The recession hit the Sacramento-area auto-selling industry like a ton of bricks.
Between April 2008 and June 2009, more than a dozen area dealerships closed doors, creating hundreds of job losses, millions in lost sales tax revenue and millions more in evaporated advertising dollars.
Today, things are much improved, but local auto executives say they’ve had to change with the times: stocking more hybrid and electric vehicles, hiring more tech-savvy salespersons and technicians, and strongly emphasizing customer service in a competitive marketplace.
In today’s conclusion of a three-part series of conversations with local experts discussing the Sacramento region’s road to recovery, we asked three longtime automotive executives to offer their views of what lies ahead.
Here’s an excerpt from Sacramento Bee staff writer Mark Glover’s interviews with John Driebe, who sells Nissan, Infiniti and Mazda vehicles in the Elk Grove Automall and heads the ForAnyAuto Group; Rick Niello, president of the Sacramento-based Niello Co., which oversees more than a dozen mostly high-end dealerships in Northern California; and David Rodgers, senior vice president and general manager of the John L. Sullivan Automotive Group, which includes John L. Sullivan Chevrolet and Roseville Toyota in the Roseville Automall.