3rd March, 2015 · Policy Viewpoint

Doug Dickson agrees to be the inaugural
Australian Motor Dealer Council
Independent Chairman

3 minutes to read

Doug Dickson will become the independent chairman of the first Australian Motor Dealer Council when the individual councils agree a constitution and management structure on March 17.
Doug Dickson, former Managing Director of Mazda Australia, has agreed to be the independent Chairman of the Australian Motor Dealer Council (AMDC), pending a crucial meeting between the AADA and current Dealer Council chairs on March 17.
Highly-respected and accomplished, Dickson is best known for his role at the helm of Mazda Australia, where his firm and transparent leadership helped propel the brand to the top of Australian sales charts.

The AADA Board’s motivation to invite Dickson to take on this role has been multi-faceted. Not only does Dickson’s reputation for industry astuteness precede him, but he brings a unique OEM-perspective to the Council.

Explains AADA Chairman Ian Field, ‘The appointment of someone of Doug Dickson’s background and reputation as independent Chair underscores the importance AADA places on the AMDC. With Doug’s steady hand and wealth of experience, we would expect the new Council to create and shape better agendas – agendas that also take account of the OEMs’ views he said. ‘Indeed, Doug’s OEM background sends a clear message about the AADA’s intention to unify Dealers and manufacturers, particularly in light of the changes Australia’s automotive industry will soon face. We are delighted that Doug Dickson has agreed to take up this pivotal role.’
‘The time has come for Dealers to decide’ explains AADA Chairman Ian Field, ‘the formation of the AMDC represents countless hours of planning, negotiations and a determination to improve communication in our industry.

After Australian manufacturing ceases in 2017, Dealer investment in the Australian automotive industry will be greater than the current manufacturer investment – in fact, the auto industry of importers and retailers will jointly manage the $72 billion of sales and continue to employ thousands of Australians. In recognition of Australia’s world class engineering and design capabilities, there will be a continued concept and design capability based in Australia as part of the global network.

As a result, an effective structure needs to be in place to facilitate the future policy direction as well as the challenges Australia’s automotive industry will face in regard to the continuing globalisation process, which will not slow down and is likely to increase.
‘Dealers need to be thinking about the future’ says AADA Chairman Ian Field.  ‘It’s likely that the dealership business of today may look very different to the one 10 years down the track. AADA believes that a new AMDC will provide an important link between Dealers, OEMs and the AADA – but it needs the full support of all thinking Dealers at this crucial time.’

This sentiment is reinforced by Dickson, encouraged by the initiative to adopt a longer term focus:

‘The franchised new car industry needs a strong, combined and independent voice to be heard above the increasing clamour to wind back entitlements and protections granted while our industry had a strong manufacturing base. I find it encouraging that franchised new car Dealers, through a revitalised AADA, are adopting a longer term, more strategic outlook evidenced by the recent cooperation between FCAI and AADA. I would be delighted to be part of the AMDC initiative and look forward to helping build strong and unified industry representation.’

Dickson would play a key role in the AMDC’s function to unite Dealer Councils across the nation, whilst opening a new forum to share ideas and troubleshoot common challenges. An AMDC would also help form, and ultimately funnel policy issues to the top of the AADA policy agenda.

The road to forming the AMDC has been extensive, with major discussions first taking place at last year’s AADA National Dealer Convention. During the Convention, a number of Dealer Council chairmen met and unanimously agreed that brands should be represented through a national motor dealer council. From there, a number of consultations and planning sessions were conducted, before another major foundation-setting meeting in December.

At the upcoming meeting in March, invited Dealer chairs and AADA board members will have an open discussion, and decisions will be made about the final structure and constitution. Nothing is currently determined, as the final decisions must be in consultation with the elected members of the brands.

‘Moving forward with an AMDC could make all the difference to the strength of the retail auto industry in years to come. I strongly encourage all Dealer Council chairs to attend the meeting in March with a determination to enact positive change’ says Ian Field.
AADA’s interim CEO Patrick Tessier concurs:

‘Australia’s motor dealers deserve and must have proper advocacy – and the formation of the new Australian Motor Dealer Council is a key step’ – he said.

‘AADA has accomplished so much in a short space of time, but in order for Dealers to be appropriately represented in years to come, its time for all Dealers to get behind the AMDC. We believe that in order to strongly forge ahead over the next ten years we’ll need to do it with cooperation. Of course, it’s no coincidence that our AADA National Dealer Convention theme this year is ‘stronger together’.