BLOG: Jamie LaReau

A case for breaking the 300% rule

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, June 17
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Most F&I folks subscribe to the “300 percent rule”: Offer 100 percent of the products to 100 percent of the dealership’s customers 100 percent of the time. But a recent conversation with a friend makes me think the rule doesn’t apply to 100 percent of cases. My friend just bought a new sedan. He shopped a few dealerships and was well-researche ...
     Continue reading "A case for breaking the 300% rule" » Jun 17, 2015 11:45 am U.S. ET
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A fantastic and revealing story of Kirk Kerkorian

Posted 1:36 pm U.S. ET, June 16
I never met Kirk Kerkorian, who died Monday at age 98. But I feel as if I knew him. I covered General Motors for Automotive News from 2005 to 2009. In 2006, Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. had such a large stake in GM that his lieutenant Jerry York was named his representative on the GM board of directors. Jerry and I started regularly lunching together. Sadly, he died ...
     Continue reading "A fantastic and revealing story of Kirk Kerkorian" » Jun 16, 2015 1:36 pm U.S. ET
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Why dealers must pay attention to the 'pink tax'

Posted 3:07 pm U.S. ET, June 2
Do women pay more for the same cars than men do? That’s the question that NBC’s “Today” show will try to answer tomorrow. It is part of a secret-shopper series on female consumers. The segment today said studies show women pay an average of $1,400 a year more than men for similar products and services. It’s dubbed the “pink tax” ...
     Continue reading "Why dealers must pay attention to the 'pink tax'" » Jun 2, 2015 3:07 pm U.S. ET
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F&I providers and lenders, here's your chance to fulfill dealers' dreams

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, May 27
Attention F&I product providers and lenders: Dealers want your help. As the gross profit margins on new-vehicle sales continually narrow, dealers are worried about the future and where the profits on the sales side will come. The F&I office is an obvious place. But to keep it that way, dealers have a wish list that only F&I product providers and lenders can f ...
     Continue reading "F&I providers and lenders, here's your chance to fulfill dealers' dreams" » May 27, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Is the F&I product space overcrowded? Views differ

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, May 13
How hot is the competition getting in the F&I product space? So hot that “the future of finance is in consulting,” said Damien Bullard, co-founder of IDDS Group. That’s a bold statement given that part of IDDS’ business comes from selling finance and insurance products from other providers. The New York company also consults and trains in deal ...
     Continue reading "Is the F&I product space overcrowded? Views differ" » May 13, 2015 11:45 am U.S. ET
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Lithia reaches out to women in step toward industry evolution

Posted 12:13 pm U.S. ET, May 6
Lithia Motors Inc. has taken a step in the right direction. On May 11-14, the dealership group hosts its first Lithia Women’s Leadership Week. The company has invited 70 of its female managers to the conference at its Medford, Ore., headquarters. “The primary motivation is to offer an enrichment opportunity to the women we already have,” said Tom Dobry, ...
     Continue reading "Lithia reaches out to women in step toward industry evolution" » May 6, 2015 12:13 pm U.S. ET
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Uber might trump the cost of car ownership, but not leasing…yet

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 25
Most dealers probably don’t lose sleep with worry that Uber, the popular app-based service that pairs private drivers with riders, will usurp car ownership anytime soon despite Uber’s ambitions to make it so. In most cases, when a person drives more than 13,500 miles a year, car ownership is still ideal and ultimately cheaper than using ride-sharing, according ...
     Continue reading "Uber might trump the cost of car ownership, but not leasing…yet" » Apr 25, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Lexus gets lucky on House of Cards

Posted 5:11 pm U.S. ET, March 6
When a fictional Russian president says, “I want the Lexus” while reminiscing about copulating with his ex-wife in one, it is either genius product placement or incredibly fortuitous for Toyota’s luxury arm that the writers of Netflix’s hit House of Cards like the brand. Turns out it was great luck. “This is totally organic, nothing we place ...
     Continue reading "Lexus gets lucky on House of Cards" » Mar 6, 2015 5:11 pm U.S. ET
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The dream Mr. K offered in the Nissan 300ZX is alive and well

