New NADA Chairman Rhett Ricart Reminds Dealers, Auto Industry that “Dealers Thrive on Disruption”


LAS VEGAS (Feb. 17, 2020)—NADA 2020 Chairman Rhett Ricart’s first message to America’s franchised auto dealers was straightforward: “You’ll be just fine.”

“Actually, we’re going to be more than just fine,” said Ricart, who on Monday took the reins of NADA at the 2020 NADA Show in Las Vegas. “There’s something to be said of auto dealers that went through wars, recessions, depressions, oil embargoes, global economic meltdowns, OEM bankruptcies, and are still upright, standing tall, and stronger than ever.” 

“I see our success every day in our packed service departments, where we’re working to staff the best technicians, and where customers come for warranty, recall and maintenance work,” Ricart said. “And that will only continue. Because if you think it’s going to be easy fixing an all-electric or fully autonomous car without a tried and true service department network to back you up, you’re in a dream world.”

“NADA is here to build and protect your business, like my own 67-year-old family business in Columbus, Ohio,” continued Ricart, president and CEO of Ricart Automotive Group. “And we are gunning our accelerator into this modern world, with an eye on advocacy, education, and compassion.”

Ricart also had an equally powerful message to the rest of the auto industry, particularly newer entrants and those that have been billed as “disruptors.”

“The new players in the game aren’t ‘disruptors.’ They’re just new,” Ricart said. “The beauty of our business is that we thrive on disruption. When you think about it, dealers make their living by confronting, understanding and ultimately harnessing disruption.” 

“For over 100 years, we have been turning disruption into dollars. And along the way we have shaped how Americans drive, how they travel, and how they live their daily lives. And in 2020, we’re going to keep doing it,” added Ricart. “We will meet disruption at the door. And no matter what its name is, we will answer.”

“In this new decade, we will bring our customers the option to step into an electric vehicle, a gas-powered vehicle, and further in the future, we’ll even give them a driverless car,” Ricart said. “Dealers are constantly re-inventing themselves, and constantly defying the odds. Sure, there are complications out there. We know what they are, but NADA is doing something about them every day.”

“The disruption will come and go. The constant is you and me, the dealers. We’re the ones who build relationships with our customers every day, mastering our markets, advancing our technology, and improving our communities. We always have, and we always will.”

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