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Entries in Humans (3)


The Epiphany of Humans and Autos 

At Strada we believe that humans make a remarkable contribution, and difference in the auto business.


When looking ahead, the obvious landscape is one where technology rules the day, and humans are some sort of an appendage.

Its technology here, there, processes, and the entire business and world evolves on a screen. There are complexities, variables, immense amounts of data all over the place.

There have been folks selling cars, and folks buying cars for almost a century. If you look at what is going on today, and the fashion tomorrow seems to be developing on the horizon. You have to wonder how these folks a few generations ago did it.

If you don't have this technology, that software, a presence on that platform as a dealer you are missing out. If you don't do your due diligence on your mobile device, know the cost, read reviews of vehicles and dealers, as a buyer you are missing out too.

At some point it begs the question "Who has time for all this stuff?". Especially with time being increasingly compressed, and attention spans that are shorter and shorter.

How did these folks from a couple of generations ago do it? How did a customer that had no access a ton of product information buy a vehicle? How did a dealer manage a parts department or a used car department without technology?

The stereotype of the guy in the plaid suit selling a used car was rampant. Think about it...compared to today the reliability of the product was scary...let alone the individual selling an unreliable product.

Factor in a blind loyalty for a manufacturer, or brand...Wow...most folks did not even come close to a competitors product.

We could keep on going...the question lingers how did these folks do it?

A simple scenario...from back in the day when electronic calculators did not exist, let alone a DMS, and product information resided in the showroom.

Many dealers retailed 60-70 new vehicles a month, 30 used vehicles, had a 15 stall service department, and a body shop, lets not forget the 30 car showroom, and close to 150 new vehicles and 60 used vehicles in inventory.

Customers with extremely limited product knowledge would walk in all day long and acquire vehicles both new and used.

Going back a couple generations the auto business in North America was comparable to Silicon Valley of today. While dealing with mechanical cars, and absolutely no technology. Back then it was normal for some folks to trade cars every year for the latest folks trade "smart devices" for the latest model...not so much cars.

Humans made all the difference...worth repeating humans made the difference.

With all the discussions of Millennials, do you think its the technology, or the humans that will endure in making a difference?





The Human Factor

When you spend decades in a business, remain passionate, and have an opportunity to view the business down to the ground, and from higher altitudes.

The auto business remains captivating, exciting, even after decades.

Way back in the day it was all human. There was no technology, it was all done by hand; powered by human intelligence, foibles, and even larceny at times.

Today its the complete opposite, its all technology, human intelligence is deployed to understand, and function within the confines of the technology. is great, can perform a myriad of detail work, free up time, empower the customer.

It should be easier, faster, seamless, frictionless to do deals in a showroom.

As Boomers move on, and Gen X'rs have been around for a while, the focus is on Millennials as the next wave of substantial customer base for the auto business.

Agreed...the cloud is bursting with a gazillion thoughts on technology, Millennials, social media, and whatever other thought vector is the flavor of the day.

Looking ahead to 2020, reflect on the following.


Have an innate understanding of Millennials. Yes...the parent of Millennials are Boomers. For some reason it gets lost in the dust, as if Millennials came about by themselves.


Evolved with technology from birth, they are digital natives. Their Boomer parents provided them with a myriad of technology devices, Internet access, WiFi, video games, and big screen TV's to name a few. In addition to vehicles.

They have been digitally empowered for decades. The Internet, features phones, smart phones, video games, flat screen TV's, PC's, laptops. Millennials have had a ton of hardware, and then a myriad of social platforms to network.

People to People:

As we are empowered, immersed, swamped by technology, we still do business "people to people" or we should be doing business on a personal basis to arrive at a higher level.




Humans vs Technology

With the increased advances of a myriad of technologies in the auto business, be it in the vehicles, at the dealer, and with the customer.

Its an absolute digital festival that is fascinating, encouraging, and perhaps a little dehumanising.

There is technology for this, an app for that, a visual for this other thing, an integration there, we could keep on surely get the overall picture.

Although on many levels its encouraging to witness, experience and live with the advances in technology, we remain humans. Yes...we are empowered, and compete with technology. Usually being aware of the empowerment, while overlooking the compete aspect.

In the auto business we all experienced a learning curve, from robots in assembly lines, CAD to engineer a vehicle, DMS at the dealer level, to smart devices in the hands of customers. We usually focus on the technology, how to use this, how to operate that, how to develop and "xyz" strategy for this other thing.

When you think about it, its a snippet here, a morsel there, a couple of lines somewhere else. Its easy to understand or supposed to be, its easy to sell, and for some easy to monetise.

Its a process here, another there, and aided by technology the processes are supposed to be consistent, repeatable, measurable. If you are in the auto business at the retail level, reflect on this for a moment. You have a myriad of technology and processes from the showroom, to the service and parts department, to the accounting department, to the BDC (business development center) and so on.

While the prospect / customer is also loaded with the technology.

Its not all seamless, or easy.

In the showroom there is a higher level of friction...

What do you think?