You Can’t Complain about Traffic When You’ve Sold All the Cars: AutoNation CEO Addresses Brokers on Economy, Politics, Safety and More

Written by on July 24, 2015 in Meeting Recaps, News, Prior Events, Trends - 2 Comments
one park

One Park Place

While many owners would choose not to sponsor a broker meeting in South Florida in July, Canpro Investments, owners of One Park Place in Boca Raton had an ace in the hole. It was time for our annual appearance from guest speaker Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, one of Forbes’ top 50 world business leaders, and a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta.

Luckily for us, he is also the husband of Alice Lucia Jackson of Jones Lang Lasalle, one of SFOBA’s founding members, and leasing agent representing Canpro. Jackson therefore waived his hefty speaking fee. Alice did want to add that AutoNation will be sponsoring the Cure Bowl this December in Orlando. This new college bowl game will support breast cancer research, and attempt to dress the crowd entirely in pink.

Jackson, as always, delivered an enlightening presentation on the economy, politics, the auto industry, and highway safety. Looking at the economy, much of the talk is been about the 1% and the 99%, but Mike’s concern is the 2%. Our economic recovery, has been relatively anemic with a 2% annual increase in the GNP. If we could find a way to increase that to the 3 to 4% range we would create millions of jobs. Anything higher could impact inflation and be unhealthy. The question is how to get there. Mike emphasized common sense solutions that would require bipartisan cooperation. The US and Canada need to come to agreement on running pipelines to more efficiently distribute petroleum throughout North America. “Why is it,” asked Jackson, “that we can make agreements with the Iran but not with Canada.”


Mike Jackson of AutoNation

In addition, the last six major automobile plants in North America were constructed in Mexico. Why? Because Mexico does not charge duties to export vehicles overseas. While many states in the southeast would have loved to have gotten these plants, the US tariff policies are driving manufacturing out of this country. Jackson also faulted the current administration for missing the opportunity to upgrade our roads and airports as part of the recovery effort. He says we are falling behind many other countries in transportation infrastructure. With gas prices declining, he believes it is a good time to enact a gas tax to help rebuild our infrastructure. Mike is also a big supporter of fracking, the process of using water at high pressure to release petroleum from wells, While the practice is controversial among environmentalists, it is an example of American innovation that has enabled us to increase oil production. This has reduced prices, as well as our dependence upon foreign sources. This is good for both the economy and for national security.

While things continue to improve, major change will not be easy. Mike had an interesting take on the gridlock in our political system. Voters turning out for primaries disproportionately represent the more extreme factions of their parties. Americans are generally in the middle on political issues, but our politicians generally need to appeal to the extreme left or right to get financial support. These loyalties make compromise exceedingly difficult. Unfortunately, he does not see that this will change very easily. He does believe strongly that America’s spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship will overcome any shortcomings in our system.


Alice Lucia Jackson

One topic that is important to all of us is auto safety. Forgive me if I don’t get the statistics completely right, but auto fatalities are down from 5 per 100 million miles in the 1970s to 1 per 100 million today. This is due to safer cars and seat belt laws which have increased use from 10 percent to 95 percent. Today, our biggest issue is distracted drivers. 30% of accidents today are caused by distracted drivers, and Jackson says that a 10 word text is more dangerous to a driver than 10 shots of vodka. He recommends that just as mandatory seat belt use has made our roads safer, making texting and driving a primary offense (you could be pulled over for texting rather than some other violation where texting was secondary) would also reduce accidents and fatalities.

Some other highlights:

On self-driving cars:
The technology is there and we will see more cars with the ability to correct driver error, but we won’t be seeing widespread use of cars without drivers very soon.

On Traffic:
I tell my wife not to complain, I sold all those cars.

On Trump:
He is certainly entertaining. I just don’t want to see the election turned into a reality show.
I think when it comes time to pull the lever, people won’t do it. But if his ego leads him to run as an independent he can virtually hand the election to Hillary.

JLL's Brady Titcomb

JLL’s Brady Titcomb

On Commercial Real Estate Brokerage:
I do sell cars but I’m also involved in major acquisitions…And your deals take longer than any of mine.

On Hybrids and Electric Cars:
Drive one if you want to save the earth, but most Americans still can’t justify the payback on the additional cost.

On Interest Rates:
We will begin to see a rise in the near future which would be a show of confidence in the US economy.

For those of you interested in the host property, rates at the 240,000 square foot One Park Place are at $16.50 – $18.50 NNN plus operating expenses at $12.75 with up to 11,000 square feet available.

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2 Comments on "You Can’t Complain about Traffic When You’ve Sold All the Cars: AutoNation CEO Addresses Brokers on Economy, Politics, Safety and More"

  1. Kristy Hartofilis July 24, 2015 at 1:49 pm · Reply

    Ken- Great recap of the meeting and thank you for your SFOBA service. I know the pay is so-so. Alice- thank you for landing such an amazing guest speaker. It is such a pleasure to hear from Mike Jackson and get the straight talk and on the economy and politics.

  2. Alice Lucia Jackson July 29, 2015 at 3:52 pm · Reply

    Thanks for a great article on the July event! We ALL appreciate your hard work and writing talent and sense of humor!

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