Information is power. Look at the times we live in. It's called “The Information Age” for good reason. Never before have so many people had so much access to so much information as we do today.
Staying informed is as important now than ever, maybe more so. That's especially true of anyone making a go of it in the fast-changing, competitive auto industry. Three executives at a recent automotive conference all used the adjective “brutal” to describe the industry's competitiveness.
Dealers play a huge role in that $1-trillion-a-year industry. Automotive retailing accounts for $700 billion of that. Dealers are in the thick of it. They need to know what's going on. Good dealers do know. They keep up with industry news and trends on the premise that information indeed is the power to survive and succeed.
Informed dealers I've met are among the smartest, most insightful people in the auto industry. Why wouldn't they be? They're on the front lines. Manufacturers are discovering that dealers know what's what. More and more, auto makers turn to their dealers for advice and counsel. They're smart to do that.
We at Ward's try to do our part in keeping dealers in the know. I've worked in news for more than 30 years. I've seldom seen anything as comprehensive in reach and scope than Ward's Communications.
It's among the best automotive news organizations. Credit 16 award-winning editors who roll up their sleeves and get out there to cover this great industry, providing in-depth analysis and breaking news.
For Ward's Dealer Business, that means talking to dealers, top auto executives and all the other players. It means telling readers what's happened as well as what will happen. It means giving readers the best information — powerful information that dealers can use to stay on top of their game.
It means providing data from Ward's AutoInfoBank, the gold standard of the industry (subscribers include Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan) and WardsAuto.com, to which the American Society of Business Press Editors gave a first-place best website award in 2002.
San Francisco Chronicle business columnist Harry Domash writes that Wards Dealer Business on line is among his favorite sites.
Indeed, the mark of a great new organization is how often other great news organizations quote, cite and use it. So far this year for Ward's that includes the Wall Street Journal, CNBC-TV, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Indianapolis Star, Dow Jones News Service, Consumer Reports, Indianapolis Star, Charleston Post & Courier, St. Petersburg Times, San Juan Star and Houston Chronicle.
Our Associate Editor Cliff Banks was just quoted in a New York Times article about women auto dealers. He put the Times in touch with Elsa MacMillan, who was subsequently included in the Times story. She's an Arizona dealer whom we profiled in our October cover story on what it takes to get a dealership franchise these days.
No other magazine contains as much objective, straight-shooting coverage about dealers than this one. One dealer magazine overly prides itself for running a couple of stories on dealers per issue. Compare that to our solid stream of such articles.
We sometimes take knocks from envious competitors. That's the downside of being on top of our game. Jealousy breeds contempt and such. One particularly prickly competitor, in self-congratulatory columns, tries to build himself up by putting us down. Hardly a new tactic.
I suppose if I were a competitor on the outside looking in at Ward's, I'd be envious, too. But our goal is not to swat at pesky detractors. It's to serve dealers and arm them with the information they need to achieve greater success in this wild world we live and work in.