WINTER 2024 OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE NEW CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION SAN DIEGO COUNTY The Dean of Dealers DEAN MANSFIELD RETIRES AFTER 34 YEARS
Business Transactions • Buy-Sell Agreements • DMV, BAR, and other governmental approvals • Lender flooring and capital loan agreements • Entity formation and structure • Shareholder Agreements • Manufacturer approvals and relations • NMV non-profit association representation Estate Planning • Succession planning for businesses • Trust Agreements including lifetime benefit trusts • Gift and Estate Tax planning Tax • Property Tax planning, audits, and appeals • Federal estate and gift tax controversy audits • EDD Audits BUSINESS LAW | LITIGATION | ESTATE PLANNING | REAL ESTATE | TAX | EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES FERRUZZO & FERRUZZO, LLP | A Limited Liability Partnership, including Professional Corporations 3737 Birch Street, Suite 400, Newport Beach, California 92660 | PH: (949) 608-6900 | ferruzzo.com Business Litigation • Consumer Legal Remedies Act lawsuits • Sales and Service Agreements • Disputes before the CA New Motor Vehicle Board • Consumer claims regarding the sale of automobiles • Manufacturer audit disputes • Hearings before the AQMD, RWQC and OSHA Real Estate • Dealership site acquisition and dispositions • Lease agreements • Lender Opinion Letters Employment Practices • Wage and hour class action lawsuits • Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims • Arbitration Agreements • Employer Handbooks and Employer Compliance Procedures Ferruzzo & Ferruzzo, LLP began providing legal representation to new car and truck dealers over four decades ago. Over the course of that time, one of the central goals of the firm has been to remain rooted in our client relationships. With the strength of over 25 attorneys, we provide a spectrum of legal services to support every aspect of running and owning your new car and/or truck dealership. We have practice groups in each area of the law that service the needs of you and your dealership.
Anticipate every turn In an industry that’s always evolving, your dealership can rely on our Dealer Financial Services team’s 90 years of experience to see what’s around the corner, forward-thinking insights to prepare you, and technology to keep you ahead of the curve. What would you like the power to do?® Bob Ludwig, email@example.com business.bofa.com/dealer ©2023 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. DFS-699-AD 5949042 Investment products offered by Investment Banking Affiliates: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value “Bank of America” and “BofA Securities” are the marketing names used by the Global Banking and Global Markets divisions of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, other commercial banking activities, and trading in certain financial instruments are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Trading in securities and financial instruments, and strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities, are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, BofA Securities, Inc., which is a registered broker-dealer and Member of SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. BofA Securities, Inc. is a registered futures commission merchant with the CFTC and a member of the NFA.
© 2023 New Car Dealers Association® San Diego County (NCDA) | The newsLINK Group, LLC. All rights reserved. San Diego Dealer is published four times each year by The newsLINK Group, LLC for the NCDA and is the official publication for this association. The information contained in this publication is intended to provide general information for review, consideration and education. The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. If you need legal advice or assistance, it is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney as to your specific circumstances. The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NCDA, its board of directors, or the publisher. Likewise, the appearance of advertisements within this publication does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any product or service advertised. San Diego Dealer is a collective work, and as such, some articles are submitted by authors who are independent of the NCDA. While San Diego Dealer encourages a first-print policy, in cases where this is not possible, every effort has been made to comply with any known reprint guidelines or restrictions. Content may not be reproduced or reprinted without prior written permission. For further information, please contact the publisher at 855-747-4003. CHAIRMAN CHRIS GEORGE…........................DISTRICT 4 VICE CHAIRMAN JOHN SEGAL….............................DISTRICT 3 SECRETARY/TREASURER JUSTIN TRUE…............................DISTRICT 5 BOARD MEMBERS JENIFER BALL…...........................DISTRICT 6 MATT CRANDALL…...................DISTRICT 2 PAUL DYKE...................................DISTRICT 4 BANU GREWAL...........................DISTRICT 3 SCOTT KIEFNER..........................DISTRICT 6 JASON MOSSY.............................DISTRICT 5 MEGAN QUEZADA.....................DISTRICT 2 NATHAN THOMPSON...............DISTRICT 1 ERIC TRACY.................................DISTRICT 1 NCDA STAFF SCOTT WEBB PRESIDENT DIANA SILVA ACCOUNTING AND ADMINISTRATION MANAGER CLAUDIA OLVERA MEETING AND FACILITIES COORDINATOR ROBERT HEINTZ CALIFORNIA SALES TRAINING ACADEMY INSTRUCTOR Contents 10065 Mesa Ridge Court San Diego, CA 92121-2916 Tel: (858) 550-0080 Fax: (858) 550-9537 ncda.com Publication 12 | 2023-2024 Issue 1 | Winter 6 2024 NADA Show 7 Letter from the President By Scott Webb, NCDA President 8 Oil Spill Prevention and Mitigation Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Solutions; Human Ones Too By Sam Celly, BChE MChE, JD CSP, Celly Services, Inc. 10 Save the Date NCDA Golf Tournament + Annual Meeting & Luncheon 12 Buy-Sell: Identifying Unique Considerations When One Party Is a Foreign Entity By Alysha Webb, Editor, Scali Rassmussen, Getting to Go! 14 EPA, OSHA and Worker’s Comp Compliance Seminar Recap Presented by NCDA and Celly Services 15 San Diego DRIVES to Focus on Dealer Inventory Listings 16 How to Build a Consumer-Friendly Service Experience That Is Efficient By Sharon Kitzman, Dominion DMS 18 The Dean of Dealers Dean Mansfield Retires After 34 Years 20 Tributes for Dean Mansfield 21 Meet Senator Steve Padilla 21 AB 473 Signed Into California Law 22 Ask Alison The Facts About Potential California Long-Term Care Legislation By Alison McCallum, EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants 24 San Diego Auto Outlook 34 IRS 401(k) Contribution Limits Increase for 2024 4 SAN DIEGO DEALER
