The Auto Industry Isn’t About Cars – It’s About Real, Live People

By Ted Ings, Executive Director

It’s a thriving, growing industry, and it’s focused on earning money at every level. 

Let’s put it into perspective: Statista reports that the US motor vehicle and parts manufacturing annual output in 2016 was nearly $716 billion dollars. That’s a lot of zeroes, and that only accounts for manufacturing, not sales. 

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What that unbelievable value doesn’t show you is that, behind every dollar spent in automotive, there is a customer. The assembly plant is the parts supplier’s customer. Every dealership is a customer to the manufacturer. And every car buyer and service client is the dealership’s customer. 


The automotive industry isn’t about cars at all – it’s about real, live people. They are what make the car business go round, and it’s critically important to remember to put the customer first. These tips will help you do just that. 

Make Regular Personal Contact

We’ve all been in a situation where you feel like more of a number than a person. Keep that in check by being routinely making contact in person. Pick up the phone and talk to the customer in person. If you have the opportunity to meet face to face, smile and make eye contact. A firm handshake is a welcome act. 

Keep an Open Dialog

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It’s so easy to keep a one-track mind, completing a transaction and carrying onto the next one. While saying, “Thank you very much, see you next time!” is a good thing, it closes the conversation. Instead, ask if there’s anything more that the customer requires. Ensure the customer knows they can call you anytime they have a concern or question, leaving the dialog open-ended.

BE a Customer

Nothing reminds you how it feels on the other side of the transaction more than BEING on the other side. Everyone is a customer at some point, though, right? That’s true, but you can make it a point to learn from interactions on the other side. Intentionally watch what your service provider does well and what can use improvement, then relate it to your customer interactions. 


In the automotive industry, the customer is everything. No matter what position you hold, make your customer the top priority.

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