Starting children in junior roles and maintaining transparency about the family business are among the key factors contributing to enduring multigenerational dealerships.
However, effective succession requires offspring who are both willing and fully able to take on the challenge of running dealership groups that need to pivot quickly in the ever-shifting auto retail environment, say dealers and an industry buy-and-sell executive.
Vaughn Wyant said that if his two sons had not decided to follow in his footsteps, “Perhaps I wouldn’t be in the business today.”
The Wyant Group began in 1983 in Saskatoon, Sask., with the purchase of Jubilee Ford. Today, the group employs about 500 people in 18 stores across western Canada. Wyant, 69, is CEO, but the day-to-day decisions are in the hands of CFO Phillip and COO Michael, he said.
“I have the perfect mix here,” Wyant said of his sons. “They’re best friends; they make the perfect team.”
The Wyant Group has become nimble in a period when direct-sales-to-consumer models are growing and relationships with automakers are evolving, Wyant said. He thinks his sons are highly motivated to navigate turbulent waters while keeping a steady eye on the company’s core values of trust and respect for staff and customers.
“Who do you trust more than your family?” said the Vaughn Wyant, whose partner, Lori Leach, also works for the group as a graphic artist.