I was at the LA Auto Show last week. I must say, I never imagined the SUV segment could be subdivided so many times. Many automakers introduced new SUV models that were, in the case of OEs that had tended towards larger models, smaller. Or in the case of OEs such as Subaru, who tend to smaller models, larger.
As automakers increasingly move towards common platforms it makes sense to build multiple variations on the same platform, I suppose. And dealers should welcome more models to offer customers. I foresee a future where someone goes online, or walks into a dealership, and builds a car from the platform up. Personalized vehicles in the extreme. Those who still actually buy cars, that is.
Perhaps Subaru is preparing for that future by referring to its dealers as “retailers,” as Tom Doll, president and COO of Subaru of America told the gathering at the 2017 AutoConferenceLA, the annual J.D. Power/NADA-sponsored event.
Doll had some interesting observations on the evolution of the auto retail business. “People care less and less about how a car works,” he said. They only care about the technology in the car, said Doll. This was in the context of how a change from internal combustion engine drivetrains to electric vehicles could happen quickly and “it could be irreversible,” said Doll.
He also said that ride sharing may have a place in the auto business, but the vast majority of people will still want to own a vehicle. Hopefully not wishful thinking.
On to this week’s issue. Len Bellavia returns this week with a column on his favorite topic (and a favorite among our readers, as well), Right of First Refusal. He recommends looking to stock transfer transactions as a way to hinder a ROFR. Read his column to find out more.
I talk to dealers a lot and a recurring theme is the importance of finding and retaining the right employees. Keeping those employees engaged in the dealership’s mission – and thus in their job and in the dealership’s customers – is crucial. Evolve Performance Group returns this week with more on employee engagement.
I will be at the Women in Automotive conference in Palm Springs on December 9-11. I hope to see some of you there.
Meanwhile, check out our Transaction News.