Blog Index
3 Steps for a Smoother Annual Parts Inventory

It's that time of year again, when your dealer principal or CPA requires a 'firm' parts inventory count for tax and factory filing purposes. If you dread the event, you’re not alone. But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. If you put several steps in place throughout the year to improve consistency and better secure your parts asset, you will minimize variances, risk of theft, and dread of the annual inventory. Industry Consultant Mike Nicholes recommends every dealership put three steps in place to ensure a smoother annual parts inventory.

Dealertrack's Credit Application Network Reaches Major Milestone

Dealertrack’s Credit Application Network reached 1,500 lender partners earlier this month, and while the number itself is notable by its sheer size (largest in the industry), what makes it so much more powerful is the quality of each member and what that means to the more than 20,000 dealers connected in the United States to the network. From small credit unions to the largest indirect auto lenders in the market, Dealertrack’s network of lenders help dealerships create stories that end in cars sold and happy customers. 

Used Car Week Recap: Certified Pre-Owned is The Hottest Sector of The Auto Industry

The CPO Conference, as part of Used Car Week in Las Vegas, was buzzing with industry executives, analysts and dealers looking to gain insight into how to benefit from and leverage the fastest growing sector in automotive retail. Read about what was being said at the event.

Parts Inventory Tips from a Pro

The time for an annual parts inventory is upon us. Is your team prepared? As parts managers everywhere get revved up for the process, we thought we’d take some time to talk with Mike Romig, Parts Director for the Kendall Automotive Group.  Mike’s been dealing parts for 35 years – 14 of that with Kendall – and he currently oversees an extensive parts inventory across 18 dealerships. The challenges of constantly changing OEM requirements, staff turn-over, and managing numerous stores across three states, keep him on his toes. Read about how he comes out on top.  

Break the Chains of Desktop Detainment

Today’s digital tools and systems can have unintended consequences: they don’t integrate well, forcing staff to log into multiple systems, and restrict a dealer’s ability to address what’s most important to their business—people. It’s an ailment called “desktop detainment,” where staff is tied to their desks completing simple deal related tasks.  That’s not the intended result of good technology. The right kind of technology is Mobile-capable and fully integrated, allowing employees to be agile and accomplish their tasks in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment.

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.