NADA CEO Welch sees dealer opportunity in autonomous cars

Speaking at the NADA Show, John Krafcik described his company, Waymo, as a self-driving technology company. “We’re specifically not a car company,” he said. Krafcik spoke at the NADA Show with AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson and NADA President and CEO Peter Welch.


The focus was on how to create opportunities for auto dealers with autonomous vehicles in the future. Initially, said Krafcik, the cost of the technology restricts its use to ridesharing fleets like Uber and Lyft. But, he added, technology tends to run in two-year cycles.


“It won’t be too long before you see [autonomous vehicles] in showrooms,” Krafcik said. Waymo could in the future work to license the technology to automakers.


“I think it’s going to be a pretty interesting time for dealers,” Krafcik said.


NADA’s Welch embraced the idea. “Some of us have been in this business for a long time, and I can’t remember it being more exciting,” he said. “There are new technologies and new opportunities, and I, for one, think the dealers have an incredible opportunity going forward – more cars on the road, more maintenance intervals,  and  more value for consumers. That’s what we do.”

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