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Article: “Detroit isn’t keeping pace with innovation, says futurist Jim Carroll”

Canadian Auto Dealer News,  January 2013

by Todd Phillips

He says dealers need to ensure their staff is ready to adapt to the change. “A car you sell today might be out of date two years from now,” he says. “How do you keep your salesforce and service force up to date with that speed of change?”

Futurist and retail expert Jim Carroll will take the stage at the CADA Summit on Feb. 13 in Toronto and give dealers a wake up call about how quickly their world is about to change. “The pace of innovation in the automobile or truck that they are selling has shifted from Detroit to Silicon Valley,” says Carroll in an interview with Canadian auto dealer. “That’s a huge and seismic change.”

Carroll is one of the keynote speakers at the one day summit event created by the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association. “Detroit is losing control of its innovation future as it shifts to the technology industry,” he says. “The industry is going to innovate at the speed of Apple, Google and high-tech companies as opposed to the speed of Detroit. There is a massive and sudden acceleration of change that comes with that.”

Shifting customer expectations are driving part of that change as drivers will now expect their vehicles to be as advanced, easy to use and even as “replaceable” as their smartphones and tablet devices that are so central to their lives.

He says dealers need to ensure their staff is ready to adapt to the change. “A car you sell today might be out of date two years from now,” he says. “How do you keep your salesforce and service force up to date with that speed of change?”

“Some people see a trend and see a threat. Real innovative people see the same trend and they see opportunity. That’s what dealers need to ensure they do when they think about this very fast paced future,” says Carroll.

Mobile will also forever change the retail experience and dealers will need to adjust to provide better customer experiences. “I will talk about the changes going on in retail,” says Carroll. “Mobile is the big story.”

He says social media and mobile shopping is having a huge impact on purchasing decisions. “There is a lot of technology that is coming that will link to mobile.” These new technologies will forever change the customer interaction with retailers. “It’s happening very, very quickly,” says Carroll.

Carroll is one of more than 20 speakers and panelists who will be featured at this one day summit aimed at helping Canadian dealers get a glimpse of what lies ahead so they can be better prepared.

After his keynote address, Carroll will join a panel of recognized dealer retail experts for a discussion about these trends. The retail panel is hosted by Canadian auto dealer columnist and industry expert Chuck Seguin. CADA Laureates Christian Chia, Trevor Boquist and Paul Shaw will be on the panel.

Another high profile keynote speaker is Bob Lutz, former vice-chairman of GM, and an auto industry insider who is highly regarded and whose views are much sought after. President Obama’s former Car Czar Steven Rattner is also a featured keynote speaker.

Sessions at the CADA Summit range from updates on economic trends, retail and consumer trends, a panel of manufacturers featuring the Canadian leaders of Ford, VW and Kia, insights from the elite of Canada’s auto dealers — the CADA Laureates, perspectives from media pundits, and more.

Paul Clark, President & CEO, TD Auto Finance will present economic insights as part of the morning session. TD Auto Finance is the exclusive CADA Summit sponsor.

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