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February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

BHPH Dealers Improve the Basics in 2009 for Better Cash Management

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - The main focus for BHPH dealers in the NCM BHPH 20 Groups program for 2009 was cash management. They looked to maximize cash flow to fund growth and/or reduce reliance on borrowed capital.

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Attracting and Retaining the Best Employees

By Tony Troussov

Tony Troussov - Imagine what would happen if your organization was attracting and retaining the best of the best employees. What type of atmosphere would that create for your customers? What results would your company attain? Take a moment and think about it. Compare your answers to the reality you face every day.

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The New School is the Place to Be

By Dean Evans

Dean Evans - The war between the "old school" of marketing and the "new school" of marketing continues to rage, regardless of the gains the new school has made and the losses the old school continues to suffer in the marketplace. The Internet has the attention of the vast majority of consumers.

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Two Easy, Inexpensive Ways To Help You Locate Your Next Buy Here Pay Here Lot

By Charley Pompey

I do not believe that “dealer row” is always the right place to be. Your local zoning may dictate a concentration of automotive retail and repair facilities into one area of your city or town. If you have the flexibility to choose otherwise, here are my thoughts.

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

On the Phone with the SF Customer

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - BDR intuition is the skill to know which direction to take at the fork in the road during customer interactions. Ad and lead sourcing helps make this simple by identifying credit issues early. Being on point and having BDR intuition when speaking with a special finance customer is vital because these potential buyers are likely filling out multiple credit applications.

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Stronger Customer Relationships Through Fixed Operations Marketing

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - The name Sonic Automotive is well-known to anyone in the industry, and with good reason. It is the third-largest automotive group in the country with 153 dealerships and more than 30 collision centers and a Fortune 300 company. Carrying more than 30 different vehicle brands, its reach stretches literally across the country, from California to the Carolinas.

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Rethink Your Business Model

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - I just finished attending a couple of conventions where I spoke on various expert panels and met with hundreds of dealers. I have spent many hours on the phone with dealers who have called wanting help to “stay alive.”

Tags: BDC

February 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Above All Else, Choose Character

By Bill Leslie

Bill Leslie - Six months ago, we caught an employee stealing on his first day on the job. We caught him red-handed. There was no doubt involved, and he admitted the theft. There were divided opinions among the decision-makers, but the decision was to give him a second chance. We really needed to fill that spot.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Three Key Elements of High-Performing F&I Departments

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - As we approach year’s end, now is a good time to examine your processes and procedures in all areas of the dealership including sales and F&I. The interaction between these two areas of the dealership is the life blood for future growth.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

BHPH Dealers Look Back at 2009

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - For many dealers, 2009 has been a kick in the teeth. However, one group of dealers, buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers, haven’t been hit as hard as some dealers who’ve fought to keep their doors open. Many BHPH dealers have persevered without significant losses.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Profits, Cash and Liquidity

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - Cash may be king in the car business but cash flow rules! It is the life blood for any business, especially for money vacuums like car dealerships. Just talk to a local banker today about getting a short-term loan for a car dealer; even with the Small Business Administration backing 90 percent of the principal, banks still consider such a loan to be a risky endeavor.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

RightWay Automotive Credit Does it Right

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - With 15 used car stores in Michigan and Illinois and about 650 employees, RightWay Automotive Credit as it exists today is a far cry from where it began.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

CPO = New, Perfect?

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - Could we make this stuff up? The plaintiff thinks that “certified pre-owned” means “new,” is handed a CARFAX report by the dealer that shows two accidents for the car, but relies on a salesman’s assertion that the car has been in only one wreck and drives the car 80,000 miles before suing the dealer.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

You Have Five Seconds to Get My Attention!

By Charley Pompey

Your site is not only competing with others in your market, but every other site the visitor has seen and will see in the future. Does your home page match up to that competition?

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

DealerLink Introduces a New Breed of Trigger Lead

By ADM

What makes Trigger Complete(SM) leads different from other trigger leads, Parker said, is the additional steps DealerLink has taken to remove the burden of compliance from dealers’ shoulders and make the entire process more worry-free.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Back to the Basics With a New Twist

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - The seasons are changing, and judging by my phone and e-mail messages, so is the climate for special finance. As inquiries pick up, I can tell more focus and effort is returning to the market.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Good Coaching is Imperative

By Kevin Day

I am often amazed at the differences between dealerships. Why do some dealers hit such high levels of success and others struggle? Why do dealerships do well for the first year or two, and then numbers drop off?

