Toyota Abandoning Julie Hamp: Missed PR Op, Japan Male Myopia, Power Sharing, or Just Another Diversity Disaster?

Toyota and Julie Hamp – Automotive Digestibles Blog – July 2015.(1) docx

How much of the story do we know?

Julie Hamp came to Toyota as head of Global Communications with a great track record from GM & Pepsi. Toyota PR had been run by a white male who held the position for 23 years. He and the PR department seemed to be overwhelmed during the various crisis at Toyota over the years from unintended acceleration to recall mismanagement.

So in comes a bright, experienced female public relations executive and immediately Japan and the male team in Torrance are touting how Toyota finally has renewed diversity and hailed Julie Hamp as the highest ranking female in all of the Toyota organization.
Then, she goes to Japan for meeting with the Japanese management, She has severe pain in her knee such that her family mails her 57 oxycodone pills in desperation. The package was labeled “Jewelry” so the Japan postal authorities opened it. There were pendants in the box with the pills at the bottom.

From there, all reason and fairness were lost and the Japan press & obsessed authorities set out to discredit Julie Hamp with all kinds of backstory content including her $3 M house, suggesting that there must be something suspicious about all her activities including a Rolex watch gift to her daughter. What this had to do with the case, it is still not clear. BTW, nearly every Toyota executive in the U.S. lives in a $3M house in Palos Verdes, Orange County, or Manhattan Beach.

Did President Akio Toyoda cop out on the company’s diversity policy, showing his true colors about women in management?

What is clear is that Toyota really hasn’t changed much in the last 25 years. Further no company, entity, or group has gone to bat for this competent communicator—and definitely not Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota, who essentially threw her under the corporate bus; nor any of the business newspapers, the Japan press, or Toyota’s marketing and PR departments, the U.S .government, and most of the white males and Japan shadow management.

How will or has Toyota’s PR handled a real PR problem?

It would seem that the Toyota PR machine, U.S. press, Wall Street Journal and –others could have found out, explained, and really made a max effort to get the facts, to find the truths, whys, and real circumstances and set about to support and explain this whole unintended situation. It is still not too late.

Instead they and we stood by and watched this competent women being feed to lions of Japan’s paparazzi press and the tradition-bound Japanese male management.

For example, such questions were not answered anywhere by anyone.

Why did Julie Hamp do what she did?
Does she have a severe medical condition that required prescription painkillers?
[She did]
Why did she have so many painkillers? [Because she was going in in Japan for a while]
Was the oxycodone prescribed by her doctor? [Of course]
Why was the oxycodone “mailed”? [She apparently forgot her jewelry & the prescribed pain medication]
What was the real story & the real reason all this happened?

The real question we may never know what really happened might be:

How much was she paid in severance to keep a confidential lid on what really happened? [Estimated to be as much as $500,000]

These “don’t tell or” covenants are common in corporate America, particularly with Asian car companies and have happened to several female executives who have been fired or let go by Asian OEMs.

Corporate lawyers structure binding agreements with fired employees that any and all their severance payouts and benefits are only valid if they say absolutely nothing. So if an executive like Julie Hamp is, in effect, fired– she must have income or resources til she can get another job or sustain herself and family while she recovers from the shock. — So the real reason for executive departures never gets revealed or even dealt with.

For whatever reason, to date this matter was not handled right by Toyota, Mr. Toyoda, the Japanese authorities, and the international press corps. Will any of the players be able to find out and reveal real reason for all this unfortunate incident? Not likely.

Will Toyota ever do something about its long standing diversity problem by empowering women to really run things?

If Mr. Toyoda wants to really show that he is concerned about diversity, the corporate image, shareholder earnings, and car sales worldwide, then how about immediately promoting or recruiting a female executive to the # 2 spot in the Toyota org chart and let her be a candidate to replace him?. And being a family member or named Toyoda does not count.

