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March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Ideal Auto Forges Ahead in Special Finance

By Kimberly Long

Otis has always believed special finance could be a lucrative profit center at Ideal Auto, despite not seeing much success with previous efforts. A few months ago, he made the decision to hire an outside SF consultant to help Ideal restart a department that never truly made it off the ground...

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Considering BHPH

By Harlene Doane

Market conditions have a smaller impact on the BHPH dealer because their typical customer is already in a poor financial situation, usually earning $10 to $12 an hour. They have a monthly income of $1,600, but their expenses average $1,800 so they...

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A New Target for Thieves - Catalytic Converters Disappearing

By Tim Feazell

Tim Feazell - While there have always been concerns with key control and theft of vehicles, today there is a new hot item on the lot: catalytic converters. If dealers do not move their inventory on a regular basis, they may not realize the converter is...

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Controlled Foreign Corporations Generate Long-Term Profits

By Kevin Day

Kevin Day - During the 12 years I spent as a dealer, it seemed someone was always trying to sell me something. I put my “guards” in place to thwart these avid peddlers, and thus I would avoid most of their sales pitches. However, in doing this I often...

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Seven Reasons for Nitrogen Tire Inflation Services

By Joe Benson

Joe Benson - Automotive dealerships are on the lookout for innovative technology that requires a minimum investment, while creating excitement, building customer retention, increasing profits. ... is easily understood, inexpensive to incorporate...

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Battleground Kia - Winning the Battle for Subprime Success

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

For dealers today, subprime auto financing can certainly feel like an uphill battle. Many dealerships that are successful in special finance today are fighting for the small victories.

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Academy Cars

By Jennifer Murphy Bloodworth

At an elementary level, dealers have Web sites to generate business, but to get the most out of the Web, dealers need much more than an elementary-level Internet strategy—especially if they expect their Web site to drive quality traffic.

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Keystone Ford Sticks with Special Finance

By Kimberly Long

When it comes to what vehicles to present to a special finance customer, Richards takes a somewhat different approach than others in the business. He believes in allowing the customer to look at the vehicle they are interested in, rather than restricting them to only a few options selected for them. He reported having success with this method, ...

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

McNutt Auto Transport Service

By ADM

With the increasing popularity of online auctions, finding a convenient transport solution is more important than ever. This has not gone unnoticed at McNutt Auto Transport Service.

Tags: BDC

March 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Buying Inventory Online

By Tom Langas

Tom Langas - Our greatest opportunities in stocking clean, reliable used cars are through auctions that cater to new car dealers, lease companies and rental car corporations. I can only speak to inventory sourcing from my own perspective.

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Special Finance Customer

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - It didn’t take much talent or effort to sell a vehicle to these credit-challenged consumers ... From my perspective, it was like selling water to a man dying of thirst. The real challenge of the sell was getting ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Cover Your Assets

By Scott Dreisbach

Scott Dreisbach - I have seen many stores try to save (through expenses) themselves into a profit. This is a slippery slope and if expense restructuring isn’t thought through very carefully, many of the wrong things can be put on the chopping block. One of...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why Work Twice as Hard For Twice as Much

By Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson - During this unprecedented time in economic history, we all need to ask ourselves if we’re willing to work twice as hard for half as much. Times are tough; times are uncertain. In fact, the only certainty is that things will only get...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Standard Processes Are Works in Progress

By Phil Dupree

Phil DuPree -Standard processes have been touted as a “must-have” for dealerships that want to ensure all leads are properly – and optimally – worked. The belief is that if everyone in the dealership follows the same response formula ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why You Shouldn't Delay Your Red Flags Program

By Thomas B. Hudson, Esq.

Thomas B. Hudson, Esq. - We are urging dealers to move with urgency to get their Red Flags programs in place quickly—long before the end of this 6-month enforcement grace period granted by the FTC. Why? Three reasons, and they may apply to...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Five Ways to Better Manage Marketing Costs

By Daymond Decker

Daymond Decker - Managing marketing costs and maximizing spend have always been a critical part of running a successful dealership, yet in this economy, superior allocation of limited marketing resources can make all the difference ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Think FAST - Reshaping the Future with Business Strategy

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - According to NADA, roughly 60 franchise dealers per month—that’s two per day—are closing their doors or downsizing to used car lots. They are literally being hammered financially by the economy, and many won’t survive. We stand to lose roughly 3,000 franchise and another 5,000 independent dealers by mid-2009. So, what is there to look forward to next year? The answer is ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Critical Success Factors of Leadership

