Cox Automotive Canada shares vision at dealer meeting

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The biggest companies need the biggest cities.

Cox Automotive Canada threw a first-of-its-kind event in New York City in mid-November hosting a “diverse group” of 54 participants that included reps from multi-franchise dealership groups, independent owner/operators, executives from key Canadian banks and automotive analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

The goal, explains Cox Automotive Canada president Maria Soklis, was partly to introduce Cox Automotive and its key brands to customers and dealers. The host also used the two-day event to share some high-level plans and its vision on how the company looks to transform the way the world buys, sells and owns cars.

“We wanted to provide an official introduction to our guests and share our renewed commitment to Canada,” Soklis says. “More importantly, the meeting was designed to share our products and services that span the automotive ecosystem worldwide, providing end-to-end digital marketing, wholesale and commerce solutions through this rapidly changing automotive marketplace.”

General overview of Cox Automotive came from Joe George, senior V-P and chief strategy officer. Soklis provided insight on the changing automotive landscape while Manheim North America president Janet Barnard reviewed evolving trends, products and services from the remarketing world.

Cox Automotive has been on a tear in recent years growing exponentially through a series of high profile and high-priced acquisitions.

October 1 saw the completion of its US$4 billion purchase of Dealertrack. Less than two months later it announced a strategic investment in Mahindra First Choice Wheels, part of the multinational conglomerate Mahindra Group currently ranked as India’s largest multi-brand, certified used-car company.

The current family under the Cox Automotive umbrella includes Manheim, Autotrader (U.S.), Kelley Blue Book, Dealer.com, Dealertrack, vAuto, Xtime, NextGear Capital and a host of other brands in media, communications and software.

The global company has nearly 30,000 team members in more than 200 locations and is partner to more than 40,000 dealers as well as most major automobile manufacturers. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises. Reported revenues top $17 billion.

A concentrated effort on this side of the border under the Cox Automotive brand started in the spring with the appointment of Soklis to the newly created position of Cox Automotive Canada president.

“We are excited by the opportunity for Cox Automotive Canada in 2016. Some of the key initiatives will continue to focus on further extending our footprint throughout Canada and developing our digital auction strategy,” she says.

“We will also continue to further integrate our offerings from a real-time inventory merchandising, management and distribution, to all in one customer relationship management systems to integrated service, maintenance and service retention solutions for dealers across Canada.”

Noting the success and positive feedback from attendees, reps say there may be a possibility of another meeting in the future for those customers who were unable to attend.