This book is the pocket guide I wish I had when I first became a general manager of a Mitsubishi dealership in New York. Honestly, I am not the brightest star in the sky and made every mistake anyone could’ve possibly made. Unfortunately, I see dealer principals/general managers/general sales managers making the same mistakes today. The only difference is the time and consequences of these mistakes.
I got my first GM gig in 2004. That was in the beginning days of the internet, before millennials joined the workforce, and way before any viable disrupters entered the market space. It was a lot easier to get away with mistakes then. I don’t think you could get away with making the same mistakes now. The stakes are too high. Automotive retail profit margins are tiny. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the automotive net profit margin as of March 31, 2019 was merely 1.38 percent. As a result, every misstep makes it harder to stay in business.
The car business desperately needs better leadership skills, understanding of social media, inventory management, fixed operations, and so much more. There is no educational barrier to the entry into car business, and there are only a handful of universities offering a major in car dealership general management, such as Liberty and Keiser. On top of that, only a tiny percentage of dealer principals and general managers attend the National Automobile Dealer Association University. That means that a vast majority of general managers receive training on the job, even if we took business-related classes in college.
The auto business is a different animal. General information will only carry you so far. That is exactly why general managers make the same mistakes year after year. My goal is to break this vicious cycle and provide as much information as possible to ensure that automotive retail survives the disruptions we are witnessing today. We need to be ready for the next generation of car buyers, people who are more computer-savvy and not afraid to search for better deals.
According to surveys, 80 percent of millennials plan to buy a vehicle in the next five years. In fact, millennials worldwide will buy about 40 percent of all vehicles in the next decade. At the same time, they spend an average of 17 hours online before going to a dealership.
Are you ready for them?