Arlan Tarhan, Managing Partner
Arlan Tarhan was born in Samsun/Turkey to a family of three brothers and a sister. Arlan’s father was a reputable attorney and also served as a senator in the Turkish Parliament. He completed his high school education at a private school with 100% English language curriculum in Ankara; the Capitol of Turkey. Throughout the entire high school Arlan was an honor student consistently.
Arlan obtained his BA in advertising at the University of Istanbul in 1975. Later in 1976 he received his MBA from the same University as marketing major.
In 1976 he joined Fiat Motors of Turkey as a service manager trainee and went through extensive technical and management training provided by the manufacturer. In 1977 he was appointed as the Northern Region Distribution Center Manager for Turkish Fiat where he remained until 1979.
Via Fiat S.P.A in Torino/ Italy, Arlan was selected for a special project assignment to come to the United States for technical assistance on fuel injected products for which he had become an expert. Later in 1979 Fiat Motors of North America offered Arlan a permanent position as a technical instructor for the Eastern Region which started his carrier in America.
In 1980 he was promoted to the position of training manager for the Western Region in Cypress California. Through 1982, until Fiat withdrew from the U.S. Market, Arlan served as a district service manager and a regional service manager for the North American Fiat.
Arlan turned down a relocation offer by Fiat in 1983 to the Brazilian Division and instead started a Fiat Authorized Parts and Service Center in Irvine California called The Autostrada Motorworks Inc. Autostrada expanded to become a parts distribution center for Fiat products for the Southern California market.
Tarhan sold his company in 1986 and accepted a position as a Parts and Service Director for the Vasek Polak organization with the BMW, Audi, Porsche, Saab and Subaru franchises· in Hermosa Beach California. In his tenacious desire to make a difference in retail processes, Arlan started working on the sales floor of the Porsche dealership in the evenings in order to learn and evaluate the retail process. Within three months he was promoted to be the General Sales Manager of this dealership.
Arlan contributed to the growth and improved sales processes of this dealership through 1988. With his passion to pioneer a different sales philosophy, he resigned his position with the Vasek Polak organization in early 1989 and started The Car Butler Company, a membership society which provided after sales catering and concierge services to busy professionals and upscale clientele. Tarhan displayed the first version of today’s buying services much before the Internet companies through his concept of the Car Butler. He retailed or leased various new vehicles to his members over a two year period.
He was asked by Vasek Polak to return to the organization in 1991 as the Vice President of Operations of all franchises which now also included VW. Tarhan took over the operations of then financially troubled dealerships and returned them to profitability and record sales in two years. He then became the president of the company and took over as the dealer operator when Polak decided to step down. During the time period that lasted until Vasek Polak’s death in 1997, Vasek Polak organization was recognized as a Premier Dealer by Porsche, number one CSI dealer by BMW and VW and number one in sales volume in Audi and Saab franchises in numerous occasions.
During this time Arlan also served as a National Dealer Council Member for Audi and participated in the distribution system developments of the manufacturer and served in a committee for early product evaluation. In 1998, following Vasek Polak’s death Arlan agreed to part company with the trustee owners of the company and pursued other ownership opportunities.
1999 through parts of 2000 Arlan worked for an investment group as an acquisition consultant and conducted due diligence projects and prepared buy/sell agreements. Later that year he joined Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc. as a Regional Franchise Development Manager for the Western Region. During his time with Mitsubishi he contributed to the appointment and approval of many key retailers in the Region. He also provided consultation and guidance to the dealer body in the Western Region.
Arlan left Mitsubishi to pursue a retail store opportunity in 2003 and continued his consulting practice with several Southern California and Bay area retailers of Mitsubishi, Infiniti, Mazda and VW franchises until he was hired by the Superior Automotive Group as the Vice President of Corporate Development in September of 2003. Arlan became the Chief Operating Officer of Superior Automotive Group in February of 2004. During his tenure, he streamlined the entire operations of this young company. He facilitated the restructuring of all the business and finance offices under each dealership entity prior to which had been centralized. Hired and trained general managers and established a new discipline of sales and customer service process and launched an unprecedented branding campaign for the company. Two years in a row two of the Nissan dealerships won the Owners First Award and ranked in the top 10 and 20 of approximately 1000 Nissan dealerships in the United States. Arlan also built a respectable profitability and return on investment for the company which reflected an overall 3% net to revenue profits in 2004 and 2005.
