Acquisitions Promised by New J.D. Power CEO

Dave Habiger sees J.D. Power as a strong brand with great employees, but he also considers the consumer data and analytics company as “an amazing platform to build from. We don’t have time to build it organically.”

March 22, 2018

2 Min Read
In his second day as CEO Habiger speaks at JD Power Automotive Summit
In his second day as CEO, Habiger speaks at J.D. Power Automotive Summit.Tom Murphy

LAS VEGAS – In his second day as J.D. Power’s new president and CEO, Dave Habiger already is talking about aggressive plans to grow the business, both organically and through acquisitions.

“We will be acquiring companies,” Habiger, 49, states plainly to some 700 attendees at this morning’s kickoff of the J.D. Power Automotive Summit, a precursor to the NADA Convention and Exposition being held here this weekend. “I’m not coming in to fix something.”

A technology-sector veteran and SAE member, Habiger has worked in construction management software, security and television software and served as chairman of a governmental Electric Vehicle Commission to design infrastructure for charging stations.

Habiger sees J.D. Power as a strong brand with great employees, but he also considers the consumer data and analytics company as “an amazing platform to build from. We don’t have time to build it organically.

“We have a profitable business. We will continue to grow organically, but we will… acquire large companies in the space. Those companies will be those that you recommend that you think will be beneficial to your business.”

Habiger understands J.D. Power’s place in the auto industry – not making or selling vehicles, but helping automakers and dealers better understand the needs of their customers.

“Our job is to help both of those, and we do that through data and software and through tools and product,” he says, encouraging summit attendees to suggest acquisitions or joint ventures with other companies.

“If you see a fit that makes sense for this company, please let us know,” Habiger says. “We will be looking to you to explain how combining our business and our brand and our process and people with some other business that you see out there benefits you. We’re open to anything that produces a better product and a better customer experience and helps you do your job.”

On a personal note, Habiger proudly describes himself as a “car guy” who began rebuilding engines and transmissions as a kid.

“I’m probably the guy you hated because, since I was about 10, I would ride my bike to all the car dealers, walk around and gather all the literature,” he says. “I used to spend a lot of time trying to get a test drive when I was 13 or 14.”

He bought his first car at 14 for $800 with lawn-mowing money he’d earned, then spent two years fixing it up so he could drive it at 16.

“I do understand how the customer thinks and how the business works,” Habiger says. “That said, you will probably hear and see a lot of changes from J.D. Power in the coming year, and we will be moving quickly.”

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