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AADA chief executive to step back

Role reversal: Patrick Tessier will step away from the chief executive position at the AADA to return to being a convention organiser and international ambassador.

Patrick Tessier to hand over the reins and focus on his other roles with the AADA

31 Mar 2015

THE reborn Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) is looking for a permanent chief executive as Patrick Tessier prepares to step back into his previous roles as convention organiser and international ambassador for the association.

Mr Tessier and AADA president Ian Field were the driving forces behind the recreation of the AADA as a national body.

Previously, the former Australian Automobile Dealers Association was run by the state motor trades associations, which also represented independent repairers.

“Patrick has done what he set out to do,” Mr Field said.

“Without Patrick’s involvement, it would have been impossible to establish the current AADA in as quick and effective a manner as we have over the past 12 months.”

Mr Tessier said dealers owned $17 billion of real estate and turned over about $72 billion in revenue a year.

“The other thing we have to be clear about is that when the manufacturers leave this country in 2016 and 2017, the largest investment in automotive will be made by the auto dealers, so it is logical and proper that they put together, and support, a dealer association to represent their interests,” he said.

Mr Tessier said he believed the new body had achieved four significant successes in its first 12 months, perhaps the most crucial being the creation of a strong relationship with the car companies, both local and importers.

“It was non-existent. We believe our future is vested in a great relationship with the OEMs,” he said.

“It’s not ‘them and us’. It’s ‘us’. We are completely dependent on each other to be successful.”

He said the new relationship had achieved early success, both in the right to repair debate and on the issue of used car imports.

“An independent repairer must tell a consumer when they are fitting a non-genuine part. That was a big win for consumers and dealers,” he said.

“The second issue was used car imports. It would have been a blunder of enormous proportions for this government to allow used cars deemed to be at the end of their life in another country to be brought here.”

Mr Tessier said the AADA had also strengthened its relationship with international dealer bodies, particularly the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in the US.

He said the AADA was part of a six-member group, the International Dealer Association Working group, which meets twice a year. It includes dealers groups from the US, Brazil, China, Canada and Europe as a single entity.

“They always meet at the NADA convention in the US but this year the second meeting will be at our own convention in Melbourne on Monday, August 10.”

The third achievement of the new AADA was the magazine it publishes.

“It is a policy-based magazine and it’s very well received in the market. The articles are also available online at our website and we have had 380,000 hits in the last year, which indicates to me that it is addressing relevant issues for dealers.”

Similarly, the new AADA will be making over the national convention, which Mr Tessier has been running for 20 years.

“For the first time in 20 years, it will actually be a members-based convention, very different to what it has been before. Now, we are putting on an educational program, a networking program, that brings the industry together.”

Mr Tessier has been acting in a voluntary capacity as interim CEO at AADA.

“We had no money, by the way, when we started and I accepted that.”

He will still be associated with the AADA as organiser of the annual convention and international relations adviser.

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