Lithia Motors’ former project lead for online sales is now the leading strategic partnerships at Drive Motors, which develops online car-buying solutions for dealer groups and banks.
Chris Gugliotta was named head of strategic partnerships at Drive Motors, following two stops at Lithia and time with Dealer.com/Cox Automotive, as well.
Gugliotta’s career certainly includes parallels between his previous jobs and what he will lead at Drive Motors, and most of those parallels center on online retailing and a “consumer-centric approach,” he said.
“Lithia, having 180 stores-plus, really has a decentralized sales model, which is a good thing. They let their stores run regionally and kind of have their own identity in a region,” Gugliotta said in a phone interview Monday.
In that model, testing and beginning to “take this digital retailing and online retailing to the next level” means a hard look at the sales process and customer flow, he said.
It also involves regional partnerships with OEMs and lenders that might be set up differently from region to region.
“When I bring that (experience) over to Drive Motors, it’s very similar,” he said. “We’re partnering not only with the dealers and the dealer groups, but we also need to look at strategic partnerships with the OEMs on a regional or national play” as well as the lenders who work with those dealer groups.
Gugliotta began a decade-plus tenure at Lithia in 1996, where he led Internet and ecommerce teams.
His next stop was with Dealer.com for more than a decade, where he eventually was named vice president of sales for parent company Cox Automotive.
His latest post was back at Lithia as project lead for their online sales pilots.
“Drive Motors is solidifying its position as the leader of transparent car buying for auto dealers, and forging strategic partnerships is going to accelerate Drive’s sustained growth,” Gugliotta said in a news release.
“I’m excited to join the executive team, and I’m proud to offer Drive the connections and expertise I’ve developed throughout my decades-long career,” he said.
He will report to Drive Motors chief executive Aaron Krane.
“We’re elated to welcome Chris to the team, given his deep vertical automotive expertise and his passion for delivering great consumer experiences with technology,” said Krane. “His experience is vast, spanning top dealer groups like Lithia, as well as top technology companies like Cox Automotive. That is clutch.”
Updated to clarify Gugliotta's former title with Lithia Motors.