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

@utoRevenue

By ADM

Since 2001 @utoRevenue has made its mark as the pioneer in permission-based e-mail marketing. @utoRevenue product offerings have grown as the market has demanded one partner to handle every communication channel.

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Announcing SF Convention Speaker – Joe Courrege

By Greg Goebel

2008 SFC

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Announcing SF Convention Speaker – Anthony (Tony) Constantino

By Greg Goebel

2008 SFC

Tags: BDC

January 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Run a Rental Operation From Within the Dealership: Champion Rent-A-Car Pockets Additional Profit Cont'd

By Jennifer Rincon

Jennifer Rincon - Many dealers are under the impression that they will lose money with rentals. So, they turn to other rental companies, which pay about $1,500 per month to the dealer, and then slam them with inflated rental bills.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Database Mining for All Departments

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - Database mining, or organic business development, is maximizing the opportunities that are sitting in a dealer’s database uncultivated or, to be frank, being ignored. These people are not being called; they’re not getting letters.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Phil Smith Acura Finds Success with Follow-Up Strategy

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Riding out the rough waves of the economy hasn’t been a breeze for anyone, but Phil Smith Acura in Pompano Beach, Fla., seems to be weathering the storm quite nicely. The store, which has been a part of Phil Smith Automotive Group for three years, focuses intently on attracting and engaging customers online.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Avoid Year-End Surprises

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - As we all know, 2009 is a year we are willing to lock away in the attic and forget. There have been many changes in management styles, efficiencies, inventory values, personnel, sales, income, et cetera this year, and there will probably be more to come in 2010.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Driving up F&I Profits

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Stephens, Inc. published a report on F&I income earnings per vehicle retailed for the top public automotive groups based on fourth-quarter 2008 data. The data is below.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Sweetening the Deal

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - It’s a question dealers ponder daily: How do I make my store stand out in the crowd? Everyone wants to convince customers to buy from their store instead of the guy down the road; that’s certainly nothing new.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

People and Process are the Keys to your Success

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - Ask every manager at your store to write down the complete sales and F&I process. How many different versions might you receive? How well-defined is your sales and F&I process?

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Does Your Website Have an Online Credit Application?

By Charley Pompey

For special finance dealers and BHPH dealers, the most important aspect of your dealership website is the online credit application. If you do not have one on your website, you are wasting your money and time online.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Keys to F&I Success Online

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - Credit is a big topic in the automotive industry, especially for car dealers struggling with slow, post-Clunkers sales. Selling the vehicle is difficult enough but once it gets to finance, an entire other world of concerns is present.??

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

It’s Called Special Finance for a Reason

By Tom Langas

This month celebrates my twentieth anniversary in special finance. Throughout the years, the economic landscape has changed several times, as have the names of the finance companies that have made special finance a fixture in most successful dealerships.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Life After Chrysler

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - The year 2009 has certainly earned a place among the pages of history books for several reasons; one of the most startling was two domestic auto manufacturers filing bankruptcy back to back.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Five Tips to End the Year Strong

By Mark O'Neil

Mark O'Neil - The past year has unequivocally been a challenging one for our industry, yet as the economy slowly recovers and consumer confidence increases, we can look forward to a brighter future.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Gust Monitor

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - I’ve done a bit of sailboating on the Chesapeake Bay, and the current mess in Washington brought back a memory from those sailing days.

Tags: BDC

December 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Strickland Auto Sales

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Twelve years ago, Tom Strickland came out of retirement to become an independent auto dealer. For most of his life, he was an investment banker, so to learn about the business, he worked at a friend’s buy here pay here (BHPH) dealership before starting a BHPH operation in Palatka, Fla.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Credit Scored Leads Give Dealers an Edge

By ADM

Getting deals financed over the past 18 months has been tougher than ever due to much tighter lending restrictions of finance companies across the country.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Improving Your F&I Batting Average

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - Mastering the skills needed to perform at the highest level of anything requires time and effort. When was the last time you actually worked on your business rather than just in it?

