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October 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Lebanon Ford Gets Seriously Social

At Lebanon Ford, Owner/General Manager Lisa Cryder wanted to connect with customers online via social media. While Lebanon, Ohio, is a small city with a population of about 20,000, it's situated about 30 miles from Cincinnati, the third-largest city in the state. She started "honing in" on social media in 2009 and knew her dealership could reach more potential customers if she put a strategy in place.

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - One doesn’t have to be tech-savvy to understand the popularity of social media. Lisa Cryder, the owner/general manager at Lebanon Ford Lincoln Mercury realized social media could be a powerful business tool—one her Lebanon, Ohio, dealership stood to benefit from.

Tags: BDC

October 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Pushing Inventory Around the Web

Pushing Inventory Around the Web Managing Your Online Inventory As recently as a decade ago, the concept of inventory management for many dealers was restricted to the physical lot and maybe the dealership’s Web site. Now, however, as car buyers rely heavily on the Internet to help them research and comparison shop, dealers must push their inventory out not just to their own dealership sites but to multiple third-party online destinations as well in order to be competitive in today

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Pushing inventory out to multiple online destinations presents a unique set of challenges to a dealership’s resources. Accomplishing this task in house will often require a great deal of time, effort and manpower. So, what is the best way to handle online inventory management and how much help does a dealer need?

Tags: BDC

October 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

It’s People and Process, Stupid

By Tony Troussov

Tony Troussov - In this competitive market, a used car manager’s job can be complicated. Today, like never before, it requires extensive knowledge of the market and technology. With that said, acquiring cars is only half of the task at hand.

Tags: BDC

October 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Online Inventory Pricing

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - What kinds of strategies are at work when it comes to pricing online inventory? In short, all kinds.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Make the Search Engines Love Your Online Inventory

By J.D. Rucker

J.D. Rucker - When the topic of inventory management is brought up to car dealers, certain things always come to mind. How should it be priced? How often is it updated? How many pictures should you take? While these are all important, one aspect that is regularly forgotten is how to drive the right traffic to the specific vehicles that people want to buy.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Is This the Time to be in Buy Here Pay Here?

By Mark Dubois

Mark Dubois - If you are a new car dealer struggling with questions about what to do after losing your franchise or you are a subprime dealer unable to get your deals bought and are forced to turn away customers, you may be wondering: is this the time to be in the buy here pay here business?

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Have You Lost Your Balloons?

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - I have written for years about Green and Red Balloons, the metaphor for identifying the creditworthiness of dealership customers. Nothing has changed about the need to identify creditworthiness quickly and effectively when a customer first contacts your dealership, except for the fact that it has become more urgent to do so.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Worse than Worthless

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - Life is difficult enough when you at least know what you don’t know. But when you don’t know what you don’t know, life gets downright dangerous.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Health Care Reform’s Tax Provisions

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - The massive health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama, contains provisions that will affect every employer, but the timing of different pieces of the legislation ranges from items that apply immediately in 2010 to a variety of tax increases that become effective from 2011 to 2018.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Web Site Statistics

By Jason Ezell

Jason Ezell - I have always been mesmerized with the amount of information the Internet has provided, both on the Web itself and through the data being produced by millions of people using the Web. Oh, the power we would gain from harnessing this data and molding it into usable knowledge with which to make solid business decisions.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

CPO is the Way to Go

"The interest rates are 2.9 [percent for CPO units]. Sometimes you can take a customer and put them in a 2,000-mile, 2010 Corolla and the payments are $50 cheaper a month [compared to a brand new 2010 Corolla]." - Lenny Cafarelli, GM Huntington Toyota, Huntington, NY

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - The economy has forced many consumers to forego the purchase of a new vehicle due to their own budgetary concerns or due to the lack of available financing. These customers are now considering certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles as a viable alternative to new.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Streamline, Simplify and Clarify

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - In Chet Holmes’ bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine,” he identifies that the reason many organizations struggle is because “management attempts to implement 4,000 different ideas. When all they really need to dominate any market is to identify their core strategies (usually about 12) and repeat them 4,000 times until everyone in the organization has mastered them!”

