DaimlerChrysler last month created a new position at its Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters dedicated to dealer relations and gave the job to Fernando Falcon, 37, from the Denver sales and service office.
Falcon spoke with Staff Reporter Michael Woodyard about his responsibilities. Edited excerpts follow.
What is your background?
I've had 13 years of field experience. I started off in Chicago, then went to Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington and was in Denver before I came (to Auburn Hills). I've developed strong working relationships with dealers and, having that under my belt, I understand their perspective.
Will all of DaimlerChrysler's dealers be Five Star (top-rated) dealers in the next five years?
We want to elevate the customer satisfaction of all of our dealers. But where we will come to in five years, I don't know. The question is: How can we use the resources in the field to build on the already strong relationship between DaimlerChrysler and our dealers?
Why does the company need someone to focus solely on dealer relations?
By appointing a senior manager who is dedicated to our dealers, it means we are serious about building on the relationship. The major point is that I'm dedicated to the communication process with our dealers. (My job is) getting to know all of the people in the company and getting to know the relationships between the dealers and the company.
How will you try to strengthen the relationship?
We are trying to expose dealers to every aspect of our business that affects them. Obviously, technology is one of the key areas. One of the technology developments is the Dealer Council Web site. We've been piloting it for 60 days and we'll be rolling it out nationally in 90 days. Any one of our dealers can go into the Web site, pull up who their representative on the (dealer) council is, and look at the communications between the council and the company. They can get answers to questions and see what's being done with their key concerns.
There are many new products waiting in the wings. How do you keep dealers up to speed on that?
We've taken the executive committee and shown them the product plan going out to 2003. This is the first time we've done this. They know what we have planned.