1. STRATEGY & COMPANY MISSION
At Dealers United our mission is to level the playing field for privately-owned dealerships so that they can effectively compete with MegaDealers. We do that by offering free memberships to dealers and then grouping them together as one buyer for reduced pricing; in addition, we act as their business development department by finding the best vendors based on member surveys and negotiating deals based on volume. We promote negotiated deals to the group, and if enough dealers sign up for the offer, the deal ships and they all receive the discount.
2. MARKETING OBJECTIVES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Currently we are just building the brand and getting the word out. We had a soft launch in October and our hard launch was November 15, so we are still in the beginning stages. We are continuing to work to build a brand and spread the message by informing the industry about what we call “the scary facts” taking place. The scary facts are MegaDealers are selling more cars, gaining more ground and have access to more and more capital. Meanwhile, independent and privately-owned dealerships during the same time period are losing ground and selling fewer cars, and some of them are disappearing. We’re trying to bring awareness to the industry so they can see the problem and fight back.
Our marketing opportunity is really just promote what we are doing to every single dealership in the country. The opportunities to do that are through print media, direct email, direct mail, indirect endorsements and trade shows, and also through NADA Twenty Groups — so we can continue to spread the message and inform the dealer body about this trend.
3. MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
Right now our biggest management challenge is building a team. I have experienced building a team at HomeNet and I know how effective a good team can be because HomeNet has as good a team as I can imagine. So, with Dealers United we are building a new team and starting from scratch. We are looking to find the right people, bring them together, get them working together effectively, and having them all on the same page as we get this company going without having a repeat process. Everything is new; there is no real way to train someone on how to do their job. We’re kind of creating the playbook as we go. That would be the biggest challenge right now. It is something that I have done before and something I am familiar with, but it’s still a big challenge.
4. INDUSTRY & MARKET SITUATION
Well, used cars have been the big hit over the past couple of years. But now I see new cars becoming the next big hit again. It has always been a pendulum. I see it swinging back to new cars because the technology is improving, and the economy is recovering — so people want new cars again. Large MegaDealers are in the best position to weather the economy, sell those new cars and be around for the glory days that are ahead of us. I am afraid there are many family-owned dealerships that aren’t going to survive until then … that’s what we aim to change. In fact, if we have anything to say about it, we will affect the future of the car industry.
5. MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT
Our most significant accomplishment is this: we now represent more rooftops than all of the publicly-traded MegaDealer Groups combined.