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September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Red Flags Compliance Options

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Although the August 1, 2009 enforcement date for the Red Flags Rule is upon dealers – provided the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn’t delay it at the last minute again – many dealerships have yet to comply. For those who still need to put their Red Flags program in place, here’s a sampling of the products available on the market to help you become compliant ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Winding Down Your New Car Dealership

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - What a month it has been! For the past three to four weeks, we have been busy assisting our GM dealers who received a “non-renewal agreement” letter to effectively close their new GM franchises down by October 2010 ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Automotive Website Compliance | Automotive Websites | Todd Swickard

By Todd Swickard

Dealers have a sort of love/hate relationship with compliance, especially in terms of their Web sites. Before manufacturers implemented standards for dealer sites, there was a kind of “Wild West” feel to things ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Car Smart Updates Advertising and Inventory

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - While some dealers have had a Web presence for years, CarSmart in Kansas City, Mo., didn’t have one until April 2009. Co-Owner Ted Heater, Jr. said, “We were in business for 11 years and didn’t have … any kind of Internet presence … Business was always so good by our direct mail, TV and radio campaigns, nobody would have had time to do a Web site. Now, [with] a 40 to 50 percent decrease in business, well, I have a lot of time now.” ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Ka-Boom

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - I was conducting an on-site dealership compliance audit of a buy here pay here store, looking over the dealership’s sales and F&I process from A to Z in an effort to decrease the dealership’s potential liability for violations of state and federal law. It’s a good thing that it was only lil’ ole me probing this dealership’s operation. If, instead, an FTC SWAT team had descended on the car lot, the dealer would be out of business ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How to Expand Your Pre-Owned Market Area

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - You have the cars. They want them. How do you bring them to you? How can you stand out from your competitors? With marketing budgets being cut, many dealers are looking to the Internet to “spend smarter.” There are still obstacles. With hundreds of vendors and marketing firms flaunting their products, it’s possible to spend more online than offline. Luckily, there are only three areas you have to cover to make sure you’re geared for success ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Copeland Toyota's BDC Puts Customer Service First

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - If you ask some dealers, the purpose of a dealership’s business development center is to manage leads and set appointments. However, that’s not quite the approach taken by Copeland Toyota in Brockton, Mass. The dealership operates on a customer service philosophy of full disclosure, and while one of the functions of its BDC is indeed setting appointments, its primary purpose is to operate as a buyer’s advocate ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Best BDCs Win with Shared Leads

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - My favorite part about working shared leads is that a shared lead gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from everyone else who is calling these leads. Effectively working shared leads is more about selling the appointment than setting the appointment, and your phone skills are just as important as a quick response. You won’t set yourself apart with a hard sell. Instead, with shared leads, you set yourself – and your dealership – apart with very subtle influence and pers

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Time is Money in Used Vehicle Operations

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - It’s no secret, with so many woes in the world of new car sales, dealers are focusing even more energy on areas like fixed ops and used vehicle sales. In many cases, with the loss of franchises, used vehicle sales have become matter of life and death for their dealerships ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Essence of a Team

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Have you ever noticed the differences between really good companies that stand out among the competition and those others that just seem out of step? How about sports teams? Why did the Bruins dominate the Canadians during the first round of the Stanley Cup? Why do Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick routinely field championship racing teams? And, why is Richard Branson so successful? The one common difference that all successful businesses, sports teams or organizations share is r

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Cash is King

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - Availability of cash is definitely not as prevalent as this time last year. The good news is that it is still available in the BHPH industry unlike some of the other unfortunate industries. It’s just not as easy to find or secure, not to mention afford, since the rates we enjoyed a year ago no longer exist ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Improving Used Vehicle Management

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Technology is giving today’s buyer the same information dealers have, creating what some people say is an efficient market. This efficient market is causing dealers to change the way they inventory and market their used vehicles. For years, dealers have been working towards a 60-day turn policy, some even had a 30-day policy for used vehicles, but in today’s inventory market, those policies might be outdated ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Mastering Buy Here Pay Here

