Geoffrey Pohanka Looks Ahead to NADA Successes

The outgoing NADA chair plans to continue NADA work.

Nancy Dunham, Principal Analyst/Retail

February 2, 2024

2 Min Read
POHANKA-MAIN_i
Geoffrey Pohanka plans to continue his work with NADA.NADA

Just because Geoffrey Pohanka will soon become the immediate past chair of NADA doesn’t mean he’s leaving the organization. 

The chairman of Pohanka Automotive Group, Capitol Heights, MD, tells WardsAuto he is part of a tight-knit group of past, present and likely future chairs and other association leaders that regularly spearhead projects, share solutions and otherwise work to move the dealer body ahead as they face challenges. 

“It’s important not to be isolated, to continue to reach out,” says Pohanka. “It worked for me as vice chairman, and hopefully, it’s something I’ve passed down to (incoming 2024 NADA Chair Gary Gilchrist). It really works; it gets people involved and thinking, and we all benefit from that.” 

Pohanka says as a third-generation car dealer whose father was a past NADA chair, he was born into the business. His path to dealer advocacy ranges from local trade associations to chairman of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Assn. to various roles at NADA.  

“I like to contribute, so it always seemed natural to move up in the ranks,” he says. 

His proudest accomplishments include his role as one of the main developers of the NADA guiding principles. Key areas include strengthening working relationships with other automobile trade associations and working with manufacturers to maximize efficiencies and rein in costs for the benefit of consumers.

Pohanka, who began work on the principles when he served as vice chair, says he, NADA presidents Mike Stanton and Mike Alford, other NADA leaders and state and metro dealer association executives have made great strides on the principles.

The next natural focus for NADA leadership is on the relationships among manufacturers and dealers, he says. 

“Manufacturers that work well with their dealers generally have the best results," he says.

Manufacturers selling cars directly to consumers, the Biden Admin.’s plan to raise CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards to 58 mpg (4.05 L/100 km) in March and the legal struggle with the FTC about CARS (Combating Auto Retail Scams) weighs heavily on dealers.  

When Pohanka gives his farewell address to the attendees at the 2024 NADA Show, he hopes to assure them that the voice of the dealer matters.

“The key is not just reacting to what’s already happened, but looking ahead, helping shape the future. Anticipate that we don’t know everything. My dad would say we dealers are like bamboo. We keep coming back,” he says. 

“Dealers are truly entrepreneurial. We’re all mini-laboratories. I think preserving affordable personal transportation is really important, because it allows people to live where they want to live, work where they want to work. The freedom of mobility is really important, and that has to be preserved. And we can help make that happen.” 

Editor’s note: Geoffrey Pohanka will give his final address as NADA chair at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, at the Main Stage at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

 

 

 

About the Author(s)

Nancy Dunham

Principal Analyst/Retail, WardsAuto

Nancy Dunham became an auto journalist more than twenty years ago. She has worked as an editor and writer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, US News & World Report, CarFax, and various newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Her work also appears in Costco Connections, AARP, the New York Times, Rolling Stone and other publications.

Before specializing in automotive retail journalism, she was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her three beloved cats.

Contact her at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydwrites/.

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.