Saab may be dead, but it has loyal fans who strive to keep their cars in pristine condition. Orio North America is keeping those aging cars on the road with original equipment parts and a network of official service centers. Along the way, Orio is coming up with innovative ways to make its parts stand out, to leverage Saab's engineering know-how, and to keep its customers for life.
Motorcars Honda was losing oil-change customers to speedy independent garages. That's why the Cleveland-area dealership built a 100-foot-long, express-service assembly line. Executives say the process of pulling cars through service is slashing wait times, providing greater transparency to clients and feeding more work into the main shop.
Shahin Alizadeh says soaring property prices in big cities will only "get worse." So the Toronto dealer scrapped plans for a traditional auto mall downtown and opted to build multi-story dealerships, high-rise condos and fancy shops to maximize use of his acreage and negate rising land costs. Alizadeh says dealers and manufactures are monitoring the mixed-use development to see if it can be replicated in other large cities.
Ohio dealer Joey Huang says his mother cried when she learned he was going into the car business after getting his dental school degree. Two decades later, Huang is making a mark by advocating for minority dealers while preparing for a changing dealership landscape by working to perfect innovations that he shamelessly borrows from others.
Matick Auto Group in suburban Detroit analyzes historical sales data, gross profit opportunities and existing inventories to ensure the used vehicles it buys are sold within an average of 30 days. The strategy is becoming increasingly important as a tidal wave of off-lease vehicles and rising interest rates put pressure on used-car prices.
Motorcars Honda in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, has built a service assembly line to provide customers with a speedy and transparent experience at a 'competitive' price. The express drive services roughly 30 cars per hour and helps prevent clients from drifting away to independent shops for routine maintenance.
Nearly a third of new-vehicle clients at Subaru Superstore of Chandler near Phoenix return to the dealership to attend interactive refresher classes. That pays dividends long after the schooling ends.
Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo prefers partnerships, not capital tie-ups, as the company tackles a rapidly changing auto industry. In the near term, Hachigo is focused on increasing light-truck production to help lift Honda's U.S. sales in 2018.
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.