CARY, N.C. –
In a key complement to our Women in Remarketing and Women in Auto Finance franchises, Auto Remarketing is proud to celebrate our second annual Women in Retail awards, a program sponsored by CarGurus.
We spotlight these honorees in the Oct. 15 issue of Auto Remarketing, which includes Q&As with each recipient of the award.
Next up is Amanda Schrider-Rhodes, general manager at Hendrick Automotive Group.
Auto Remarketing: What was your path to working in automotive, and what do you enjoy most about the industry?
Amanda Schrider-Rhodes: I have been in the automotive industry for almost 21 years. I started as a salesperson right out of high school, moved up to become a finance manager and then a director and held that position for 11 years.
I then started my own consulting firm to help dealers grow their finance and insurance departments and during that time I began doing business with Hendrick Automotive Group. I then ended up actually joining Hendrick Automotive Group as the market area director of finance for our entire luxury division in 2016. After about a year, I wanted to get back into the stores.
I missed the customers! I then became the retail operations manager of our largest Lexus Store in Charlotte, N.C. After another year, I was given the opportunity to move to Austin and become the general manager of Audi South Austin and I took it! I have now been in Austin since early 2019, and was just recently promoted to be the GM of the second largest BMW store in the U.S.
Mr. Hendrick is an unbelievable leader, and he has given me more opportunities than any other owner I have ever worked with. His No. 1 priority is his people, as is mine, so our partnership was a perfect fit.
AR: Who is a leader, within the auto industry, that you admire and why?
Schrider-Rhodes: Mr. Rick Hendrick. Mr. Hendrick is very different from every other leader in the automotive industry. He actually does what he says he is going to do. He says that his people are his greatest asset, and he treats us all that way. He is one of the kindest people I have ever met, and is an absolutely brilliant business man. He has an army of people that will fight for him, and that is the kind of leader I hope to be.
AR: What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
Schrider-Rhodes: Becoming one of very few female GMs in our company is something I am very proud of. I have a platform to be able to make a difference. I have a platform to be able to empower women. I have a platform to be able to create a better work/life balance for people in the automotive business.
AR: What aspects of the retail car business would you change?
Schrider-Rhodes: One of my biggest initiatives right now is to create a warm and inviting environment for women in search of a new car. So many women absolutely hate buying cars. No one wants to go through the whole ‘where’s your husband’ routine at the average car dealer.
It is almost comical, but that is still the reality at so many dealerships. We are quite the opposite. We have perfected the art of selling people cars the way they want to be sold. If you want to stay home and have us bring everything to you, no problem. If you want to come in and take things slow, no problem. We are different. I am involved in most transactions and I think that is important. My cell phone number is in my email signature because I am available.
I am not the wizard behind the curtain, I am bouncing around all over the store talking to our customers and my teammates — being visible and involved is all I know, and it’s very important to me. Once you become out of touch and not involved in the day-to-day business with your people, the culture you create starts to fade. That is not something I am willing to sacrifice. Culture is everything.
AR: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in retail automotive?
Schrider-Rhodes: Stay focused. Keep your eye on the prize — whatever prize it is you are after, and go get it! Do not let others dictate your success. You have to be incredibly driven in this business to be successful. Mr. Hendrick once said in a meeting, ‘You are what the results say you are.’
That resonated with me. Be strong, and be successful, and then once you are, stay humble. Let your results speak for themselves. Never forget where you started, and never boast about what you have done. If it is truly something spectacular, other people will talk about it for you.