TORONTO — Maria Soklis wasn’t talking transmissions when she advised those in Canada’s automotive industry to buckle up and prepare to shift.
The president of dealership-services provider Cox Automotive Canada was expounding on sweeping changes coming to the industry from virtually every direction at the first Automotive News Canada Congress, held in conjunction with the Canadian International AutoShow.
“Transformation is imminent, and it’s going to be complex,” Soklis said Feb. 16, echoing a general theme among speakers that the industry in Canada is well positioned to thrive if steps are taken now to capitalize on change.
Strategic moves are necessary not just in fields of technology and science, but also education, government policy, manufacturing, customer engagement and trade.
Leadership in fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence are ways that Canada can play a role in developing technology for automakers, said newly minted Ford of Canada President Mark Buzzell.
“I do think there are opportunities to explore these technologies and solutions in parts of Canada,” he said.