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Three Reasons Customers Stop Paying - What Do You Do When It Happens

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - What do you do when your buy here pay here customer stops paying for their vehicle? The first thing to do is expect it to happen. BHPH is a high-risk business where we actually loan money (through financing a vehicle) to people with terrible credit.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Advertising with Full Visibility

By Erin Skinner

Erin Skinner - Using only traditional forms of advertising can be like driving through a downpour without your windshield wipers on, or cruising at night without your headlights on. Your view is clouded. You can’t see where you are or how to stay on track. You just hope everything turns out alright. It’s time to turn on your high beams and allow yourself to see the whole picture. ???

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Historic Times See Shift in Special Finance Benchmarks

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - The past 18 months have proven to be historic times in the automobile industry, and that certainly holds true for the special finance segment of the market. The three “Cs” – capital, collections and collateral – all experienced significant if not total deterioration during some or all of the past year.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Evolution of Floyd Motor Company

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - The town of Lake City, S.C., is home to fewer than 7,000 people, and just one year ago, the city was also home to three franchise dealerships. The local Ford dealer closed at the end of 2008, and the local GM and Chrysler franchises were victims of the automakers’ recent bankruptcies.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

MMWA Etch Claim Fails, but State Claim Sticks

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - “Throw enough of it against the wall, and something will stick,” says the adage, and plaintiffs’ lawyers heed that advice. In a recent case, the lawyer claimed that the dealer violated the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act’s (MMWA) anti-tying provisions, and also claimed that the MMWA violation constituted a separate violation of a state “unfair and deceptive acts and practices” or “UDAP” law.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Is Your Web Presence Given Top Priority?

By David Kain

David Kain - For some dealers, the Web site remains the proverbial red-headed stepchild of their marketing efforts. Most people by now know they have to have one, so what they do is set it up, and put it in the hands of a low-level employee and hope for the best. After all, you and your sales team have more “important” things to do, like greet customers who ...

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Rebranding and Repositioning

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - For most, rebranding or repositioning a business is a choice. Today for some dealers, there isn’t much of a choice involved in their rebranding and repositioning efforts. With the bankruptcies of two domestic automakers, well over 2,000 franchise signs had to be taken down.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Accounting for Advertising Cost

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Dealers are still in cost-cutting mode, and advertising and marketing budgets have taken the brunt of cuts over the last several months. Across the board, the amount of advertising and marketing dollars spent by dealers is down by 24 percent, which is equivalent to a $10,000 to $15,000 decrease in spending per month.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Lead Conversion Optimization

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - It doesn't matter how much traffic you drive to a site or how big your Facebook fan page is if they aren't optimized for lead conversion. The process is very simple:

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Is Your Ad Strategy a Clunker?

By Todd Swickard

Todd Swickard - Since the world is changing, your marketing strategy needs to change too, or you’ll be left in the dust. It’s time to trade in your old ways of doing things to get the most mileage out of your marketing budget. So, here are a few tips for how to go about reviewing your strategy to make sure it’s ready to roll.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Advertising v. Marketing

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - Merriam-Webster defines advertising as “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.” It defines marketing as “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” Similar, but different.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Increasing Revenue through ROI Reporting

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - All incoming sales calls and every lot up should be ad-sourced and lead-sourced—no exceptions. Determining the source of every lead allows you to generate a report that will show you whether your dollars are being spent effectively. Without this reporting, you may wind up wasting thousands of dollars a month.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Luck of the Draw?

By Emily Beck

The summer is behind you. You’ve put your hot dogs on ice and packed up your cotton candy machine. Unfortunately, your soda fountain isn’t the only thing that has run dry at your store. In fact, you haven’t seen an “up” since your last balloon shriveled up and died.

Tags: BDC

November 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The How and How Much of Online Advertising

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Several years ago, any dealership that had an online strategy was looked upon as forward-thinking and cutting-edge. Today, however, the Internet has become an advertising staple for almost all dealers. Indeed, most in the industry now believe online advertising is an absolute necessity for success.

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
Objects in the Rearview Mirror

By Jim Ziegler
The past is right behind us and the future is coming fast. The Alpha Dawg plots a course for your store’s success and shares advice for Elon Musk, Johan de Nysschen, and pre-owned managers.

The Big Talent Drain

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg tackles the shortage of talent in the managerial ranks and reflects on Amazon’s rumored foray into vehicle sales, the imminent used-car correction, Hyundai’s plan for the Genesis brand, and the untimely passing of Tammie LeBleu.

A Faster Horse

By Jim Ziegler

Strangers in the Mall

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb