Dealers Will Go to the Mountain

Chairman's Blog: Out of the Gates 02/23/21

As a kid, when things didn’t go my way, I would think about the old saying, “If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain.” The idea being that when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, you must change your approach.

That thinking has taken me pretty far, both in life and in the auto retail industry, where adaptability counts for a lot. I saw it employed by my predecessor, Jason Courter, to overcome many of the challenges AIADA experienced in 2020. I’m confident it will be just as effective in my coming year as Chairman.

Last week, I accepted the Chairman’s gavel via Zoom link. It’s safe to say that wasn’t how I pictured my first day on the job. But, as I’ve seen across our industry over the last year, it is further proof that dealers are smart, flexible, and more than prepared to adjust with the times.

In 2021, AIADA members will embrace that spirit of adaptability as we develop new strategies to advocate for our stores and our employees in Washington, D.C. We’ll need to be creative because we’re not just facing a pandemic that will prevent in-person meetings and fly-ins. We’re also facing a united Democratic Congress and White House for the first time in a decade.

If we want to continue to influence trade, tax, and regulatory policy at the federal level – and, believe me, as international nameplate dealers we do – then we’ll have to accept that the old tried and true ways aren’t going to work this year.

We must go to the mountain.

Fortunately, AIADA has an agile team of D.C. veterans who know there’s more than one way to reach lawmakers, and more than one way to provide value to our members. We have set up a virtual Dealer Visit Program that allows you to meet you Members of Congress at your stores or online. We have developed a series of AutoTalk webinars, featuring AIADA’s Affinity Partners, with timely topics like “Used Car Super Session” and “Tax Planning for an Uncertain Year End.” And, we have found new ways to communicate with you through video, e-mail, social media, and an online version of our AutoDealer magazine. Now you can add my first blog to that list – Out of the Gates. I’m looking forward to using this space to speak to you directly throughout the year.

AIADA’s work may look different in 2021, but the results will be the same – international nameplate dealers defying expectations and reaching new heights of success. The path for international nameplate dealers has never been easy or smooth, but it has always been rewarding. Let’s move forward together. Let’s go mountain climbing.

Steve Gates
2021 AIADA Chairman

Chairman's Blog: Out of the Gates

Out of the GatesChairman Steve Gates offers up a dealer's perspective on the auto retail industry in 2021.