New car dealer Trevor Gile joined the Live Stage at the 2018 National Automobile Dealer’s Association show at the Las Vegas Convention Center to discuss “The Modern Dealership” in a panel with host Jared Allen from NADA and Russ Auto Group’s Russ Humberston.
Trailblazer Gile of Motorcars Honda in Cleveland is the first to run a carbon-neutral dealership. He shared how this innovation has helped to shape his company's culture over time.
“We weren’t trying to be green,” Gile said. “We were trying to solve a problem.”
The problem was that he had a two-story parking garage and every winter there would be debris falling down on the cars, damaging the parking garage and falling on the cars. The situation cost the company about $100,000 every few years in repairs.
“A salesperson came to us and asked, ‘Why don’t we put solar panels on top [of the garage] to protect all of the cars?’ and it sort of grew from there,” Gile said.
He found that the best thing about going green was the culture that it created, especially because Millennials want to work with companies that are socially popular and eco-friendly.
“When we did this, we found that about 80 percent of the people that we were hiring happen to be Millennials and wanted to work for us, which is really different for a car dealership to bring in that group of people,” Gile said. “And we found that they are the fastest at moving up in the company in new leadership.”
The innovator was able to tap into what people want and then give it to them. He knew that a small percentage would make being green the most important factor in a purchase, while the vast majority would worry about the costs.
“So when people came into the car dealership we had numerous videos talking about how many trees we were saving and about the [beneficial] costs,” Gile said.
Years later, his first ever carbon-neutral company offers several eco-friendly services, including window tints.