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - To say the least, BHPH is in high demand today. More and more customers need alternative financing to replace the void left by several non-prime finance companies that have changed their programs over the past year. As the market continues to evolve, several dealers also are looking to BHPH or LHPH (lease here pay here) as a new source for sales and revenue. So, if you are a dealer who is thinking about financing subprime customers yourself, let me give you some words of advice

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Gentilini Motors Focuses on Internet Sales

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - Almost a decade ago, the owners of Gentilini Motors in Woodbine, N.J., began to notice traditional advertising trailing off and the Internet catching on. “The Internet was becoming more of a craze. It was becoming more prevalent in everybody’s household,” said Paul Gentilini, co-owner. In 2000, Gentilini Motors’ focus shifted to building an online presence ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Market Data v. Product Data

By Kirk Manzo

Kirk Manzo - The customer will have a well-prepared story about why they should not buy. This begs the question, are you going to buy their story (objections), or will they buy your story of why they must have this coverage? ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Stability and Opportunity in Subprime Auto Finance

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - I write this month’s column while on the plane back from the Non-Prime Auto Finance Conference hosted by the National Auto Finance Association. While this conference is oriented towards the non-prime auto finance companies and the industry vendors that serve them, I do recommend it to dealers who desire a better understanding of the other side of the fence – the challenges finance companies face on a day in and day out basis ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Diminishing Cash Position

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - This past year, most dealers struggled to make a profit or attempted to keep losses at a minimum, conserve cash and basically just stay alive. They were hit with some strange tax consequences generated by the headlines noted earlier in this article. Used vehicle wholesale prices, in most instances, were drastically reduced at December 2008 versus December 2007 due to diminished demand from customers. This resulted in LIFO income, rather than normal LIFO expense ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Viable Option to Save Money and Generate Traffic

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

Jennifer Murphy - There are two ways to improve cash flow—reduce spending or increase income. Today, many dealers have been forced to reduce spending – whether through ad budget cuts, layoffs, contract renegotiations with vendors or other means. One department that has been cut in many stores is the business development center (BDC). “When dealers are cutting overhead left and right, they can’t afford the luxury of an in-house BDC,” said Matthew Dennis, president of Dealer Apps, Inc ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Creating a Service BDC

By Gary Kay

Gary Kay - There are things you just never forget. It happened in the spring of 1994. Something that unexpectedly shakes your business soul so dramatically that you swear you will never go there again ... we hit a small slump, not a major downturn in service volume, ... Service is a little cyclic, just as sales are, although the swings are usually much less dramatic. I was determined that my service department was not going to dip further even if ...

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Merging Business Development and Internet Department Activities

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - While credit for a sale and issues with the pay plan were problematic, Rimas cited a bigger concern: “The biggest reason [for integrating the departments] was customer rapport.” A customer submitting an Internet lead could be contacted by an Internet manager, a salesperson and possibly a business development representative (BDR) before ever visiting the dealership. “There may be three or four people that touch that customer before we even actually see them at the door,” he said.

Tags: BDC

August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

AGs Don't Even Have to Open the Envelope

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - A friend who is a consultant to auto dealers regularly supplies me with examples of direct mail advertisements from his dealer clients. Almost always, the ads he forwards to me are ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Getting Results or Making Excuses

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - Do you have a dream or goal that you’ve always wanted to accomplish? Would you like your business to be better or more profitable? Are you unhappy with where you are right now? ... I have good news for you: You can change. You always have a choice. The power of choice is ...

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Foundation of the Special Finance Department

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Some department managers self-prophesied themselves out of a job. After convincing their senior managers and dealer principals that SF was no longer viable and finance companies were not willing to finance the subprime credit customers, their positions were easy to eliminate as dealerships were looking to ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Double Your BDC Efficiency

By Jonathan Ord

Jonathan Ord - Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Columbus, Ohio, and Allen Cadillac GMC Hyundai in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Both of these dealers have gotten creative in their use of a BDC, call center or combination of both. Hopefully, their method of success will give you some insights into how you can improve ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

It's Nothing Personal. It's Just Business

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - Buy here pay here is a very personal business. The moment you forget that simple notion is the moment you will start to lose your perspective on perhaps the single most important element of success in lending. People borrow money because they need it, and if you’re lending it, you better know what the money is for, why they need it and most importantly,...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Putting an Empty BDC to Use

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - In the average dealership without a BDC or call center, the handling of phone calls is still abominable. In reality, business development is more important today than ever and cutting costs in business development can have devastating effects. In some cases, manufacturers are putting more pressure on ..

