by Raymond Thomas
The function of the auto dealership worldwide has evolved as does everything in life.
For decades, from its unexpected and astonishing inception throughout the 20th Century boom/bust cycle and onward, it has inarguably been the case that the US automotive industry has impacted massively on our domestic economy.
In fact, the aggregate of all new cars sold annually has continually been a reliable reflector of the nation’s fiscal health.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) published data in 2013 on 50 states showing an amazing 18,707 auto dealerships in sum.
This same set of statistics shows that from a handful of states with 2000-odd workers via California (with an incredible 110,103 employees state-wide), the auto dealership provides hundreds of thousands with meaningful employment. Earning potential is also good with salaries ranging, in general, from $40,000 – $60,000+ which is a comfortable income in today’s ailing economy.
Financially, hundreds of billions of dollars are made in sales each year with the corresponding amount of tax pouring into our government coffers.
From the innovative production-line techniques pioneered by Henry Ford – in itself creating tens of thousands of new jobs – and beyond, the car business has always been big business with manifold positive effects.
There are two distinct ways in which the auto dealership has a pivotal purpose in every community, from the small local outfit to the large chains.
The significant variety of career paths and job positions available within the dealership
The domino-effect of the auto dealership on other industries
Career options within the auto dealership
Clearly, the size of an auto dealership will dictate the number and variety of positions available. We can generalize, though, and say that each dealership requires around ten distinct areas of specialty.
For any given town or city, this is a great boost for job seekers angling for a career path in the automotive industry.
From the eye catching arrangement of the vehicles by the Lot Porter – also responsible for a wide remit from detailing cars through detailed vehicle inspection and admin – ending up with the General Manager, there are numerous key roles available.
The importance of the Receptionist should never be overlooked. Hire carefully for this vital post. They should be efficient and flexible with a thorough overview of the whole business. This will enable them to direct customers to the most appropriate salesperson.
Administration affords multiple avenues. Copious amounts of paperwork and a high degree of communication (face-to-face, by phone, mail and online) means that many tiers of admin jobs exist by necessity in all auto dealerships.
The sales consultants today are usually cleaved in two: the Automotive Sales Consultant and the Internet Sales Consultant. Each performs to their strengths and each contributes equally to the overall success of the automotive dealership.
At management level, the same division is made between those working online and offline.
The F&I (Finance and Insurance) Manager deals with vehicles bought on finance and, obviously, offers subsequent insurance if it’s the best fit for the customer.
At the upper echelon, the GSM (General Sales Manager) and GM (General Manager) wield most clout and their duties are simply too all-embracing to summarize without an independent article.
So, as you can see, the auto dealership does not just dole out a bare job or two in any given location but provides widespread, sustainable employment on a grand scale.
How the auto dealership impacts upon other industries.
It’s not merely within the auto dealership industry that substantial dividends are reaped.
Here are several key beneficiaries of people selling cars… The following is brief and is by no means a comprehensive list.
Steel industry and machine tooling manufacturers
Self-evidently, cars need materials to be constructed from and tools with which to make them. Both of these trades have flourished as a direct result of the auto dealership.
Maintenance/servicing and repairs
All cars need both of the above and a disparate spread of businesses have started in order to service these needs.
We all need fuel for our vehicles.
Setting aside any debate on the environment, for now huge sales of gasoline spring from our widespread car ownership.
All car manufacturers are intensely aware of the eco-impact and finite nature of fossil fuels and are thus actively producing and further developing alternatives to gasoline. This will consequently create still more jobs.
With mandatory insurance, the auto dealership has added to the income of existing companies and caused new insurance brokers to set up shop. These run from standard outfits to those offering cover to those with violations, bans or a penchant for upscale sports cars.
The ad industry in all its forms, from print and press to new media, has benefited massively from auto dealerships advertising their products.
Whenever a gap in any market appears, some innovative individuals will plug it.
From specialized companies customizing cars in any number of ways externally and internally, there are also tuning firms who will extract every last ounce of power from your automobile.
In addition to the abundant number of ways outlined above in which the auto dealership is the gift that keeps on giving, the future glimmers even brighter.
Electric and hybrid cars will spawn new industries to support them.
Now, blue-chip companies like Google and Apple are installing Android and iOS in new car models. Bluetooth connectivity is becoming almost expected. Many new vehicles are Internet-enabled.
When we scrutinize the ways in which the auto dealership rolls out a shower of benefits for the US – indeed for most countries globally – it is clear that selling cars is merely the iceberg’s tip.