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What Is an Automotive General Manager and How to Become One

What Is the Job Description of an Automotive General Manager?

Automotive general managers work at car dealerships and oversee various departments to ensure the profitability of the dealership. In this role, you oversee the sales department, service and parts, and accounting and finance. Your responsibilities include motivating employees, planning events and promotions, and ensuring customer satisfaction. You also typically hire employees for upper-level positions like sales and service managers, plan goals for the dealership, oversee daily operations from an elevated perspective, and coordinate with staff members on record retention and financial analysis. Other duties include relationship building with both employees and customers. As an automotive general manager, you also adhere to the policies and procedures set out by the company, while making sure all employees do the same.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become an Automotive General Manager?

The qualifications needed for a career as an automotive general manager start with experience as sales staff in a dealership. This background helps you have a strong understanding of the industry and what it takes for a dealership to function. You also need knowledge of the other departments, especially parts and service. While it is possible to work your way up through that department, most general managers come from sales. Strong communication skills are the key to this position. You also need an understanding of state and federal laws regarding safety and the automotive industry. You do not need a college education to become a general manager, although some dealerships may prefer candidates with a business degree.

Are Automotive General Manager Jobs in Demand?

The automotive industry is ever-changing, and with those changes, it has grown and flourished in recent years. Although the automotive general manager position is not as in demand as sales associates or sales and service managers, these positions are almost always available, especially if you've worked your way through the ranks toward that goal. New franchises and dealerships come up quickly and need leadership, so you can get in on the ground floor of a new dealer or move to take over the spot of a seasoned general manager at a long-standing dealership.

What Are Skills of a Good Automotive General Manager?

To be a good automotive general manager, you need a keen understanding of the automotive industry. You need knowledge of everything from parts and labor to manufacturing locations to drivability of vehicles. You should be well versed in the details regarding the cars carried on your lot and understand how financing works for customers with varying credit scores and situations. Your responsibilities include managing others, so it's important for general managers to have excellent communication and listening skills. Financial skills are also incredibly important, as you are responsible for managing the budget and ensuring the sales staff is meeting their goals.