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.
Mark Reuss, General Motors' head of global product development and a licensed road racer, reflects on his days at Indy 500 races with his father, Lloyd, a 35-year gm veteran. He also talks about a Friday ritual where he puts the company's upcoming vehicles through their paces. Automotive News reporter Nick Bunkley spoke with Reuss at GM's proving grounds in Milford, Mich., on May 5.
Ikuo Maeda, the executive officer of Mazda’s design division and an amateur racer, encourages his colleagues to race competitively so they can learn the “joy of driving.” He also talks about how his father, Mazda designer Matasaburo Maeda, and actor Steve McQueen in the 1971 movie “Le Mans,” inspired his career. Automotive News Asia Editor Hans Greimel spoke with Maeda at the Okayama International Circuit in Mimasaka, Japan, on April 2.
PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares has more than 500 races under his belt over the last 37 years. He talks about how he caught the racing bug as a teen and how the sport intertwines with his role as a boss. Automotive News Europe correspondent Peter Sigal spoke with Tavares after the race at Dijon-Prenois motor racing circuit near Dijon, France, on May 6.
Honda, Hyundai and Genesis dealer Terry Lee says many car shoppers are like boxers: They walk into his dealerships with their guard up. But Lee's sales team is trained to remove their gloves and adapt to the way customers want to buy. As a result, sales are increasing and Lee is on the hunt for other brands to fill his 72-acre 'destination' development in suburban Indianapolis.
In a bid to attract new parts customers online, Ed Morse Delray Toyota launched TheToyotaPartsDepot.com, solely for parts sales. Fixed Ops Director Eric Silcox says dealers should treat parts websites like a separate business that requires patience, commitment and possibly even more employees if they want to see growth.