Touring the Automotive World

August 28, 2023

It’s the largest retail sector in the United States, representing about 20% of consumer spending. It employs over 4.3 million Americans, spread across a wide variety of occupations.

For the promotional market, those kinds of numbers mean one thing: opportunity.

The automotive world has been through a lot of change in the last few years, but it remains a vibrant cultural force that depends on a strong marketing presence to thrive. Providers of promotional products will quickly learn that in both their corporate operations and at the dealership, there’s a lot they can offer to these customers.

One of my first “real” jobs after I graduated college was working for The Cobalt Group, a company founded on the idea that car buyers could someday purchase a car without ever stepping onto a dealership lot, using the relatively new (at the time) tools of the internet. I still remember an ad we ran once that painted a picture of a car dealership as a busy place full of many different kinds of workers — salespeople, drivers, technicians, IT support, back-office staff — each with their own unique needs and preferences.

When you widen the frame beyond just the dealership and look at the industry as a whole, the picture gets even more interesting. Auto manufacturers have always needed innovators to design the next vehicular evolution and workers to assemble the cars themselves, but the rising popularity of electric vehicles (EV) and smart cars means a greater need for software engineers and more modern skills. Today’s car buyer has evolved as well — whether their experience is virtual or face-to-face or some mixture of the two, they expect an excellent customer journey on their road to buying a new car.

Dealership Sales and Corporate LeadershipWith a workforce of myriad professionals working across many disciplines, let’s take a closer look at a collection of apparel and accessories from Port Authority® curated to help drive your sales in the automotive market.

The Chassis: Dealership Sales and Corporate Leadership

The most visible aspect of the car-buying experience is the salesperson, and it’s a bit of an understatement to say that their job has changed in the last few years. The image in your head might be of a fast-talking wheeler-and-dealer, while the reality today often sees them answering online queries and delivering cars to customers. Whether they’re interacting with a potential customer in the same room or over video chat, a professional image remains critical to the work they do.

Similarly, leadership at the manufacturer level depends on presenting a modern, professional outlook in any setting. They might be in a conference call from home with someone halfway around the world, taking a quick lunch meeting with an important partner or leading a development meeting with their team. In every case, they need confidence and comfort in what they’re wearing, with the right amount of on-brand polish.

For salespeople and industry leaders, the Long Sleeve SuperPro ReactTM Twill Shirt and Oxford Shirt from Port Authority® offer the best in professional performance all year round, while the Diamond Jacquard Polo and Silk TouchTM Colorblock Polo present an elevated take on a slightly more relaxed look. If the business takes them outside, the Grid Fleece Jacket keeps the professional look going in all kinds of weather.

Assembly-Line Workers and Auto Technicians

The Engine: Assembly-Line Workers and Auto Technicians

The frame of the car is important, but it’s not going anywhere without an engine — in this case, that means the hardworking people who put vehicles together and keep them running. Both those who work on the assembly line and those who specialize in vehicle maintenance and repair are having to learn new skills as cars become more like computers and the future of the internal combustion engine evolves.

What’s not changing is that these jobs are labor-intensive, requiring freedom of movement for difficult manual work that often results in stains, snags and sweat. The C-FREETM Snag-Proof Polo and the Stain Release Polo are built to perform comfortably while working hard, and Cuff Beanies and Mesh Caps keep workers comfortable and hair out of the way. Handy Lunch Bag Coolers and Backpacks also help equip workers for the day while presenting a cohesive look that says they’re part of the crew.

Support Staff

The Suspension: Support Staff

When it’s time to make sure that the automotive industry gets where it wants to go, it’s the people you don’t often see who play their part with quiet skill. From the dedicated office professional to the back-room finance expert to the IT specialist, these are the unsung heroes who keep the wheels on the road and make the journey smooth. The right clothing can make sure that they know they’re included in the success of the team.

The Staff Polo or the Raglan Polo are both excellent starting points, simply stylish while retaining a professional edge and a cohesive look. The Value Fleece Jacket or Vest offer super-soft and comfortable layering options at an affordable price, and the Daily Commute Backpack or Active Sling Pack can complete the package.

The auto industry today looks a lot different than it did when I was more directly involved in it, when what felt like a game-changer back then seems almost quaint today. But there is a lasting truth that was as clear to me in the early 2000s as it remains now: All the people who build the vehicles we buy, from the corporate exec to the front-line worker, make up an incredibly varied picture of the American workforce. And they all need something to wear.

We hope our curated collection from Port Authority® helps guide you on the road to serving this high-octane market.