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - All across America, businesses invest time, energy and resources in different leadership programs, and why not? Leadership makes a difference. There are as many different opinions as to what leadership means as there are cars on the road and there are as many different and effective leadership styles as there are ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Internet Do's and Don'ts

By Ben Donnarumma

Ben Donnarumma - Buy here pay here dealers need the Internet too. If you are a car dealer today and don’t have a presence on the Internet, you might as well be out of business. The Web and your Web site are too important to sales and marketing, and doing business today without being online would be like trying ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Carolina Dealer Forecast Bright Future - Ingram Walters Find Profit Center in Down Market

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Griffin’s Credit Quick began as just a single desk in the corner of the new-car dealership’s showroom and later moved into the group’s Isuzu store. Eventually, the Isuzu franchise was sold to allow the BHPH business to expand...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Where Did All The Special Finance Customers Go?

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - You have to continue your brand in the market——continue to remind people that you are able to help them, and most certainly ask for business. You simply must be prudent about what you spend and reasonable about your expectations. Forecast your deliveries and spend appropriately ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Generate Sales During Tough Times

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - While car sales and football don’t have a lot in common, right now many dealers are practicing what many football teams do when they’re trying to hold onto their lead until the end of the game—the prevent defense. A team with a solid lead...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

A BHPH Dealer's Wish List

By Ryan Linnehan

Ryan Linnehan - I realize I may be a little older than the demographic of your typical letter-writer, but you know what they say. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Even though the economy has been very naughty this year, I can show you all...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Your Annual Review - Are You Ready For 2009

By David Keller, CPA, CFE

David Keller - Take a look at your expenses. Compare your expenses against other 20 group members. Compare them to industry averages. If some are high compared to the industry guides, review the detail of the expense accounts to see if you can reduce...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Twelve Best BDC Practices Every Department Should Implement

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - Over the years, I’ve developed a long list of best BDC practices and here are 12 from which every BDC can benefit...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Be Strong: It is Time to Be a Leader

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - To quote many other folks, I don’t care how much lipstick you put on a pig, it still is a pig.This economy and the industry is what it is. I have been beating the drum for dealers to right-size and maximize fixed operations ...

Tags: BDC

February 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Walk the Talk in Inventory Management

By Harlene Doane

Harlene Doane - Dealers are talking about inventory management in record numbers, but are they walking that talk? Most know inventory management is the smart thing to do. Having the right inventory in stock has proven to increase gross profits and...

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

The Three P’s Process + Procedures = Profit

By Michael Finnan

Michael Finnan - Why are the first casualties of the current climate in today’s automotive marketplace time-tested and proven money-making policies and procedures? Why do we allow ourselves to stop doing the things that are designed to ...

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Make Training A Daily Business: Practice It For Sustained Results

By Michael Rees

Michael Rees - New ewmployees need to know what you expect from them today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year. If they don't, it will be impossible for your employees live up to your expectations ...

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Change: The Only Constant

By Ryan Linnehan

More than likely, most dealers haven’t been the only game in town for many years now. That increase in competition has spurred many dealers to adapt their business models over time. While having flexible financing options...

Tags: Education

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Army of One - Leverage Your Resources

By Sean V. Bradley

Sean Bradley - There is no army of one. Even in the United States Army, that really isn’t true either. There are no Rambos in the Army. The Green Berets, Delta Force, Airborne Rangers—all these units are elite teams, not stand-alone people ...

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Manage Your Inventory for Profits Today

By Mark O'Neil

Mark O'Neil - Take a minute and think about the most successful retailers across the country, operators such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Best Buy. One thing they have in common is they don’t leave much to chance; they use technology and tools (not instinct and yellow pads) to help turn their inventory rapidly and boost profits.

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

How to Spend Your Internet Marketing Budget

By J.D. Rucker

Jim Rucker - Dealerships are starting to realize that they get more bang for their buck through Internet marketing and are cutting into their television and radio budgets and redirecting the funds towards driving Internet leads ...

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

One Team - One Fight

By Tom Herald

Tom Herald - It takes leadership to formulate a plan, bring it to life, unify the team, and “make it happen.” Strong leaders focus their teams and make them believe victory is within their grasp. Strong leaders cultivate, teach and mentor their troops. Strong leaders also put their fist down from time to time to solidify the unity of the team. Strong leaders develop a culture that expects to win.