Posted 3:44 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 26
“If I had a Z … ” That’s the opening line to the car commercial that I most remember from my youth. It touted the Nissan 300ZX sports car. So I’m melancholy after hearing that the man behind the car, Yutaka Katayama, died last week at age 105. Mr. K, as Katayama was popularly known, was Nissan’s first U.S president. He was dubbed the ...
     Continue reading "The dream Mr. K offered in the Nissan 300ZX is alive and well" » Feb 26, 2015 3:44 pm U.S. ET
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Volvo captive finance's plan to help spur sales of Volvo's XC90

Posted 3:30 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 19
The redesigned 2016 Volvo XC90 is “the big” launch facing Volvo’s captive finance company. Just ask Dan Romagnoli. He is the man responsible for making sure dealers get enough financing support to sell the heck out of the crossover when it goes on sale in May. Volvo wants to sell 28,800 XC90s in the U.S. this year. Romagnoli is CEO of Volvo Car Financia ...
     Continue reading "Volvo captive finance's plan to help spur sales of Volvo's XC90" » Feb 19, 2015 3:30 pm U.S. ET
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Are flat finance fees inevitable? How to lessen the blow

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Feb. 18
Flat finance fees are coming. And if you now derive more than 40 percent of your F&I revenue per vehicle from a finance reserve, you’re in trouble. So says Larry Dorfman, CEO of F&I provider EasyCare. He warned that flat fees are on the horizon during a conversation on the sidelines of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco ...
     Continue reading "Are flat finance fees inevitable? How to lessen the blow" » Feb 18, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Buyers make big bets on dealerships in a seller's world

Posted 9:55 am U.S. ET, Feb. 18
You know it is a seller’s market when the seller can dictate all the shots, and I mean all the shots. I was speaking to a buy-sell adviser this week, who shared an unsolicited anecdote because this adviser was so awe struck by it. The adviser asked not to be identified, but here is the story: A buyer approached the owner of two dealerships, out of the blue, with an ...
     Continue reading "Buyers make big bets on dealerships in a seller's world" » Feb 18, 2015 9:55 am U.S. ET
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What keeps leadership dealers awake at night?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 17
DETROIT -- Even in good times, there are things that will keep most dealers awake at night. At the Detroit auto show last week, I sat down with the outgoing chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Forrest McConnell, and the incoming chairman, Bill Fox, to talk about what gives them restless nights. On the surface everything seems wonderful: Many analysts ...
     Continue reading "What keeps leadership dealers awake at night?" » Jan 17, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Top dealers dish on their show favorites

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Jan. 13
DETROIT -- The outgoing National Automobile Dealers Association chairman, Forrest McConnell, and the incoming one, Bill Fox, share a passion: the Acura NSX supercar. “It’s just spectacular,” McConnell said Monday at the Detroit auto show after Acura unveiled a production version of the NSX. The brand’s long-awaited halo car, based on the original ...
     Continue reading "Top dealers dish on their show favorites" » Jan 13, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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The cars at the auto show are not for sale, but other stuff is

Posted 9:48 am U.S. ET, Jan. 13
DETROIT -- I like to shop. So when I saw some bling on the concourse in Detroit’s Cobo Center, I took a detour from my auto show duties. Meet Shinola. For those unfamiliar with the company, it was founded in 2011 in Detroit. It has quickly become known for modern-looking, high-quality, America-made products. It makes handcrafted watches, bicycles, leather goods and ...
     Continue reading "The cars at the auto show are not for sale, but other stuff is" » Jan 13, 2015 9:48 am U.S. ET
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Toyota, dealers get pop culture boost on 'Modern Family'

Posted 4:23 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 11
Pop culture can have a powerful impact on social perceptions. In which case, the TV show “Modern Family” on ABC polished the tarnished image of the modern car dealership in Wednesday night’s episode. That episode also proved the show’s product placement deal with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. is alive and well. The recap In the episode, Phil Dunphy ...
     Continue reading "Toyota, dealers get pop culture boost on 'Modern Family'" » Dec 11, 2014 4:23 pm U.S. ET
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F&I jobs hold a powerful lure for women

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 10
It seems women are keen to work in the finance and insurance department. In fact, F&I has the highest percentage of women employees in a dealership, after the office/administration department. Women make up 92 percent of the office/administration staff at dealerships, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2014 Dealership Workforce Study Ind ...
     Continue reading "F&I jobs hold a powerful lure for women" » Dec 10, 2014 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Great product isn't the only ingredient for making happy customers

Posted 3:48 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 14
I’m remodeling my kitchen, and I can’t help but notice how buying a countertop is like buying a car. Both are expensive and time-consuming purchases. And ultimately, my satisfaction will not rest on a granite, quartz or laminate countertop. It will come from other fuzzy, nontangible factors such as my rapport with the salesperson, the service I get from the in ...
     Continue reading "Great product isn't the only ingredient for making happy customers" » Nov 14, 2014 3:48 pm U.S. ET
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What the rich and single drive these days

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 9
You’re rich, hot, single and on the prowl -- in a Lincoln. That’s right: A Lincoln, baby! Apparently, sleek product redesign and TV spots featuring handsome movie star Matthew McConaughey are resonating among some wealthy singletons. Or something? LUXY, a new dating app, has compiled and ranked its 25,000 users’ top luxury auto brand preferences. It d ...
     Continue reading "What the rich and single drive these days" » Nov 9, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why the XC90 can't come soon enough for Volvo dealers

Posted 12:24 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 28
Some Volvo dealers are expecting the brand’s image to blossom this spring with the arrival of its redesigned flagship crossover. And they can’t wait to see what image emerges. The 2016 XC90 goes on sale in the U.S. in April. Volvo’s U.S. dealerships will get about a third of the 80,000 XC90s built annually when production is running at full capacity. M ...
     Continue reading "Why the XC90 can't come soon enough for Volvo dealers" » Oct 28, 2014 12:24 pm U.S. ET
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Gen Y guru entertains, informs

Posted 4:23 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 21
Who knew that demographics could be so funny? Jason Dorsey led a room of 100 or so car dealers through a keynote address on Generation Y during Automotive News’ Best Dealerships To Work For event last week in Chicago. It was a mixture of detailed demographics, data-driven insights -- and stand-up comedy. It was so dynamic and thought-provoking that it has stuck wit ...
     Continue reading "Gen Y guru entertains, informs" » Oct 21, 2014 4:23 pm U.S. ET
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How to drive dealers back to Washington, D.C.?

Posted 2:03 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 26
Martens Volvo-Volkswagen were the first car dealerships in Washington, D.C. – and the last. The stores have been sold, and Martens Volvo is now Euro Motorcars Volvo of Bethesda. It moved to Chevy Chase, Md., on Sept. 1. Its counterpart, now called Ourisman Volkswagen of Bethesda, is still in D.C. But not for long. It also will relocate to a Maryland suburb soon, le ...
     Continue reading "How to drive dealers back to Washington, D.C.?" » Sep 26, 2014 2:03 pm U.S. ET
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Smart dealers can make big bucks through smartphones

Posted 2:50 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 12
Car dealers are sitting on a gold mine: their idle inventories.  The tool to turn that gold mine into gold is the smartphone. Increasingly, people are using their smartphones to solve their transportation needs rather than relying on traditional personal car ownership. Ride-summoning services such as Uber and Lyft are slowly replacing the need for taxis in some maj ...
     Continue reading "Smart dealers can make big bucks through smartphones" » Sep 12, 2014 2:50 pm U.S. ET
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Why more women are willing to haggle with dealers

Posted 2:57 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 3
Car dealers who believe that men like to haggle and women don’t had better think again. A new study suggests that women are more keen than men to negotiate -- a reversal from just a couple of years ago. Swapalease.com, an online car lease marketplace, recently surveyed more than 1,000 drivers across the country about car purchase or lease negotiations. Among the f ...
     Continue reading "Why more women are willing to haggle with dealers" » Sep 3, 2014 2:57 pm U.S. ET
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Dealers are missing an opportunity by not changing that tire

Posted 3:41 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 26
As a teen, I didn’t know how to change a tire. Neither did my girlfriends. In fact, I don’t know how to change a tire now. My plan is to call roadside assistance if I ever have a problem. But that could be a long wait and, depending on the neighborhood, a scary one. So I should learn. And this is where savvy car dealers have an opportunity to do community out ...
     Continue reading "Dealers are missing an opportunity by not changing that tire" » Aug 26, 2014 3:41 pm U.S. ET
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