A Message From Don Hall

July 2020


Summer is usually a transition time for our industry. We’re finishing our sales of last year’s models and awaiting inventory of the latest vehicles.

Without question, the coronavirus pandemic has changed those traditional cycles in our business. Even so, we’ve had some good back-to-back months, a definite positive considering the strong and sustained decline many expected for our industry just a few months ago.

While COVID-19 has created new challenges for everyone, the potentially limited supply of vehicles coming in is an industry-specific situation that may soon impact your business if it hasn’t already.

Earlier this year, many automobile manufacturers shut down their vehicle lines and began producing supplies such as ventilators to aid in the nation’s fight against the virus. Several manufacturers even indicate that 2021 models won’t hit the dealerships until we’re actually in 2021. Of course, that significantly impacts your operations.

I’m confident that our members will find innovative ways to navigate this latest curve in the road. You’ll make the most of your existing inventories until new vehicles begin to arrive at dealerships around the Commonwealth, just as you’ve always found a way to arrive at the other side of a given challenge in a stronger position.

How each of you has stepped up as leaders not just in your stores but in your communities makes me proud to serve our franchised dealers every day. You are doing great things during this pandemic. And it warms my heart. It reflects so strongly on our industry when we demonstrate how much we care about our localities and have empathy for so many individuals who have been disadvantaged by today’s events.

Leading from the Front

Many of you have often heard me talk about “leading from the front.” I learned this term as a young Marine, when I had the privilege of serving with many sharp individuals, who demonstrated its meaning. This leadership style is about being visible, engaging those around you, and providing perspective as you keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

Nearly a half-century later, I see many of our dealers have embraced this principle of leading from the front as they respond to the pandemic and social unrest. As we deal with these unprecedented times, this leadership style sets a great example for others. Our dealers are thinking smartly about how to solve many of today’s problems and are making a difference in our community.

VADA Annual Convention at Your Fingertips

Although the pandemic forced us to cancel our in-person VADA Annual Convention last month, we found a creative way to share key information with you. General Manager Jason Wilson conducted video interviews with four influential speakers who were scheduled to speak. We know the convention allows you to get new learnings and practices to bring back to your business, so we were pleased to find a different forum to share their expertise.

Running your dealerships in even normal times requires most of your attention, but it’s worth your investment to watch these special video podcasts. Another option is to download each interview and listen on the drive to or from your office. At a minimum, encourage your senior managers to take a few minutes to hear from some of the biggest names in the industry. You’ll all walk away with tips, ideas, and strategies to apply to your daily work.

Check out these High Octane interviews.

Commit to Staying Informed

Our industry is changing quickly. Even before the pandemic, technology has been transforming every part of our business, including the car-buying experience for your customers. More recently, health restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have forced us to adapt our businesses to both comply with government requirements and create a safe and healthy environment for everyone at the dealership. Paying attention to health mandates and guidance is an essential part of that.

With the pandemic continuing and requirements changing every so often, keeping up with critical, up-to-minute information to run a compliant dealership has never been more important. Of course, we encourage every leader to dedicate the time to take in all the information that VADA shares. You also should have key members of your team read our newsletters and coronavirus updates, as well as materials related to our recent Legal & Legislative Update. Offer the podcasts across your organization to build engagement and help every employee understand industry issues.

Our mission at VADA since 1943 has been to serve the franchised auto dealers of Virginia. We don’t do what we do for our own benefit. We do it for your benefit. So please avail yourself of the rich resources we offer to support you and help make your business more successful.

In This Issue

Here are some other great stories you’ll find in this issue of our monthly newsletter: