When Bob Maguire looks at the sales slowdown, the encroachment of dot-coms and the erosion of factory-dealer relations, he sees opportunities.
Only last year the threat of factory stores and online brokers dominated dealers' thoughts at the NADA convention. "Factory stores have faded — our customers are more satisfied than ever," Maguire said Monday at a general session. "In a few short years the Internet has changed from a threat to a resource."
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors backed off plans to operate factory controlled stores during last year's convention. And dealers have taken control of e-commerce by using their own Internet sites to produce sales leads.
Sure, there are some troubling industry relations issues. GM dealers want a fair shake from Oldsmobile, and Ford dealers still are rankled by the Blue Oval program. But Maguire believes NADA has made strides in industry relations and will continue to do so with dealer input.