Bob Lanham, SVP of Manufacturing Relations, CarNow

February 23, 2023
ASOTU was on the ground during the 2023 NADA Show and caught up with Bob Lanham.
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Bob Lanham is the SVP of Manufacturer Relations with CarNow.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is In the Dirt with ASOTU.Michael Cirillo: 0:04

Alright, so we're here at the JD Power event. I'm with my good friend Bob Lanham. From I'm just gonna go for the title, but from CarNow, thanks so much for joining me. I'm curious. I mean, just with your breadth of experience in the automotive industry, especially the retail side, what do you think is going to be the main conversation coming out of the JD Power event?

Bob Lanham: 0:23

First of all, I think digital retail is still a topic. I mean, you cannot deny the fact that people want to buy a car online, right? Or at least get as far as they possibly can online. And then you've got a now showroom experience, right? Where people want to take everything that they've done online, come into the store and not do what start all over, like one of the most frustrating experiences there are. So I think you're gonna see a lot of partners, especially us, for that matter. Talk about that online to offline and how there's a streamline transition, and nothing is lost and the purchase experience hopefully just get better.

Michael Cirillo: 1:00

Do you find now that we've got some experience under our belts with this modern retailing, digital retailing environment that we're we're really starting to connect the dots about how customer starts offline, brings it online, goes back off live, like there's this kind of this fluctuation back and forth.

Bob Lanham: 1:17

Here's what I was thinking about the other day, like, we love to just chat about, like, what it was then what it is now. And you know, there are platforms out there, that instead of having to use to ask, you know that the folks who are buying a car, all the questions, hey, what about this? What about this, what's your passion points, what's your hot topics, but they're telling you via what they're doing online, they're telling you via their online behavior. So you just have to watch it, you just have to monitor it. And when they come into the store, they're telling you exactly how they want their deal to be structured. You're just not asking them anymore. They're just showing you how it's done. So it'll be interesting, what Dealers grasp onto that we all know a lot of the industry still likes to come on in, come hang out with us come, you know, do whatever you want to do for the next four or five hours with us. But these consumers are literally telling us everything we need to know, before they walk into the store. You just have to watch it.

Michael Cirillo: 2:17

I love people that go, the internet's totally listening to me because I was talking about Harry Potter land. And now all of a sudden, I'm seeing ads for Harry Potter land. And to your point, what you make me think of is, yeah, that's because the internet listens perfectly to your clicks to what you're clicking on to the where you're scrolling. And we can now use all of that. And to your point, eliminate the guesswork. What do you what do you see in this coming year, maybe next couple of years, as far as digital retail is concerned? How is it going to evolve from where we've seen it?

Bob Lanham: 2:47

I think you're going to see it? Well, you will see it not I think you will see it get streamlined, all the way into the last step of the front end sales process, which is the desking side of the house, right? People are literally penciling their own deal online. They're telling you exactly how they need the deal to be structured, right? There's no reason whatsoever, all of that data should automatically be in the desking tool. And that's something that we launched a couple of weeks ago, something we're really excited about. Because then all it does is give complete transparency to the Bob Lanham, thanks so much for joining me. Always pleasure to buyer and the desking manager. And you're able to go to that first pass that first pencil, and hopefully not have the back and forth. I joked I wrote an article the other day on this process, and I joked I wished Fitbit was around in the 90s. Because walking from my desk to the tower, I probably lost 10 pounds a day. Like is that not one of the most frustrating untrustworthy processes out there? Right? We can eliminate that, right? The desk manager can communicate with the sales representative right through the tool, or the to can still happen, but it's a notification. And then they walk over and maybe it's one time, right because they have already seen all of the behavior go online. So I'm just excited for the fact that I'm hoping I truly am hoping that Dealers will embrace this. It's not a new process. That's what I try to this is not a new process. This is just an evolution of an existing process that we just have to learn to adapt to. see you.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:33

Thank you for listening to in the dirt with ASOTU. We love the automotive industry and the people who make it run day in and day out. We would love to connect with you more through our daily dose of fun, a free email that you can sign up for at That's a s o t We put our heart and soul into it every day. Thanks again for listening. Join us next time for more Conversations in the dirt with ASOTU.

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