Economist leaving office. Handsome economist leaving the office taking his box with different things
Economist leaving office. Handsome economist leaving the office taking his box with different things

Why Are They Leaving?

If you know me, you know that I hate stats. I believe most stats are made up and created by individuals that want to influence the people receiving the stats. I’m not saying you should ignore stats altogether, but you should be skeptical and take a hard look at who is delivering the stats and what their motivation is to make you believe them.

Let’s say that turnover in the sales department is out of control, and depending on who you believe, more than 80% of salespeople don’t make it through the first year.Recently, I’ve seen stats published that said we have 112% turnover since the pandemic began. Excuse me, I still have a problem with anything being more than 100%, but I can show you the report. And we’re expected to take these people seriously?

After 48 years in the car business, no one has solved the problem.

But with turnover so high, why is it that still, no one seems to have the answer? Well, if you ask me, we never solved the turnover problem because the people doing the alleged research don’t get it. Sorry, but we’re relying on some intellectual goobers theorizing on how it should be, what should work, and what they perceive to be the problems and causes. With that mindset from the onset, they conduct alleged research and develop solutions that fi t their preconceived narrative but have never solved the problem.

Unfortunately, the majority of dealerships- regardless of size or demographic, accept employee turnover as a cost of doing business and build it into their projections. So even though recruiting and hiring costs are approaching $10,000, and the cost of mass turnover in most dealerships equates to a loss of more than $200,000 annually, party-on Garth, we just accept it.

Read the whole article here in Dealer Magazine.

The Dawg Doubles Down

THE DAWG DOUBLES DOWN … from Jim Ziegler’s April 3rd, 2022 Newsletter, sign up for FREE email newsletter here … CLICK HERE

The Alpha Dawg Doubles Down … Jim Ziegler is quiet, shy and introverted, humbled with humility.” … said no one ever.

Don’t ask the man a question if you’re Not prepared to hear the answer. In this issue of the Dawg’s Newsletter, Jim Doubles Down on his opinion that

the manufacturers are planning to dump their dealers.

After the NADA Convention, many dealers returned home more convinced than ever that the manufacturers were planning to sell ‘Direct to The Public’ with the advent of the new age of total BEV Production as they rapidly phase out ICE cars. Some dealers believe the factory is planning to eliminate them.

BUT, it appears to me that other dealers are living in a fantasy world and they’re believing that that the manufacturers’ plan include them into the future. “Slap a little cold water in your face here Roscoe, snap out of it! Somebody get Will Smith to slap them!”

WELL, It appears to me that both camps are correct in their beliefs, although; there will be a lot of pain before these wounds heal. I’d hold off on buying a new dealership right now.

MY OPINION: Ford Motor Company is leading the charge as the other manufacturers are laying in the weeds watching to see how it turns out. At Ford, they’re more out in the open with what they are doing and telling their dealers, “Like it or Not this is what we’re going to do.”

The Manufacturers know they got a lot to learn. There are many moving parts to this, and they’ve got to keep the patients calm while they perform this surgery. So, it’s important to keep the franchised dealers believing they have a future until they’ve got all of the pieces in place. When I said everybody is correct, what I meant is the plan appears to be to continue with the franchised system until they have totally boiled the frog who was too stupid to jump out of the pot as the heat increased and they were boiled alive.

They got to figure out logistics, like Used Cars, and replacing Service Departments, disposing of Trade-ins, and much more … Boom, “Car Bravo”. Yup, GM is launching Car Bravo to help the dealers. Be real when has any manufacturer, other than maybe Toyota done anything genuinely designed to help the dealers? (Especially GM) OR, are they just turning the heat up on the Frogs again?

The truth of the matter is, when they have created NEW CORPORATIONS that are totally Electric Cars (BEVs) then they will no longer be bound by States Franchise Laws and they plan to dump their dealers, use private repair facilities and operate their own delivery centers. Maybe we’ll see Ford Vending Machines on the highway next to Carvana.

I personally believe that is the vision of virtually every manufacturer. In the meantime, they’ll threaten to hold back prime merchandise if you object to being boiled as they reduce margins and cutback floorplan credits and forbid you charging market adjustments on the window stickers. How much is the dealer paid on a Mach-E sale?

BUILT TO ORDER CARS AND TRUCKS? That’ll last until the first time they lose market share. They can’t build and deliver routine standard equipment vehicles in less than six months in most cases. Every manufacturer (especially Ford) is more screwed up than a pile of coat hangers when it comes to their ability to order and deliver cars and trucks. I am Not saying they’re ‘Stoopid’ but on the other hand, I’m Not saying they’re Not either.

Will it work, you ask? Here’s the fun part, the manufacturers, once again will fall flat on their collective asses as they’ve done before. Their inbred culture forbids success in retail. I remember watching Alan Mullaly speaking to dealers when He and I were co-keynote speakers at sever al state conventions, when he was literally begging dealers to help bail Ford Out (again) following the severe abuse I feel they’d suffered under the Jacques Nasser regime. Mulally became a good friend, I had his personal cell number, and he called me on occasion for my advice on certain matters. I had the relationship with the top people at GM, Chrysler, and Ford at executive levels back in the day when they cared a little.

