This seasoned pro benefits from years of hands-on experience in the auto industry.
Rick Hatt has been in the car business longer than he cares to remember. He got his start at the tender age of 15–long before graduating high-school–and has continued to pursue his passion for the industry both on the retail and the fleet end of the business, to this day.
“Back in 1975,” he recalls, “My uncle had a Datsun dealership in a small town in rural Nova Scotia. That’s when I first started working in the industry. After graduating high school, I moved to the big city of Halifax and started with a large Chev/Olds dealership.
“From there I went to a Pontiac store, owned by the same people. I then moved to Audi and Porsche, and in 1994, when the Audi store acquired a Subaru franchise, I got on board with Subaru.”
Today, Hatt is based out of Steele Subaru, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he wears two hats–sales manager, and fleet manager. “Because of the size of our store,” he says, “one person does both, and that’s me.”
Steele Subaru, owned by Rob Steele, and run by Simonsen, General Manager, sits at what Hatt calls “the busiest intersection” in the Atlantic Provinces. “I think 60,000 cars a day go through this intersection,” Hatt explains.
That kind of traffic is good for business, and the dramatic growth in sales the store has seen in the past few years is certainly a testament to both the quality of the product, as well as the calibre of the staff.
“The fleet business has certainly picked up in the past couple of years,” Hatt says. “Subaru is on the climb because of their safety record, the all-wheel drive technology, and the resale value of the vehicles. That’s certainly of value to fleet customers.”
Customer care makes a difference
Of course, the fact that Hatt goes above and beyond the call of duty is also of value to his fleet customers. “I’m very detail oriented,” he admits, “and as soon as a car gets here I make sure the customer knows that he can pick it up right away.”
Once the customer arrives at the store, Hatt goes into “customer care” mode, providing them with the attention and the time they deserve.
“Some of my fleet customers tell me that none of the other fleet people take the time to explain the cars to them,” Hatt explains. “Usually they just hand them the keys and point them to the lot. I don’t do that. I give them the attention they deserve.”
The perfect candidate for the perfect job
Hatt has been in fleet since 2012, and loves every minute of it. He explains how eager he was to get the job when it became available, after the previous fleet manager “finally” retired.
“The job opening, because we’re a large auto group, was posted internally,” Hatt recalls. “I thought this was the perfect role for me, and I was the first person to put my name in the hat. I was lucky enough to get the job, and I’m certainly enjoying my role.”