3/14/2011-Examining a large, multi-line dealership

These articles recap some of the opportunities uncovered by GSA powersports consultants during actual consulting visits. These are followed by recommended actions that address these opportunities. Our goal is to provide you with ideas to help improve your dealership.
This is the first part in a series on this dealership. In this first part, GSA?consultants provide an analysis of the overall dealership.
This dealership has been in existence for more than 40 years. Like many such dealerships, it has changed locations several times to accommodate expansion and improve access to the targeted market. The current, high-quality facility is fairly new and has excellent visibility and access to the public. The primary building is more than 50,000 square feet and has a lot of room for expansion.
This multi-line dealership is located in a large metro market containing a number of highly-competitive large dealers. They sell more than 1,000 units, even in this crippled economy. Despite its size, it is still a family-run business with family members running most of the operation. While they have many of the major product lines, other key lines may become available to them due to dealership failures in this market. There was a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing these opportunities.
Written Job Descriptions
They are working on revised job descriptions. Managers are assembling daily, weekly and monthly processes lists for the staff. Daily dozens were provided and there was a discussion of using “non-negotiable standards” as the basis for their job descriptions.
Organization Charts
There is no organization chart. A reporting hierarchy is very important with the large staff and the variety of management positions.
General Sales Manager
The general sales manager is an enthusiast with a history of involvement in the sport. He is experienced, and appears knowledgeable about the position.
By Department
The accounting structure of the dealership benefits the sales department’s numbers. The sales department is receiving discounts from both P&A and service, which inflates their profitability at the expense of these other departments. The F&I numbers are down, which indicates an under-performing staff. This is an opportunity for improvement in profitability.
The primary focus of this visit was to provide training for the service manager and improve the profitability of the service department.
There was sufficient time to complete most of the Dealership Assessment Checklist for the remaining departments and conduct brief interviews with key staff. The results provided important information regarding issues in other departments that affected the service operation.
A class on selling value to overcome price was presented to the department managers. They will utilize the material to train their department staff.
Their controller is a key player in measuring and tracking performance and gathering data for their 20-group reporting. She possesses a strong aptitude and a great attitude for this position.
Action Items

  • Put all departments on a retail basis for internal sales and service. This is necessary for realistic performance tracking and benchmarking with industry standards.
  • Develop a marketing strategy (theme) for the dealership. Consider focusing on your family/sport involvement and dealership quality. Use this theme in developing all marketing materials. The staff must be involved, so they can help to make this theme a part of the dealership culture.
  • Complete the revisions of the job descriptions in cooperation with department managers.
  • Develop an organizational chart and ensure all employees receive a copy. Enforce the chain-of-command; hold managers accountable.
  • Pursue acquisition of key brands available to grow the business.
  • Since there is little competition in this area, target the PWC market for service and sales.
  • Develop stimulating focal points in the showroom to remove the “sea of handlebars” impression and direct traffic flow to “hot spots.”
  • Utilize windows for selected theme displays of units and related accessories.
  • Consider adding a lounge area for customers with more visibility to the showroom and accessories displays. PSB
    Gart Sutton has been a leading provider of on-site dealer consulting, dealer 20-groups, online financial composites, accounting rescue services, and OEM and dealership training solutions for more than 30 years. For additional information on these services, visit

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