Outgoing National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Chairman Rhett Ricart recently marked the end of his yearlong term at NADA’s first-ever virtual show.
“Never forget what we went through [in 2020] because it shaped who we are today,” Ricart told dealers attending the online event. “This association has never fought harder, worked faster, or given so much of itself so that business owners, like you and me, had a franchise that remained valuable and protected.”
Ricart was installed as chairman last February and the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc across the industry, all but defined his challenging term.
“No playbook was ever written for the challenges we faced in 2020,” Ricart said. “We’ve lived through a year we’ve never witnessed before, but NADA rose to the occasion. I am in awe of the NADA staff, our state associations, and their leadership.”
From the very start, Ricart sought to face the crisis head-on, advocating for dealerships to be deemed essential businesses and seeking to aid dealers in navigating the flood of added regulations. During his video address, the president and CEO of Ohio’s Ricart Automotive Group made it a point of thanking dealers across the country for rising to the moment, even as the challenges continued to multiply.
“Despite the darkest days, we kept people on the payroll, we reformulated our business model, we prioritized the health of customers, employees, and our families, and we continued to sell and service cars,” Ricart said. “Through the chaos, I saw the strength of auto dealers like I never have before. Dealers became life preservers, contortionists and survivors.”
Ricart closed by saying that the industry will be stronger going forward for having endured and overcome the challenges of 2020.
“After the year we’ve been through, I know one thing for sure: We are a bulletproof band of brothers and sisters who are stronger, tougher, and wiser,” he said.