A Day In the Life of An Automotive General Manager: Q&A with Danny Xi
Who keeps the dealership running smoothly every day? None other than the General Manager of course! A General Manager wears many hats and we got to sit down and chat with one of them to get to know what the role is all about. Danny Xi is the General Manager at OpenRoad Subaru Boundary. Danny has been with OpenRoad for almost five years now since 2017. You may have seen him while visiting our dealership and he may have even helped you out on your car buying journey. In this interview, Danny talks about his role and what it’s like working in the automotive industry.
Q: Describe your first ever role in the automotive industry
A: "A Honda product advisor was my very first role in the Canadian automotive industry back in 2011 when I first moved to Vancouver. Prior to moving to Canada, I was an automotive journalist with Car & Driver Magazine for 8 years in Beijing, China."
Q: What other roles did you have at OpenRoad before becoming the General Manager for Subaru?
A: "I joined Jaguar Land Rover Langley (member of OpenRoad) as a sales manager in 2017, then was promoted to General Sales Manager in 2019, before becoming General Manager for Subaru in January 2020."
Q: What other roles did you take to get to where you are today?
A: "I have been in roles of Honda Product Advisor, BMW Product Advisor, Honda Sales Manager, BMW Sales Manager, Audi Sales Manager, Jaguar Land Rover Sales Manager, and General Sales Manager, prior to becoming a General Manager."
Q: Describe a typical day at work as a general manager.
A: "The long checklist of tasks include:
- Reviewing daily performance reports from the previous working day
- Measuring Performance pace for the month for each department
- Monitoring sales & parts inventories and addressing concerns
- Daily discussions with department managers
- Daily conversations with staff members
- Communications with OEM (Subaru Canada) on sales & aftersales
- Responding and addressing inquiries, questions, and concerns from clients
- Most importantly and time-consuming, lots of conversations with team members"
Q: What are the skills of a good automotive general manager?
A: "In my opinion, the No.1 skill for a General Manager of a store and team is leadership skills, which includes lots of aspects such as organization, forward planning, strategic thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, coaching, mentoring and so much more."
Q: What are the challenges of managing a dealership?
A: "There are a couple, namely being aware of market challenges and ready for them all the time, supporting and motivating all staff members of continuous growth in fast-changing market/economy environment, and being the bridge for clients and OEM."
Q: What is your favorite part about being a general manager and working in the auto industry?
A: "Being in the leadership role, I get to search, understand and develop talents of each individual in the team and match those talents with the best roles."
Q: What is something the customers may not know about your role?
A: "I’d like to share with customers that General Managers like myself rely on the great talents and professionals of the team to serve our customers. A General Manager can be a resource for everyone when it comes to issues or concerns, while the department managers and all staff members are equipped and empowered to be problem-solvers for customers."
Q: OpenRoad Subaru has recently celebrated its first-year anniversary. What was the experience like managing a dealership from its beginning stages?
A: "Since the beginning of 2020, it has been an amazing journey for me to be part of and lead the team here at OpenRoad Subaru Boundary. We first got to know each other in the very early days, then to understand and adapt to the new process and each other. When the COVID-19 pandemic started in March last year, we protect and support each other and our customers to get through the challenging time. We’ve had lots of moments of fun, issues, questions, and challenges, but we have not only survived but also grew stronger as a team."