SAVE AN AVERAGE OF $6,500 MONTHLY / PER LOCATION! EVERYTHING YOU NEED, NOTHING YOU DON’T. SCAN THE QR CODE AND SCHEDULE YOUR DEMO TODAY! DominionDMS.com (866) 928-3210 1515 South Federal Highway, Suite 406 Boca Raton, FL 33432, USA SCHEDULE YOUR DEMO SECURITY FLEXIBILITY SAVINGS • $0 Core Monthly Support • $0 Conversion and Training • Unlimited Users • Encrypted Integration to Any Application • Continuous Software Enhancements • Robust Suite of Core Features • Easy to Learn / Simple to Use • Access from Any Web Connection • Choose the Apps You Want The new pricing structure, including an unheard-of $0 initial and monthly fee for VUE Core DMS, is unique in our industry. With the many challenges they face, we want to give dealers freedom and flexibility to create the custom software solution their business needs. Sharon Kitzman | President of Dominion DMS
Jon Taffer Business Expert and Executive Producer of Bar Rescue Danica Patrick Former Racecar Driver, Author, Broadcaster, Podcast Host and Entrepreneur Kurt Warner Hall of Fame Quarterback and Philanthropist 500+ EXHIBITORS 90+ WORKSHOPS NEW SCHEDULE! MEET OUR MAIN STAGE SPEAKERS NADASHOW.ORG REGISTER TODAY! A NIGHT UNDER THE SPHERE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1 7–10PM JOIN US FOR THE NADA SHOW 2024 WELCOME RECEPTION FEATURING POSTCARD FROM EARTH
Dear Dealer Members, With this issue of the San Diego Dealer magazine, we pay tribute to the “Dean of Dealers” as we wish Dean Manfield well in his retirement after 34 years at the helm of the New Car Dealers Association San Diego County. Dean arrived in San Diego from Montana in 1989 to an association that was in need of a transformation, and through his innovative ideas and steadfast leadership, as well as the support from many iconic San Diego franchised new car dealers, today’s NCDA is one of the most respected metro dealer associations in the country. From innovative PR programs like Image ’95 and the formation of the California Letter from the President Scott Webb, NCDA President Sales Training Academy to creating a state-of-the-art facility and developing the San Diego International Auto Show into one of the most successful auto shows in the country, Dean has left his indelible mark here in San Diego. I’ve had the great fortune to work alongside Dean for nearly a decade, and I’ve benefitted greatly from his 30+ years of valuable experience and thoughtful guidance. I am also humbled by his support for my transition into the role of president of this great organization. As I’ve mentioned to some of you, Dean has taught me just about everything I know about managing a dealer association, but certainly not everything he knows. Here at the NCDA, we’re still coming to grips with the idea that Dean won’t be coming into the office any longer. However, his lasting influence and legacy will continue to guide us into the future. Enjoy your retirement, Dean; you’ve certainly earned it! Best regards, Scott Donald Slater, CPA Automotive Services Partner firstname.lastname@example.org Adam Odom, CPA Automotive Services Partner email@example.com David Myers, CPA Automotive Tax Partner firstname.lastname@example.org
You walk into the shop early in the morning and see a mega oil spill. Material loss and cleanup can cost a big bundle, not to mention the shop shutdown time while the cleanup crew vacuums the shop floor, slurries the lot and undertakes the cleanup of the storm sewer. Regulators are breathing down your neck, threatening civil and criminal penalties. What Happened? The leak source may be attributed to equipment failure as follows: • Metering Pump Failed: In one case, the metering pump controlled by the parts department to regulate the dispensing of oil failed, creating a backpressure that emptied out the entire oil tank on the shop floor and then into the storm sewer. • Dispenser Came Off the Hose: The new dispenser and hoses installed did not have a tight fit and, on a weekend, the dispenser unit came off. This resulted in the oil tank emptying out, even though the compressor had been shut off. The oil spill damaged the lot and entered the storm sewer, resulting in extensive cleanup and regulatory activity. • Pipe Leak: The pipes carrying the oil from the oil tanks to the shop burst, resulting in an oil spill. Even though no oil was discharged to the storm sewer, there was significant product loss and cleanup activity, not to mention productivity loss, as the shop had to be shut down for a few days. In each case where oil was spilled into the storm sewer, extensive regulatory enforcement activity followed. Clean up of the entire lot and service department had to be undertaken as well, along with the clean-up performed on the entire storm sewer system impacted by the oil spill. The price tag in each of the cases was tens of thousands of dollars. The Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan prepared by the dealership was also summoned by the Federal EPA and the dealership underwent rigorous questioning. Civil: Preventive Measures Involve Building Physical Barriers to Prevent and Catch Oil Spills 1. Build a Concrete Wall: The wall around the tank will contain an accidental leak from failure of fittings or a leak from the tanks. Many times, tanks are double-walled, the interstitial space must be monitored for leaks and an inspection log kept. When tanks are in a tank room, a berm at the entrance can be built to contain a spill from a leaking fitting or a burst hose. A dealer in the bay area insists on the berm at each of his 16 stores. 2. Bollards: Tanks are generally kept in tank rooms specifically built for the purpose. Auto manufacturers have come up with specialized lube oil, the storage of which is now in tanks in the shop area and exposed to traffic. Install steel bollards to protect the tanks from accidental impact. 