Arlan resigned as the COO of Superior at the end of 2005 to pursue a franchise opportunity on his own. He then obtained a letter of intent to open a Hyundai franchise in Downey California. He later decided not to continue with the project due to financial reasons and uncertainties that surrounded the US economy.
During all of his years in the automotive retail industry as a leader, he continuously made efforts to make a difference in the retail processes which to him always lacked credibility and respect that this vast industry deserved. He developed curriculum and conducted lectures and training seminars for large groups of sales professionals in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of the sales force in the communities that he served.
He believed that the future of the automotive retailing would have to rely on technology and processes that are fundamentally geared towards helping customers and simplifying the purchase experience. This passion of his inspired him to develop the world’s first paperless negotiation system for the retail auto industry, the e-Square ®.
Arlan believes that the 21st century will set the stage to move the auto industry to the technology era where state of the art showrooms and high tech equipment and processes will dominate the market and define successful auto retailers under a new category of integrity, credibility and respect. e-Square ® will be the comer stone of such an environment and will offer limitless business opportunities.
In addition to the e-Square® project Arlan continued his consulting practice throughout 2006 particularly helping young general managers to obtain retail stores or acquire open point franchises from various manufacturers in the greater Los Angeles Market. In the beginning of 2007 after forming his company “CONVERGENT ALLIANCE”, he assisted the launch of a brand new Dodge dealership in Downey California which was awarded to a general manager under the diversity program. He installed from the ground up systems, infrastructure and processes for this store and hired all key personnel. The dealership was profitable within its first month of operation and continues to grow in that direction for the first three months. In sales, as of 2008 it ranks as the “Number One Dodge Dealer” in California and Number Two in the West Business Center”.
Convergent Alliance successfully continues to service Chrysler, Nissan, Honda and Toyota Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Porsche, VW and Mazda retailers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Pacific North West Markets. Convergent Alliance clients rank among the top 100 of 20,000 plus retailers in the US. Tarhan also holds a record 85% success ratio in increased profitability among the 120 retail stores that he worked with in the last six years.
Arlan wishes to further his career with the passion of making a difference in retail processes and fundamental principals of dealership management to become more in tune with the business environment of 21st century.
“They that will not be counselled cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason, she will rap you on the knuckles.” — Benjamin Franklin, author, politician, scientist, inventor
From the desk of Arlan Tarhan
Welcome to our site. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about my purpose in starting Convergent Alliance, an automotive retail development company. In the car business we live in a very complex world. Starting with the product, a high ticket purchase; sales process, marketing and prospecting, client relations, after sales services, information technology and last but not least business management all require significant expertise and know how in order to succeed in a retail environment.
Not only in most instances the required expertise and infrastructure is not readily available, but additionally the car business itself has become increasingly competitive within the past decade. Consumers have been more and more informed and empowered by the internet prior to actually shopping for their next car and retailers are left with little or no room to negotiate. Manufacturers have slashed eminent margins and have come up with creative ways of rewarding retailers most of which are not predictable methodologies since they are largely tied to sales performance and client satisfaction scores not to mention their facility ratings. This brutal competition has forced retailers to give up their margins in order to make a sale and gamble on he possible future earnings if they meet certain criteria. At the operations end of the spectrum cost of doing business has significantly increased as well.
All of this has created a retail environment which is much more challenged and much more complex to operate than it used to be. When evaluating opportunities and challenges, retailers and their expert management team continue to only scratch the surface rather than identify the root causes and come up with fundamental fixes. This old fashioned approach is always ill fated and destined to fail.
We at Convergent Alliance offer the kind of expertise which not only identifies opportunities and challenges scientifically and objectively but we also propose remedies which address the root causes of issues identified. We believe that most important tell tales of a retailer’s operations reside in their bookkeeping. Therefore before process reviews and sales and marketing analysis, we review and understand their recording practices first.
We also focus our attention on people skills, relationship development and organizational culture development initiatives which have become the most significant contributors of most successful organizations in the 21st century.
We take pride in our very unique approach to coaching automotive retailing and our more than 120 clients across 4 states are our proud testimony.
Please enjoy your tour of our site and we look forward to hearing from you.