It’s been along time since automotive dealerships felt the need to hire more employees. Over the past 3 years jobs have been slashed, dealerships have closed and production of automobiles has been reduced. To give you and idea of how bad the situation was, according to NADA figures for 2009, employment at U.S. dealerships dropped below 1 million, something that hadn’t been seen since 1995. However now, thanks to a slightly improved economy and increasing vehicle sales it looks like things are finally beginning to look up. The sale of compact and economy based vehicles has been on the rise, which means that some dealerships are now finding the need to hire on more people. For example, Houston based Gillman Cos holds 11 import and 3 domestic dealerships. In 2008 they were forced to lay off 15% of their employees. However now, with factories projecting a 10% sales increase they are looking to hire additional salespeople as well as service advisers.
Some holding groups however are still airing on the side of caution. In Huntington Station, NY at the Habberstad Auto Group, dealers are relying on improvements in technology to compensate for the lack of physical bodies. Jeremy Alicandri, the group’s Vice President states,
“Since the downturn, a tremendous amount of technology and software has emerged that has allowed us to improve our operations”.
During the economic down slope many dealerships have learned how to contain themselves on bootstrap budgets. They’ve managed to cut costs via layoffs and still stay afloat and are now only hiring people on an “as-needed” basis. I just hope that all this caution doesn’t lead to a loss in customer service to the end consumer.