How does today’s automotive retailer remain profitable and viable? In 2018, the Australian retail automotive industry recorded its least profitable year. The profit dynamics have shifted and we need to find better ways to serve our customers, retain gross profit and reduce costs.

Is today’s business and operating model still the best way to maximise your ROI? Automotive retailers today are faced with many challenges putting downward pressure on profit: gross margin compression, inventory management, regulatory changes impacting finance and insurance, and target-based incentives. With a lower ROI, the time has come to look for new efficiencies and better ways.

This panel will outline the essential foundations for a healthy return on investment. Without solid foundations it will be difficult to remain profitable in 2020 and beyond.

AADA has brought together four Dealers, each of whom has businesses with multiple locations but is not a public company. They know what it takes to get to the bottom line.

Chairing the panel is Dale McCauley. Dale leads Deloitte’s National Motor Industry Services practice and has over 21 years’ experience within the automotive industry. He works alongside retail motor Dealers, manufacturers, financiers and legal advisors within the motor industry, providing specialist services ranging from benchmarking, performance improvement, specialist coaching and talent development programs.

He’s dedicated his career to pioneering the automotive industry’s most comprehensive set of financial, operational and management tools and team of industry experts. His key achievements include the development of Profit Focus industry benchmarks and the first motor industry CRM benchmarks.

Dale also leads the Deloitte Dealer Services Global Centre of Excellence, working closely with his colleagues in the US, Germany and Japan to help shape the automotive industry to cope with the rapid rate of change with new retail format and enhanced customer experiences.

Debbie Clark is currently a Director & Dealer Principal of Nepean Motor Group, one of Western Sydney’s biggest group dealerships. Starting in the industry in 1983, Debbie has seen a lot of change over the years. Debbie became a Dealer Principal in 2000 and in 2016 was also appointed Chair of the NSW Nissan Dealer Council and National Chairperson for the National Nissan Dealer Council, two positions she currently holds.

Graeme Stewart is a career automotive person, having spent the past 39 years dedicated to advancement within our industry.

At 16 years of age he commenced pre-apprenticeship training and joined the workforce as an apprentice technician late in 1979. After completing his training he left the workshop at the end of 1982 for the showroom sales floor. With a zest to achieve, within three years he had been appointed Sales Manager of an iconic Sydney Holden dealership.

To advance his opportunities Graeme studied Accountancy, Business Law and Marketing. In 1994 Graeme took the reins as General Manager of a Toyota and Hino dealership in Western Sydney.

While building that business to greater prosperity via profit share arrangements, he grew his financial base in order to secure his own dealership.

At the beginning of 2003, Graeme acquired Brighton Toyota and Lexus of Brighton. After relocating to Melbourne and pushing his business hard in the ensuing years, he became at that time the largest single site retailer of Toyota and Lexus products. With an eye to future expansion, further investments in dealerships were made in 2012, 15, 16, 17 and 18, with his group now representing 10 OEM brands across 17 sites in Australia and New Zealand.

Graeme’s passion for the advancement of the industry has continued, through the generous commitment of his time and knowledge via specific OEM working committees, Dealer Council representation and the AADA. Graeme firmly believes that while the automotive industry is presently dealing with unprecedented change, it is in fact the Dealers’ ability to change and evolve, as they have done for in excess of 100 years, that will ensure dealerships will not only remain relevant to consumers, but will thrive into the future while adapting to changing market conditions.

Wade von Bibra is the Managing Director of von Bibra Auto Village. The dealership group, based on the Gold Coast and with four locations, represents 11 brands. The operation also owns 19 Thrifty retail franchises across South East Queensland and Northern NSW, and runs approximately 2,500 cars in this fleet. The entire group has an approximate annual turnover of $500 million and employs more than 500 staff.

Wade is a third-generation family car Dealer, having worked through all aspects of the operation, and has been Managing Director of the group for the past 4½years.

Motorama Managing Director, Mark Woelders, grew up in Brisbane, always in and around the family car business. Mark has a Certificate in Management from Northwood University in Michigan, as well as a Masters of Business and a Diploma of Australian Company of Directors.

Mark began his career in 1989, as a first-year apprentice at Motorama Toyota Moorooka. From there, over a 15-year period, he worked through most roles in the dealership, including DP/General Manager at Motorama Holden Springwood. Mark was appointed to the role of Managing Director of the Motorama Group in 2007.

These are Dealers, just like you, who have reaped the rewards of investing in their businesses and themselves. In these difficult times, this expert panel will provide you with real solutions to improve your bottom line.

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