But one of the long-term challenges the industry needs to prepare for in unison is the shift of gas-powered vehicles to battery-powered cars over the next few decades – an effort he said dealers are in a good position to lead. When viewed in the context of increasing market share and volume, dealers are competitors, Gardner said. “But in terms of industry and societal challenges, we all have the same challenges.”
Gardner cited international automakers such as Honda, which have set up “America’s own car plants, supporting nearly 2.5 million jobs and $ 92 billion in investment.”
The combined footprint of the international dealer and the brands they represent have put them at the forefront in the face of such major changes in the industry.
“Our common goal is not to change what drives a vehicle from an internal combustion engine to batteries. Our mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address global climate change, ”Gardner said.
The focus, he said, was primarily government incentives, the latest product or who is investing the most. “In our view, not enough attention is focused on the customer, especially on the ownership experience,” he said.
This includes an awareness of the value of offering new information on charging, infrastructure and EV ownership. “These aren’t the hardware questions we’re used to answering,” Gardner said.
“I believe we can deliver new value by becoming environmental consultants,” he said.
“There are many areas where we will continue to be fierce competitors, but cooperation as an industry can change the story of who we are as automakers.”