3. Secondary Containment: Generally, secondary containment for all containers greater than 55 gallons is necessary. Appropriate containment can be purchased and placed for effective containment. Mechanical: Float Devices and Overflow Alarms 1. Mechanical Gauge: Each of the tanks should be provided with a gauge indicating the level of fluid in the tanks. A matrix provided by the tank and gauge manufacturer and placed on the tank can translate the level of oil in the tank to actual gallons in the tank. Once tank storage is determined and tank capacity is known, the delivery company can determine the gallons to be delivered. Dipsticks may not always be provided and may be difficult to reach for large storage tanks, so this is an effective way to prevent spills. 2. Tank Level Monitors: Electronic tank level monitors track new product supply or used oil levels and wirelessly transmit tank level information to the manager’s desktop. The desktop allows for easy viewing and management of tank levels without labor costs. Data related to tank levels may be automatically emailed to oil distributors and used oil recyclers for action. Greater inventory management allows for efficient expensing and accounting as well. 3. Overflow Alarms: The used oil and used coolant tanks may have remote filling and, as such, are not visible to the technician unloading used oil through a diaphragm pump. Without an overflow alarm, tanks at remote locations can continue to overflow and create spills. Overflow alarm panels at the fill station should be equipped with a visual and audible alarm. The alarm should also shut off the compressed air to the pump and hence prevent any transfer to the tank once the tank reaches capacity. Alarms should be checked for proper operability on an annual basis. Electrical Devices: A $500 Valve/Timer Device on Your New Oil/Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) Tanks The remedial measures to avoid such disasters are straightforward, easy and inexpensive to install compared to the potential for an expensive and troublesome spill. 1. A $500 Solenoid Valve with a Timer Will Shut Off Air to Dispensers During Non-Shop Hours: Place a solenoid valve with a timer in the air line to the oil tank dispensers. With the help of a preset timer, the valve will automatically shut off air to the By Sam Celly, BChE MChE, JD CSP, Celly Services, Inc. Oil Spill Prevention and Mitigation Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Solutions; Human Ones Too 8 SAN DIEGO DEALER
dispenser pump during non-shop hours, thereby preventing any spills. Leaks or spills in the shop area during shop hours are not an issue as they are detected immediately and addressed by the shop staff in a timely manner. Compressed air required by the detail staff or others will still be available even though air is not available to the dispenser pumps. 2. Training Employees to Shut Down Air to Dispensers by Hand Valve is Not Effective: A hand-operated valve would do the same job as shutting the air with a solenoid valve, as discussed above. However, it is prone to human error. Shop porters or other shop staff will have to be trained and routinely reminded to ensure that they are carrying out the job of shutting off the air during non-shop hours. A shop porter trained to shut off valves can be on vacation, call in sick or simply be terminated, resulting in the discontinuation of the air shut-off procedure. An automatic valve with an in-line timer, as discussed above, does not have human limitations. The mechanical device must be tested for proper operation and serviced on a periodic basis. 3. Compressors on the Timer: Some dealerships have compressors with a timer to shut them down at the end of the work shift. However, there is enough air in the air-storage tank to empty the oil tank of hundreds of gallons when a leak occurs downstream in the hoses, dispenser or metering pump, even after the electrical supply to the compressor motor has been shut off. So, this procedure is of limited use in preventing spills. To prevent corrosion of the air tank, many companies have an employee drain the air tank daily. This procedure faces the same limitations discussed in the item above. Note: The devices and procedures discussed above may not be required by law or by local regulators. However, they are good engineering practices that, when implemented, minimize the possibility of a hazmat leak or a spill at your facility, thereby minimizing disruption to operations. Clean-up expenses and regulatory burden are also reduced. Scan the QR code to read about recent EPA enforcement settlements. https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-settlestwo-watsonville-calif-companies-claimschemical-safety-violations The article is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice. Employers must consult their lawyer for legal matters and EPA/OSHA consultants for matters related to environmental, health and safety. The article was authored by Sam Celly of Celly Services, Inc. who has been helping automobile dealers in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Virginia comply with EPA and OSHA regulations for over 35 years. To learn more, please email Sam at email@example.com. NCDA.COM 9 • Labor Relations • Employee handbooks • Employment Law Counseling and Litigation • HR Policies and procedures • Independent contractor issues • OSHA Compliance and defense • Purchasing or selling a dealership • Staffing and contingent workers • Workers’ Compensation • Wage and hour law A driving force in labor and employment law for more than 70 years. Fisher Phillips brings valuable legal counsel to NCDA members. Our labor and employment law firm offers auto dealerships the following services: fisherphillips.com 4747 Executive Drive | Suite 1000 | San Diego, CA 92121
SAVE THE DATE NCDA Golf Tournament + Annual Meeting & Luncheon Monday, May 13, 2024 Maderas Golf Club 17750 Old Coach Road Poway, CA 92064 10 SAN DIEGO DEALER
LOS ANGELES | SAN DIEGO | SACRAMENTO | SAN FRANCISCO | scalirasmussen.com Avoiding litigation when it’s possible. Protecting you when it isn’t. •Labor & Employment •Regulatory & Licensing •Complex Litigation •General Counsel Services •Mergers & Acquisitions AV® and AV Preeminent® are Certification Marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.
