This is a big deal

We’re living in the combined contexts of the pandemic and its many impacts, and the dramatic transformation that is taking hold across the automotive industry. Amid all that, it’s easy to throw superlatives around. And as the line in the Pixar movie “The Incredibles” suggests, if everything is special then nothing is. Too many superlatives numb us to the next one. They should be used with caution.

Even knowing all that, I’m going to throw out a superlative.

Our industry has an important new resource to help industry participants find success along the path forward. Meet the Clarify Group.

This is a big deal.

Clarify is a new Canadian research and advisory firm combining decades of automotive experience, a global perspective, and some truly unique digital tools. At a time when the industry is transforming like never before, Clarify Group is going to help businesses understand the road ahead, and prosper as we move along it.

Does the industry need another consulting and research firm? I think so, and for a few reasons.

For one, the sheer scale of change that will impact this industry will need to be understood, quantified, and acted on. Not just this year, but for years to come. Industry players need a lot of support and insight to make that happen, whether they are OEMs, vendors, dealers and dealer groups, industry associations, or government. Simply put, there is a lot of work to be done.

Beyond that scale of work, there is a need for consulting and research that brings a truly global perspective, but can place it in a Canadian context. Clarify Group can deliver that.

Darren Slind, Clarify Group’s Managing Director, has a long history leading global business units for J.D. Power. Most recently, Darren led the company’s operations across South Asia, South East Asia and Oceania, supporting the growth and success of automotive clients across nine countries, including India, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. Prior to his assignment in Singapore, Darren led automotive operations in Canada and Latin America.

Finally, our industry transformation is driven by technology. Any resource our industry turns to for research and insight better have the technology chops — and Clarify Group does. They’re bringing a set of advanced tools to Canada, including leading-edge AI and machine-learning based technologies that have proven themselves abroad and are ready to make a difference to businesses in Canada.

As Darren Slind has commented, “Let’s drop the word ‘digital’ before the word tools. They are all digital and you can’t survive without them.”

If it seems I know a lot about the group’s plans, I do. That’s because Universus, the parent company that publishes Canadian auto dealer, has partnered with Darren to bring Clarify to life, and we are excited for what lies ahead.

The Canadian auto dealer team is thrilled that Clarify Group will contribute a column to every issue going forward. Look for Darren’s introductory column “The Road Ahead” on page 35. Visit to learn more.

About Niel Hiscox

Niel Hiscox is the President of Universus Media Group Inc. and the Publisher of Canadian auto dealer magazine. Niel can be reached at 289 338-0166 and

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