Automotive

The Future With Steve Greenfield

Steve and David shifted through facets of the opportunity-covered road ahead, once again urging awareness. Staying informed on what is happening, what may happen later, and how plans have changed will equip dealers to find the part of the roof that still needs to be fixed. Caution is an insufficient word in a landscape so rich with opportunities.
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The Future With Steve Greenfield

Friday's episode of All Things Used Cars was 1 part prophetic revelation and 2 parts drinking from a firehose. David Long and Steve Greenfield took the time to name the current realities of the automotive industry and traced those information points along their most likely trajectory. 

From his vantage point as the CEO and Founder of Automotive Ventures, Steve Greenfield has a keen sense of how seemingly isolated pieces of information fit together. He explained what he had noticed before the room opened into a Q&A. 

Give it to us straight, Steve. 

Knowing we had 60 minutes, Steve hit the ground running with some opening statements to best set up the question and answer time. 

The Pace of Change. Stay Aware.

News is moving FAST around the automotive world. He urges dealers to stay aware as electrification, OEMs changes, direct-to-consumer sales, over-the-air updates, subscription features, and an uncertain future for F&I shape our shared future.

Alternative buying models, like Direct-to-consumer, are getting more OEM attention and finding a way to change or dodge. The dealer protection laws are on a lot of minds. 

EVs have opened the door for OEMs to treat dealers differently. 

Opportunity: as Todd Caputo pointed out, EV service appointments are weeks behind in some places. Dealerships taking time to invest in storage, equipment, and training to maintain EVs NOW are making a wise investment in their relationship with the community. 

Recall work may soon become mostly over-the-air update based, removing a point of contact between dealers and their customers. 

Subscription features are a new and strange situation with many unaccounted-for questions. 

  • Will unlocked features transfer with a used vehicle? 
  • Will unlocked features change the value of a vehicle and, thereby, the taxes and insurance costs? 
  • What part of the subscription fees will go to the dealer who sold it vs. the OEM who designed it? 

Opportunity: Kelly Saunders pointed out people forget automatic subscription fees all the time. Dealers can help customers remain aware of their active subscriptions and maintain regular contact. 

Opportunity 2: When you replace your iPhone, Apple can transfer all your user data, subscriptions, and preferences to your new device. Learning to do the same at the dealership level will make it easy for a customer to stay in the brand. 

The Scope of Change. Look Around. 

Every potential disruption to the US dealer model is being tested, or in many cases, in full effect in Europe and Australia. Next door in Canada, OEMs are diminishing dealer roles toward delivery points and service centers. The US has special dealership protections in law, but these are already being challenged and circumvented by loopholes. 

Two questions on Mr. Greenfield's mind. 

  1. How can dealers provide a dramatically better customer experience? 
  2. How do dealers position to address emerging customer needs? 

Dealers are checking the temperature in their community. Stocking, marketing, and selling cars by establishing and maintaining relationships within their communities. The nationwide value dealers already provide to both OEMs as brand representation and consumers as genuine contact points are already well established. Steve sees leaning into informed, trustworthy, and connected consumer relationships as a good move for dealers. 

"There are as many positives as negatives. The landscape is changing quickly. My best coaching for dealers is to stay abreast of the increasing velocity of this news cycle. There are many downstream impacts that will be hitting dealers." -Steve Greenfield. 

Until next time.

Steve and David shifted through facets of the opportunity-covered road ahead, once again urging awareness. Staying informed on what is happening, what may happen later, and how plans have changed will equip dealers to find the part of the roof that still needs to be fixed. Caution is an insufficient word in a landscape so rich with opportunities.

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