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Jared Hamilton
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James Ziegler

James Ziegler President/CEO

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He's total-wrecked three, blew up the transmission in one of my Vettes, lost his license for a year...twice.

SO, I did the logical thing any parent would do,  I bought my son, Zach another car this past week...a new 2009 Chevy Cobalt SS.What blew my mind was the fact the dealership was covered up, at least 15 sets of customers on the lot...on a Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.

Then, I performed an in-store consulting visit for three dealerships in Michigan last week. (in December, what was I thinkng?) We're talking multi-franchises... Toyota, Chrysler-Dodge, and Hyundai. Once again, business is really getting better.

It's not uncommon for me to talk on the phone or email with a hundred car people a week. The message coming from many directions seems to be, as I predicted against the grain in recent speeches and magazine articles, that; business is coming back now with the bailout assured and financing loosening up. There is a lot of pent up demand and I believe, by March, as I have said all along...business will be popping again. Maybe not where it was when we were pumping out 17 million new and 43 million used...BUT...respectable levels will return.

It's been a dark period for the industry BUT I feel it's also been a cleansing. I hated to see so many dealers go out of business and disappear BUT; once again; I believe a thinning of the herd was necessary. There were too many dealers for demand. Hated to see old friends disappear, but it had to be that way.

AND, we all learned how to sell again. All of us became complacent when it was automatic... For years Honda and Toyota Sales were "Stupid-Proof".  In many cases a Monkey with a note in his mouth could stand out in the middle of a Honda lot and deliver 12 units. NOW, it's a struggle again and it sharpened our skills of finesse and persuation and follow-up.

Now, General Motors and Ford and, perhaps Chrysler, are re-visting the idea of subvented leasing programs. (Bad idea for them but great for the dealers)

My Sales manager Seminars and F&I Seminars are seeing a lot of new blood again, and dealers seem to be more optimistic than previously in October, November, and December. Is business back?

Here's the thread for comment...

Do you see it getting better?

What transformations do you forsee realistically?

In general, what comments would you like to add here?

JIM

 

 

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