Blog Index
Weather a Natural Disaster with a Cloud-Based DMS

When Hurricane Sandy slammed into New Jersey, Global Auto Mall in North Plainfield went dark. With no electricity, no heat and a skeleton crew for 13 days, the dealership was prepared and managed to stay open and continue selling cars. How’d they do it? With plenty of generators and a cloud-based DMS that allowed them to access all of their dealership data. General Sales Manager Rich Locurto talks with Dealertrack about the experience and lessons learned. 

The New Normal

After the crash of 2008 and the 40 percent decline in new vehicle sales (SAAR) in 2009 (from 2007 totals), dealers faced new challenges in creating opportunities for profitability in their dealerships. They turned to their used vehicle and service and parts operations for that profitability, and the subsequent “used car boom” in a high vehicle valuation environment has created a series of unique opportunities — along with challenges — for dealers.

 Welcome to the “New Normal.”

How to Generate 25 Percent Website Lead to Sale Ratio

Consumers not only spend more time online, they want to do more of the major shopping steps before they visit the showroom. Until recently, dealers just did not have the retail-specific and dealer-controlled tools available they needed to convert serious website shoppers into in-store buyers.

How to Transition Your Reports From Measured to Meaningful

When I visit dealerships the general manager wants to hear about the latest product enhancements, extra features, or how to increase productivity.  I have never had a dealer approach me with excitement about reporting.  I think of it in the same light as my college days when no one was eager to hear all about the math majors’ educational insights.  Reporting might not be the sexiest DMS feature but if you follow these three steps, you can master your dealership reports, while also saving time, cutting costs and boosting your income. 

Automotive News Webinar On Compliance and the CFPB Hosted by Dealertrack

On Wednesday, October 15th, at 2:00 p.m. ET, Automotive News and Dealertrack will be hosting a free webinar on the latest compliance issues affecting the F&I office.

Randy Henrick, associate general counsel, Regulatory and Compliance, Dealertrack, will join Mary Beth Vander Schaaf, managing editor, Automotive News, to provide insight into the CFPB's most recent enforcement actions against automotive lending and what you can do to protect your dealership.

To register for the webinar,click here.

A View from the Other Side: Dealer Practices that Rile Up Plaintiff’s Lawyers

In light of the ongoing increase in oversight activity, Dealertrack’s Compliance Counsel Randy Henrick recently conducted an interview with a very successful plaintiff’s attorney. And while she's not an "enemy," she represents a successful courtroom adversary, one who has won a number of $100,000+ settlements and judgments against automotive dealers in her home state.  Her perspectives might have real value for your business.

CFPB Goes On the Offensive in Auto Finance. Or Did They?

With several rulings and actions, the CFPB’s recently released Summer Supervisory Highlights and subsequent field hearing in September 2014 may seem to be yet another attack from the CFPB. But a closer look reveals that the release of the Summer Supervisory Highlights and subsequent field hearing may signal a softening of the agency’s harsh 2013 Auto Finance Guidance. Nevertheless, in the report, and at the hearing, the CFPB took five key steps that will most certainly impact automotive lending practices.

What Do Women Want? Answering This Age-Old Question for Your Service Lane

What’s the best way to find out what women want when they go to have their vehicle serviced? Ask them. The answers can go a long way towards helping dealerships attract and retain more women in the service lane. That’s critical, because there are more women on the road today than men, and women increasingly call the shots when it comes to household purchases. Isn’t it in your best interest to cater to them?

Dealertrack sat down with Anne Fleming, president and chief executive officer of the women-focused dealer review website Women-Drivers.com, to share results of her company’s 2014 year-to-date survey results and tips for driving  more women into your service lane. 

Common Sense about Inventory Management

Inventory management systems should be about helping you maximize profit and minimize risk, car by car and store by store. That’s it. But the problem is that a achieving a goal like that can be a challenge. There are so many trendy, overly complex methods being promoted and sold, so many “better and new ways” that it’s hard to know what’s right.

Top 3 Questions Service Managers Should Ask

Smart dealers know that the Fixed Ops department is their best bet for steady, consistent revenue. Yet the majority of service departments are leaving major money on the table. Why is this happening? It’s a perfect storm of a lax inspection process, no accountability and a service-not-sales mentality. In a market where competition is up and ROI is shrinking, you can’t afford to have your service technicians missing opportunities or just picking low-hanging fruit – like brake and power steering flushes – instead of completing a thorough inspection and selling customers on services that they actually need.  Not only does this approach improve sales, it also improves customer loyalty and trust. Want to get more revenue out of your lanes? Make sure your Service Manager can answer a few questions. 

Dealertrack Experts to Speak at Industry Summit 2014 in Las Vegas

If you are heading to Las Vegas for the 2014 Industry Summit, be sure to catch Dealertrack’s experts - Pete Batten and Ronda Lewis - as they share their industry expertise with attendees during the following panel sessions on Tuesday, September 9th:

- Dealership Sales & Technology: Building the Fully Online Sales Process - 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.   

- P&A Panel Session: eSignature, Forms Management and Systems Integration - 3:05 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.

