Future Headline: Disney and Google Partner to Buy 100 Auto Dealerships

This article originally appeared on Driving Sales but  I wanted to share it with the Dealer Elite community.

(I recently entered a time warp which took me two years into the future.  While there I read this article in the March 2016 issue of Automotive News.) 

9:45 am U.S. ET | March 15, 2016
This week Google and The Walt Disney Company announced their partnership to establish a new company, Disney Motorcars, which has agreed to purchase 100 new car dealerships in five states.  They plan on announcing these locations over the next month as legal documents and filings are completed.

The franchises include domestic, Asian, and European brands and are located in large markets or within 30 miles of metro areas.  Disney long known for their focus on the customer experience saw an incredible opportunity that auto dealers failed to capitalize on, even though many dealers completed the Disney Experience Training programs.

Don Duckhouser, Chief Communications Officer for Disney said, “In our opinion it was pretty clear that the majority of auto retailers were hiding behind technology and not focusing on extending relationships to build networks of customers and prospects. Their high employee turnover and lack of respect for their associates indicated to us that implementing a “Disney Process” could retain the best employees, provide a great work environment and still provide personalized service to the auto buying public.”  He continued, “If we can get folks to pay $100 a day to ride a few roller coasters and keep them happy while they wait in line an hour for a four minute ride, then selling cars and trucks and providing customers with a stellar experience is a no-brainer.”

Google will provide expertise and technical resources to insure a smooth sales process.  Ken Searchwright from Google Automotive Marketing shared his vision of the new stores; “We have designed a simple, friction-free, transparent process that will excite customers, attract a new class of employees, and restore the reputation of auto retailers. Our marketing will be local, organic, socially conscious and not reliant on price or promoting ridiculous trade-in values.”

He continued, “While our operations rely on the latest technology the work environment will be very attractive to employees, offer a powerful home/work balance, and create generous incentives for revenues from repeat customers, their friends and family members. A ramped up level of networking will replace most of the traditional advertising and all media messaging will be consistent across all channels.”

Existing media properties and online channels of Disney and Google will feature interactive advertisements promoting these dealerships; and other tie-ins will be rolled out over the coming year.  Naturally Google's team will manage search optimization, online ad placement, and all the data mining to reach in-market customers.

When this reporter spoke to auto industry executives many would not speak on the record, but one individual shared, “For years we have tried to encourage, push, and cajole our retailers to improve their sales process and employee retention.  Many just didn’t seem to want to move in that direction, so as manufacturers with a brand to protect we are aligning with companies that value the customer experience and transparency.” 

Article written by Marty McFly (mcfly@autonews.com
(note- this email will not exist until two years from now)


I invite you to share your thoughts about the likelihood of some dynamic shift from outside the auto industry moving in to auto retailing and changing the game.

The original post on DrivingSales.com

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Mark, you're right. But an "apology" that says sorry for being a jerk but I am a jerk isn't much of an apology. It's probably more of a warning if anything. I didn't need or expect an apology. But yes, you do. 

Mark, I think your point to this whole post was to get us all thinking about how we, and our dealer clients, can improve the whole experience.

I enjoyed it and t least I wasn't the one to light it up here.......

Having taken the opportunity to call Mark Dubis directly after Sharon Hill "lambasted" me for expressing my rather caustic opinion, I put on my best "unjerkyness" face and had an excellent exchange with him.  As to the outcome, I'd comfortably say I hope he now considers me a friend and, if so, it's an honor I'd graciously accept.  And, of course, it all happened because Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers were perceptive enough to see a need, and then generous enough with their time, to create Dealer Elite.  I can only guess how many other friendships their efforts have initiated.  (It surprises me Mike has time for this considering all of the movies he's involved it.)

Reconsidering the general "tongue-in-cheek" premise of this post and the point Mark was making, I would have personally preferred that the "villains" maybe could have been some form of "evil car dealers from outer space", or to accentuate the Marty Mcfly reference, "evil car dealers from the future," instead of Google and WD.  But, hey, that's only because I love science fiction.

Another thing I love is that I can express my opinion on DE, even it it disagrees with the post and its author, without fear of censorship or retribution.  Unfortunately, I can't say that is the case with similar sites.  Recently, after reviewing an article in Automotive News, where I took issue with a dealership group owner when he stated he "got rid of their GMs and GSMs and increased their profits."  I commented that if they saw no value in the upper management they had, maybe they had the wrong upper management.  Bingo!  My comment was up for a short time and then disappeared.  Needless to say, I'll never comment on their site again.  (By the way, I know the movie Mike Myers is a different guy...I least I think it is?)      


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