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.
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.
68-year-old Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko sees an auto industry filled with aging executives who are scrambling to understand the changing car-buying habits and 'values' of young people. Masuko says CEOs and their companies must learn how new shoppers 'think' to survive in this uncertain environment. His advice comes as Mitsubishi looks to boost U.S. sales and re-energize dealerships without much immediate help from partners Nissan and Renault.
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.