NADA charts new auto retail path

NADA staff has been sharing the principles with automakers in meetings to review the association’s twice-yearly dealer attitude survey results. Brands that have had meetings with NADA include Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Nissan.

So far, the feedback has been “incredible,” Stanton said. “Manufacturers have been very receptive to what we are saying.”

Stanton, who attended the meeting with Ford, said sharing the guiding principles changed the tenor of the discussion.

“ ’Us versus them’ turned into a ‘we’ meeting very, very quickly,” he said. “And that’s the reaction we want.”

Shaun Bugbee, BMW of North America’s executive vice president of operations, said NADA’s guide rails align with those of the German luxury automaker.

“We have been very direct with our dealer body as we look at future initiatives — whether it be data sharing, [or] digital retail — that we would do that transformation along with our network within the current wholesale franchise model.”

Bugbee said that NADA’s position is to support and safeguard the existing franchise model.

“They’re asking for cooperation between the OEMs and the dealer partners,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all along. There’s nothing in that model that is contrary to … where we have been going strategically.”

A number of other automakers contacted by Automotive News last week declined to comment pending their review of the principles.

NADA also has shared the document with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents Ford and other major automakers in the U.S.

CEO John Bozzella said the industry trade group “appreciates the conversation and the collaboration.” He did not say whether the group fully supports the guiding principles, however.

“The desire on the part of NADA to recognize and embrace change is welcome, and I think the principles give us opportunity to talk about how we can effectively do that together,” Bozzella said, noting the franchise model is a “competitive advantage” for automakers.

“We also believe that there is continued opportunity to enhance and ensure the competitiveness of that franchise model,” he added, “and those are conversations we continue to have with NADA.”

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