In his outgoing remarks as 2019 NADA Chairman, Charlie Gilchrist thanked America’s franchised auto dealers for heeding the call to become involved in NADA, saying it was instrumental to many successful initiatives throughout the year.
“Last January, I challenged all of you not to be just a part of NADA, not to be just a member of NADA, but as we faced the challenges of the coming year, that we would do this together as a team,” Gilchrist said during his Saturday keynote address at the 2020 NADA Show in Las Vegas.
From combatting the threat of broad-based auto tariffs, to working to keep new vehicles affordable while preserving the sustainability of new-car departments, to addressing the technician shortage, Gilchrist reminded tens of thousands of auto dealers attending the 2020 Show of the many issues that NADA confronted – on behalf of, and hand-in-hand with, franchised dealers across the United States.
“Our identity as auto dealers is unique. It means fighting for our franchise system. It means holding our ground when Washington threatens our stability, so our employees and customers have security tomorrow. And it means doing it together, because one dealer can accomplish some things, but many dealers together can accomplish anything."
Gilchrist – president of Gilchrist Automotive, which includes Buick-Chevrolet-GMC, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen franchises the Dallas-Fort Worth area – urged dealers to stay vigilant, but also to prepare for a bright future for years to come.
“Every dealer has a tremendously bright future ahead,” said Gilchrist. “Don’t let others define who you are. Hold strong to your identity.”
“Our industry is going through an evolution, not a revolution. There will be a wave of change, but we’ll adapt to it, and we’ll be stronger than ever. Despite so-called disruptions to the dealer network, and myths about mobility, we are holding strong. In 2019 we sold 17.1 million new cars and light trucks. There are over 278 million registered vehicles on America’s roads today, and that number is only growing.”
“Lightning-fast technology will continue to change vehicles for years to come. But customers are still buying and owning their cars and trucks. And they’re still going to their local auto dealer to get them.”
“It is clear. If you are an auto dealer, if you work in a dealership, our imprint on America is unmistakable, our contributions are undeniable, and our potential is immeasurable. We are the auto dealers of America, and we are NADA.”