Thinking Fresh: Today’s Modern, Adaptive Auto Dealer

Mandi Fang, Vice President and General Manager of Dealertrack DMS, a Cox Automotive company, recently joined Auto Remarketing’s podcast to share her perspective on digital transformation and its impact to the industry. With more than 15 years of executive leadership experience in the automotive retail industry, she’s been witness to the highs and lows of the market. And she knows that dealers, perhaps more than any other profession, are ready to tackle new challenges and adapt to change.

The Center of Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry

The term “digital transformation” has been used a lot to describe the tremendous technology shift impacting every industry. For auto retailers, technology is impacting every aspect of the business. According to Mandi, “what we’re focused on at Dealertrack DMS is giving businesses the platform to scale.” As buying habits change and consumers demand a more efficient and convenient way to buy, use, and shop for vehicles, automotive retailers absolutely need confidence in their partners that they can build a strategy that delivers a more holistic experience. However, for many businesses getting to this point comes at a cost. After research, Mandi explains, “The average dealership uses seven different software systems simply to complete a sales transaction.” After some quick math, many dealerships are averaging $3,500 per month on fees alone. It doesn’t go unnoticed by Dealertrack, and Mandi goes into detail about this issue further.

From Summer Internships to Launching New Concepts

Mandi Fang brings years of experience in leadership to her role, but her early exploits into the automotive industry are not without merit. Her early college career also include summer internships helping to assemble S10s along the assembly line at General Motors’ plant in Ohio. It’s from this background that she shares some of the experiences and lessons she carries with her to this day. “You have to be on time,” Mandi explains “because no one waits for you to show you. Someone will take your spot. And that is really an uncomfortable position to find yourself in.” She credits diligence and discipline with her early internships, and shares that “…you couldn’t help but feel and understand that everything you do has an impact.” Hear more about her background here.

Today’s Adaptive Dealer

The automotive industry may be changing as technology ushers in new concepts like ride-share services, mobility-as-a-service, and faster, more on-demand buying habits impact the dealer-buyer relationship. But Mandi knows that dealers have adapted to change throughout the history of the automotive retail history. The real struggle, she explains, is about dealers “doing more with less.” The pressure to remain innovative and still provide the best experience while reducing margin compression is a lot. Listen to Mandi’s recent auto sales experience, from the buyer-side, here.

With so many tools, resources, and technologies available to dealers today, it can become overwhelming to find the right solution. Finding the right-sized provider and taking a look at the actual fees and costs associated with your systems is a good start. Knowing where you came from and holding fast to the lessons that shaped you, as Mandi shares in this podcast, are also a great lens with which to view the ever-changing automotive landscape.

Listen to the full podcast here.


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