Outgoing 2022 NADA Chairman Mike Alford Underscores Dealer Commitment to Evolving Business Model

NADA 2022 Chairman Mike Alford on Stage at NADA Show 2023

DALLAS (January 27, 2023)—In his final remarks as NADA Chairman, Mike Alford highlighted the evolving auto retail business model and how dealers and auto manufacturers “are connected by the desire to provide an unrivaled customer experience.”

“We are working together in a single ecosystem,” Alford said in his Friday keynote address at the NADA Show 2023 in Dallas. “When we embrace the reality that auto manufacturing and retailing are not separate entities but are components of a single, evolving ecosystem, then we have to collaborate… and continue to keep our customers first.”

“Dealers and legacy OEMs are better equipped to provide real, substantiable, and market-wide customer satisfaction than direct sellers.”

Alford, who represents North Carolina’s new-car dealers on the NADA board and is president of Marine Chevrolet in Jacksonville, N.C. and Trent Buick GMC and Trent Cadillac in New Bern, N.C., said “local dealerships are crushing direct sellers when it comes to the Consumer Satisfaction Index (CSI). Cadillac, Infiniti, and Mercedes-Benz held the top spots in customer satisfaction among 25 luxury brands. The direct sellers scored 21st, 23rd, and 25th – bottom of the barrel.”

“We also know that direct sellers are buying up land and putting up stores, but they don’t come close to dealerships,” Alford added. “We know that 11,000 Tesla owners went to GM dealers to get their Teslas fixed in the last two years alone, because of failures of a direct seller model.”

Alford also shared that “one EV manufacturer was so desperate to learn about auto retailing, they literally picked up the phone and called the NADA Academy and asked if we could provide them with our training materials.”

“The dealer franchise system is the most consumer-friendly, efficient, and effective model of distribution for motor vehicles in the U.S,” said Alford. “Dealers are truly essential to the future of ICE and EVs… only a local dealership network can provide the personal relationship consumers want.”

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