Wednesday, August 4, 2021

What does Volvo’s direct-to-consumer sales strategy mean for car dealers – Don Hall, VADA

Volvo made headlines after announcing its plan to go ‘fully electric’ with sales moving solely online by the year 2030. Today, we are continuing the conversation by diving into how automotive associations are responding. We’re pleased to welcome back Don Hall, President, and CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers (VADA)

Hall begins the conversation by discussing the issues related to manufacturers selling directly to consumers. The main issue is that automakers are prohibited in most states from selling directly to consumers. These laws are set in place to protect both dealers and consumers. 

How did we arrive in a situation where automakers feel the need to sell directly to consumers? Hall says the blame falls on both OEMs and retailers. Dealers must be willing to step back and evaluate what part of the selling process is in need of growth. What part of the dealership experience is leading automakers to think they can do a better job? However, Hall says that automakers must also acknowledge the space that dealers work in and seriously consider the poor performance of selling directly to consumers in previous experiences. 

Hall suggests that automotive organizations must be willing to listen to the new generation of automotive workers. Young business people have different methods of problem-solving than what has been traditionally seen in the industry. Dealers and executives must be willing to listen and provide serious consideration to these new ideas. 

Hall believes that many OEMs are being influenced by younger employees that want to imitate selling models seen in new automotive companies such as Tesla. While fresh ideas are needed in the industry, Hall says that automakers and dealers must continue to rely on experience to understand the entire impact of these changes. 

The conversation concludes with Hall providing insight on the upcoming VADA Convention. These events are helpful for both the association and dealers. Automotive professionals get additional training to run their stores more effectively, and the association gets better insight into how they can better serve their dealers. The convention will take place June 24-27 and will be held in person.


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