Buy-Sell: Identifying Unique Considerations When One Party Is a Foreign Entity By Alysha Webb, Editor, Scali Rassmussen, Getting to Go! In recent years, the U.S. auto retail sector has seen a growing number of foreign firms and individuals seeking to acquire dealerships here. Meanwhile, U.S. dealership groups are also starting to look across the border for acquisitions. In 2022, firms from Mexico, Canada, Vietnam and Finland, among others, were involved in several California dealership acquisition and establishment transactions. A dealership buy-sell transaction is remarkably complicated, involving legal, accounting, environmental, regulatory and many other layers. Having an attorney who can handle due diligence as well as licensing and permitting can resolve unique issues that some regulatory bodies may be encountering for the first time. Those skills allow the firm to provide superior customer service as well. But, it’s not enough to be experts in the U.S. distribution system. There are many intricacies of doing a deal where one party is not based in the U.S. A knowledge of the non-U.S. parties’ distribution systems is key. That allows acquisition experts to clearly explain the differences in both foreign and U.S. distribution systems. For example, foreign clients may want to tell investors that they will be up and running very quickly. However, that requires an extremely problem-free transaction process. The U.S. franchise system can be very difficult for a foreign buyer to navigate, especially if the potential non-U.S. buyer is private equity or a family office. It helps if the investor has a prior relationship with the auto manufacturer, who must approve the transaction. Chris Scali, founder and managing partner at Scali Rasmussen, PC, and an expert in this field, said, “We find most of our foreign clients already have dealerships in other parts of the world, and they are used to a certain way of doing business.” He continued, “It is very different than the way we do business here in the automotive sector. It is kind of an education for them, and I’ve noticed they appreciate that we have that knowledge and can explain the difference.” Having a local point of contact is important for any foreign entity looking to acquire automotive assets in the U.S. Most U.S. regulatory agencies want to work with an individual here who is at least nominally in charge, and they want that person to have a U.S. driver’s license and a social security number. Many foreign clients don’t have that person, and it can really slow down the process. Additionally, many foreign firms already have dealerships in other parts of the world and they are used to doing business a certain way, which is very different than the way business is conducted in the U.S. The process of buy-sell can be complicated and they most often need to be educated on the differences — specifically in California. “If you don’t do it right from the beginning,” says Bert Rasmussen, a franchised specialist under California law with Scali Rasmussen, “there is so much risk that the deadline will not be met. And then everybody gets disappointed, and sometimes bad things happen like an investor decides he has had enough.” Today, business model convergence is driving more cross-border activity. Companies in Mexico and Canada have been actively acquiring auto franchises here, but that wasn’t always the case. NAFTA has undoubtedly helped drive this activity, but the primary driving factor is more in terms of the relationship kind of approach. Changes in the European system have some foreign entities looking here as well. The proliferation of electric vehicle companies is also driving a lot of international automotive work. Some foreign EV makers are not looking to open dealerships. Instead, they are following Tesla and going with a storefront approach. That and the lack of an internal combustion engine — and the accompanying layers of approvals needed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and, if they are selling in California, the Air Resources Board — makes market entry much smoother. There are virtually limitless opportunities to grow. Chris Scali and Bert Rasmussen are experts in buy-sell, working with international investors looking to enter the U.S. and have developed a network to help U.S. entities invest overseas. Scali Rasmussen has local business legal counsel throughout California to address your employment, cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, franchise, acquisitions, real estate needs and more. Please visit scalirasmussen.com to learn more. 12 SAN DIEGO DEALER
Get compliant. Protect your bottom line. We make it simple for dealerships to navigate compliance With a combined 95 years of environmental health and safety compliance experience in automotive operations across the country, our Certified Safety Professionals (CSP) can help you reduce risk and increase profits. Permits and registrations — BAR, EPA, DIR Specialized employee training upon request from your dealership Online training program (elearning) Environmental Protection Agency compliance and environmental risk management DOT hazmat shipping certification Workplace health and safety compliance Environmental health and safety training Why choose us? Training We’ll help find a solution that works for you LET’S TALK! www.cellyservices.com 562.704.4000
EPA, OSHA and Worker’s Comp Compliance Seminar Recap Presented by NCDA and Celly Services In late September, the NCDA hosted a Celly Services seminar to provide dealer members with valuable training about EPA, OSHA and Worker’s Comp Compliance requirements. Attended by general managers, fixed ops managers and service directors, topics covered in this informative and interactive seminar included: • In-person Training vs. Hands-on Training: This included forklift training (theoretical and practical), lockout/tagout and respiratory protection. • SB 158 and Hazardous Waste: Covered Hazardous Waste Cost Recovery per SB 158 (CA Generation and Handling Fee). • Cost Recovery for Hazardous Waste Expenses: The BAR says you can’t make a profit, we discussed how a hazardous waste fee should be calculated and placed on your RO and invoice. • Cal OSHA Injury Log: Discussions on understanding recordable vs. reportable incidents, the three forms you need to complete, and when and how long to maintain records. • OSHA Inspection: Covered what triggers an OSHA inspection and how to minimize the scope of an OSHA inspection, as well as citations and the appeals process. • Worker’s Comp Rate: Including how it is calculated and why high ex-mod can hurt you. And fighting the three F’s — frivolous, fraudulent and fictitious claims. • Foot Protection Requirements: Reviewed protections required from electrical hazards, falling objects, crushing or penetrating actions and abnormally wet conditions (ASTM F 2412-05 and F 2413-05). Shoe policy and enforcement, and who pays? • Eye Injury Prevention Requirements: Discussed when eye protection is required, what types are there, if eyeglasses count and what employees who wear glasses can do. • Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA): Covered the most common violations related to annual CUPA inspections. • First Aid Kits: This included discussions on the ANSI updated list of minimum requirements for Class A and Class B kits, new items required, how many are necessary and how to store them. • Refrigerant Recycling: Discussed which employees need section 609 certification, records keeping, as well as EPA auditing and penalties. • Electronic Verification Questionnaire: Reviewed the importance of annual submittal to prevent deactivation of EPA ID numbers. • Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP): Reviewed the eight elements of the written IIPP, which is required for any company that has 10 or more employees • Hazard Communication Program (HCP): Reviewed the five basic elements of the HCP, which is required for employers whose employees work with hazardous chemicals. • Heat Illness Prevention Program (HIPP): Reviewed the HIPP that is required for employers whose employees work in a hot environment. • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Reviewed the PPE, when it’s required, who should wear it, who should pay for it and how it should be stored. • Emergency Response Plan: Reviewed emergency response plans that are required for any company that has 10 or more employees. 14 SAN DIEGO DEALER
San Diego DRIVES to Focus on Dealer Inventory Listings San Diego DRIVES is shifting its strategy to focus on new- and pre-owned vehicle inventory listings to better serve San Diego County’s franchised new car dealers. As a result, the site will no longer host auctions for dealers to purchase used cars from consumers. San Diego DRIVES remains committed to providing a free platform for you that showcases your inventory and increases visibility to potential car buyers in Southern California. As always, listing your inventory on sandiegodrives.com gives you increased exposure in the marketplace and is a key benefit of being an NCDA member. Since January 2023, the San Diego DRIVES website has attracted more than 2.9 million unique visitors. The platform has also delivered more than 8.6 million dealership impressions and more than 164 million vehicle impressions to participating dealers. Over the past year, San Diego DRIVES has also offered select sponsorship opportunities to enhance dealer visibility on the site. To increase dealership visibility even more, San Diego DRIVES recently introduced a dedicated San Diego DRIVES section in the daily San Diego Union-Tribune eNewspaper that gives dealers the opportunity to showcase a weekly curated inventory feed, reaching over 60,000 weekly digital subscribers in San Diego. Both the NCDA and San Diego DRIVES are excited about these new opportunities, and San Diego DRIVES remains committed to working together with dealers to grow your sales. If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to Tammy Chung or Rowena Yandall at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 674-7652. NCDA.COM 15
Delivering a superior service experience is the goal of every business. To achieve this goal, dealers must build a service experience that is both efficient and friendly. Achieving this balance can be difficult, but with the help of some fantastic technology, it’s not impossible. In this article, we will explore the steps necessary to create a consumer-friendly service experience that is also efficient. The Check-in Process The check-in process is a crucial part of the overall customer service experience. It sets the tone for the entire service experience. As such, it is essential to get it right to deliver a truly consumer-friendly experience. By looking at other industries with check-in processes, we can learn from their operations and apply them to our own. My veterinarian reminds me of my appointment more frequently and in a fun and friendly way (think texts with dog emojis) than the appointments I have booked online for my car. The emojis might seem childish, but it makes me smile when I see the text, and I open the text to read the whole reminder. My dealership could do better with the appointment reminder process or the linkage between what I have already filled out online and the questions I am re-asked when I get into the service lane. This level of accessible customer service keeps me coming back. Similarly, the automotive industry could take a cue from the airlines and ensure they check in customers as quickly as possible. I know what you are thinking. Really, the airline industry? But take yourself back 10 years before the kiosks and bag drop, when everyone waited for a live person to help them. I remember my first kiosk experience with Delta, thinking, “This is never going to stick,” but now it is the rule, not the exception. The airlines invested in consumer apps to smooth processes and satisfy the desire for self-service. They also changed their operations, funneling the travelers to the kiosks the minute they walked in the door with a greeter. The key is providing an excellent check-in process, where your consumer can self-service the things that make sense, and your advisors use the data supplied by that consumer to check in quickly and efficiently. Waiting and standing in line is rarely an enjoyable experience and not one that consumers want to repeat. However, by providing a simple, efficient and friendly check-in process, you can start your service experience on a positive note. The Waiting Area One of the essential parts of creating a consumer-friendly service experience is ensuring your waiting area is as inviting and efficient as possible. There are consulting companies that do this full-time for the medical industry. For example, having a quiet, safe and clean environment is essential. Even something as simple as comfortable chairs, bottled water and snacks can make a world of difference. Complimentary Wi-Fi is always appreciated to allow your customers to stay connected with their busy lives. Additionally, providing timely information about what is going on with their vehicle and pushing video content to the consumer’s device can keep them in the waiting area and not coming back to the drive to ask additional questions. Consider giving customers the option to upgrade additional repairs while they wait. A big plate glass window for added transparency will reassure the customer about the work being completed on their vehicle, avoiding questions regarding the services. Having a comfortable and productive waiting area will help ensure customers have a friendly automotive service experience. Overcommunicate Clear communication with consumers is critical to providing a friendly service experience. Technology can be used to streamline the process, as well as provide transparency throughout the duration of the service. A communication system that keeps customers informed throughout the process should be a priority. From the time of check-in, customers should be given an estimate that makes them aware of the approximate time and cost of their services. The estimate should list all the suggested services and the rough cost for