AutoNation Inc. CEO and Chairman Michael Jackson offers a wide range of comments at a J. D. Power and Associates conference that precedes the NADA convention in New Orleans.
On the economic downturn:
“It all started with housing. Housing and autos are inextricably linked. You have to feel good about your house value to feel good about buying a car.
“People in the housing and mortgage industry kept the party going by giving loans without proof of income or proof of a job. Their attitude was, ‘Whatever it takes. If you can past a Breathalyzer test, we'll put you in a house.”
On auto financing:
“The collapse of Lehman Brothers resulted in a massive pullback of credit availability. Trying to run the auto industry without credit is like trying to fly an airliner without jet fuel.”
On GMAC and Chrysler Financial retrenchments:
“In December of 2007, GMAC gave loans to 1,527 AutoNation customers. That dropped to nine loans in December, 2008. For the same periods, Chrysler Financial loans went from 823 to 22. Those numbers are absurd, mindboggling.”
On dealer inventories:
“When (an auto maker) turns to a dealer who is up to his eyeballs in inventory and says, ‘You must order more to get a factory incentive,’ that is crossing the line. It's dangerous. Ultimately you retail fewer vehicles doing it that way.”