Incoming NADA Chairman Gary Gilchrist Knows Dealers Will Be Passionate, Wants Them to Be Intentional About 2024 Challenges
LAS VEGAS (Feb. 3, 2024)—In his first address to the country’s franchised new-car dealers at NADA Show 2024, Gary Gilchrist identified the challenges the auto retail industry faces and outlined how he will tackle them as 2024 chairman, calling on the support of NADA members.
“I know how dealers think: I know we will always have your passion!” Gilchrist, a third-generation dealer, said. “But it’s your intent that we desperately need. You have a chance, frankly, to determine the future of this industry like few before you.”
In his keynote address, Gilchrist noted the unprecedented focus of government energy and resources on a rapid transition to electric vehicles. Franchised new-car dealers have already invested billions in electric inventory and infrastructure, but consumer demand lags.
“We have to be intentional in what we say and what we do to bring about the change we need,” Gilchrist said. “Let’s take a pause. Look at plug in hybrids and other ways we can lower emissions responsibly to create the future we all want for our kids.”
Gilchrist identified protecting the franchise system and the consumer experience as the second priority of NADA, highlighting the association’s recent advocacy combatting the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Vehicle Shopping Rule, which adds time, forms and confusion to the vehicle-purchasing process. In January, the FTC acknowledged NADA’s legal challenge, staying the implementation date of its own rule.
“Our efforts made a difference,” Gilchrist said. “And on this issue, passion was easy, let me tell you. But even more important was our intent.”
Gilchrist, president of Gilchrist Chevrolet Buick GMC, Inc. in Tacoma, Wash., previously led the Washington State Auto Dealers Association and the Washington State Auto Dealer Insurance Trust. He has represented Washington on the NADA Board of Directors since 2017.