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Importance of Having a BHPH Web Site

By Brent Carmichael

Brent Carmichael - An effective BHPH Web site should have two primary goals: 1) to generate leads in the form of credit applications and/or contact information and 2) to collect money. Trying to do or be more will be counterproductive. Research has shown that today’s surfers have a tendency to exit sites that are too ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How BDCs Engage: Phone Calls, E-mails and Twitter

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - While it is possible to complete the details of a car deal through correspondence and ship it to the customer, for the most part a BDC is still shooting for the all-important kept appointment, whether for new customers or be-backs. The tools, however, have expanded tremendously. Every BDC should be taking advantage of the new ways ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Toyota Sunnyvale's Direct Sales Department Accounts for Half of Dealership Sales

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

The last month the store topped 600 was September 2008. Its three-month average for December ‘08, January ‘09 and February ‘09 was about 350 units per month, and while those three months are typically the slowest months of the year at Toyota Sunnyvale, Scott Pettitt, direct sales director, said the dip in sales was also partially due to market conditions. The direct sales department, which is similar to an

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Building a Special Finance Department from the Ground Up

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

A topic that polarizes industry professionals still today. While some dealers are pulling out of the SF arena, several dealers think now is the opportune time to build a special finance department because they believe the future of SF is bright.

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Red Flags Rule

By Randy Henrick

Randy Henrick - You probably know that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) delayed the enforcement date for the Red Flags Rule, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Compliance with the Red Flags Rule may prove to be the best thing you can do for your dealership, especially if you are located in a high-identity-theft state such as Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, Colorado, Florida or New York. The dealer and the dealer alone is the loser when an identity thief buys a car, and just one sa

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Fundamentals of BHPH

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Special finance is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. The demand for financing is growing as consumer credit shifts lower on the spectrum and several national non-prime lenders scramble for cash during the credit crisis. This combination of events has created a very challenging dilemma for many car dealers—how to finance customers in the “no-man’s land” of credit? This tier I am calling the “no-man’s land” is for customers with credit scores

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

ILM is Not CRM

By Jonathan Ord

Jonathan Ord - Imagine that your dealership was sectioned off into little rooms. When a customer approached your dealership ... they would be escorted to one of the rooms based on something arbitrary, for example, hair color ... Each room would have assigned salespeople ... would have a computer with customer information separate from every other computer. None of the rooms would interact or

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

State Park Motors and Onaway Auto

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

For more then 30 years, Willard “Bill” Davis has maintained two successful pre-owned operations on sound business practices. Davis’ roots in the automotive industry run deep. His career started on his brother’s used Jeep lot, where he worked for 13 years before beginning an 18-year career with Hertz.

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Maximizing Lead Performance

By Josh Vajda

Third-party lead providers are still some of the best sources for online leads. The right provider will help you generate the quantity and quality of leads your store needs to boost profits. But it can take more than having a reputable lead provider on board to ensure positive results. Good in-store processes are also necessary to guarantee high close rates...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Zoombak

By ADM

Not so long ago, a BHPH dealer always had to sweat a little when watching his collateral go over the curb in the hands of a high-risk customer. If the customer defaults, how much time and effort will go into locating and repossessing the vehicle?