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Top 20 Anti-Retirement Actionables to Keep You Alive & Awake During the Day

No RetirementPeople either cannot wait to retire, cannot retire, and/or should not ever retire.
Here is a listing of alerts, actionables, and anxieties about your retirement.

1. Realize that you will be missed at the office for no more than a week and they will blame everything on you for at least a year after you are gone.
2. Transform one room of your paid-for house into an office & make files for everything
3. Know that are now an entrepreneur and that everything you do is tax deductible
4. Have a reason to get out bed in the morning – find a cause immediately
5. Stretch and breathe deeply every two hours –Deny & lie about your age at all times.
6. Maintain or develop “Big Picture” POV in spite of your past insularity & indifference
7. Create and express what you want to do with or propose to anybody on One Page
8. Blog, create a Website, Get on Facebook, Twitter
9. Text your kids and consulting prospects regularly
10. Clip, cut, and paste articles from newspapers, magazines & Websites
11. Develop a “Fix List” of things or problems you want to help fix
12. Schmooze a lot on the phone and social media and when walking the dog.
13. Do & say what you want to do when and where ever you decide
14. Don’t be a grouchy old person but do speak your wisdom slowly & confidentially
15. Drink lots of water and do not take pills unless you are terminal
16. Realize how smart & wise you are but that no one really cares or gives a damn.
17. Hang out with Millennials and 5 year olds as much as possible
18. Realize that there are already too many consultants, lawyers, & diets.
19. Consider Botox, Night cream, and mouth wash but do not dye your hair.
20. Stand up as straight as you can and smile even when you feel like shit.

Chuck Parker
Automotive Digest
In Retrenchment 2015

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“All is Lost” or Not for UAW? – How Now to Be the Comeback Kids

vw-announcementThe Situation: The UAW lost the vote to unionize the VW Passat plant in Chattanooga.

By how much did they actually lose? Really on by 86 votes which means if 44 workers changed their vote in favor of the union, the UAW would be “in the plant” and back on the American labor scene.

More to realize & know: 165 workers declined to vote. What if the vote would have been compulsory? Why did they not participate?  After all, they had 3 days to cast a vote.

Why Did the UAW lose?

1. Detroit Syndrome – The anti-union theme was that Chattanooga would become another Detroit if the union got in, and that the union was really responsible for much of the Detroit OEMs going into bankruptcy.

2. VW Worker Mentality – Most VW workers in Chattanooga feel that they’re being well-paid and given respect. Some felt that the union would bring conflict and confrontation to a new plant that has created jobs in Tennessee. Also some talk that the union was making false promises. And, oh, the South is supposed to be anti-union, ironically.

3. Political Pressure:  Seems that nearly every senator, representative, and city  official (most of whom are Republicans, btw) encouraged or supported an anti-union vote.

4. Outside Campaign Money – Gordon Norquist and another front organization for the Koch Brothers funded and erected 13 billboards on the streets of Chattanooga, designed to scare, influence, and buy public opinion – including workers driving to the plant every day. This kind of intervention with money into corporate-union affairs has more dangerous implications than the “Ball of Money” that will be coming into the forthcoming congressional and presidential elections.

So, What the UAW Should Do Now to Create New Worker-Owners?

  1. Union Organizing – Stop seeking votes to unionize. Rather start working with workers and “owners” [OEMs, and big dealers BTW, too] to deal with the real reasons for the union and union vote in the first place. All worker communication via Facebook, Twitter, and texting should be to educate and involve workers with the economics, the global automotive market, and their role in the production of passenger cars and trucks.
  2. Works Councils – Immediately start working with VW management to introduce and establish German style Works Councils at the VW plant and in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama. Make these Work Councils the new American work model that will bring true “union” to the company and its worker team.
  3. Create ESOPs– Yes, the time for Employee Stock Ownership Plans is back and working.  Several innovative dealerships are now getting their employees involved, committed, and owning a piece of the action.
  4. Find Visionary Corporate Leaders: It is time for corporate America to deal with the total employee management issues that are holding the country back – from wages to health care, to retirement portfolios and working conditions. This would solve the issue of worker productivity, participation, and commitment to the same ends as the CEO and the management team. Share the returns, the risk, and real reasons why dealer principals and bonused OEM management are actually successful right now.

