Auto Retail Heroes

The auto retail industry certainly is a lightening rod for lots of consumer complaints.  We’ve gotten a pretty bad reputation over the years for some shady practices.  The only problem is a minority of the people working in this industry have caused the majority of these issues.  After 25+ years of working in and around auto dealers, I have seen first hand how most of them are pretty good folks working hard to please their customers.  The issues stems from a philosophy of “good news is no news.”   Dealers doing things right all the time do not warrant a letter from the Attorney General or a consumer rights group.

But highlight a dealership that charged too much for a vehicle and they are on the six o’clock news for “scamming some little old lady.”    I know that for every negative comment or video online there are a hundred or two hundred happy customers who were very pleased  with how they were treated at the dealership.  They just didn’t go out of their way to share their feelings.

The Real Heroes 

After all my years in the industry I have nothing but the utmost respect for the hard working people in the automotive retail business.

In my mind, the heroes in our business are the technicians who get up at 5:30 in the morning show up at the dealership at 7AM, ready to fix Mom’s sedan so the steering doesn’t fail when she takes the kids to school.

The heroes are the sales professionals that help a Dad and his teenager buy an affordable car to take to college and bring them home safely on weekends.

The heroes are the managers, accountants, office staff who show up early, stay late and put up with so much government regulation it would make your head explode.

The hero is the dealer owner who meets the challenges of implementing an OEM’s new programs and then communicating the benefits of those programs to his people and customers.

The hero is the dealership that stands ready to support their community in a hundred different ways.  These are the heroes that deserve better!  And even though they face Herculean challenges every day they go out each morning and get the job done. These are the folks that have earned my undying respect.

Every time I see a negative review, or a video bashing a dealer I take it personally. I know we deserve better than that.  I want people working in this industry to have the respect they truly deserve. But we can only get that respect when we respect ourselves, exude the right behavior and take care of our neighbors. Working together with a clear vision we can make that happen.

Until we are successful in rewarding dealers and their people for doing things right we will continue to be challenged in obtaining the professional status we so badly need.

Mark Dubis