Interview w/ Mike Trudeau, EVP of Business Development at Montway Auto Transport

February 29, 2024| Zach Klempf

In this transcribed episode of the Used Car Dealer Podcast, Zach talks with Mike Trudeau, EVP of Business Development at Montway Auto Transport. They'll cover the impact of digital retail on auto transport, the benefits of Montway's M.A.P system for dealerships, and how Montway is shaping the future of automotive logistics.

Zach: Hey, Zach here.

Mike: And we have a great guest on the podcast today, Mike Trudeau, who is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Montway Auto Transport.

Zach: Mike, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today.

Mike: Zach, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Zach: So, as an icebreaker, could you share your journey and how you got into the automotive industry?

Mike: Sure. Yeah, you know, it was over 20 years ago now. I was coming out of college. I went to a local Detroit University, Wayne State University, and it was time to get a job, and I started working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and went into their management trainee program and spent 14 years of my career there. Got into the wholesale and remarketing side calling on dealers and wholesaling rental cars, which was tons of fun. And then went into enterprise car sales for about four years before I left and joined an asset-based car hauling logistics company about 10 years ago. And I've been with Montway Auto Transport and car hauling logistics for the last five years. So been in the car hauling space now for pretty, pretty close to 10 years.

Zach: So you're the EVP of Biz Development at Montway  Auto Transport. And for those unfamiliar with the company, tell us how Montway helps dealers and a little bit about the company as well.

Mike: Sure. Yeah, I'll start with a little bit about the company. You know, we were founded really servicing the retail customer when you need to move a car from point A to B, whether you're moving your house or, you know, you know, quote-unquote snowbird or whatever the case may be. Recently, within the last five years, we've always done a little B to B business as a company, but within the last five years, we've really jumped into the deep end. And, you know, we leverage our technology to help dealers with our Montway automation portal. So really trying to digitize the transportation ordering process is one of our goals. We will do orders the old way where you can always call us, text us, send us emails, carrier pigeon if needed. But really trying to digitize with our Montway automation portal.

Zach: So what are some of the interesting trends about the automotive industry you've observed from your lens at Montway as far as like dealership logistics?

Mike: I mean, ever since COVID, I mean, it's really, you know, it's not about just being able to go to one sale and, you know, buy 20 cars, you know, with all the different inventory programs that are out there now, telling you which way where you should buy. What color should you buy? How many miles should it have? What year it should be? Dealers have really had a need to really move one car at a time. And that's something that we are experts in. Especially, you know, coming from that retail side. We understand the importance of moving one car at a time just as quick as moving a full load. And that's really where we excel from a service side and speed.

Zach: So at a huge conference in the auto industry just happened earlier this month in Vegas and in late January Montway you put out a press release about a new MAP system feature. But for those unfamiliar with the MAP system, what is it?

Mike: So MAP is the Montway Automation Portal. It allows dealers to basically log into a portal, receive a lifetime quote. They could have set rates in there, they can receive an automated quote either or however it's set up. And from there, you know, they have an idea. So if they're looking at cars in LA and they're in Texas or they're looking at cars, in Michigan and they're in Texas, they can get a quote, transportation quote before they even buy the car. And kind of figure out, hey, you know, if I buy the car for this and I got transport it for this, this is what I'm into it for. So it allows you to do that, but it allows you to get that quote and then most importantly allows you to book the order automatically. That order comes to us, they'll receive notifications, status updates. The driver leaves on his mobile tracking, they'll receive lifetime tracking or GEO tracking. But they'll always get the status up. It's now where their car is and have a good idea of when it's gonna get delivered to them.

Zach: So what are some of the key features of the MAP update that are new features that distinguish it from other platforms in your space?

Mike: So I think for us, I mean, it's a real good user experience. You know, it's all open API so I mean, whether you can integrate it into your own transportation management system or you use the portal itself, you know, the UX on the front end, you can do both. You know, for what we're really looking for is, you know, for years, transportation from a dealership perspective has always kind of been like the redheaded stepchild. It's a necessary evil, you know, to get the car from a further distance and a lot of times that's just in the car deal and it's just not something that, you know, we're, you're looking at as far as, hey, can I control this expense, you know? Can I get cars there quicker? Can I decrease my cycle time? Can I get the car on my lot quicker? And really, that's what a third-party transportation partner should be able to do. That's what we pride ourselves on. So the MAP that what we just released is more of a parent-child if I get into the Salesforce world relationship where a lot of dealerships as we know, have multiple stores. So now whether you're an inventory buyer, you're a fixed ops person of a dealership or a CFO or owner of GM and you oversee multiple stores, you can go and see what's going on in each store. How many cars do they got coming in? Where are they at? What are the delays? Can you get those cars, you know, booked in the service if you know, you have five coming in on Wednesday, can you get five service slots on Thursday? Get them recon quickly and get them on your lot, you know, by Friday or by Saturday.

Zach: So with over a million vehicles shipped, how does Montway ensure the safety and reliability of its services for dealers?