Hello, America: Is the role of the American worker “lost” and does the outcome of the vote for a unionized work environment really say something to all of us, other than it being another setup back for the long standing UAW.?  It is time for someone, some group, think tank, TED talk, business organization, or trade association to step up and work together to bring really “union” back to UNION USA?

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Is Microsoft Killing Us Softly? Or Have We Hardly Noticed?

OnStarDoes Microsoft seem to be surfacing more and more in the automotive systems technology at Dealers & OEMs? Has it been embedded in all industry systems all along?

New Management in Bellevue: With changing of management at Microsoft, what does this mean to the automotive retail and dealer distribution channel? And how “deep” is Microsoft in the systems development and applications now and in the future at both the OEM and dealership levels

Most Recent Visibility at NADA 2014: Dominion Dealer Services leadership was resolute about its partnering with Microsoft at the recent NADA press conference in New Orleans. You can see and hear a rather long video that tends to be really all about DDS and not so much about how Microsoft and the DDS systems, like Market Center. CMX, CRM and Reputation management can be integrated into a dealer’s existing system and way of doing business.

What This week’s Business Week Seeks to Explain: If you read the article in this week’s Business Week, “Time for Microsoft to Tap Its Inner Google” you will find a paragraph or two about how Microsoft is really working to get more “inside” Ford with its partnership. The article makes it clear that Google has most of the other OEM systems nailed down with their technology.

Somehow it seems that Microsoft is “there” in a dealer’s operation but just not sure other than the use of the tools of Microsoft office,

Microsoft at NADA in years past: Microsoft keeps showing up as an active exhibitor at NADA in recent years. They apparently have licensed and created partnerships with a number of automotive systems vendors, like Ryantech, that provide technology solutions as well as web and PC software to the automotive industry with the primary purpose of improving efficiencies one dealer at a time.

Over the years, RyanTech has had successes in building out infrastructure and systems for many of the most popular sites in automotive technology, be it Vehix.com or Car.com, Carsdirect.com or Chrome Systems, AAA.com, CUDL Autosmart, or Dealer.com.

What is Microsoft’s “Automotive Solution” called?

By nosing around, you find that while Microsoft has the Embedded Automotive Software they are actually reportedly trailing both Google and Apple in getting their systems infrastructure into the OEMs. Though they do have Ford, Fiat, Kia and Nissan.

Embedded Automotive provides a flexible, robust, high-performance platform that enables car makers and suppliers to create differentiated, market-driven vehicles. Support for a variety of microprocessor technologies provides the flexibility of using the system architecture that matches the requirements of car makers. With more than ten years in the automotive space, Microsoft is invested in fueling connected car innovations that go beyond the typical in-car entertainment system.

GM and Microsoft in bed early:  

GM appeared or appears to be more involved with Microsoft than is being reported. For example, they claim to be the first with a remote car link with Windows smartphones even though automakers largely have ignored in their connectivity suites until the last year or so.

Called RemoteLink, GM says it’s the “first remote telemetry app from an automaker to work on all four primary smartphone platforms – iPhone, Android, Blackberry and now Microsoft Windows phones.”

The Real Impact of Microsoft:  It is apparent the Microsoft, Google, and Apple are going to change the entire automotive industry dramatically — so we had best really pay attention and learn all we can about new systems and technology.

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Is Korean Shadow Management from the Dark Side (like Darth Vader)?

thekoreansSeems like every time one turns around, there is another firing of CEO of Hyundai Motor America. And the reasons seem to be pretty much the same — except this last time it was for establishing a level of sales success that was not sustainable.