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Internet Customers Are the Same Customers Knocking on a Different Door

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - When customers walk into the showroom, what do we do? We greet them, right? They are greeted by a receptionist, if you have one, or by an available salesperson, but what happens when that customer isn’t greeted promptly?

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Heat is On at Century Motors of South Florida

Century Motors of South Florida is nothing short of a tropical paradise. Sitting on an acre-and-a-half, the lot is home to over 120 palm trees and several different species of plants and flowers. The compound, which is gated with concrete walls, also serves as a hurricane bunker. The building can withstand winds of up to 300 mph, and the windows and doors are good up to 180 mph.

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Generally speaking, heated seats aren’t a popular option when purchasing a car in Florida. At Century Motors in Pompano Beach, Fla., Dealer Frank Fuzy said, “You can turn a heated seat on in South Florida … and it’s hard to tell if that heated seat gets warm.”

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Inventory Acquisition 101

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - The hottest topic right now in the BHPH world has to be inventory. Not only where but what to buy, how to find it and how to purchase it.

Tags: BDC

September 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Advertising Strategies for Influencing Car Shoppers Online

By Howard Polirer

Howard Polirer - Consumer shopping behavior has shifted in response to recent economic changes. Many consumers believe that the current economic issues are long-term and will have permanent effects on how they spend money.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Can a Dealer Management System Take You to Nirvana?

By Allen Dobbins

Allen Dobbins - Choosing the right dealer management system (DMS) can keep an owner awake at night. Pick the wrong one, and it will affect employee morale, which could result in high employee turnover, drive productivity to the ground and lead to a negative impact on the bottom line.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Avoid Conspiracies to Commit Fraud in a Down Economy

By Lon Leneve

Lon Leneve - Employee fraud is a recurrent problem in dealerships. The three factors that cause an employee to commit fraud are discussed, as is the importance of implementing a fraud policy.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Worms Are Simple

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - If you’re running a bait shop, life is pretty simple. You keep the frozen bait frozen, the fresh bait cold and the live bait alive. If you screw it up, you lose some bait.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Making Your DMS Work For You

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - The computer software system used in your dealership should work for you. It should provide you information needed to operate your business, analyze your departments’ profitability and efficiency, and review your expenses and other account details.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Marketing a BHPH Operation

By Gene Daughtry

Gene Daughtry - What business are you in? I think that is your first marketing question. I believe you need to decide what you are doing. Are you a BHPH operation that will sell some vehicles for cash, or are you a retail store that will carry the note on some cars? I know they are both “the car business,” but the marketing for each business model is very different.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Power of Bowser Finds the Right Equation for F&I Success

Power of Bowser, a three-store automotive group just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., encompasses six new car franchises and averages 500 sales per month. The dealership implemented an F&I menu years ago for compliance reasons, but recently discovered it's also a profit generator.

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - In lean times, dealers must take measures to be certain they are maximizing each and every deal, and the F&I department is one of the main places to look for opportunities to increase profit. However, it also contains a potential landmine—compliance.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Service Advisor Training

By Don Reed

Don Reed - A significant number of dealers these days are becoming more and more aggressive in selling used vehicles. Some have even lost their new car franchises and now rely solely on used vehicle sales, along with parts and service sales to pay the overhead and hopefully provide them with a significant return on investment (ROI).

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Big Move: Changing Dealership Management Systems

"When it's all said and done and you do make a switch, it's a painful process, but because I let [the department managers] in on the decision-making process itself, they accepted that a little bit better because they felt ... like they had quite a bit of input." Matt Bell, Owner Greg Bell Chevrolet - Adrian, MI

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - If a dealership were a living organism, it’s safe to say the dealership management system (DMS) could be considered the creature’s central nervous system. There isn’t an area of the dealership the DMS does not touch; it holds huge amounts of the data necessary for the dealership to function—customer data, parts and vehicle inventory information, service history, financial data and much more.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Lease Is Hot at Boch Honda

At Boch Honda, in Norwood, Mass., leasing is regaining popularity among car buyers. About one-third of the dealership's new car business is leases. The dealership leased about 1,200 vehicles in 2009.

