How car dealers can get ahead in a constantly evolving market — Annette Sykora | Smith Auto Family – CBT Automotive News

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The automotive landscape is constantly evolving; the car dealers who adapt to that change are ultimately the ones who thrive. Unfortunately, the pace at which the industry is changing has become so fast that many dealerships are struggling to keep up.

On this episode of Inside Automotive, host Shyann Malone is joined by Annette Sykora, CEO of Smith Auto Family and the chairwoman of the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) Foundation Board of Trustees. Sykora became the NADA’s first chairwoman during the tumultuous 2008 recession. Despite the devastating effects the crisis had on the retail automotive sector, Sykora rose to the challenge and helped guide the industry through to clearer skies. Now, she discusses how the car business is evolving and the solutions car dealers must implement to keep up with the market and remain successful in the months ahead.

Key Takeaways

1. The Smith Auto Family recently expanded with the addition of a Ford dealership during a period marked by supply chain disruptions and other challenges like COVID-19 and rising interest rates. Their experience underscores the dynamic nature of the automotive industry and the need for car dealers to prioritize adaptability.

2. In addition to being the first chairwoman of the NADA, Sykora also represents the fourth generation of leadership in the Smith Auto Family, highlighting the increasing role of women in automotive leadership.

3. Noting that the level of change seen in the automotive industry over the last four years is unprecedented, Sykora urges car dealers to keep up with the market by seeking fresh perspectives and prioritizing adaptability. Incorporating technological advancements is an excellent way to evolve and secure long-term success. Working with younger generations can also help dealerships identify innovative strategies and stay ahead of the competition.

4. Sykora discusses the adoption of artificial intelligence into the Smith Auto Family’s operations to enhance efficiency and customer service. Car dealers can take encouragement in the group’s success.

5. To uphold its commitments to high-quality customer care, the Smith Auto Family is expanding its service capabilities to include standalone quick lanes and mobile services. These investments will allow it to meet evolving consumer demands and prepare for future industry shifts, particularly in the electric vehicle market.

“I think the last four years…the volume of change has been higher than I’ve experienced in my 40-some years in the business. And that’s where I’m grateful to have the new generation come in because they’re nimble, they’re quick, and they thrive on change.” — Annette Sykora

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