AND, don’t look to the NADA to get involved in saving us. There’s too much revenue loss so I predict they’re on the sidelines looking the other way whistling Dixie with their head in the sand … still. (my opinion based on limp flaccid past performance) AND, don’t be believing all of the Dealer Council Dealers all have your best interests in mind, some of them are hand-picked Bell Cows.

So, in the end, I predict they’ll try it, the manufacturers can’t help themselves, all of them, they’ll fail miserably because they’re getting into places they will never understand. They’ll come crawling back to us to save them, again. This time, I hope the Dealers will cut a better deal than you’ve had and boil them in return, just a little bit.

NOTICE: Just to be Clear, this is all just my perceptions and opinions based on the fact that I have an IQ higher than a garden snail, and of course, I might be wrong. Check it out and make your own opinions. #AlphaDawg

As automakers go all-in on EVs, will they drop franchise dealers in favor of direct-to-consumer sales?

Consumers today have options at their fingertips and while the automotive purchase process has changed to meet these consumer needs over the past few years, what does this mean for the industry in the long run? Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome Jim Ziegler, automotive retail veteran, speaker, and President of Ziegler SuperSystems, to elaborate on a recent article he wrote called “Are Manufacturers Getting Ready to Dump Their Dealerships?

Ziegler’s article takes aim at Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and other automakers that are going all-in on EVs and changing up their production/inventory strategies. Ziegler recalls back to the beginning of February during Ford’s investors call when CEO Jim Farley, perhaps accidentally, hinted at the EV/ICE split. The split wasn’t formally announced until early March of this year.

This was shocking to Ziegler and started wondering, does this mean possible separate franchises? Does it mean we’re going to sell directly to consumers on the EV side like Tesla does? 

Read more and watch the video on CBT News here.

Are Manufacturers Getting Ready to Dump Their Dealerships?

ARE DEALERSHIPS OBSOLETE? This article is a collection of Ziegler’s opinions and his interpretation of current events as he sees and his conjecture of what it might mean.

The Perfect Storm. It all began during the shut-in, locked down period of the Pandemic.  We’ll call it the ‘Amazon Effect’. Consumers discovered they could order products and services, even groceries, online which could be delivered to their homes almost immediately, a generation of instant gratification.

Even though they’ve only captured a small percentage of retail sales, the new players like Carvana, Vroom and Tesla have captured a growing niche within the market, but don’t lose sight of the fact it’s only a small percentage of total sales nationally, to a very elite clientele so far.

In the meantime, several other situations created by the Pandemic occurred. We have a shortage of microprocessor chips and raw materials to build the cars caused by supply chain issues and labor shortages. On top of that, the manufacturers are having to compete with cell phone companies and computer manufacturers, and suppliers in almost every other industry that also need these chips.

Read the whole article on LinkedIn here.

Flying My New Drone

You should have seen it. It was gliding effortlessly above the rooftops. I even took a few photos of some trees and stuff in the backyard. When I opened that present on Christmas Day, I knew it was going to be a life-changer. Much better than the socks, underwear, sleeveless jacket, Copper Fit gloves, and face masks.

The camera is high-quality HD and capable of making movies and putting them right on my Android phone.

I felt like a kid in a Dr. Suess book, “Oh the Places We Will Go” (and things I will do with my new drone).

I had such great plans for my new drone, which I named “Little Elvis.” The feeling was euphoria. I loved my new drone until…

Read the whole article on Digital Dealer here.

Google Your Business

Oh no! Not again, another article about Google My Business (GMB), and even worse, this one by Jim Ziegler, who is not a recognized expert on Google protocols. If we want to hear anything about GMB, we’ll go to Greg Gifford, George Nenni, or any one of a hundred other credentialled recognized agencies and experts on the subject. What could Ziegler say on this subject that could have any value?

The answer is, I don’t even pretend to be an expert on SEO or SEM, and everything Iknow about GMB I learned from industry experts and agencies that are friends of mine. This article is not about how to do it but, more importantly, why you need to use and constantly build your GMB.

First of all, I want to warn everyone reading this to ignore all of the statistics that you’ve seen, heard, or read on the subject. Nobody has meaningful stats; any alleged research is flawed and biased. I’ve always said, “Figures lie when liars figure.” Whenever someone has a mouth full of numbers, I always suspect their motives and examine their agenda.

Read the whole article on Digital Dealer here.

Fake Data Yields Fake Results

Is it possible that Vendors give Car Dealers Fake Data disguised as proof that their products and services contribute to increased sales and profits?

In recent years we’ve heard many politicians calling out “Fake News” to the point that almost every debate and speech has people working in the background calling themselves “Fact-Checkers.” Just a few decades ago, there was never a need for ‘fact checking’ because most people sort of trusted the people delivering the information to have some level of integrity.

