Best Practices Tips

Financing break

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 5, 2015

Denver Morford, dealer principal at Barry Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Ephrata, Wash., doesn’t believe in dealer reserve. He gives customers the wholesale rate for loans, and the practice keeps them coming back.... Read More »

A woman's touch

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 21, 2015

Tennessee Ford, Lincoln and Honda dealerships are working to become more attentive to women with a dedicated website and informational programs.... Read More »

Swift ascent

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 7, 2015

Mario Murgado's Audi store in Stuart, Fla., opened with a staff that includes several with nonauto backgrounds, and earned the brand's top dealership award after its first year.... Read More »

Sanderson's showpiece

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 24, 2015

Sanderson Ford in Glendale, Ariz., has a 1950s-style stainless steel diner and a 15,000-square-foot museum of classic cars and memorabilia. The facilities help the store connect with the community, hosting fundraisers, car shows and other events.... Read More »

Bet the Uber

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 10, 2015

Toyota of Plano offers its best deals to Uber drivers, who make up about 6 percent of the store's new-car buyers and provide word-of-mouth advertising for the dealership.... Read More »

History under glass

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 11, 2015

Bay King Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram built a glass-topped tomb beneath the showroom to display a World War II-era Willys MB Jeep. The owners got the idea from a friend's basement wine cellar, which people could see from the first floor.... Read More »

Split your squad

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 27, 2015

AutoNation Honda Roseville divided its sales staff into 2 groups - floor personnel and phone/Internet specialists - steering more resources to phone/Internet, the faster-growing source of sales leads.... Read More »

Reviving auto row

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

The owner of Volkswagen of Oakland is seizing on the region's property boom by tearing down his dealership and building an apartment complex on the site, with VW and Hyundai stores on the ground level.... Read More »

Still going strong

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 16, 2015

Park Ave Saab treats its customers as if Saab were still in business, offering a dedicated store with service, parts and a good selection of reconditioned Saabs. The goal is to retain customers and eventually move them into one of the group's other brands.... Read More »

Dole out the freebies

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 16, 2015

Stanley Subaru in costal Maine gives its new-vehicle buyers a benefit it calls "Tires for Life." As long as customers follow Subaru's recommended maintenance schedule and have Stanley Subaru perform the work, the dealership replaces their tires for free when they wear out.... Read More »

Reviving Auto Row

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2015

The owner of Volkswagen of Oakland is seizing on the region's property boom by tearing down his dealership and building an apartment complex on the site, with VW and Hyundai stores on the ground level. When the apartments open, around 2018, Mike Murphy expects to charge $3.50 per square foot, or about $2,500 per month for a 700-square-foot apartment.... Read More »

Rejuvenating careers (and selling cars)

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2015

Irfan Siddiqui, general manager at AutoNation Mitsubishi in Houston, has hired about 15 people who had struggled at other nearby AutoNation stores. While not everyone has made it, transferred employees tend to stay longer and perform better than the people Siddiqui hires off the street. In sales, for instance, they are selling at least three more cars a month than traditional hires.... Read More »

Don't just wholesale that old trade-in

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 1, 2014

Last year River Town Honda in Grandville, Mich., embraced older, high-mileage trade-ins instead of selling them at near-zero profit to wholesalers. General Manager Rick Clift says the decision has lead to "the biggest single piece to our growth." River Town markets the older vehicles under the moniker "Budget Row collection" both in a special section of its lot and online. The store is selling 25 to 30 such vehicles a month at an average net profit of $700.... Read More »

Sell the fuel, too

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 2, 2014

The nation's largest Chevrolet dealership, Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, opened its own compressed natural gas fueling station to help sell the brand's natural-gas-powered vehicles. Chevrolet offers a heavy-duty pickup that operates on both gasoline and natural gas, and it will offer a bi-fuel version of the Impala this fall. Classic Chevrolet spent nearly $1 million in natural gas pumps and associated plumbing at a fueling station that also sells gasoline, diesel and E85 fuels.... Read More »

Know your customers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 26, 2014

At Jaguar Land Rover North Scottsdale, Arizona, customer-facing employees are treated to an upscale steakhouse lunch, followed by tea at the local Ritz-Carlton, as part of their training. The point, says General Manager Bobby Perich, is to have his employees "experience what our customers are used to. … (Customers) need to get the same, if not a better, level of service when they come to the store."... Read More »

Reward employees in unique ways

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 19, 2014

At least once a month, Keith Kocourek, owner of Kocourek Automotive Group in Wausau, Wis., rewards great work or the achievement of a goal with custom-minted coins in denominations of $20, $50 and $100. The coins must be traded for an item of the employee's choice, such as a gift card, sports tickets or a trip, which the company buys on the employee's behalf. The coins have helped the dealerships maintain and improve customer satisfaction scores.... Read More »

Make house calls

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 12, 2014

American Ford in Glendive, Mont., use Ford dually pickups and trailers to, well, pick up and deliver customers' vehicles for the service department. They also deliver newly purchased vehicles to customers. They even haul vehicles to potential customers for test drives. It's a boon in the winter, when American's service department is booked three weeks in advance, says Kyle Johnson, the store's general manager.... Read More »

Outsource your staffing

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014

By hiring a staffing agency to handle its hourly workers, including porters, Warren Henry Auto Group in Miami has saved $100,000 a year. It also reduced or eliminated such headaches as drug-testing and insurance costs and claims. In addition, turnover in its hourly ranks has decreased.... Read More »

Enlist the help of a shopping consultant

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 28, 2014

At JM Lexus, the world's largest-volume Lexus store, product specialists help customers find the appropriate vehicle and explain its features, then hand the customers to sales managers for sales and finance discussions. This prevents the deal from bouncing among customers, salespeople and managers, and trims about an hour from the sales process.... Read More »

Take the time to teach

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 21, 2014

Dealer Terry D'Arcy has created the unique position of delivery specialist at his three Illinois stores. The specialists teach customers how to sync their phones and use the navigation and infotainment systems. Eventually, the specialists are promoted to sales.... Read More »

Sell out of the service drive

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014

Mike Shaw Toyota-Scion in Corpus Christi, Texas, employs a full-time salesperson who sits in the service department and offers a free, no-strings market appraisal when customers pull in for an oil change or repair. There's a 1-in-20 chance they'll trade in their vehicle for a new car, improving access to used cars and building the store's customer retention.... Read More »

Go high tech, no pressure

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2014

Patsy Lou Automotive Group in Flint, Mich., is embracing technology and a no-pressure environment to draw younger consumers. Offices in the bright, industrial auxiliary showroom have been converted to mini lounges with flat-panel TVs and high-top tables. Test drives are recorded in HD and drivers can post the experience online.... Read More »

Charity test drives can drive leads, sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 10, 2014

Grogan's Towne Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Toledo, Ohio, sponsors charity test drives that create community good will -- and potential leads and new-vehicle sales. The advantages far outweigh the roughly $2,000 cost. The drives usually result in at least a handful of sales. The factory provides the donations; the dealership markets the event and provides staff.... Read More »

A delivery specialist can make a difference

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2014

At D'Arcy Buick-GMC in Joliet, Ill., the creation of a delivery specialist has increased the sales staff's performance, raised customer satisfaction and created a pipeline of potential salespeople. The job: Instruct new-car customers how to sync their phones and use the navigation and infotainment systems, and make sure customers know how each feature works before driving away.... Read More »

How video can seal the car deal

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014

Dave Wright Nissan-Subaru in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, requires salespeople to shoot and send a 55-second video of a vehicle to every prospect who calls, e-mails or walks into the showroom. The rule is helping drive sales higher and has encouraged salespeople to become more responsive.... Read More »

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