No More Sales Surges: The new guy, Dave Zuchowski, is out to eliminate volatility in sales volume, which the Korean shadow management doesn’t seem to like. Sounds like his challenge is to never attain double-digit sales growth again, but rather just chug along with 3-4% growth every year.

Get Market Share. But: And get 5% market share back, but don’t do anything spectacular unless you can keep doing it year after year. Zuchowski came up from the sales side so he better watch it – or he will be sent away like the guy before him, the very capable John Krafcik, CEO for the last 5 years.

Dealers Always Want More: In spite of all almost unbelievable sales and market growth, now Hyundai dealers have the new Sonata and Genesis but they keep complaining about competition and slow product launch cadence. It seems it never enough and they seem to have forgotten when Hyundai quality and service was near toiletry.

NFL Coach Job Security: Being CEO of Hyundai is like being an NFL coach.  You win and get to or near the Super Bowl, you get to keep your job.  You win 5 years in a row and then have slump season, you are history.  Wonder if it is like that in the secret halls of Hyundai in South Korea?

Who are these guys from Seoul anyway? Is it time to see some transparency about what goes on in that big blue building in Costa Mesa and the hallowed hall of tough love in South Korea. Even the PR team seems reluctant to talk to media about anything other than metal. And they seem to definitely avoid putting their executives from either continent on camera.

Signs of Light: We do at least know the name of the President & CEO of Hyundai Manufacturing and the Kia management at the top is listed in the comprehensive roster of OEMs published every year by Automotive News.

Out of the Shadows: The days of shadow management and the big power in some other country seem to be outmoded, unnecessary, and even insulting, in a way, to the experienced, schooled management teams recruited from Detroit. The relationship with all those car guys who migrated from Detroit to Hyundai Motor and the Korean management group seems almost like parent-child. Combine that with the “dark side” of their management style and communications strategy (lack of) and you derive an image that is filled with insecurity, lack of confidence, and uncertainty.  Even Darth Vader has a good side and we all come to like, appreciate, and see some light in his darkness.

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New Words for 2014

wordsHere’s a sampling of Words, Terms, and Expressions you will want to use in your text messaging – words you’ll be seeing in magazines and hearing on TV (if you’re not already).

You’ll probably even hear these words used and said around the dealership. 

 

BITCOIN – New form of electronic encrypted currency.

DOX – Someone personal information.

ITAP – “I took a picture.”

LEAN IN – Process for successful women in the work place.

SELFIE – Self portrait or photo, probably snapped on a mobile phone.

TWERK – Wiggling ones rear end with feet planted in a dance.

VAPE – Electronic smoking.

CATFISHING – Using a Fabricated Identity on social media.

YOLO – “You only live once.”

DELFIE – A Drunk Selfie.

PAY-PER GAZE – Monitoring of Ad Watching on Google Glass.

SHOWROOMING – What your favorite prospects are doing when getting a new car price on their cell from another dealership while standing next to your desk.

FLASH MOB  Brief gathering for a common purpose, announced by e-mail or text.

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What’s Going to Be Bothering, Bugging and Bewildering You in 2014?

Ten Developments that are likely to impact what happens to the Automotive Channel & to you in 2014:

  1. 2014Bitcoin: Sometime in 2014, your dealership — or one across town — will get paid for a new car by a consumer (or a company ) using this new currency.
  2. Not Trying Hard Enough: Look for people like billionaire Peter Thiel (Facebook) telling us that we can fix all problems if we try hard enough – that whatever confronts us is “eminently curable.”
  3. Data Brokers:  Look for extensive action by Congress, The Feds, and Data companies to become embroiled in a debate and subsequent legislation about protecting consumer privacy.
  4. Mobile Ads: Here come the ads on your phone – with the same frequency and annoyance as TV  commercials.  Your dealership will soon be allocating as much as 20% of the dealership’s ad budget to mobility advertisements. Facebook and advertisers are convinced that consumers will just put up with the volume and intrusion of ads on a cell phone, what do you think?
  5. Cybersecurity:  Stand by – your dealership’s site and your systems providers will probably be hacked in 2014.  We as an industry have not been concerned or talked about this threat in 2013.
  6. Big Data:  The way that your dealership gains leads in the next two years will change immensely when it comes to format, sourcing, and the delivery process of such leads. You are going to “buy” leads that will enable you to almost immediately write up the sales contract and deliver the car in less than an hour.  Say goodbye to the Sales Funnel as Big Data companies match up all the behavioral and financial information about consumers coming to your dealership to buy a car – telling you exactly what a specific prospect wants, and if they are ready to buy.
  7. Social Media: Twitter will become more important to your dealership in the next year as you and your systems providers learn how to “feed” tweets and then “harvest” workable leads from responses and streams of twitterings. Facebook seems to be for your weekends and friends.
  8. Dealer Systems and Support Companies: Eventually, your dealership will have ONE major provider as consolidation and acquisitions keep happening.  In December, DealerTrack bought Dealer.com and more such consolidations will come in the next two years.  Small systems companies will either have to sell or partner with as few as 5 major vendor companies, or go out of business.
  9. Purposeful Dealer Marketing:  If your dealership does not already have a Marketing Manager who is directly and orchestrating everything having to do with communicating with your existing customers and gaining more customers, it soon will. Or at least your suppliers and consultants will be talking, preaching, and implementing full blown marketing plans, like an MBA from nearby university.
  10. Raising Your Kids:  Latest cost estimate to raise a child to age 17 [not even in college yet] is $234,900, 16% of which is food. Can you relate?

 

 

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Is NHTSA Really Prejudiced or Being Influenced by Detroit, Politics, & Bureaucratic Power Grabs?

car-fireWhat’s the Situation? There are some things that you just do not want to think – or believe.  But with what and how NHTSA keeps doing & did almost unchallenged under LaHood – and now Strickland – one has to wonder.

There are recalls almost every day and investigations of cars and companies that do not seem to be warranted – recalls that seem to lack balance, judgment, and analysis.

Most Recently, the Tesla fires: Here is another example where one has to question, wonder, and even believe that NHTA is sometimes NUTSA – if not just plain out of control. Going after Tesla is the latest reason to wonder about the judgment, purpose, and management of NHTSA: do the Tesla car fires – all three of them – warrant NHTSA’s splash in the media?

Was Toyota Really Treated Fairly and Without Prejudice? The biggest case for wondering about their judgment or even their politics was the witch hunt mentality and approach that Ray LaHood took that led the NHTSA team in seeking to literally destroy Toyota with accusations, innuendos, and releases that seem so prejudicial toward Toyota that one found oneself being almost unsympathetic to each claim of unintentional acceleration.  As journalists, many of us said the Toyota was getting a bad rap. Particularly when case after case involved a Toyota or Lexus vehicle revealed that Toyota and its vehicle technology were not to blame for accidents involving Toyota vehicles.

Cases, Big Money, and Manipulation for Trial Lawyers: NHTSA actually seemed to enable a whole bunch of ambulance chasing lawyers to bring lawsuits against Toyota and then claim most of money almost extorted from the settled cases before the got to trial. Basically, because it seemed that Toyota leadership decided it was less costly in money and reputation to just settle instead of fighting the claims, particularly in cases where the claimant or passengers were injured or even killed as result the driver performance not issues with the Toyota vehicle. Toyota just settled and went on with valor and integrity.

Domestics Catch Fire But No Heat: Every day, a Ford, or GM or Chrysler vehicle is involved in a crash where a fire breaks out and the occupants are injured, burned, or killed. Does NHTSA do anything about these fires, deaths, and responsibility? Hundreds of car fire incidents and nothing is said or publically investigated. Elon Musk remained cool if the face of what seems like an outright injustice.

Fords on Fire: See the “Ford recalls nearly 390,000 vehicles in U.S. for fire risk” report in the Los Angeles Times in June of this year and then wonder why the big deal about 3 Tesla battery fires ignited under a controlled situation

If one were to look into just how NHTSA is funded, how it is managed, and just how it is operated, it would likely open some eyes. To say the vehicle accident review process is flawed and that the NHTSA actions are not fair and balanced would be a conclusion for any citizen, congress person, newspaper, or independent agency to at least speculate.

Is NHTSA in the pocket of the U.S. Detroit based OEMs?  One can aggregate a large body of cases to verify and document such a conclusion.  Under Ray LaHood, he and his team would almost stonewall questions from journalists about the Toyota fiasco or the outright favoritism exhibiting by the management and communications of vehicle recalls. The AIN Media team made an attempt a year ago and got only a lot of verbiage and denial on video.

If in doubt, hit the Recall Button: It is almost as if NTSHA is out to get electric vehicles and new technology for starters. Where is Big Oil in all of this? And further to stymy Toyota so that it would not take any more market share from GM and Ford? So could it be the Detroit OEMs, Big Oil, and political self interest groups acting through and with an agency that is supposed to be independent, balanced and fair?

One might just guess again and wonder. Meanwhile, confidence and trust are waning.

Is NHTSA Out of Control?  Can we “recall” a time when NHTSA seemed to be “recalling” everything and every make?  Will time and some more investigatory journalism like the work of the distinguished Detroit based automotive journalist, Paul Eisenstein begin to show that  NHTSA is maybe like another government agency of late – say NSA? See and heed Paul’s research and perspective in his blog.

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Have Dealers Had Enough of New Mouse Traps, Evangelical Trainers, Eternal Conferencing, & Grubbing Vendors?

postit-faceThe Situation: Have you had enough? In listening, informally surveying, and observing what is happening with dealer adoption of vender systems, sales pitches, magazine marketing, and constant conferencing – not to mention how-to articles by eager consultants, trainers, and hundreds of salespeople – one can begin to conclude that dealer management & their team are “maxed out” on the application of technology systems, overnight transformation of their sales teams and the day-to-day management of a typical dealership in general.

Has a “plateau of platitudes & pontifications” come up on the horizon?

Key People Out of the Dealership: Further, it looks like dealer GM and principals have been sending too many key management people to too many industry conferences and listening the too many presentations by too many of the same consultants, trainers, and quasi Ziggy Zieglers.

Who is really selling cars? Have the dealer management teams reached a plateau in interest, needs, and ways to sell, service, and engage the customer? Are there too many vendors, too many sales people calling on them and taking time away from managing the dealership? More so, is it true that thousands of salespeople from a half dozen big vendors like AutoTrader or ADP, & ReyRey are spending so much time in dealerships in their territories that in some cases they are selling cars and writing repair orders in the service department?

Too Many of Most Everything: A growing case can be made that there are just too many industry conferences. AutoCon, Digital Dealer, J.D. Power, Driving Sales, Auto Finance Summit, Remarketing Week, SEMA and MEMA plus regional sessions by Digital Dealers, Internet Sales Group, Joe Verde, Tim Deese, and Leedom and more – All in the span of about 60 days.  And now Bobit is planning a super dealer conference next September – all to sell ads and gain conference profits.

Industry Providers are NOT Happy: Reports from every one of them shows growing vendor dissatisfaction, poor dealer attendance, and still more commercial pitches from vendors who must pay-to-say with exorbitant exhibitor fees and sponsorships.  Plus, the cost of sending at team to a conference can easily reach $20K or more.

Oops—Not Going to NADA? Now we are hearing that many dealers and industry providers are not going to NADA in New Orleans in January. For dealers, many feel that they have spent enough money and time sending their lead people to some conference for 3 days in Vegas. Some know and we keep hearing that many dealer reps are not attending sessions but on the crap tables or doing things that never leave Las Vegas. Take a look at that Workshops at NADA – many of the same consultants and vendor going over the same content again. We do note that the LED lighting companies got a panel on lighting up your dealership even though they wanted have their own workshop show.