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Bring Online Advertising Into Focus with Proper Marketing Support

By Daymond Decker

Daymond Decker - Are you struggling with the transition to digital advertising activities due to lack of time, staff focus or obvious understanding of what to do? ...

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Choosing Your Comfort Zone

By Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson - We all want comfort and safety, but sometimes that comfort zone can actually hold us back. If we look at our lives and make a choice to change something, it involves stepping out of our comfort zone. Changing things will take us out of that familiar place, into something new. That’s a little scary. Depending on what it is, that might be very scary.

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Ideal Auto Renews Commitment

By Kimberly Long

As anyone who has dealt with special finance knows, getting a special finance department successfully off the ground can be a daunting task. Throughout 2009, Special Finance Insider will follow one dealership’s attempt to do just that.

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Online Video - Here it Comes

By Raul Vazquez

Raul Vazquez - Online video is here! ComScore measures more than 11.5 billion online videos that are being viewed each month.

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Why Your Advertising Isn't Working

By Brett Boatwright

Brett Boatwright - With today’s troubled economy negatively impacting almost every dealership across the country and the ink on monthly financial statements turning from black to blood-red, why do most owners and upper management teams advertise the same way they did five, 10 and even 25 years ago?

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Focus Inc - Dedicated to the Dealer

By ADM

While the credit markets have tightened, it’s important that consumers realize they can still get approved for an auto loan. Focus can help improve consumer confidence with its direct-response marketing campaigns broadcast via infomercials.

Tags: BDC

January 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Here's to Fresh Beginnings

By Marla Belson

Marla Belson - Clank—I could hear the heavy sound of the dead bolt locking the front door after the last customer of 2008 drove off. As the handful of us sat watching the taillights cross the curb, I thought the showroom windows would fog up from everyone letting out a collective sigh of relief.

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Boost Aftermarket Product Sales and Efficiency in Three Easy Steps

By Mark O'Neil

Mark O'Neil - Aftermarket products are an essential profit center for your dealership, but during an economic slump, boosting these sales is crucial. Although you may be seeing fewer buyers in your showroom, you can compensate for less volume by ensuring your F&I department is maximizing every deal.

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Curry Auto Center Expands its Lineup

By John Carroll

John Carroll - “When I was approached to consider purchasing the Chevrolet franchise to add to my existing GM lineup,” said Curry, “I was excited about the opportunity because it was just that, an opportunity. By adding Chevrolet, our dealership became a ...

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Don’t Panic: Be Smart

By David Wilson

David Wilson - I started in the retail automotive industry when interest rates were 22 percent, customers were sparse and everyone was saying how bad it was. The dealer I started with had just hocked his home to invest in the deal and we lost over $200,000 the ...

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Compliance Complacency: How Much Compliance is Enough?

By Aaron Proctor

Aaron Proctor - When I speak to dealers for the first time about the Privacy Act or Red Flags compliance, I begin with three questions...

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Mountain View Auto Takes on the Virtual Frontier

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Mountain View has been steadily working toward a stronger online presence for several years, striving to mold efforts into what Erwin described as “a full-fledged, go-after-it, no-holds-barred concept of e-commerce.” That concept has developed into a ...

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

An Exercise in Planning and Patience: Purchasing a Franchise is a Drawn Out Affair as Aztec Chevrolet Discovers

By Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long - Buying a dealership, even a small one, can be a complicated experience, even for seasoned business owners. Just ask Luis Aliniz, dealer principal of Aztec Chevrolet Pontiac Buick in Beeville, Texas.

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Business Development Centers: The Most Accountable, Measurable Department

By Glynn Rodean

Glynn Rodean - This position is generally one of an order-taker and is often responsible for fielding complaints. Probably, the CSR you are most familiar with is employed by your cell phone company...

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Buying or Selling a Dealership: When to Call in the Experts

By John Carroll

John Carroll - For anyone trying to sell a dealership, nothing beats a combination of financial health and clear potential for new growth. But with the economy in a swoon, demonstrating either of those traits these days is no easy task.

Tags: BDC

December 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

Is Special Finance Dead? Don’t Confuse Near-Prime Cutbacks with Special Finance

By Greg Goebel

Greg Goebel - Through the first nine months of 2008, the flow of money through securitization has amounted to less than $1.5 billion; through the first five months of 2007, over $12 billion flowed into subprime finance.

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