Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 9

* AUGUST 2023
9
How COVID changed AutoIQ - for the better
Dealership group's
tactics were sometimes
risky, but the innovations
proved revelatory
By DOUG FIRBY
CALGARY CORRESPONDENT
WHEN COVID-19 BECAME A
pandemic in March 2020, AutoIQ fasttracked
a variety of strategies, including
some that defied conventional wisdom.
Those moves were implemented after
Andrew Ojamae became president of the
16-store dealership group in 2019. They
included a
detailed omnichannel
strategy,
which not only
carried the company
through two
tough years, but
BEST PRACTICES
SPOTLIGHT
also permanently changed many of its business
practices.
AutoIQ's blend of collaboration among
its team leaders and what Ojamae calls
" semi-democratic " decision-making led
to a few risky moves, in some cases defying
accepted retail wisdom. But the results
were positive.
Bleed: .125 "
Safety: n/a
From 2019 through 2022, the group,
based in Barrie, Ont., 110 kilometres north
of Toronto, increased same-store revenue
by 28.5 per cent, the company stated in a
submission to the Canadian Automobile
Dealers Association (CADA). AutoIQ further
noted that these performance improveThe
16-dealership AutoIQ group was honoured as the 2023 Laureate in
business innovation by the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.
Group President Andrew Ojamae credited a combination of collaboration
among leadership and " semi-democratic " decision-making. Oak-Land Ford
is located in Oakville, 40 kilometres west of Toronto. SUPPLIED PHOTO
ments enhanced its enterprise value and
net worth.
As a result, CADA named AutoIQ its
2023 Laureate in the business innovation
category.
NEW BOSS, NEW MANDATE
Scotiabank Lighthouse, 100 Yonge St., 5th
In 2019, the company underwent a
restructuring that included appointing
Ojamae, bringing all its dealerships under
one organizational umbrella and creating
the AutoIQ brand. Before then, each dealership
operated pretty much independently,
Ojamae said.
File: 3023008-Automotive JD Power award ad_10.437x7.377-E Workfront#: 3023008
Trim: 10.437 " x 7.377 " Colours: CMYK + PMS 186 +
With a mandate from company founder
Mike Stollery, Ojamae set out to " harmonize "
the operation while nurturing its
entrepreneurial spirit.
Floor, Toronto ON, M5C 2W1
For the first time, the leaders of each
dealership met online - as often as weekly
- exchanging ideas and debating strategy.
When COVID-19 hit, AutoIQ's omnichannel
approach had been mapped out but not
fully launched. Omnichannel refers to technology
and processes aimed at providing a
seamless buying experience for consumers
whether they shop online, in-store or both.
Some Canadian dealerships reported
being hit hard by the pandemic, but
Ojamae said, " COVID has been very generous
to our industry. " With vehicles in short
supply, margins went up while expenses
went down. Many customers migrated to
online purchasing, and Ojamae said sales
through this channel soared.
Insertion: June 28, 2023
Deadline: June 28, 2023
Designer: JR
By September 2021, the company had
unveiled AutoIQ.com, a fully virtual purchase
experience where customers could
conduct the entire transaction from
home and accept delivery of the vehicle
in their driveway. They were also given
the option of a hybrid online/in-store
experience.
Prod: JR
To promote its omnichannel offering,
SEE COLLABORATION PAGE 24
AutoIQ licensed the Journey song " Any
Way You Want It. " To give buyers comfort
in purchasing a vehicle they had never
driven, the company broke industry tradition
and offered a seven-day money-back
guarantee, Ojamae said.
" We took a flier on
that, " he said, noting
fears that the program
might become costly.
" Now, I don't see us
ever dropping it. "
Although Ojamae
did not have precise
numbers, well below
one per cent of vehicles
sold are returned,
he said, and many of
those are exchanged
for another vehicle.
SELLING SKEPTICS
Another initiative,
however, ran into
serious initial doubt
from the group's dealerships.
Ojamae said
that when he floated
the idea of " shared
inventories " - essenOjamae:
In
defying the
conventional
wisdom of auto
retailing, his
goal for AutoIQ
is to " cut out
mediocrity
everywhere
we can " to
encourage
organic growth.
SUPPLIED PHOTO
tially mandatory dealership vehicle trades
- he encountered a lot of pushback.
Despite some serious hesitation, " We just
turned it on, " Ojamae said, and quickly
increased sales.
The secret to dealer acceptance of the
trades was a bifurcated profit model, he
Thank you,
Auto Dealers.
We're thrilled to have been ranked by J.D. Power
#1 in Dealer Satisfaction among Prime Credit
Non-Captive Automotive Finance Lenders.
For more than 65 years, Scotiabank has been serving the
end-to-end �inancial needs of automotive dealerships.
Dealership Financing | Wholesale Leasing | Floor Plan Financing
| Auto Dealership Banking
Speak to your local Scotiabank automotive rep to learn more.
We'd love to hear from you.
®Registered trademarks of The Bank of Nova Scotia. Scotiabank received the highest score in the retail non-captive prime segment in the J.D.
Power 2023 Canada Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, which measure Canadian auto dealers' satisfaction with their auto �inance providers.
Visit jdpower.com/awards for more details.
http://www.AutoIQ.com http://www.jdpower.com/awards

Automotive News Canada - August 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - August 2023

Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 1
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 2
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 3
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 4
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 5
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 6
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 7
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 8
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 9
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 10
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 11
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 12
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 13
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 14
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 15
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 16
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 17
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 18
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 19
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 20
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 21
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 22
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 23
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 24
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 25
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 26
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 27
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 28
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 29
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 30
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 31
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 32
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