Doug Knust makes it his business to make sure that the business interests of small-store dealers are represented in discussions at the National Automobile Dealers Association.
The president of Harry K Chevrolet-Buick in Oacoma, S.D., and of Harry K Ford-Lincoln in Winner, S.D., has taken on the unofficial and self-appointed role of advocate for dealers in small and rural communities.
"It's so easy to think that "everybody is just like me' when it comes to being a car dealer whether I'm a big car dealer [in terms of sales volume] or a medium car dealer or a small car dealer," said Knust, the NADA director representing South Dakota.
Knust sells 275 new and 325 used cars and trucks annually at both his stores combined. He is in good company.
In fact, about 40 percent of NADA members sell 300 or fewer new cars and trucks a year, he said.
"In many small communities across our country, they're doing the same work that the big dealers are doing in the metropolitan areas, and they're keeping people from having to get in their car and drive 20, 40, 60, 100 or more miles to go have an oil change or have service work done," Knust said.