NEW ORLEANS – In his first official speech as 2017 chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Mark Scarpelli on Saturday unveiled a new initiative designed to help local dealerships showcase all the benefits they bring to their millions of customers, the 1.1 million dealerships employees in the U.S., and to countless communities across the nation.
The initiative – MyDealership.org – utilizes videos, social media platforms and PSAs to communicate the significant benefits of a strong and vibrant franchised dealership network.
“There are five hallmarks of any local dealership in America today: We are local; We are modern; We are diverse; We save people money; And we create great jobs,” Scarpelli told the audience at the NADA Convention and Expo in New Orleans on Jan. 28, 2017.
“But MyDealership.org doesn’t come from the perspective of dealers,” said Scarpelli, explaining what makes MyDealership.org so unique. “It comes from the perspective of our customers, who benefit through lower prices on sales, financing and service. When local dealerships compete against each other, customers win.”
“It comes from the perspective of dealership staff, who benefit from gainful employment at all levels, with opportunities for advancement. Did you know that local dealerships employ more than 1 million people nationwide?” he asked.
“And it comes from the perspective of local community leaders, who benefit when local businesses like ours plant roots, contribute to the tax base and give back to local community. “
Scarpelli stressed that the bottom line is the auto industry is “a people business, no matter what. Period.”
“It starts with the people we employ,” he said. “The ones who sometimes get in at 6 a.m. and don’t leave until 9 p.m. or even later. It starts with the customers we see, walking through our doors and then coming back when they need help over the life of the car. And it starts with all of us: Dealers who have pledged our lives and our livelihoods to this business – come hell or high water.”
Scarpelli said the new initiative is just the next step for an industry that for more than 100 years has been the conduit to reliable and affordable personal transportation for American consumers from all walks of life.
“Auto dealers carried the privilege and burden of answering one question: How could we sell an automobile to everyone? We knew from the beginning that this engine with four rubber tires wasn’t a luxury or even a fad: It was a necessity, and it was here to stay,” he said, noting the founding of NADA, which is now celebrating its 100th birthday. “So when the government proposed a luxury tax on automobiles in 1917, NADA was born. This was just the first of countless examples where we stood up to protect not only ourselves, but our customers, and to keep cars affordable. Ours was an association at the forefront of helping dealers do the job of selling and servicing cars to the people who wanted them, whether blue or white-collared.”
In closing, Scarpelli made the standing-room-only audience a promise: “I will be your gatekeeper for this great industry. When I sit across the table from a member of Congress, I’ll show them how we save our customers money in the finance process, not cost them. When I’m on the phone with federal regulators, I’ll tell them that our job is to serve American consumers, not ourselves. When I meet with the manufacturers, I will encourage them to enact programs which help you, not strain you. And I will do my best to make sure that I hear from you, and you hear from me. Because the most important part of our relationship over the course of this year is communication.”