Why this GM is modeling his dealership after the likes of Carvana & CarMax


After spending more than 27 years in retail automotive, General Manager of Germain Toyota of Naples, Brian Kramer, has been featured in F&I Magazine and has also been a past recipient (2012) of Automotive News’ 40 under 40 Awards. Today, he joins our show to discuss what business looks like for him in the current climate.

Kramer says we’re finally back to reality. His dealership is also being affected when it comes to Toyota cutting production by 40%. He says they are figuring out a game plan in order to make it through the next couple of months until things rebound. Toyota has plans for a big recovery. In terms of getting back to normal, Kramer says it won’t be until 2022.

We’re actually modeling after CarMax’s and Carvana’s business models, says Kramer. They are getting very aggressive on trades and using that as a leader to drive traffic to source cars. They’ve reallocated their sales floor to have more people in their service drive.

When it comes to Kramer’s employees, he says one of the biggest pieces is collaborating with them. He says, of course, he doesn’t want to reduce staff, so they’re finding other options to generate new revenue sources and thinking outside the box, to do things in different ways. Kramer includes everyone in the dealership in their decision-making process.

Related: Why setting the bar too low leads to employees missing the mark completely

digital retail

Five percent of Kramer customers go end to end, with transacting a deal online. But 93% of them use one element of the site, which can include an unseen appraisal, credit application online, or by texting and chatting. He says it’s not so much of customers completing the entire process online, but 93% choose to do one or two elements of the online process. He thinks the next evolution is in the digital service transformation.

I think like the recession, COVID is a blessing in disguise says Kramer. He says they have been able to work a lot of things out. When the supply does come back, it’s going to be a slang shot effect. Kramer says then it’s going to be finding enough qualified people who are aligned with their culture, ethics, and morals to bring into the dealership.

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