4th-gen Charlottesville dealer on growth, healing city, and not letting 'fat' creep inSept. 18
Liza Borches comes from a long line of Virginia car dealers. After nearly seven years at Honda, she joined the family business - just as her father was thinking about an exit strategy. They would soon work together to put the company on a growth path, keeping in mind lessons learned during lean times. Now, with Charlottesville in the spotlight, Borches has taken up the challenge of helping a wounded city move on.
S.C. dealer on factory mandates, grim outlook for small stores, 'saddest day'Sept. 11
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.
Mich. car dealer's 'epic' off-road store creates path to productivity, savingsSept. 4
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.
At age 17, he had never sat in a new car. Now he's guiding 7 dealerships.July 17
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.
Dealer Alan Starling on Tesla's Musk, GM's dealer-performance measure, the chains of quarterly resultsJune 26
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.
A brutally honest take on 41 years as a car dealerJune 19
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.”
An inside look at an employee-owned dealership groupJune 5
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.
Dealer Terry Lee: People 'love to buy, hate to be sold'May 1
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.
How a Chevy dealership became an oil-change juggernautApril 3
Nurse Chevrolet Cadillac in suburban Toronto has transformed itself from the 'king of the three-hour oil change' to a 29-minute-or-less lube, oil and filter destination, thanks to a NASCAR-like pit crew. The change has drawn more customers, accelerated the careers of workers and lifted the store's bottom line.
Lessons from dealers' online parts venturesApril 17
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.
Small dealer on battling giants for acquisitions: ‘Give us a chance’March 20
Fresh off a $12.5 million relocation of his Nissan and Subaru franchises, Iowa dealer Dave Wright is hiring and on the prowl for acquisitions. He believes smaller retailers can compete against larger groups in the hunt for dealerships by using seasoned talent and nimbly closing deals. With a focus on expansion and developing a workplace family, Wright insists: “We're way too invested now to die.”
How a dealer's reluctant son became hooked on the car businessMarch 13
Like many dealers' kids, Matt Laughridge was wary about a career in auto retailing. That changed after a fishing trip with his dad. Now at 29, he's putting his personal stamp on his family's Hyundai and Buick-GMC stores -- as well as other ventures.