Mike: It's a great question. You know, for us, you know, we take compliance extremely seriously. There's a lot of stuff going out on there on central, on, on the public load boards where, you know, there's some fraud going on with carriers. We're real selective in our interview process with carriers and who we will give loads to do. We use load boards. Absolutely. But we also have direct relationships with carriers that have been working with us for a long time. So we really go through an extensive vetting process and then most importantly, you know, if something does go wrong, you know, we carry a large umbrella policy on top of what a carrier's insurance would be. So you kind of almost get double coverage, I guess you would say.

Zach: And how

 do you see the future of automotive logistics and inventory management evolving and what role do you see Montway kind of playing in the landscape as it evolves?

Mike: For me, it's all about forming a partnership. You know, you're seeing, you know, we have to conform to how our customers want to do business. I mean, that's the most important thing. We have to understand what our customers' objectives and goals are, what their KPIs, their key performance indicators are, and really tailor a supply chain system around what the customer needs. And that's what we've really been focused on in the last couple of years is really having a customer-centric approach to really being able to deliver, you know, first-class service. I think with the dealership starting, you know, multi-rooftop dealers, and dealerships becoming more at a corporate level. Having that having the ability to have one vendor or multi vendors that you can count on and oversee all your vehicle shipments can control your costs in a much different way than what we have in the past. I think that's gonna be needed. And then I think most importantly, it's, you know, can we get cars on the lot quicker, you know, can we reduce that or can we be a piece of reducing that overall inventory term?

Zach: And any thoughts about like digital retail's impact on transportation in the landscape, like more consumers deciding to buy a car online or some of that service online?

Mike: For sure. I mean, that's one of the great things about our technology. I mean, with it being open API I mean, we can integrate into any digital retailing checkout process. You know, the customers, if they are shopping online can get a live quote right there, and can leave with an out-the-door price delivered to their home. And, you know, those orders can be filtered right through the API to us and, you know, we'll take it from there. So, I mean, that final mile, that home delivery is a huge piece.

Zach: So if you reflect on Montway's journey from small brokerage to leading automotive transport company with over a million deliveries, what are some of the key lessons learned? And how do these lessons shape the company's future strategy?

Mike: You know, for me, I think technology is it, it's a tool. It's an avenue, right? I mean, and that's what we've learned is that it is an avenue at the end of the day, your team, your people really drive the business and the performance and having those relationships and cultivating those partnerships, you know, with our customers. You know, it's really our drive to on the service side, having the technology is awesome. And it does help but really striving to be, you know, if your customers using multi-vendor striving to be that number one provider, that's, that's our goal with every customer, whether it's a small shipper or an extremely large shipper. We treat them all the same and, you know, we deliver, you know what I, what I like to call the customer-centric experience. And that's really, really where we've really gained a lot of ground and it's been, it's been a fun journey.

Zach: So, what's one of your favorite stories of how Montway went above and beyond to help a dealer in a transportation rut?

Mike: Let's see, I had a couple here but, I think, you know, for us, you know, I think during COVID, was probably, there's probably several stories. I mean, you know, God bless the car haul drivers that are out there, you know, putting all those miles out on over the road. But, you know, during COVID, you know, there was times where we had to fly people out to certain places to go get the cars because, you know, a driver came down with COVID or whatever the case may be and we had cars stranded and, you know, hotel parking lots and just working, the logistics of that, proved to be challenging at the end of the day, the customers understood, you know, the drivers understood. But it was a challenging time, you know, but I think we were able to come through with some real, real, real good success.

Zach: And any other stories outside of COVID, kind of you guys going above and beyond?

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I think there, I mean, it, the way I look at it is 85% of the orders always go through perfectly. You know, we work in the 15%. So you know, our job is to be a problem solver, you know, whether it's going the extra mile and, and, and finding lost keys or sending a rescue truck if a truck breaks down or, you know, whatever, whatever the case may be. I mean, that's, you know, that's just in our regular day. That's just what we do. You know, I, I tell our, our account services team that, hey, you know, sometimes you gotta step back and look at the 85% that goes great because, you know, you're in the 15% that we're working really hard to make sure that there, there, there's an end result is a, is, is a safe car delivered.

Zach: So lastly, what's coming down the pipeline in 2024 for your team?

Mike: For us, you know, we're gonna continue to grow. I mean, that's, that's ultimately what we want to do is we want to gain, gain more and new customers, have more customers come out on the Montway automation portal, integrate with even with more customers than we have today. We have a few, few new relationships kicking off here in the first quarter that we're excited about, and even in a couple of early Q2, but we have a growing team. We're, we've been in a growth mode here for, for five years. Now. And you know, that's just what we're gonna continue to do here in '24.

Zach: Awesome. Well, Mike, it's been a pleasure having you on the podcast learning more about Montway. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Mike: Zach. Appreciate it. Thank you.

For more information about Motway’s new MAP system, visit this page -

Tags: used car dealers automotive industry auto industry auto industry trends used car market independent dealership Mike Trudeau montway

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