Brian Pasch: An Open Letter To Ford's CEO

By: Michael Cirillo   |   23 Jun 2022
Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch is the founder of PCG Companies, which is comprised of Brian Pasch Enterprises, PCG Digital, Localiente, and PCG Research. He's an author, keynote speaker, marketing contrarian, and a beacon of light within the retail auto industry as someone who has always been an advocate for the dealer body. 

Recently Brian penned an open letter to Mr. Farley, the CEO of Ford, in which he asks very thought-provoking questions aimed at clarifying Mr. Farley's curious comments about the future of Ford's dealership network. 

In addition, Brian shares about a new GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Standards Council in which he aims to standardize how reporting takes place throughout the industry and across all vendors. 

 

What we discuss in this episode:

03:07 - Brian, as an advocate for the dealer body is not afraid to ask tough questions even if it means putting on the gloves and sparring with the OEMs. Through Brian's inclusive conferences, the dealer body also feels comfortable engaging in those conversations and sharing their point of view — a discourse that he is encouraging should happen more throughout the industry.

04:58 - Brian shares his findings from a recent YouGov study which indicates how consumers are seeking to research and purchase vehicles. "You know, I think CSI scores hide the fact that most consumers are not happy with the overall sales experience." 

05:47 - Many dealers adopted digital retailing tools but never created an in-store process to match. In so doing, the consumer experience is negatively impacted and nobody is better off. Brian suggests that instead of providing COOP dollars for marketing purposes, there should also be an allocation that goes toward in-store training so that teams can deliver the experience level that the majority of today's car buyers expect and that is more of a connected retailing experience similar to Best Buy or Apple. You can visit their websites and the product you see is in stock and the price is exactly the same online as it is in-store. 

13:00 - OEMs are making moves toward an agency model in which they can sell directly to consumers. In particular, Ford's CEO made some comments that seem to be removing dealers from the EV products they plan to sell in the future. 

"I think that GM and Ford dealers have been relatively quiet about some of the bombshells. Both manufacturers have announced that their EV models will sell directly to consumers on a national portal. It appears that Tekion will power both of those solutions. There is no detail on how trades will be handled, and no details about F&I products."

13:40 - Jim Farley (Ford's CEO) was probably the most transparent in sharing that D2C is an efficient model and that they want to be more like Tesla — they want the margins and want customers to be happy. Brian shares that he understands also the business case for such a model. Jim's job is to keep investors happy. 

14:15 - Brian shares that he was on a panel discussion with Brian Benstock, highlighting the dealership operator as someone who is focused on providing the best customer experience possible. Brian Benstock has developed a process with his team in which customers can take delivery of a vehicle and experience the entire transaction in 45 minutes. 

18:00 - Brian explains that one of the reasons he is an advocate for dealers is because our industry contains some of the most impressive entrepreneurs who've reinvented themselves many times over. The vast majority of dealers are working hard to embrace what's coming next.

27.27 - Discussion about Brian's formation of the Google Analytics Standards Council and what it aims to accomplish throughout the retail automobile industry. The goal is to create a standard way of reporting events industry-wide so that no matter the vendor, everyone has an agreed-upon way to report the data. Doing so, Brian believes will save a lot of confusion and save a lot of time when it comes to trying to understand the dealership's data. FlexDealer, Michael's automotive software and marketing agency, is proud to be a founding member of the council and will help create the standards by which website and marketing vendors track inside of GA4.

Listen to the full episode for even more insights and context from Brian Pasch! 

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Thanks, Brian Pasch!

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