completing each service. Upon the customer’s review and agreement, the customer will sign the document, ensuring there are no surprises once everything has been completed. Prices should never be a surprise, so communicating with the customer is vital for transparency. Plenty of research shows most consumers prefer text as the best way to reach them because it allows for concise yet detailed updates that won’t take too much of the consumer’s time. Through the use of text updates, customers will have the ability to stay on top of their service and make any necessary changes that they may require. I have witnessed certain regionally based demographic tendencies — think South Florida — where text is not always best. You know your client base! Transparency is also crucial to providing a consumer-friendly service experience. It is essential to allow customers to view updates to their service or inform them of any changes that could impact the service’s completion. Good news can be delivered autonomously, as it won’t require any action from the customer. Bad news should always be delivered in person so that the customer can fully understand and respond to the issue. How to Build a Consumer-Friendly Service Experience That Is Efficient By Sharon Kitzman, Dominion DMS 16 SAN DIEGO DEALER
The Check-in Process The Waiting Area Finish Strong Overcommunicate Finish Strong Completing the service experience in a consumer-friendly way is just as important as the beginning of the process. Ensure that the bill does not surprise the consumer and take payment their way. Offer payment options such as online, in an app, through SMS or at the cashier station. Use technology to allow the technician to show and tell what repairs were made to the vehicle and ensure the consumer knows what was done and why it was necessary. The client that brought the car in for service may have a partner, not with them, who wants to understand what repairs were made. Lastly, follow up with the consumer one to two days after completing the service to ensure there are no lingering concerns. Following these steps will ensure consumers have a friendly and satisfactory service experience. Sharon Kitzman leads the launch and longterm growth of Dominion DMS. Previously, she managed the strategic direction and product development for Reynolds & Reynolds and Dealertrack. Her experience spans every area of dealership software development, including sales, marketing, product lifecycle management, process re-engineering, OEM management, professional services and customer services. Kitzman is a recognized leader in the automotive industry for her expertise in DMS technology. She received numerous accolades for her leadership, including Automotive News Top 100 Leading Women 2015 and 2020, Auto Remarketing Women in Retail 2021, and AutoSuccess Women at the Wheel 2021. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ohio State University. Listen to our VUE Points podcast to stay up to date with news and current events related to the automotive software and retail industry. https://www.dominiondms.com/podcasts/ NCDA.COM 17
After 34 years of serving as the President of the New Car Dealers Association of San Diego (NCDA), Dean Mansfield is retiring. The “Dean of Dealers,” as he was called in a San Diego Union-Tribune article announcing his appointment, leaves behind a lasting legacy of accomplishments and excellence. For years, the NCDA staff has been trying to get Dean to agree to be featured in the San Diego Dealer magazine. First, when Dean reached the 20-year mark, Dean declined. The same thing happened at the 25-year mark. Once again, Dean refused and, in his own words, humbly stated, “I will not be featured until after I’m gone. What I’ve done at the association has never been about me; it’s always been about our dealers.” Dean began his career in 1978 at the Montana Automobile Dealers Association. As a native of the Big Sky state, Dean was happy serving dealers in his home state and had no plans for change. “I grew up in Montana, I went to high school and college there and all of my family lives there,” Dean said. But then, a unique opportunity presented itself. One of Dean’s friends and colleagues from Orange County passed Dean’s name along to Doug Fuller. NCDA had been without a leader for three or four months and needed to hire a replacement. Dean went to San Diego and interviewed for the position. “I came here, and they offered me the job before I left town,” Dean recalled. “It was a good move for me.” When Dean first came to San Diego, the NCDA offices were located in a little tworoom office in Mission Valley; there were two employees, and Dean made three. Purchasing a new, more accommodating building was a priority. After searching for months and months, the decision was made to purchase the 25,000-square-foot building where NCDA is still located today. The building has six large meeting rooms that are available to all the dealer members. “We’ve always got someone meeting here in the building,” said Dean. He has also overseen two remodels of the building. Looking back over the years spent at NCDA, Dean learned that “Association management is crisis management. There’s always something happening in this industry — whether it’s legislative issues, manufacturer issues or image issues — there are a lot of different things that you have to do. And it’s not always easy to get everybody on the same page.” He continued, “When I first came here, the association was somewhere around $60,000 in debt. And five years later, we paid the $1.5 million for our new building.” “San Diego dealers have always been a really good group that works together. They don’t feud; they are, however, fiercely competitive,” Dean said with a smile. “I think the association has helped foster the comradery with all it is involved in.” At one point, Dean suggested to the NCDA board to decrease the number of meetings they held. The board said, “No, we want to meet, and we want it to be monthly.” From Dean’s perspective, it’s very unique that an association board will meet monthly, “It’s just almost unheard of. But they love doing it, and that’s been fine with me.” At one point, one of the NCDA dealer members made Dean aware that the association and its dealers had an image problem. Dean and the NCDA board of directors pitched in and got to work to create what became known as the Image 95 campaign. Over a relatively short period of time, a great working relationship was developed with the local media. “It’s a major accomplishment. I don’t take full credit for this, but from the association point standpoint, we have a very unique partnership with the media.” One of the things that Dean brought to the association was the California Sales Training Academy (CSTA). This four-day class is a detailed beginner’s course in the basics of selling and delves into elevating the profession by ensuring that those who attend learn about products and are taught the basics of ethical behavior and excellent customer service. “We started that 32 years ago. We trained salespeople for dealerships, and some of the people who have been through the class are now general managers at dealerships,” said Dean. Dealer members pay a minimal fee for this training and can send anyone — they are Academy Partners. The classes are free to the public. The media is a great partner in the CSTA class as well. They help by running PSAs about the class to the community and bringing in new people; then the association assists attendees in finding a job with an Academy Partner. “We’ve trained thousands of people to be salespeople and dealers. It’s a program that we set up, and it took us a long time to get it done. It has been in operation — even through COVID. We did all the classes online The Dean of Dealers Dean Mansfield Retires After 34 Years 18 SAN DIEGO DEALER
