Today on CBT News, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Joe Shuster, Dealer Principal at Honda of Downtown Los Angeles. Shuster was instrumental in reviving the Honda dealership after it spent nearly a decade in bankruptcy. Last summer, Honda of Downtown LA sold for $80 million.
Shuster begins the conversation by sharing his story of acquiring the bankrupt auto dealership. He originally looked at the dealership in 2011 when the business was completely shut down. He left California with no interest in buying the store. After being consulted by people he trusted, he came back around to the idea of making the acquisition. Shuster said his partnerships helped put the work in place to find success early in the process. They were able to take advantage of the prime location and build the dealership up to a better place than where it stood under previous management.
Shuster says that his company was able to pivot well in 2020. He credits the success in 2020 not only to the great performance of his team but also to the lessons learned during the pandemic. He believes the lessons will continue to help his company grow.
As digital retailing continues to grow, Shuster says that he is on the fence on how much digital retailing will be embraced by the industry. While he feels that digital retailing tools are extremely necessary, Shuster does not believe the entire car shopping experience will completely shift online. For many shoppers, buying a car is a major investment in which they want to see and experience the vehicle before making a commitment.
Shuster concludes the conversation by discussing the unbelievable number of automotive mergers and acquisitions. He says the retail automotive industry is an exciting space to conduct business. Despite the push from manufacturers to sell directly to customers, Shuster says the dealership business isn’t going anywhere.