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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

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

2009 Finance Survey Results

By ADM

Overall, most of the dealers who completed the 2009 Auto Finance Survey are averaging fewer than 150 sales per month. The vast majority of responding independents (65.3 percent) are selling fewer than 50 units per month. When asked to compare their SF sales volume from the prior 90 days to the same period in 2008 ...

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Finance Survey Results - What Dealer Based Financing Entails

By ADM

For the first time, Auto Dealer Monthly’s annual Auto Finance Survey included dealer based financing (DBF), which encompasses buy here pay here, lease here pay here and rent-to-own. The vast majority of dealers who responded to the survey ...

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Where Have Your Advertising Dollars Gone?

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Now the Cash for Clunkers promotion is over, you can breathe a little. Wrong! You’d better get going and decide what to do now that customers are not walking rapidly into your store ready to sign contracts without expending a lot of sales effort or advertising on your part.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Dream Cars Credit Thrives with Purely Online Strategy

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - While most businesses have acknowledged the influence of the Internet on modern-day commerce and have embraced it as a powerful advertising medium, it’s still difficult for some auto dealers to imagine not keeping more conventional methods of television, radio and print as part of their advertising and marketing strategies.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

What Are These Banks Thinking?

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - The most important, and very disturbing, thing I see happening in the automotive industry right now is the lack of lenders willing and or able to loan funds to dealers to capitalize their operations, finance a dealership purchase or new equipment, or just loan money on existing collateral.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Big Hat, No Cattle

By Kevin Day

Today’s dealership climate differs drastically from that of several years ago. We have seen the resurgence in the popularity of BHPH across the spectrum.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Future of Special Finance

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - In order to gain a more clear vision of the future, we must first have a solid understanding of our past.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

There Were No Trenches At The Convention

By Tom Langas

There was a convention? In Dallas? Really?

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Suzuki of Wichita

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - The evolution of an auto dealership can be a slow process; however, Suzuki of Wichita is constantly in motion, quickly adapting to a changing industry. Led by Scott Pitman, president and chief evangelist, the Wichita, Kan., dealership claimed the number-one spot for new Suzuki sales in July 2009.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Menus Can Make a Difference

By Don Reed

Don Reed - Most dealers today understand the value of an F&I department, and history shows that this department can be a significant profit center when the right processes are implemented, enabling managers to sell additional products and services to every customer who takes delivery of a new or used vehicle.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why Stories Sell

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - For generations, people have passed down the details of history not in written form, but rather with the spoken word. Stories of how the conquerors were vanquished and the village was saved abound. This simple method of communication has allowed others to learn from the past.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Experience and Evolution Lead Kinsel Motors into 2010

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

In Beaumont, Texas, more than eight years in the trenches coupled with smart decision-making has kept special finance at Kinsel Ford Lincoln Mercury Mazda alive and well. Much of the dealership’s success is a result of the special finance department’s strong foundation.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Canadian Auto Group Finds Innovative Use for Twitter

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - “It was one of those middle-of-the-night ideas,” said Amy Schlueter, vice president of Schlueter Automotive Group in Waterloo, Ontario, referring to their innovative new campaign, the Twitter Test Drive.

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

By Jim Ziegler

Watch Out for Grizzlies

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb