Headlines for Sunday, February 10, 2013

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Q&A: CHIP OTT -- VOLVO RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD:

Volvo dealers: We need better marketing, advertising

With nearly flat sales and sluggish store traffic in 2012, Volvo dealers are worried. Though freshened XC60 and S60 models are to go on sale in the second half of the year, they alone won't lift Volvo's prospects, dealers say. Read More »

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Q&A: MELINDA ZABRITSKI:

Experian's auto finance analysis has surprises

Experian Automotive's Melinda Zabritski said that despite conventional wisdom, it's too soon to say auto finance is all the way back, especially in some states that were hit hard when the housing bubble burst. For the fourth quarter of 2012 vs. Read More »

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Westcott to outline dealers' strategy

David Westcott, the incoming NADA chairman, will speak at the general session Monday afternoon and outline how the group intends to make its voice heard in Washington. Westcott, 66, sells Buick, GMC and Suzuki vehicles in Burlington, N.C. Read More »

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Volvo revamps dealer margin, bonus structure

Volvo is putting a new margin and bonus structure into effect with the launch of its 2014 models. The new structure has variable elements tied to sales performance, customer satisfaction and updated facilities. Read More »

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Kia to dealers: Get ready for more

Kia asked dealers at its make meeting during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here to “take a longer term view” of Kia's growth plans and get ready for bigger volumes. Read More »

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BEST PRACTICES:

WHATCHA GOT? Cows, pigs, maple syrup, all work for a trade-in at Vt. dealership

There's no Blue Book value for pigs, cows or maple syrup. But Gardner Stone has taken all of those as trade-ins from customers of his Ford and GMC dealership in rural Vermont. He boldly claims the business, G. Stone Motors, "will take anything in trade." He really means it. Read More »

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BEST PRACTICES:

Okla. dealer gets in tune with customers

Jonathan Fowler says his musical talents as a bluegrass guitarist didn't get him past open-mic night. But Fowler's passion for music is helping make a name for his family's Volkswagen dealership in Norman, Okla. Read More »

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BEST PRACTICES:

For Web-savvy buyers, it's all about the videos

Dealer Shaun Del Grande is tapping the power of YouTube to reach Web-savvy auto shoppers in Silicon Valley. More than 1,000 videos shot and edited in-house are posted on his Del Grande Dealer Group's YouTube pages, with hundreds more on the way. Read More »

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JASON STEIN:

Look for innovation overdrive in the service drive

The location is unknown at this point (let’s get crazy and assume it’s Las Vegas). The state of the industry is unclear (here’s hoping it’s healthy). Read More »

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Fiat dealers can postpone expansions as Alfa Romeo returns to U.S.

Changes in the product cadence for Alfa Romeo’s return to the United States means Fiat dealers may be able to postpone required expansions of their stores for up to two years until more vehicles arrive in 2015, Chrysler Group’s top dealer executive said. Read More »

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Ford to help refurbish stores

Ford brand will offer dollar-for-dollar matching funds up to $750,000 to dealers who refurbish their facilities in line with the Ford Trustmark design program, the company told dealers at its make meeting today during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. Read More »

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Q&A: MIKE SULLIVAN -- PORSCHE BOARD OF REGENTS:

Porsche's plan to increase U.S. sales is on track

Porsche is forecasting that its U.S. sales will be 50,000 by 2018. That would be up 43 percent from the 35,043 units sold in 2012 and roughly double its 2010 level. The introduction of the 911 and Boxster last year and the promise of more vehicles coming this year are spurring U.S. sales momentum. Read More »

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Chevy expects 7% gain in U.S. sales from new, refreshed models

With 13 new or refreshed models on tap, Chevrolet is telling dealers to expect a 7 percent gain in U.S. sales this year. That projected sales gain would be in line with the industrywide pace if U.S. sales hit 15. Read More »

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Sun. Newscast 1: NADA chief's parting shot

Underriner to car makers: Back off 'stair-steps,' pricy image mandates; Hyundai chief praises dealer system; used-car wave. Read More »

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Renault recalls over 60,000 Koleos SUVs in China

Renault recalled more than 60,000 Koleos SUVs in China because of a faulty fuel sensor, according to China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. Read More »

BMW pledges to work toward making its dealers most profitable

BMW of North America will do "everything possible" -- including having enough vehicles in the right mix -- to ensure its dealers are among the most profitable in the United States, CEO Ludwig Willisch pledged at the brand's make meeting. Read More »

VW, Audi dealers to use ADP tools to speed customer financing

The captive financing arms of Volkswagen and Audi are using new online tools to enable their dealers to submit financing deal terms electronically and receive instant validation of the contracts. Read More »

Study by eBay finds split in consumers' car research habits

More than one-third of shoppers ages 18 to 35 -- so-called millennials -- use mobile devices to research vehicles they are interested in buying, vs. 19 percent of consumers in other age groups, a study by eBay Inc. found. Read More »

What's happening on Monday

Various workshops, receptions and other events on Monday Read More »

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On the record

JOHN MALONEY CEO Volvo Cars of North America and SANDY SCHWARTZ, Manheim president Read More »

Question of the day

What department in your dealership is the most difficult to staff adequately: service technicians, F&I personnel, sales personnel, other? Read More »

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Lincoln's 'touch points'

Dealer Dan Pfeiffer, left, of Pfeiffer Lincoln in Grand Rapids, Mich., examines what Lincoln calls its "customer touch points" color palette with Michael Harmon, dealership facility services program manager, at the Ford Motor Co. exhibit. Read More »

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What a catch!

David Brahm, right, vice president of marketing at North Haven Resort in Pewaukee, Wis., attempts to reel in Scotty Scott of Scott Jaguar in Charlotte, N.C., on the show floor. Read More »

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Buick-GMC looks ahead

Lynn Thompson, left, co-owner of Thompson Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Raleigh, N.C., chats with Brian Sweeney, Buick-GMC's vice president of U.S. sales and service, after the Buick-GMC make meeting. Sweeney told dealers the brand will run a zero-down-payment lease promotion Feb. 11-28. Read More »

For Land Rover dealers, tight supply helps profitability

Land Rover dealers in most of the country are sold out of the new-generation Range Rover SUV through early summer. The 2013 Range Rover went on sale in December, replacing a 10-year-old model. Read More »

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Cadillac targets 35% retail sales gain this year

Cadillac is targeting a retail sales jump of about 35 percent this year and plans an autumn rollout of the next-generation CTS sedan, General Motors executives told dealers today during their make meeting here at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. Read More »

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AMY WILSON:

Some dealers look past facility programs to sales, profits

What a difference a year makes. While facility programs continue to cause great concern -- and consternation -- among dealers, the intensity surrounding the issue has subsided since 2012's National Automobile Dealers Association convention. Read More »

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Q&A: Used prices expected to soften this year

As managing editor of Black Book, Ricky Beggs oversees the company's daily monitoring and analysis of national used-vehicle prices, providing dealers, auctions and automakers with the data needed for pricing and residual planning. Read More »

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Chrysler dealers hungry for more Wranglers

Chrysler Group dealers used its make meeting during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here to voice a concern they share with the factory: There aren’t enough Jeep Wranglers and Grand Cherokees to meet demand in the United States. Read More »

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DIANA T. KURYLKO:

Why Mini’s make meeting was so important

Mini boosted sales 15 percent to a record 66,123 vehicles in the United States last year, more than Jaguar, Land Rover, Mitsubishi and Porsche -- and a few thousand units short of Volvo. Mini has come of age and it’s now a mature brand, says Jim McDowell, who heads Mini USA. Read More »

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Sun. Newscast 2: Franchise king: Lexus

Toyota, Honda also rank high, but guess who's waiting in the wings?; auctions twice as fast?; dealer comes to aid of Marines. Read More »

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Volkswagen to bring infotainment system to U.S. this year

Volkswagen will begin offering an infotainment system in the United States this year, the company’s U.S. marketing boss said today. Read More »

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JAMIE LaREAU:

An NADA booth isn’t for everyone, but the convention is

Meeting up with EasyCare’s CEO at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention is not easy. I tracked him down at the NCM Associates booth. That’s because EasyCare is boothless. Read More »

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JAMES B. TREECE:

Three generations at NADA

Three generations of the family behind Colussy Chevrolet in Bridgeville, Pa., outside of Pittsburgh, are at this year's NADA convention: Tim, 55, the dealer principal; his father, Skip, 84, who remains part owner; and Tim's son, Dan, 22, who is learning the ropes in the parts department. Read More »

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LINDSAY CHAPPELL:

This year’s buzz: Dealer apps

Was it all of three or four years ago that the buzz at the auto retailers convention was all about dealer Web sites? Who was doing them well? Who was missing the boat? Who was making sure they met standards, and what bright new promise did they held for the auto industry? Read More »

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Automakers exploit loopholes to boost green credentials, EU report says

European car manufacturers are exploiting test loopholes to exaggerate their vehicles' green credentials, a European Commission study found. The report is likely to stoke an already heated debate on EU CO2 emissions standards Read More »

How to sell service plans in the service lane

With top managers' support, proper training and a maximum of two levels of coverage to sell, service writers can significantly boost their dealerships' sales of service contracts, F&I trainer Rick McCormick says. Read More »

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Dealer uses service clinics to build loyalty

Dealer Bob Rountree says that about 70 percent of his new- and used-vehicle buyers at his two Ford Motor Co. stores are repeat customers. Rountree credits much of his success to an epiphany he had 10 years ago: He would offer a service clinic once each quarter to his buyers of new and used vehicles. Read More »

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NADA leader won't duck a factory fight

Dealers praised Peter Welch's selection last week as president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, citing his willingness to stand up to automakers. Read More »

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After rivals close, dealer adds 18 bays

Dealer Larry Taylor sees service as his Field of Dreams. "Build it and they will come," says Taylor, 64, owner of Beau Townsend Ford-Lincoln in Vandalia, Ohio, near Dayton. Taylor indeed did build it. He saw opportunity for more service business after four nearby Ford Motor Co. dealerships closed. Read More »

In service business, speed counts

Many dealers focus their service departments on big-ticket repairs and warranty work. Brothers Colin and Richard Wickstrom decided to focus on time -- specifically, their customers' time. The dealer principals of Wickstrom Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Barrington, Ill. Read More »

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Q&A: DON HOBDEN -- KIA NATIONAL DEALER COUNCIL:

Kia dealer: 'We can sell everything that we can get'

Despite a quiet year for new-product launches and some limited vehicle availability, Kia set another sales record in 2012. This year, things will be tougher. Read More »

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Q&A: JOHN IACONO -- LEXUS NATIONAL DEALER ADVISORY BOARD:

Lineup strong, inventory shortage over for Lexus dealers

Lexus dealers have seen inventories return to normal levels after more than a year of recovering from the tsunami that ravaged their inventory supplies. But the damage done to Lexus sales meant the brand has not won the top-selling luxury brand title for two years running. Read More »

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Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

At Bay King Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in Hamilton, Ontario, dealer Jamie Richter has put luxury-hotel touches in his new showroom. They include concierges who see to the needs of service customers. Mon., December 15
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