Be sure to stop by the Dealertrack booth #311 at the Industry Summit (September 8-10) in the Paris Hotel Las Vegas to learn more about the most comprehensive set of dealer solutions available and ask for a free demo.

See you at the show!

Protect Your Dealership Data

Do you know who has access to your data? And, what they’re doing with it?

Needless to say, these are the questions on the minds of a lot of people lately. If you’re a dealer principal or a manager, it should be on your mind, as well – in terms of dealership data.

When it comes to valuable customer information and data, you need to take real steps to protect it. And, your dealer management system (DMS) is an often-overlooked asset in your quest to protect your data and profits.

Compliance Issues Facing Dealers Today - Free Webinar

On Wednesday, August 20th at 2:00PM ET/11:00AM PT, Dealertrack Associate General Counsel Randy Henrick will review the top F&I compliance issues facing automotive dealers today, along with examples of how Dealertrack can help dealers manage their compliance requirements.  Topics include:

•             Disparate Impact Credit Discrimination

•             Dealer Advertising & Deceptive Ad Practices

•             Sales of Aftermarket Products

•             Unfair, Deceptive, and Abusive Practices

•             Tools to help your dealership maintain compliance

This webinar will conclude with a live Q&A session.

Click here to register!

3 Ways the “Profit Per Day” Metric For Used Cars Helps Dealers Sell More

Used car inventory management can be confusing. Heck, it is confusing – even for the most grizzled veterans in the retail business. No one has all the answers, and there is no crystal ball. No magic potion. What works is to understand your market and your store, work hard and pay attention to the details. 

The bottom line is this: PPD (Profit-per-Day) works because it helps dealers quickly see which cars sell and which ones don’t, compared to the market and based on specific dealership information. This helps dealers optimize their own inventory mix and pricing strategies.  Anything that does that would seem to work quite well – for lots of ways and reasons.

Advertising:  New Times, New Media, New Rules

Advertising the sale or financing of motor vehicles has become increasingly complicated with an aggressive Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the need to reach consumers (especially Millennials) through social media, which was never thought of when advertising laws and regulations were written.  It certainly makes a dealer’s life more complex.

The FTC has launched a new automotive program since the Dodd-Frank Act gave it streamlined authority to write regulations.  It has also become much more active in pursuing dealers for deceptive advertising under Section 5 of the FTC Act.  (Since 2012, the FTC has brought 16 cases against auto dealers for deceptive advertising.)  The FTC’s Head of its Bureau of Consumer Affairs said the FTC believes that deceptive dealer advertising is a “significant problem,” many automotive dealer investigations are “in the pipeline,” and that this is a “priority area” for the FTC.

FTC's Impact on Dealer Advertising - Free Webinar

On Thursday, July 24th, at 2:00PM ET/11:00AM PT, Dealertrak will host a free webinar on the impact of the FTC on dealer advertising.

During the webinar, Dealertrack Associate General Counsel Randy Henrick will talk about the FTC’s aggressive pursuit of dealers engaging in deceptive advertising activity, and will provide examples of deceptive advertising practices to avoid.

The webinar will conclude with a live Q&A session. You can register for the webinar by clicking the link below

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/468086120

Dealerships are NOT Created Equal

An interesting conversation has popped up in recent days regarding used vehicle inventory and the wisdom of relying too heavily on “Market Days Supply.” Some highly regarded experts consider it to be the single metric dealership managers should focus on when making decisions about stocking the used car lot.  It’s certainly something to consider, but in my experience, geographic location is not the most important elements – not by a long shot. 

The Terminal Effect of Velocity

Deciding between higher front end profits or faster turn times is the age-old best practice debate in the used car business. Some say, “Focusing too heavily on front end gross slows turn times and minimizes volume” (and it certainly can). Others claim that, “Focusing too heavily on turn only compresses front end margins” (and it certainly does). Most dealers have been leaning heavily toward fast turn (Velocity methodology) in recent years and, as result, the national average front end profit has dropped from nearly $2,000 per unit to about $1,200. Margins have been compressed largely due to what I call “Terminal Velocity.”

Gone in 60 Minutes. Demystifying the Online to In-Store Sales Process.

On Wednesday, July 16th, at 2:00 p.m. EDT/11:00 a.m. PDT, Dealertrack will be hosting a free webinar entitled “Gone in 60 Minutes. Demystifying the Online to In-Store Sales Process.”

During the webinar, attendees will learn how to construct a unified online to in-store shopping experience, and then transform their sales model to allow for a  consistent presentation of inventory, pricing, and financing options to shoppers online and in-store, while driving efficiency and profitability throughout the workflow.

This webinar will conclude with a live Q&A session where attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about driving more profits from their websites into their showrooms.

To register for this webinar, go to:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/813112225

 

Wholesale Vehicle Acquisition: No FEE Inventory

The wholesale business for your vehicles can be a reliable revenue generator for your dealership.

Today, we discuss how you can acquire vehicles for no fee using existing resources and a bit of creativity.

By using proven acquisition, disposition, reporting and management strategies and techniques, and a bit of creativity, dealers can transform their wholesale businesses to deliver consistent, long-term bottom-line results.