instead of in person. Our classes are back to in-person again in the training room here at our offices,” Dean stated. In 2015 Dean served as chairman of the Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE), an organization that represents the executives of more than 100 state and metropolitan franchised new car dealer associations in the U.S. and Canada. His term as chairman commenced during a markedly tumultuous time in ATAE history, both in terms of OEM relationships and state franchise laws. He led a working group of ATAEs and Alliance members (OEM GR types) in a strategic initiatives project that yielded real fruit, including a framework for a shared “early warning system” on state franchise law and other dealer issues. ATAE still refers to it today on certain issues. Another accomplishment that can be attributed to Dean’s leadership is the success of the San Diego International Auto Show. “The show was going before I came here and held in a very small civic center downtown. We were able to move it to a new convention center, which helped us greatly,” Dean stated. “Then, around 2006, we brought the entire production of the show in-house. The dealers and the manufacturers all came together and united the association even more.” The San Diego Auto Show grew to become the second-largest auto show in California and the highestattended consumer show at the San Diego Convention Center. Dean’s strong, steady leadership style has brought the association up to where it is today. After 45 years in this industry, Dean looks forward to what retirement will bring. As Scott Webb starts his new position as the new president of the NCDA, Dean says, “He’ll do a great job. I recommended him for the job. He’s been one of the best employees we’ve ever had. He’s dedicated — he’s the first one here in the morning and is the last one to leave.” Of note, Scott is the fourth of Dean’s employees who later took over leadership of a dealer association. Over the years, associations in Long Beach, San Jose and Philadelphia have also benefited from leadership mentored by Dean. Thank you for your years of service, Dean. Happy retirement! Representing the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Joel Anderson visited the NCDA to deliver a Proclamation plaque to Dean Mansfield commemorating his many years of service and achievements, as well as declaring October 31, 2023, “Dean Mansfield Day” throughout San Diego County. Dean Mansfield Day NCDA.COM 19
Tributes for Dean Mansfield “It seems like just yesterday that we sat around the table interviewing the person who would lead the troops. We were right on with the hiring of Dean. He immediately took charge and, through hard work and innovative ideas, turned our almost broke association into a financially stable organization that was in a position to serve its members and the community. With Dean’s guidance, the San Diego NCDA is a model for associations throughout the states.” Dave Ezratty Past NCDA President “What can you say about an individual that came into the original Motor Car Dealer Association that was struggling and lacked the revenue, and brought the guidance and leadership that was needed to take the association to the next level. I remember Dean flew in from Montana for his interview, left weather in the 30-40 degrees and came into Lindbergh field on a Chamber of Commerce day! Dean told me that he said to himself, I need to come here! After a day of interviews with many of the dealers you would recognize, Stephen Cushman, Roger Sather, John Hine, Doug Fuller and many others who were looking for the individual who could turn things around and make a difference — Dean was this individual. He took the bull by the horns and created revenue sources through the Auto Show that was originally started in the Community Concourse in downtown San Diego and eventually relocated San Diego Convention Center. Dean created strong relationships with our public and government officials here in San Diego, Sacramento and Washington, D.C., including state and federal associations, all for the betterment of our industry and local community. He has been a pillar in this area and has made the NCDA the association others want to replicate. Dean, thanks for all that you’ve done; you’ll be deeply missed but never forgotten. All the best in your retirement!” Gary Fenelli Past NCDA President “Dean has been a rock-solid, steady hand at the helm of the SDMCDA for many years, He has represented us well in the local and state political arenas. He has guided us through several rocky periods that could have been catastrophic for our businesses. He positioned our association well to survive the pandemic. And he is leaving us on a solid financial footing. I wish Dean the best for a long, healthy and well-deserved retirement. Bravo!” Bill Hoehn President Hoehn Motors “Dean has been a fixture in the San Diego Auto scene for 34 years and has made major accomplishments for all the San Diego New car dealers. His leadership and his desire to do his best really show when you get on the NCDA Board. One of my favorite things is going as a group led by Dean to Dealer Day in Sacramento to fight for our rights as Dealers. We will be in great hands with Scott Webb taking over his spot. If you have never been on the NCDA board, I suggest you try to get voted in on the next election. It’s a great learning experience.” Paul Dyke El Cajon Ford NCDA Board member since 2014 “Dean’s leadership has been impeccable when it came to leading our association through both difficult and good times. He came at a time when our association was essentially deficit spending. With Dean leading the way, we were able to turn that around. Dean’s accomplishments of helping to purchase our own building, bringing the San Diego International Auto Show in-house, implementing the Sales Training Academy and creating lasting relationships within the community will benefit the NCDA for years to come. His strong support of dealers and the industry has made all the difference. Dean will be sorely missed. I wish him all the best in retirement.” John Hine Past NCDA Chairman “Dean is a very exceptional person. He served for the NCDA for 34 years and his contributions are almost immeasurable, not only in a financial manner but also in his dedication and focus. Typically, someone in the position of head of