If you’ll allow me to alter and repurpose that well known and oft-quoted Vegas slogan, what happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas.
I know that because I’ll be reporting on it.
I’ll be heading down there for Thomson Reuter’s Automotive Retail 2023 event. I’ll be onstage moderating a panel that will stare down some of the financial concerns faced by both customers and the industry and see if we can provide some useful ideas. I’m sure we can.
After three years of low inventory and high demand that has led to record profitability, the industry faces an almighty correction. Stronger availability of inventory will impact and soften pricing for both new and used. There are concerns demand will lose steam in the upcoming months as interest rates soar and consumer demand changes.
And as a number of dealers have spoken to me about in recent months, there is a real awareness that their sales teams have a tough adjustment to make. In some cases, sales people will need to get back to prospecting and selling, not simply taking orders (and yes, I know it’s never that simple but I think the point is still valid). In others, sales people who have been in their roles for less than a few years will be dealing with a set of market conditions that they’ve never had to navigate before.
As one dealer told me, it’s a tough managerial task to tell your team that they need to work harder than they have in years, and will need to do so for less income.
Happily, there are a number of tools and experts available to help. Hence the trip to Vegas.
The event brings together a great mix of dealers, OEMs and retail-focused vendors, so it’s one of the most relevant events in the calendar. Here’s the link for more information: https://events.reutersevents.com/ automotive/retail-usa
If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. It’s always fun to connect with other Canadians from the industry, especially South of the border. If you can’t make it, look to our pages in future issues as we bring you some highlights.
Changing gears, I would like to acknowledge Gerry Malloy’s retirement. Todd has spoken at length about Gerry in his column, so I won’t repeat what he said though I share all his sentiments.
I would like to share one anecdote.
I first met Gerry when the company I worked for bought a bunch of car magazines. I was suddenly the group publisher and needed to dive in and get my head around the titles, the team, and the automotive industry. Testfest gave me the perfect opportunity to start as all our automotive journalists would be in one place, so I dove in.
After three years of low inventory and high demand that has led to record profitability, the industry faces an almighty correction. Stronger availability of inventory will impact and soften pricing for both new and used.
Gerry was the most senior and recognized of the group, and as our most important contributor he was the one I most needed some time with. I managed to corral him and introduce myself just as he was about to take a BMW Z4 for a test drive. He suggested I jump in and talk while he drove, so I did.
After chatting a bit, I asked the question that was most on my mind. As the most respected automotive journalist in the country, Gerry could write for anyone. I wanted to know why he wrote for us. I needed to know what my risk of losing him was, as can often happen in an ownership change.
So I asked the question in as straightforward a manner as possible, and I got an equally straightforward answer: “I’ve written for Lynn Helpard (the magazines’ previous owner and founder) because he pays on time.”
That simple statement formed the foundation of my connection with Gerry for the next two and half decades. What that sentence really told me was that as long as I lived up to my end of the bargain, he would deliver on his. And Gerry, you have. In spades.
And throughout that time, we’ve done it all on a handshake.
You’re a rare bird, Gerry. Thank you for teaching me so much about the automotive world, and for showing an automotive rookie just how special this industry is. Thanks for your wisdom, your words and your whole-hearted commitment.
I’m very grateful that I’ve had the chance to do it with you. I can’t imagine it any other way.