Mike Stanton, President and CEO, NADA, Mike Alford, Dealer Principal, Marine Chevrolet

February 24, 2023
ASOTU was on the ground during the 2023 NADA Show and caught up with Mike Stanton and Mike Alford.
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Mike Stanton is the President & CEO at National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Mike Alford is the Dealer Principal of Marine Chevrolet in Jacksonville, N.C., and Trent Buick GMC and Trent Cadillac in New Bern.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is in the dirt with ASOTU. All right, we are here at the JD Power Auto Summit, the eve of the NADA convention, kind of like the pre event of the event, I would say here with Mike Alford offered Chairman 2022, Chairman of the NADA and Mike Stanton, president of NADA. Guys, first of all, thanks for joining me. Congrats on getting another show off the ground this year.

Mike Stanton: 0:26

It's great Kyle coming out of the JD Power event. I know their attendance is a lot higher than they were originally expecting. And we're seeing great numbers we're going to do better in Las Vegas here in Dallas. And it's great to see the industry coming together. We certainly have a lot to talk about a lot to figure out and a lot to learn from each other. And that's what the NADA show is all about.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:44

Yeah, you and I were kind of like trying to conjecture why why the lift in in attendance. And why that and you kind of stated Hey, there's a there's just a lot moving in our industry right now. So there's a lot of intrigue on what maybe the answers are to that. What are some of those things that you see that are kind of like, themes of things that people are seeking to answer through the events?

Mike Stanton: 1:05

If you just take a snapshot of our business right now, things look pretty good. But there's so many things going on, on the horizon, the transition to EV that move, what's it going to look like? How long is it going to take? We got the manufacturers trying to figure out what to do next. And sometimes they they they don't do a great job of considering what Dealers think about what to do next. So between the Federal Government, the Manufacturers the move to EVs, there's just a lot I mean, we're excited about it. It's a great time to be in this industry. But we also got to be collaborative in terms of how we figured out going forward.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:42

Yeah, Mike, you know, obviously, the Dealer body is always interested in what NADA has have the priorities, right, both from OEM to Dealer communication, the Dealers to the public, and then also on Capitol Hill. And in legislation, what are some of the priorities that that you've been working on, and then that are going to continue to be worked on in the next year.

Mike Alford: 2:06

You know one of the things that I love about the Dealer body is we're adaptive, and post COVID. And coming out in Las Vegas was a great show, this shows gonna be even bigger, as Mike alluded to. And I think we have done a really good job, working with all stakeholders in our industry to define what we need to do an omni channel universe, if you will, working with our OEMs to be successful Franchise Dealers and legacy OEMs. And I think you're hearing that story right now. So like, these guys, they're not dinosaurs are the most relevant and meaningful part of how we're going to be successful going forward here, irreregardless of the power trend, and that is that buzz is all over Dallas right now is pretty exciting.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:50

Yeah. So so it's, it's not that someone's going to get shoved out, you know, we've got new manufacturers coming in into the into the forefront right now with Vinfast. Just delivering vehicles and stuff like that into the into the US. What's the kind of buzz around the Dealer body as you talk to them when when they think about how to relate to the OEMs and bring their concerns? Well, and partner in kind of these next moves?

Mike Alford: 3:18

You know, I think you're hearing some tension. But one of the things we've done is we've laid out with our principles this year, you know, what the roadmap should be, and working with Dealer Councils working with OEM leadership to tackle the challenges and the opportunities ahead for both of us, whether it's ICE or EV, or, you know, as we transition to a more EV marketplace, but one of the things we're also seeing is consumer data that clearly shows they want to buy the mass market, if you will, they want to buy an EV if they're considering one, from a Franchise Dealer with rooftop that are that are meaningfully involved in their communities, and they know that we'll be there for him after the sell. So I think all of that has become we've always known that we were relevant. But I think everybody now sees we're essential going forward. And we really have been working all year to have meaningful dialogue to make certain that that's constructed in a way that's sustainable. We both win the OEM wins and we win as the Dealer Body.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:27

You know, Mike, earlier last year, we actually had a conversation a lot about the consumer sentiment around Dealers, as we move in this move from ICE to EV or a lot more online transactions. What should Dealers be communicating to customers and how's any NADA working to kind of right side the way that consumers perceive the franchise retail auto industry even though as you just said, they they obviously are saying we need that right? But there's still this perception. How are you encouraging Dealers and the Dealer body to kind of work to right side that as we go into this new new state of the Auto Industry

Mike Stanton: 5:07

Well, first off, Dealers are going to figure it out. They always do. Yeah, there's going to be some bumps in the road. But we need to work with our manufacturers. My message at the on the panel in there was just get us involved early on, we're on the front lines, we're talking to customers, these guys and gals have invested in many cases, their livelihoods in this, they've got a lot on the line. And they've got a lot to say because they're listening to customers every day. So as NADA we're there to support Dealers through our educational efforts. But they're going to get there. I mean, they've been around for over 100 years, because we know how to take care of a customer. We know how to keep them happy. And yeah, there's some challenges on the on the horizon, but we'll figure it out. We'll get there a lot faster if the Dealer opinion is considered earlier on in the process.

Kyle Mountsier: 5:50

I love that, you know, we're pro Dealer and love that story. And I think that that story is going to be prevailing in 2023 and forward but Mike and Mike, thank you so much for joining us. Congrats on an already great show. And I know the next few days are going to be amazing. I appreciate it. 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 ASOTU.com That's a s o t u.com. 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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