Industry Publications in Peril: Another indication of the plateau of dealer management needs and succeeds is what has and is happening to industry publications: they are “Going South.” For example, the longstanding, almost institutional Ward’s Dealer Management has stopped producing a print version and has gone to delivering their monthly “digitally” on an iPad or even iPhone. Dealer magazine has taken their ad sales in-house to save and keep the commission money for the publishing company. NADA gave up on print publishing two years ago. Leedom has recently let its erudite editor go, and Dealer Marketing mag is more of an advertorial than ever. The reality is that video and editorial content are outperforming banners. Even Internet publishers of e-newsletters are finding the banner ads do not work and that they cannot rely on vendor banner messaging revenue to survive.

Things are a-changing, And we are going to see fewer of most everything—vendors, magazines, sales people, consultants, trainers, and easy how-to solutions, systems, and conferences. Maybe even fewer dealers selling more cars. The ”fit may have hit the shan” and now we are waking up to some major OMGs going into 2014.

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Tell Me What, What It Means, Tell Me Now, & What Do I Do About it?

best-practiceThe Situation: What do you do with all those Best Practices & How-To articles published everywhere, everyday – if you can actually find them buried in the magazine copy and then figure out how to implement those new ideas in your dealership..

The Real Situation:  Dealer managers are always looking for new ways to do things: better processes, more technology, smarter people and spectacular ideas. These so called “Best Practices” come from trade magazines & e-newsletters, NADA literature, consultants’ words and websites, and fellow dealers. Everybody has a better idea, and we all want to see if it will give us an advantage, a breakthrough … and we sure as heck want to sell more cars.

Most Recent Best Practices Publication:  If a copy of Automotive News actually made it off the GM or Principal’s credenza and into your hands, you thumbed through nearly 50 pages of a special slick cardstock covered insert called “A Collection of Best Practices” sponsored by Ally Auto (which had to cost them $100K to produce and advertise).

Presentation of Best Practices – Not the Best Presentation:

First off – Editorial Content in magazines and newspapers (and definitely in trade magazines) is NOT edited, laid out, or presented for easy, quick reading and understanding.

You get long sentences in longer paragraphs, non-engaging headlines and topical sentences – no subheads or sidebars – not even occasional blow quotes to show who brilliant the source of the story is.

Where have all those Best Practices Gone? In the case of this Automotive News Best Practices insert, there is exactly one summarizing side bar on Page 4 that quickly and visually outlines all the great ideas that Gary Daniels has for his fellow dealers. If you as a dealer manager wanted to “get” or read or grasp the best practices in the other 35 BP reviews in the rest of the insert, you would have to plow through each of them with a black pen to find and mark the “best practices” that you could possibly use in your dealership. It is ALL vanity unless you “dig in” and read and study the fine print.

Magazines & Newspapers Layouts are Obsolete: This old style of writing and laying out content is restricted to Automotive News, or Automotive Fleet, or Forbes. This and nearly every issue of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Automotive News has the same complex, hard to read, jammed together, un-summarized, continued on page X, and paragraphs of blah- blah information that only old retired people or anal journalists will read.  No one has time to read all this stuff. Tell me what it is; Tell me now and tell me what it means. I gotta go.

What we need and what will we read?  Newspapers and magazines needed to save trees and publish half the number of pages, shorter articles. They need engaging heads, every paragraph with a sub-head with summary lists of content in boxes, sidebars presentations, and infographics out the Wazoo. And even smaller print ads. Place footnotes, QR Codes, and related stats down the right hand side of the page. In other words: show me immediately why I should read all this stuff and what it means. Why is it important or significant? And what should I be doing about it. In other words:  So? And So what?

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