…AND, so it is with the car business. We are deep into the era of data-based sales and marketing, and, without exception, every vendor and manufacturer comes to us armed with volumes of alleged data to validate their every claim. Their data is proof of their value as your partner.

Call me a skeptic. Have you ever had a vendor present their data to your dealership that unequivocally proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that their company is responsible for the majority of your business?

They have ‘Attribution Statistics,’ tracking pixels, and other data beyond the comprehension of most mortals that proves your customers would never have found you without them. The only problem with that is there is another vendor with databased proof that it was their company that generated the majority of your sales.

Personally, statistics and analytics give me a headache. Sitting through a data-based presentation? I’d rather have a root canal with no anesthetic. When someone tells me that they are “analytical,” I always have to stop and remember what the first four letters of the word “analytical” are.

Read the whole article on Digital Dealer here.

The Sky Is Falling

Ziegler talks about how your dealership can survive the coming crash

In the children’s story of Chicken Little, a paranoid hysterical chick runs through the town screaming that, ‘The sky is falling,’ after an acorn fell on his head.

Even though I believe I am the Paul Revere of the auto industry, writing articles and social media posts to warn the dealers of the coming catastrophe, there are many critics saying that I’m actually Chicken Little spreading paranoia and false alarm.

Well, all I can say about that to those people is that I stand on my track record for predicting things that actually came to pass. I’ve been ‘right’ as many times as you’ve been wrong.

It’s about to crash hard, and in this article, I’m going to give you some really strong suggestions on how not to become a casualty.

In the last year, we’ve seen dealers realizing record sales and record profits. Not only are we realizing record sales, up 30% month over month from previous years, breaking the all-time highs, but the transaction prices have soared to a national average of more than $38,000 and still inching up month to month. In comparison that’s an $8,000 increase.

It’s a crazy world and we’re acting like a bunch of drunken sailors on shore leave on payday. “Party-on Garth.” In other words, I’m seeing posts all over social media congratulating ourselves for records broken at our dealership, photos of smiling winners showing off their plaques and awards. Do those people actually believe it was because of something we did that made those numbers happen? Excuse me, you’d have to be a complete bumbling ‘nincompoop’ if your dealership didn’t break records in this market. YES, you did a great job, BUT how much was due to the circumstances, and how much was something you did?

Read the whole article on Digital Dealer here.

What Is … Is

The Dramatic Changes to Make Right Now

The time for dramatic changes is now. You have no choice if you intend to stay in business. Resisting the inevitable is stupid. The winners will not just be the ones who go with it, but the ones that embrace it and get ahead of it.

There was a time way back in the ’70s when a much younger Jim Ziegler was searching for truth and enlightenment. I’m referring back to my renaissance – what I jokingly call my Hippie Days. Long hair and a generous beard; following my divorce, I rode a motorcycle across the country from Florida to California.

Former deejay, bar fighter, and street racer; now here I was sitting cross-legged in a cabin on the Big Sur coastline in the California mountains chanting my Indian Mantra. I was hanging out with the emerging pop psychology gurus and the human potential movement, swamis, and existentialists. It was an exciting time of self-discovery as I went through what we called ‘Awareness Training.’

One of the foundational philosophies I learned centered around what we called the Theory of Reality.

It went like this: “What is, is … and what ain’t, ain’t … and so what?” Repeat that right now several times and memorize it.

If that sounds ridiculous, or if it makes no sense to you, you are exactly where I was the first time I heard it. It took a lot of contemplation and thought before I could realize the deeper meaning. But after, it became a lifelong philosophy for me.

Read the whole article on Digital Dealer here.

Did You Bump Your Head?

Did You Bump Your Head?

We’re all in this game together, and regardless of which team you’re playing on, never lose sight of the fact that it’s just the game, and in the end, we’re all still friends.

In the South where I was raised, there are two veiled insults reserved for someone who has done something you consider to be stupid or someone who says or does something that defies our perception of logic or common sense.

Of course, one of those uniquely Southern put-downs is when a person is commenting on something another person has done and in a righteous, condescending tone of voice says, “Bless Your Heart.” While it sounds harmless, everyone in these parts knows you are insinuating whoever you’re talking about isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. And, of course, the other one is, when a person says something that you consider to be insane or ‘moronic,’ and you look at them and solemnly ask, “Did You Bump Your Head?”

Through the years, my opinions have always been controversial and have always stirred a lot of conversation and debate. I have a habit of saying exactly what is on my mind with little regard to who chooses to take offense or disagree. I expect people to disagree as long as we all keep it civil. Maybe that’s why many of my friends consider me to be a senior statesman in our business.

A Resurgence of the ‘One-Touch Sales’ Philosophy Most recently, there has been a resurgence of the One-Touch Sales philosophy. Now, I don’t know if the words One Touch are somebody’s brand name or just a description of a process. It’s been around a long time regardless.

Read the whole article on Digital Dealer here.