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Leasing is coming back in a big way. Just ask Ernie Boch, president of Boch Automotive, which has dealerships in Norwood and North Attleboro, Mass., covering Toyota, Scion, Honda, Ferrari and Maserati. “Leasing is really, really getting hot right now,” he declared.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

What Happens When Customers Call

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - These days it seems everyone is talking about digital marketing, Internet leads, social media and CRM, but are we overlooking the oldest and most useful piece of technology in our business—the telephone?

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Active Listening is Essential to Mastering Communication Skills

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - Communication is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior,” according to Merriam-Webster. While the definition does not directly mention listening, it is a key part of exchanging information.

Tags: BDC

August 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How to Solve the Biggest Challenges Facing a BHPH Business

By Mark Dubois

Mark Dubois - No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The flip side of that expression is more likely what we encounter in real life: If it ain’t working, fix it. At a recent buy here pay here performance analysis meeting in Tampa, Fla. I surveyed the dealers in attendance and asked them, “What is the single biggest challenge facing your buy here pay here business today?

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Speed Still Sells

By Greg Wells

Greg Wells - Most Internet sales managers or BDC staff will tell you the frustrating part of their job is customers who won’t connect. What you hear is, “We respond quickly, quote a great price, leave numerous voicemails, send several e-mails and never hear from the customer again.”

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Choosing a New Web Site Provider

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane, Jennifer Murphy - Technology changes so fast that it’s difficult to keep up, and that’s especially true when it comes to a dealer’s Web site. What was cutting-edge and met a dealer’s needs a year ago may now be lackluster in performance.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

When Catastrophe Hits, Are You Covered?

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - I recently assisted a client with reviewing their claim for insurance due to business interruption. Their facility’s main roof collapsed due to the weight of an excessive ice and snow storm, causing damage to a substantial amount of equipment and making the facility unusable for approximately eight months until it was rebuilt.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Building a Customer Base from Scratch

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - For a store that’s only two years old, Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida has made some major headway in its market. General Manager Andrew DiFeo said, “I opened the dealership in May of 2008. Hyundai didn’t exist in the St. Augustine market before that.”

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why Outsource Your Parts Inventory?

By Jennifer Conner

Jennifer Conner - A dealer’s parts inventory can be valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars to well over $1 million. This large of an asset needs protecting and auditing, ideally by an unbiased third party.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Turbo-Charge Your Internet Sales With Five Checkpoints

By Tony Troussov

Tony Troussov - Nowadays, your Internet leads could account for more than half of your walk-in traffic. Is your Internet team prepared to handle this volume effectively? Regardless of how productive your team is, there is always an opportunity to improve. If you’re ready to increase your market share and profitability, take some time to assess your team in the following five areas.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

I’m Supposed to Pay You $20,000 to Take My Trade?

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - I excitedly ripped open the “Owner Notification” from an area car dealer who sells the sort of SUV that we use to haul ourselves and the dogs to and from our place in South Carolina. Our old bus is pushing 70,000 miles, so I’m thinking that in this market, maybe I’ll get a real steal.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Your F&I Office can Influence Customer Retention

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - There are many strategies that have developed over the past several years to positively influence customer retention. Customer loyalty programs with a points reward system and special discount pricing on select dealership services provide some level of success.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Leveraging Online Auction Leads One Click at a Time

By Clayton Stanfield

Clayton Stanfield - Dealerships have been heeding the call to build an expansive online presence in order to sell used cars and hard-to-sell vehicles for some time now. However, as more dealers are realizing that other parts of the dealership, such as parts and accessories and new cars, have a viable and active market online, they begin to transform into virtual dealerships with all aspects of the sales floor available online.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Finance Effect

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - As the $200 Billion TALF (Term ABS Loan Facility) ether starts to wear off, it is going to be interesting to see what happens to non-prime automotive finance for the remainder of the year.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Auction Direct USA Networks its Way to the Top

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - “My focus is really just the entire online experience … building our online brand, getting that footprint out through as many different channels as possible. Obviously, with the explosion of all the social channels, that makes it a lot easier, especially with all the other platforms we have,” said Miltsch.

