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Auto Dealers Announce Nationwide Initiative at Centennial Celebration



Jonathan Collegio

Jonathan Collegio

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs

It's day three of the auto industry event of the year, the NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, where America's new-car and -truck dealers are celebrating the 100th anniversary of NADA and of the industry as a whole.

And after another record year of new-vehicle sales (17.5 million new vehicles in 2016), the 23,000 convention attendees have a lot to celebrate.

Following a truly epic centennial party at Mardi Gras World, NADA's 2017 chairman, Mark Scarpelli, made it clear yesterday that the industry's attention is laser focused on innovating for the future.

In his first official speech as chairman, Scarpelli unveiled a new project designed to help local dealerships showcase the myriad benefits they bring to their customers, their employees, and to communities across the nation. The initiative utilizes videos, social media platforms, and PSAs to communicate the advantages of a strong and vibrant franchise system.

“There are five hallmarks of any local dealership in America today: We are local; We are modern; We are diverse; We save people money; And we create great jobs.” –Mark Scarpelli

“But doesn't come from the perspective of dealers,” said Scarpelli, explaining what makes so unique. “It comes from the perspective of our customers, who benefit through lower prices on sales, financing and service. When local dealerships compete against each other, customers win.”

My dealership saves people money:

Approximately 16,500 local new-car dealerships across the country compete with one another for the business of more than 17 million new-car buyers a year–-that's an average of more than 47,000 customers a day.

My dealership creates jobs:

The average dealership job pays almost $70,000 per year, with benefits, and provides opportunities for growth and advancement. It's not uncommon for someone to start out as a lot attendant and, with hard work and dedication, rise to service manager, overseeing millions of dollars of service and repair work annually.

My dealership is local:

About 8,000 dealership companies own the 16,500 franchised new-car dealerships across the country. About 4,000 of those companies own only one store, and about 6,000 own only one or two stores. What's more, roughly 80 percent of these stores are local family businesses that have been around for generations-many even dating back to the early 1900s!

My dealership is diverse:

Local dealerships provide gainful employment for more than a million people nationwide, and companies doing business with dealerships employ another million workers. But you may not know that dealerships can also be incredibly diverse workplaces, because they reflect the communities they serve.

My dealership is modern:

Today's dealership is not your grandfather's-or even your father's-dealership. Local dealerships are now modern, efficient businesses with high-tech systems and skilled workforces. Success is measured by customer satisfaction and how well the dealership staff knows its products.

Scarpelli said the new initiative is just the next step for an industry that for more than 100 years has been the conduit to reliable and affordable personal transportation for American consumers from all walks of life.