part of GM's plan to convince investors the company is a good bet.
Staffers own 30 percent of Van Horn Automotive Group as part of an employee stock ownership plan. Van Horn leaders say the retirement program has created a more-loyal workforce while giving the company an advantage in recruiting talent and adding stores. And the first ESOP financial statement sparked an “aha moment” for many worker-owners, who now realize every dollar they spend has a direct impact on their pensions.