Tim Jackson, CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, said Stanton is adept at navigating the various challenges facing dealers, dealership operations and the industry at large — whether pandemic-related or otherwise.
“Nothing like getting in and having your feet put to the fire initially, right out of the gate,” said Jackson, who has known Stanton for more than 15 years.
“It’ll be important for him to carry the leadership forward regarding handling the pandemic — both from an association standpoint and a dealer-facing standpoint,” he explained. “But that load should get a little lighter each and every month as more vaccines get out and as we evolve out from under the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Jackson said NADA should focus on continuing to be a resource for dealers through advocacy and education related to digital retailing during the pandemic and beyond.
The intersection of autos and politics is a natural spot for Stanton.
His first job on Capitol Hill was as an unpaid intern working for U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley, a Massachusetts Democrat. In the evenings, he delivered pizzas and tended bar.
Stanton’s father, Michael, represented automakers in Washington as CEO of the Association of Global Automakers until he retired in 2014. The longtime lobbyist has been credited with improving the rapport between automakers and the federal government as well as tackling major issues such as vehicle emissions.
Mike Stanton eventually fell into the auto business, working for Isuzu North America and then Nissan Motor, primarily assisting dealers with their sales and service operations.
“I was quickly able to identify with the dealer situation, which at times was at odds with the manufacturers’ requirements,” he said. “Overall, dealers take a commonsense approach to business, and I quickly identified with that.”
Stanton transitioned from working for an automaker to an automotive trade association in 2000, when he joined NADA as national sales manager for NADA Used Car Guide. Two years later, he became executive director of industry affairs, a role he held until 2006.