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February 11, 2008

NADA Chairman Urges Automakers to Treat Dealers as 'Real Partners'


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Photo: NADA's AutoExecMag.Com Car of the Week is 2009 Corvette ZR1. Detroit's own Kid Rock performs as the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 makes its world debut on stage at GM Style - General Motors' car studded music and fashion gala that kicked-off the 2008 North American International Auto Show Saturday, January 12, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. Chevy's new ZR1 supercar is the fastest, most powerful car ever made by GM. At $100,000 plus, it's also the most expensive Vette yet, with limited production of 2,000 units. Competition: Ferrari 599, Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 Turbo.


SAN FRANCISCO -- Dealers are "uniquely qualified" to connect three sectors that drive the U.S. auto industry -- consumers, automakers and Congress, said Dale Willey in his remarks at the National Automobile Dealers Association's (NADA) 91st Annual Convention & Exposition in San Francisco.

Willey, president of Dale Willey Automotive in Lawrence, Kansas, says after 37 years in the retail-auto industry and as NADA chairman over the past year, he now sees the role of dealers differently.

"We are the bridge that connects the consumer to the manufacturer," Willey said. "We hear everything the car buyer likes or doesn't like about a vehicle."

It's this experience that makes dealers "uniquely qualified" to help automakers develop products that sell, says Willey. Dealers gather valuable product information daily under real-world conditions.

Dealers must work with automakers as "real partners" -- not in a legal sense, but in terms of working together with one goal in mind -- producing and selling vehicles that consumers want to drive, Willey added.

Willey says manufacturers spend millions of dollars on surveys, polls and focus groups to figure out what consumers want," he says. "Just because a focus group likes something doesn't mean that consumers are going to rush out and buy it," Willey says.

America's franchised new-car and truck dealers "know better than anyone what consumers want to drive," Willey said.

In addition, dealers understand legislation that affects the industry and the difficulties automakers face in creating cars with increased fuel economy, he said. "Dealers also understand the consumer's desire to get better gas mileage."

The National Automobile Dealers Association, founded in 1917 and based in McLean, Va., represents about 20,000 franchised new-car and truck dealers holding nearly 43,000 separate franchises, domestic and international. || StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 7:31 AM | Link to this Post

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