For dealers worried about finding qualified employees, here's one possible solution.
Two Southern California auto dealers associations donated $1 million and vigorously supported passage of a $215 million bond for Cerritos College, a public community college.
Members of the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association and the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association now send their employees to the college's $15 million Southland/Cerritos Center for Transportation Technologies for management training and service technician training. Association members also hire technicians trained at the center.
In addition, dealership employees, dealers' children and others are earning four-year bachelor's degrees in automotive marketing and management at the Northwood University satellite campus, which is a Cerritos College tenant.
John Symes, owner of Symes Automotive Group in Pasadena, Calif., says the dealer groups got involved with automotive training at the college because the auto industry has done a poor job of training and attracting people for the future.
"There are jobs in the automotive industry -- jobs for salesmen, jobs for service writers -- but not enough trained people," says Symes, who is on the board of the Los Angeles dealer group. "We're an industry that is growing old and there is no bench."
Randy Sopp, general manager of Community Chevrolet in Burbank, Calif., agrees. During his 38 years as owner of Maurice J. Sopp Chevrolet in Bell, Calif., which closed in 2010, Sopp says his goal was to hire and train young people.