Under the Hood: Examining the business-auto dealership relationship.

Author:Mottl, Judy

Operating a commercial business, whether a construction or landscaping company, oil and gas production, or a tour company, often also requires operating a special fleet of vehicles to keep the business and employees moving.

Creating and maintaining a positive relationship with an auto dealership can be beneficial when it comes to keeping a commercial fleet up and running. The key for fleet buyers is choosing a dealership that can meet its needs, and the key for dealerships is to take the time needed to understand a commercial client's needs.

"So, when you first start out meeting [a fleet buyer], you're establishing what they expect from you as far as a sales rep; with time, that becomes a partnership as obviously I want them to grow, and I want my business to grow," says Robbie Dixon, fleet manager at Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM.

The dealership partner, notes Dixon, must become extremely knowledgeable about a client's needs when it comes to rigs--and that includes everything from vehicle specifications to features such as high-tech navigation.

"[A relationship] makes it easy for all involved. It makes my job easier as I know what they are expecting me to deliver and it makes it easier for them as I have knowledge of what they need," Dixon adds. "Each relationship or partnership is very different and unique and there is a responsibility to know their business."

Making that happen typically involves the dealership partner spending time at a client's offices and worksites.

"A lot of times a commercial client comes in and they don't know what they need. By understanding what they need [a vehicle] for I can provide insight on what trucks can do and use my expertise when it comes to building a truck for them," Dixon says.

Such expertise only comes with years spent on the job. While Dixon has been at Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM for two years, he's worked for Chrysler for a decade and been in the dealership business for seventeen years.

Benefits of a Dealership

When it comes to commercial and business fleet purchases, auto dealerships offer a wide range of incentives and programs.

At Kendall Ford of Wasilla there are thirty current incentives, according to the company's website. There are six, for example, for the 2018 Ford F-250, including a $1,000 cash back offer and a $500 Ford Credit Retail Bonus Customer Cash incentive. There are thirteen offers on the 2018 Ford F-350 as of mid-summer.

Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM provides...

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