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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

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

ProMax Online

By ADM

The retail auto industry has been more than a little challenging in recent times, but special finance is an area that has proved particularly problematic.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Inventory Management

By Scott Dreisbach

Scott Dreisbach - The importance of precise vehicle inventory management has never been more clearly defined than it is today. It is well known that precise vehicle inventory management can be the difference in whether or not we operate our stores at a profit or loss.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Technology in Business Development

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - We can’t wait for success to come to us. We have to go after it, and technology can help in a lot of ways. Technology can enhance communication with prospects, target certain segments of past customers, locate new customers who are in the market for a vehicle and simplify certain BDC processes.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Acton Toyota Internet Division

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Nearly every dealership these days seems to have some kind of online presence, although to varying degrees. Some have just a Web site, while others have a Web site and listings on sites like AutoTrader.com or cars.com.

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Simplify Through Technology

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Here we are and our automotive world has changed so much we hardly recognize it anymore. Who would have thought a few short years ago we’d be in this spot today?

Tags: BDC

October 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Here Comes Web 3.0

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - First came what is known as Web 1.0, which was basic Web design that included a number of static pages that basically pushed information out to online shoppers.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Stolen Any Good Forms Lately?

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - “No. Why should we pay ABC Forms Company 58 cents a form for those things? My brother-in-law says he knows a printer who’ll run them off for us for 12 cents each. Give me a copy of one of the ones you have left, and I’ll get us a bunch made.”

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Technology Marketing

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - Twitter, Facebook, blogs, grapevine—of these four choices, which do you think has the potential to provide tremendous growth in leads? If you said Twitter, Facebook and blogs, you’re right.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Technology-Driven Dealership

By ADM

Opening a dealership today can be very different than opening a dealership just 10 years ago. Through technological innovations, processes in all areas of the dealership can be improved for both the dealership staff and the customers.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Dealers Identify Top Performing Finance Companies at 2009 Special Finance Convention

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - The past 12 months have provided a bumpy ride for most of those involved in the special finance industry. As credit tightened after capital markets vanished and delinquencies rose, dealers felt the pinch all across the country.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Tips and Tools for Managing Automotive Social Media

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - One of the biggest challenges for businesses entering into Web 2.0 and using social media to promote their products is finding the time to do it all. Every site has a different interface, a different user-base, and different ways they can be used to enhance your marketing.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Standardization is Key to CarBiz Success

By Kimberly Long

CarBiz CEO Carl Ritter did not set out to launch a chain of buy here pay here stores. His company began as something much different.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Training and Testing Your BDC

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - There are plenty of dos and don’ts when working in a business development center. How often do you train and test your business development representatives (BDRs) to ensure they know the dos and don’ts and are performing to the best of their ability? ...

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Third Party Lead Generation

By Harlene Doane

The difference between a $1,000 gross profit and a $2,500 gross profit on a special finance deal is the amount of work that goes into the deal... ...None of that is easy, especially in today’s market.

Tags: BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Against The Tide

By Tom Langas

When we are as busy as we have been, I become anti-technology and pro-people. I know, some of you hard-core geeks out there are thinking, “Master your technology, have more time for people.”

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
Turn Out the Lights, the Party's Over

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg says goodbye to recordbreaking sales, uncovers the truth behind Trump vs. Ford, seeks justice for criminals in the executive ranks, and throws ‘The Book’ at Cadillac.

The Leads Are Weak

By Jim Ziegler
Did you ever try to cancel a lead provider for poor performance and, all of a sudden, their leads started closing at a crazy percentage? 'Da Man' reveals the ugly truth about the lead provider business.

It's a Nerd Meltdown

By Jim Ziegler

There’s a Vacancy in Mom’s Basement

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb