Like other companies with sales exceeding $800 million a year, the Open Road Auto Group publishes a detailed annual report. But it doesn’t have to share details about retail, fleet and used-vehicle sales, customer service satisfaction or even website visits.
“We’re a private company and private companies historically keep things private,” says Open Road President Christian Chia.
“But we are very transparent. You can see the good and you can see the lumps. All our customer satisfaction data is there, our growth, our targets, whether we met them or not; it’s all there for everyone to see.”
Chia argues that transparency is essential for success in a stigmatized automotive retail environment, one in which customers perceive retailers to be, in his words, “not great.” Open Road, he argues, is in the business of changing customer perceptions “one guest at a time.”
Of course all retailers say that, but what does that mean in practice at Open Road, with its 18 stores — soon to be 19 — and growing?
“The one factor that makes us a little different is the focus that we put on our people,” says Chia.
“And there are a number of things that we do to engage our people, and we do them quite well.”