Dealers and manufacturers need not only to excite consumers but to deal with government issues and counteract "outdated stereotypes," said Tom Purves, CEO of BMW of North America.
Manufacturers and dealers "can work together to gain greater understanding and acceptance of our industry," Purves, the keynote speaker at the NADA opening ceremony, said Saturday. "Few other businesses share the synergy between the manufacturer, the retailer and the customer."
Purves said dealers and automakers need to:
- Promote dealership jobs, including technical positions, to banish public misperceptions.
- Address mistrust of dealers and carmakers by making the business more transparent.
- Show regulators and legislators that automakers should pursue many alternative fuel technologies.
Purves identified career opportunities as a key issue. There are more than 104,000 jobs available at dealerships in the United States, he said.
"The jobs you offer are more sophisticated and better paying than those available in the so-called service economy," Purves said.
But technical careers in particular "are plagued by incorrect and outdated stereotypes," he said.
Dealers are also subject to stereotypes. A recent survey put public trust of dealers way behind lawyers but "just ahead of the media," Purves said.
"Dealers and manufacturers need to build consumer confidence actively, especially at a time when some people might be skeptical about the long-term vitality of the industry," he said.
Making the business more transparent is one way to change the image, Purves said, adding that could help ensure that regulations affecting vehicle financing and consumer protection "bear the mark of reason."
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]