By Chris Kourtakis, Owner, H20 Limos Marine Service — With the recent announcements of Chrysler closing up to 800 dealers and GM a possible 1,500 dealerships, will this hurt of help the marine industry? More people keep focusing on the negative, but as we all know there is a silver lining to everything.
The dealership closings and layoffs could give the marine industry the opportunity to hire skilled and qualified service writers, technicians and finance, sales staff and general support staff that they normally would not have or have been trying to fill for several months, if not years.
Hiring people directly from the automotive industry could positively impact marine dealerships immediately. Through hiring a former automotive employee, dealership training costs should drop significantly, as the new hire will have an understanding of what it means to take care of the customer. There could also be a cost savings in recruiting and interviewing, as turnover should drop if the employee is taken care of.
As I travel the country and speak to marine dealers they all say that finding good help is on the top of their priority list. Could this be the push that the marine industry needs to get qualified applicants to consider the marine industry?
The potential integration could possibly improve customer service, CSI scores and the overall view of the marine industry as the customer’s perception may change and the level of service at many dealerships could go up.
This will allow marine dealerships to implement automotive-quality policies and procedures into their dealership for little or no cost. This can only benefit a dealership and the marine industry as a whole.
I've been saying since January that the other major plus is the auto dealership facilities. That's some expensive and rare real estate that can now be bought way, way below market value! Just look at the typical auto dealership property - large lots on a busy throrughfare, big indoor showrooms with sales offices, large, well-lighted and equipped repair shops. Everything the typical boat dealer has been lusting for all these years...