Over 1000 Industry Executives Farewell Ian Field at Melbourne Convention
After 18 months as the Chairman of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, Ian Field publicly announced the resignation of his position in front of over 1,000 industry executives at this year’s AADA National Dealer Convention in Melbourne saying that the dream that Laurie Sutton, Warren McKie, Ken Babidge, Graham Woodward, John Regan and John Kerr set out to achieve 30 years ago was now a reality.
In his farewell address he said: “We are now at a tipping point in the Australian automotive industry, and the new AADA can address Dealer concerns and help to clear up many misconceptions about the authorised Dealer network in this country.”
Mr Field also thanked the MTA Queensland, and the Queensland Motor Dealer Council under chairman Garth Madill, for their support, faith and belief in the new Dealer-owned AADA.
The former chairman also acknowledged the support and encouragement of the MTAQ’s Kellie Dewar and Steve Ghost.
Under his chairmanship, the national Dealer councils agreed to form the Australian Motor Dealer Council under independent chairman Doug Dickson, the former CEO of Mazda Australia.
This council will form a vital link between the Dealers and the AADA with the aim of sharing ideas, discussing common operational issues and funnelling policy issues to the AADA policy agenda.
In addition, the AMDC will play a key role in identifying, evaluating and resolving common issues, and will work closely with the AADA on behalf of Dealers with government, regulators and other industry associations to resolve concerns rather than engage in unnecessary disputes.
Another highlight of Mr Field’s 18-month term was the coming together of the AADA and FCAI – a first for both organisations. “FCAI and the AADA board members have met formally on a number of occasions and I think achieved more working together than separately,” he said.
Mr Field said the 2014 Access to Service and Information Agreement, and the Australian Government’s proposed relaxation of restrictions on imports of used, parallel and personal vehicles were evidence of the new unity between both organisations. That united front was instrumental in the Government’s decision not to proceed with the Productivity Commission’s proposal to allow the large-scale importation of used cars into Australia.
In addition, the AADA and FCAI are advocating for the retention of restrictions on the parallel importation of vehicles into Australia, because of safety and other risks that consumers will encounter if the rules are relaxed.
Mr Field expanded on his concern for Dealer profitability as a percentage of sales, which is around two per cent, derived primarily from parts, finance and insurance, and service – not new car sales.
He touched on the many AADA achievements during the past 18 months, which include numerous submissions, meetings with politicians, letters to Senators, and face-to-face conversations with chiefs of staff and government departments.
The introduction of the NADA University platform to Australia was another major triumph for the AADA, enabling the organisation to provide high-quality training at an affordable price to all Australian Dealers.
Mr Field thanked Patrick Tessier, the unpaid interim CEO, for his generosity and total commitment to revitalising AADA. Mr Tessier’s replacement is Bruce McDonald, the former Vice President of Ford Motor Company, who will represent the Dealer community and strengthen the AADA’s relationship with the OEMs.
Mr Field said he felt honoured to have been part of the rebirth of the AADA.
“The AADA is not one person and not one person’s ideals. It is a community and a community I am very proud to be a part of,” he said.
AADA would not be where it is today without Mr Field’s vision, intellect, commitment, sacrifices and ability to identify and grasp policy issues affecting all Dealers. Mr Field will remain on the AADA Board as a director representing all Dealers in Queensland.
Mr Field’s full speech can be located on the AADA website aada.asn.au