Tags: BDC

July 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Internet, How I Love Thee

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - The Internet is the greatest invention since, well, ever! I don’t know how we as a society ever survived without it. When it comes to buy here pay here, not taking advantage of this wondrous tool will almost ensure a short and lackluster future in our industry.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Increase Service and Parts Business Online Now

By J.D. Rucker

J.D. Rucker - What if I told you that over 95 percent of your service and parts business comes from "traditional" marketing—word of mouth, past customers, location. Nearly everyone who spends time in your service or parts department got there because they already knew something about you.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By George Dans

George Dans - Have you ever noticed the three types of salespeople you hire—the good, the bad and the ugly? It’s always good when you hire one of the good ones, but for some strange reason, there aren’t many of the good ones to be found.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Jeff Wyler Toyota Employs Multi-Pronged Media Strategy

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - For 2009, national Toyota sales were down more than 20 percent, while Jeff Wyler Toyota was up 28.6 percent. When the Toyota dealership originally opened 25 years ago, it was named Green Tree Toyota after a new, nearby mall, Green Tree Mall.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Special Finance Companies Making Great Strides in the Dealer’s Eyes

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Twice each year, once in April and once in November, Auto Dealer Monthly reports the temperature of the retail finance climate. Having begun this process in 2005, this is the twelfth time we have asked dealers and their dealership personnel to offer their opinions of the retail finance companies they are doing business with.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Departmentalize Your Service Department

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Your service department is one of the busiest departments in your dealership. Service deals with more customers than any other department on a daily, monthly and annual basis. The service department also sees more potential customers than any other department.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

New Direction for Disenfranchised Dealers

By Kimberly Long

Too many dealers have had to learn how to pick up and move on with their lives after getting a “Dear John” letter from their manufacturer(s) to which they had been loyal for decades. At first glance, it would seem the disenfranchised dealer has three options: close the doors, acquire another vehicle franchise or go it alone as an independent.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Deciding Where to File

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson, Cathy Brennan - Often a plaintiff’s lawyer has a choice about where to file his or her client’s lawsuit. Those choices can involve whether to file the suit in state court in an urban or rural county or whether to file the action in a federal court rather than in a state court.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

New & Pre-owned Leasing

By David Keeney

David Keeney - If we were to ask 1,000 new or used vehicle prospects whether they prefer to buy or lease their next vehicle, how would they answer? Most likely buy unless they have been presented both options. We as professionals realize that 80 percent or so of people’s thinking is based on attitudes and feelings, while only 20 percent is fact-based.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Service Powerhouse at DeBoer's Auto

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - To the casual observer passing by DeBoer’s Auto in Hamburg, N.J., the dealership might appear to be a small, rather unassuming-looking used car lot. To be sure, DeBoer’s isn’t a gigantic operation – they stock about 20 used vehicles at any given time – but the area in which the store truly excels is its fixed operations.

Tags: BDC

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

RoadLoans: A New Kind of Lead Program

By ADM

RoadLoans is a combination of a lead program and a finance program. Dealers belonging to the program’s Preferred Dealer Network pay a subscription rate for a group of leads (no per-lead fees) to receive exclusive leads on near-prime and non-prime customers, and each lead comes with a built-in offer of financing from RoadLoans, a division of Santander Consumer USA.

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
A Faster Horse

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg wonders where the demand for driverless vehicles is coming from and has good news and bad news — but mostly bad news — for Fiat Chrysler and Cadillac dealers.

Strangers in the Mall

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg makes new friends, stands up for Cadillac dealers, charts the rise of the independent lots, and reconsiders free trade agreements.

You Can’t Handle the Truth

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Watch Out for Grizzlies

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb