By Charlie Gilchrist, 2019 NADA chairman

Dealers don’t need to be reminded that the world of dealer data is changing. The volume of information generated and stored has exploded, and that information is more sensitive and more valuable than ever. It’s no longer just the dealer generating this information; “big data” companies and data brokers hold vast amounts of data, and vehicles themselves are now generating data about drivers, owners, passengers and others.

At the same time, the number of third parties with whom a dealer must share information has also increased.

The collection, storage, use and sharing of this information raises many complicated legal, regulatory and business issues for dealers, including:

  • How can this data be shared securely?
  • What information should be shared with whom and how do I know that third parties are not misusing that information?
  • Who has the right to control the integration, dealers or dealer vendors?
  • Are dealer systems cybersecure, and are they ready for integration with the vehicle?
  • What information can an OEM require a dealer to share?
  • What “telematics” and other information is your manufacturer sharing with you?
  • How can dealers and OEMs accomplish this sharing while meeting their ever-growing legal requirements?

At the same time, dealers must meet long-standing federal privacy obligations while understanding the implications of new laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), state laws like California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and others. There are also a number of federal legislative proposals that would vastly broaden U.S. federal privacy law. None of these laws are aimed specifically at the auto industry, but they will have significant effects on dealerships.

For the dealership model to continue to thrive, we must meet these technical and legal challenges.

Dealers should know that One NADA is here for you! As chairman, I can assure you this is a top priority at NADA. For many years, we have worked closely with regulators, manufacturers, dealer vendors and others to ensure that dealers have the tools they need to comply with the law and are ready for the technical, cybersecurity, and data challenges for the future. Those efforts continue today.

You can help by prioritizing these issues at your store. Double down on compliance efforts. Talk to your manufacturer about these issues and let them know how important they are to you and your business. Work with your vendors to ensure you know and understand how your customer information is handled and shared. Remind your employees how important it is that this information is treated with the utmost care.

Simply put, the data you maintain is at the heart of your customer relationship, your reputation and the value of your business. We dealers are swimming in increasingly challenging waters, but with the help and guidance of NADA, we stand ready to exceed expectations, providing our customers with world-class products and services as well as cutting-edge technology and privacy protections.


Charlie Gilchrist, 2019 NADA chairman, is president of Gilchrist Automotive in greater Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Graphic: Typical Dealer Data EcosystemDEALER-DATA-GRAPH

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association