The Question Matters


George Fritze, Next Generation Leader

Posted in Leadership,Next Generation Leaders by treyfinley1008 on November 6, 2009

Beginning this week, I’m going to begin a Friday series of business leaders in the news who are demonstrating the sort of business acumen that I believe will appeal to Generations X and Y.  I’ve stated elsewhere that I want (and by extension, I believe my generation wants) to work for a business that can see beyond its own bottom line to the customers it serves and the community where it lives.

Many car dealers benefited from the Obama Administration’s CARS incentive that took place earlier in the year.  Cars that were considered gas guzzlers could be traded in, and in so doing, their owners would receive up to $4500 towards the purchase of their newer, more environmentally friendly car.  It’s funny what being on the brink of bankruptcy and closing your doors will to bring about change.  GM announced in the wake of this incentive that it was introducing a 60-day, money-back guarantee.  “We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” states GM Chairman Ed Whitacre.  “May the best car win.”

I don’t know if Chevy is the best car on the market.  You’ll have to ask someone like Consumer Reports if you want information there.  And “money where their mouth is” or not, they may lose.  But I give credit to Chevy for understanding that buying and leasing a car is one of the least customer-friendly purchases anyone will ever make.  If you’ve bought a car, you understand that the value of a car decreases by 10% when you drive off the lot with your new or used car.  That 10% is instant profit for car dealers.  Chevy is banking that you’ll like their cars enough that they won’t have to eat 10% of the value of the cars they sell.  Chevy’s attempt to change that perception has them thinking more like it’s the 21st Century.

Now, let me tell you about George Fritze.  Mr. Fritze is a Chevy dealer in Louisiana.  He profited from the CARS incentive like other wise car dealers.  However, he never really faced troubling balance sheets at his dealership before the economic downturn in 2008.  One of his reasons for that?  He continually gives back to his community.  LSU-Shreveport, the Boy Scouts, a children’s hospital, and a local arts council have all been the beneficiaries of Mr. Fritze’s generosity.

A car dealership that A) cares enough about customers to lose major amounts of money to please them and B) helps make their community a better place to live gets my vote for the kind of place I’d want to work.

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