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Prestige Volvo Sees the Future Online

By Kimberly Long

When he was growing up, Matthew Haiken had no doubt about the career he wanted to pursue. “I wanted to be a car dealer from a very young age … I love the business, every aspect of it. I love the competitiveness, the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. In fact, he started attending 20 group meetings at the age of 16. “I loved being around car dealers; to me they were ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Internet and Its Effect on Accounting Departments

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

Dave Keller - You, your accounting personnel or your accountant can access your data from any Internet connection using communication software such as PC Anywhere, VPN, VNC and terminal services connections. This enables real-time analysis of your dealership data with your accounting personnel. The Internet also lets you download the data to other software or third-party vendors you have authorized to receive your data ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Three Streams of Special Finance Leads

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - ... the reporting of the death of the SF industry is beginning to sound much like the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline from 60 years ago. Yes, the industry has definitely changed, but it is still alive and kicking. Although it’s more challenging than in recent years, much can be learned from the SF Top 10 dealers ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Warning Bells: The Internet, Pricing and Discounting

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson - "Dolly" saw a 2006 Nissan Murano advertised on the Internet. When she contacted the dealer about the car, a dealer representative quoted the purchase price as $15,500. When Dolly drove to the dealership to pick up the car, a second representative told her the purchase price was actually $21,500. “Molly,” Dolly's sister, agreed to act as a co-signer so that Dolly ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

What You Can Uncover with a Few Keystrokes

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Knowing the basics of how many visitors your site has, the number of page views and the amount of time spent on the site is fairly easy these days, but it is possible to learn so much more. There are several products on the market, many of which are entirely free, that allow you to view your site and marketing efforts from several different perspectives ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A Time for Change

By Jason Ezell

Jason Ezell - If we can bring people in on pre-owned car deals, then we can show them the excellent deals we have on new vehicles and try to make that switch. Almost half of all people who submit a vehicle lead via the Internet will buy a different vehicle than the one they first inquired about, and over 42 percent of people who submitted a lead on a new vehicle ...

Tags: BDC

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Key Auto Mall Sets the Standard with Centralized Dispatch

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

At Key Auto Mall – one such example – overall business is good, and the 20-bay service department is booming. The auto mall, which spans two city blocks, is located in Moline, Ill., and has three separate sales showrooms encompassing Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Dodge and Mazda. However, all service is completed in a centralized ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Value of Service Data

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Often, it’s the service department that keeps the dealership doors open during down sales cycles, but this is only achieved when the dealership drives ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Ten Questions Top Sales Managers Can Answer

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - Every high-performing sales organization is led by a manager who has the answers to 10 common performance questions that separate the strong from the weak. Your answers to these questions will be your compass for action and execution. They are your roadmap for improving sales ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Should Car Dealers be on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace?

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - Social networks have been used as marketing tools since they started getting really hot a few years ago. Businesses have been using MySpace, Facebook and more recently, Twitter to get their message out to an online audience that is willing to listen. The problem that most businesses, including car dealerships, have with marketing through social networks is ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Compete with Professionalism

By Michael Rees

Michael Rees - So, Jessica was put in the unenviable position of having to find a replacement vehicle. The insurance company wrote her a check for just under $6,000 for her truck. Jessica started her mission to buy a used vehicle for $6,000. She started as most buyers do nowadays, by surfing the Internet ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Thank God I'm Crazy

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - The influx of calls and sudden popularity of BHPH reminds me of when I first made the decision to start financing customers myself. My family thought I was crazy ...

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Raising the Internet Department of Behlmann Automotive

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

The Internet can be incredibly rewarding with proper nurturing and commitment, and Anthony Bartoli, Internet director and sales manager at Behlmann Pontiac Buick GMC, treats the Internet department like a child—a method that has proved successful at more than one dealership in St. Louis, Mo.

Tags: BDC

June 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Practice Safe Shipping

By Scott Naz

Every person in the car industry, at one time or another, has had the need to transport a vehicle from point A to point B. The scary fact facing many dealers is that they have absolutely no idea if their so-called reputable transport provider is

Tags: BDC

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
All Things Must Pass

By Jim Ziegler
Ziegler mourns the loss of Gregg Allman as Ford and Hyundai shake up their leadership teams and Carvana struggles to stay afloat.

Join the Battle of Jericho

By Jim Ziegler
Ziegler has harsh words for the so-called geniuses behind escalating factory incentives, political support for autonomous vehicles, AutoNation's 'millennial-friendly' pay plan, and the Carvana IPO.

Don't Run, We Are Your Friends!

By Jim Ziegler

The Future Ain't What It's Cracked Up to Be

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb