Q: Auto dealerships adopted digital technologies much faster than expected. What does this say about the state of the industry?
Chris Walsh, Reynolds & Reynolds: This is, and always has been, one of the most driven, innovative and resilient industries. When faced with a challenge, dealers find a way to persevere. This also is a clear indicator that the industry is healthy. Dealers are operating very successful businesses that allow them to invest in new ways of doing business when it becomes a necessity, or often even before it’s a necessity.
Scot Eisenfelder, APCO Holdings: For years, the industry has been inching towards more digitalized processes, but franchise dealers have really seized the current moment to drive that part of their business forward. Dealers that have recognized this as an opportunity to change and connect with customers outside the showroom have gained market share, even outperforming their pre-pandemic sales because they’re delivering the process that consumers want. The remarkable adaptability that we’ve seen in the industry over the last year truly speaks to the entrepreneurial nature of dealers.
Phillip Battista, Darwin: The industry is evolving and so are consumers’ demands for better tools and better shopping experiences. The same can be said about the manufacturers and their desire to control the shopping experience at the tier-one level.