As the new president of the Motor Vehicle Retailers of Ontario (formerly the Trillium Automobile Dealers of Ontario), Jim Williamson considers it an honour to give back to an industry that has given him so much.
“Our industry is in a constant state of change and that is no different in the association world where evolution is inevitable to remain relevant and to serve its members at the highest level,” said Williamson, a third-generation car dealer, in an interview with Canadian auto dealer. “That is the commitment I bring to my fellow dealers in this position.”
Williamson, along with his cousin Todd, operates Williamson Chrysler Uxbridge, Williamson Chrysler Lindsay, and Williamson Uxbridge GM. He considers this present moment a great time to be a car dealer, even as the industry experiences massive change.
“I am very positive about what the future holds for us,” said Williamson. “I firmly believe that there is not a stronger or closer-knit industry than the automotive industry, and that we are all very lucky to be part of it.”
After his term as MVRO president, Williamson will become president of the Canadian International AutoShow for one year.
“What I think I bring to the association and, long term, the CIAS, is that I don’t believe in being an armchair quarterback. I look at the association and its importance to the role it plays as being vital to, not only my businesses, but the other 1,100 dealers in the province,” said Williamson.
“That being said, I felt it was important to give back some of my time, to be part of bringing solutions to our industry on various issues — versus sitting on the sidelines and providing commentary,” he added.
Williamson said the industry as a whole is resilient, which it demonstrated when dealing with the pandemic and the supply chain shortage.
“I think the industry owes a debt of gratitude to the association for its role in having dealers deemed an essential service. As someone who got to witness (this) firsthand on the executive, I can assure you (that) this was no easy task and proved to be a lifeline for many organizations,” said Williamson.
“On the supply chain side, the industry proved its resilience once again, as many employed new and unique strategies to further their used (vehicle) side of the business — but also realized the opportunity (in taking) pre-orders from customers to maintain (that) connection and operational cash flow.”
Williamson joined the Stellantis National Dealer Council nine months ago when presented with the opportunity by the dealer body. “It’s important to me that our dealers have a voice with our manufacturers and it’s also a beneficial relationship for both sides,” he said.