Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO of AutoNation, said dealers will have to find creative ways to grow their business in an ever-challenging retail environment during an interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Spector at the 2017 NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum on April 11.
Jackson, who shared his views on several topics, said stair-step incentives were deceptive and corrosive.
“Multi-tiered pricing or targeted incentive systems in the extreme are unfair to consumers, introduce a level of mistrust at retail between consumers and dealers … and are extremely disruptive,” he said. “It’s not in [the automakers'] interest to destroy their brand and their resale value and that’s what they’re doing with these programs.”
On the topic of fuel-economy standards, restoring the midterm review and CAFE debate with new federal regulators, Jackson highlighted the importance of consumer choice in determining new rules since light trucks now account for nearly 65 percent of the sales mix in the U.S.
“This shift to sport utility vehicles and crossovers and pickup trucks is permanent. It’s structural. It’s long term because the customer passionately loves these vehicles,” he said. “With affordable gas, there is no reason to go back.”
Jackson called single-point dealers in rural towns “pillars of their community.”
“I cannot understand why manufacturers make life so difficult for rural American automobile dealers,” he added. “They care for their markets that is a labor of love and passion.”