any association doesn’t last for 34 years, nor do they leave the legacy that he has. His dedication and focus through good economy and bad, like in 2008, kept the association steady and financially sound. In terms of the evidence, the building he helped facilitate is remarkable — I was Chairman at the time, and I signed the check to finalize the purchase. Working with Dean on that was one of my honors and privileges. In all he did, Dean took complete ownership of the association. He is one-of-a-kind and I will miss him!” John McCallan Past NCDA Chairman Past CNCDA Chairman “No one has done it better than Dean. Through all the challenges (buying our association offices, starting the Auto Show, lawsuits, factory and unionization issues and threats to the Dealer body), Dean guided us with a steady hand. The only slightly questionable memory I have regarding Dean was during his interview process. I invited him to join me in a round of golf at San Diego County Club. All I will say is it was obvious that he hadn’t played recently … or ever. And with that small criticism aside, I wish Dean a very happy and welldeserved retirement for many years to come. And maybe some golf lessons! Thanks for everything, Dean.” Doug Fuller Past NCDA Board member “I wish Dean well. I’m impressed that he worked so long and hard for the San Diego New Car Dealers Association and created the value that it brings to the community, especially when it comes to the auto show. Without Dean’s guidance, the auto show would have fallen apart long ago. He was always committed to finding a way to make the auto show work. I can remember how disappointed he was at the beginning of COVID-19 when the situation would not allow us to have an auto show. And then, in the first year out of the pandemic, we were going to have to have a smaller auto show. The question we all asked was, “What could we do?” Dean reached out to the community in San Diego to make that auto show worthwhile and it was a success! I always felt that Dean was not only committed to the community at large in San Diego, but also to the community of New Car Dealers in San Diego. He was always looking out for what was best for the association.” Richard Newendyke Past NCDA Chairman
Senator Steve Padilla was elected to the Senate in November 2022, representing the counties of San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino. He is a native of San Diego, a graduate of Bonita Vista High School and a lifelong Chula Vista resident. He has dedicated his life to public service. Before becoming an elected official, Senator Padilla served 13 years in law enforcement, beginning in the City of Chula Vista and concluding in the City of Coronado, where he served as a detective, specializing in domestic violence and child abuse. His interest in public affairs began early in life, as did his service to Chula Vista, where he served as a member of the Board of Ethics and Safety Commission. He was elected for the first time to the City Council in 1994 and served two years. In 2002, he was elected the city’s 38th Mayor and served from 2002-2006. Senator Padilla returned to elected office in 2016 and, only one year later, was appointed for the second time to the California Coastal Commission, where he served as Chairman from 2019-2021. Prior to being elected to the State Senate, Steve worked with a variety of private entities, nonprofit organizations and public interest groups advocating on economic development projects, transportation, housing and environmental and social justice issues. In 2008, he served as a member of the Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy for the Council on Foreign Relations. Senator Padilla is noted for being the first person of color ever elected to city office in Chula Vista history, the first Latino Mayor and the first openly LGBT person to serve or be elected AB 473 Signed Into California Law In early October, California’s Governor officially signed the California New Car Dealer Association’s 2023 Franchise Bill (AB 473), signaling a massive win for franchised new car dealers in the state. Authored and championed by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), the bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. It will strengthen California’s franchise laws, creating a fairer and more balanced environment for dealers. It emphasizes accountability and transparency, benefiting all franchised dealer members. After months of advocating, negotiating and engaging with our members, this is a significant victory for dealers across the state and the industry’s future. The passage of AB 473 is a significant step forward to a more robust new motor vehicle franchise system for California’s new car dealers. Overcoming significant manufacturer opposition, the unanimous passage and signature of AB 473 would not have been possible without the support and guidance from CNCDA leadership and the dedication and engagement of dealer members throughout the state. We must also thank the author of AB 473, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). Her steadfast support and commitment to our cause has been second to none. If you know Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry personally, please reach out and thank her for being a champion for California dealers. AB 473 will strengthen and update California’s motor vehicle franchise laws by enforcing manufacturer accountability for unlawful treatment of dealers by manufacturers and includes several fundamental tenets: • Preserving Franchise System Integrity: It prevents manufacturers from introducing new vehicle brand names that would directly compete with their established franchised dealer network. • Equitable DC Fast Charging: The bill establishes fairness in manufacturerimposed DC fast charging programs. It prohibits manufacturers from burdening their dealers with the entire cost of installing and maintaining public-facing DC fast chargers. • Post-Sale Subscription Limits: AB 473 limits manufacturers’ ability to offer post-sale subscriptions for features already integrated into the vehicle, ensuring fairness in consumer choices. • Transparent Reservation Process: Manufacturers are now mandated to adopt an open and fair process for vehicle reservation systems, enhancing transparency for both dealers and consumers. • Reimbursement for Digital Services: Manufacturers are now obligated to reimburse dealers for any losses incurred due to the use of a non-compliant digital service, particularly if the manufacturer preselected the service. Meet Senator Steve Padilla to city office. He holds undergraduate degrees in Liberal Arts and Public Administration from Southwestern College and National University and studied law at Western State University, College of Law. He has been a published columnist writing on local, state, and national policy issues. Senator Padilla is a proud father to Ashleigh. She is an accomplished professional in political and policy advocacy, and his son-in-law, Nelson, is a former political staffer and current U.S. Naval Officer. NCDA.COM 21www.thenewslinkgroup.org