Dealer Groups and Dealerships

Sonic pushes back rollout of customer-experience program

3:40 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 21, 2014
Sonic Automotive will take at least six months longer than originally planned to roll its new customer experience program out to all of its dealerships.... Read More »

 

BILL LIA: Keep stores modern

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
"People keep asking us for our store designs," says Bill Lia, the 78-year-old CEO of Lia Auto Group in Albany, N.Y., which just finished building its 19th dealership. "We want to keep everything modern and up to date."... Read More »

 

CarMax's U-turn: A return to Web leads

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Used-car powerhouse CarMax has begun posting vehicle inventory again on AutoTrader.com and Cars.com after a 16-month hiatus. The shift underscores the challenge that new-car leader AutoNation faces in its effort to rely less on third-party lead sites.... Read More »

 

AutoNation won't up and quit 3rd parties

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Mike Maroone, COO of AutoNation Inc., said the dealership group intends to proceed cautiously in reducing its reliance on third-party online shopping sites.... Read More »

 

Bad feelings in Billings over deal veto

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
GM nixed the sale of a Chevrolet store in Montana to former NADA Chairman Bill Underriner. The tale behind that deal - what happened before and after -- shows how the right-of-first-refusal option can sour relations between dealers -- and between dealers and the factory.... Read More »

 

FIVE YEARS LATER

GM's loss, Hyundai's gain

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Stores targeted for closure by one troubled brand were snapped up by a rising brand.... Read More »

 

JERRY VITZTHUM: Out, in and then back out again

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Ask former small-town car dealer Jerry Vitzthum whether the auto industry is better or worse today than it was before the national economic crisis, and he shrugs.... Read More »

 

JAMES B. TREECE

In praise of the Best Dealerships To Work For

3:07 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 17, 2014
The stores honored this week as the Best Dealerships To Work For retain employees at a rate that puts the industry to shame.... Read More »

 

Wrestling with the workweek

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
At Planet Subaru in Hanover, Mass., everyone works fewer than 50 hours a week.
At Friendship Family of Dealerships in Bristol, Tenn., employees who sell 15 or more vehicles a month set their own schedules.
At Schumacher European, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Phoenix, sales staffers regularly get two days off in a row.... Read More »

 

Stores mix competitions and food to cook up camaraderie

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
In Amarillo, Texas, it's not unusual to see restaurant billboards advertising 72-ounce steak dinners. At AutoNation Chevrolet in Amarillo, the ribs or brisket portions may be smaller, but the grill is hardly dainty.... Read More »

 

Scrap metal pays for pizza at Faulkner

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Scrap dealers show up once a month at Faulkner Hyundai on the northeast side of Philadelphia and haul away the worn-out parts from the service department. But unlike most dealerships, Faulkner Hyundai doesn't add the money to its bottom line. Instead, it puts the cash into a kitty that helps feed and entertain the store's roughly 45 employees.... Read More »

 

Ounce of prevention keeps employees on the job

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
When it comes to the health and well-being of its 130 employees, Baker Motor Co. of Charleston closely follows the adage about the relative cost of prevention and cure.... Read More »

 

Offbeat rewards motivate workers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Dealerships across the country hand out cash or plane tickets when their employees hit sales targets or other company goals. Several of the Best Dealerships To Work For are among those that go beyond trips or sporting event tickets with unusual incentives to motivate employees to sell -- and to be good citizens.... Read More »

 

Manager's personalized paychecks encourage, praise dealership staffers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Michelle Petrenko adds extra value to her employees' paychecks. Petrenko, as general manager of Mini of Tempe, one of this year's Best Dealerships To Work For, wrote meaningful, unique messages on the checks of each of the Arizona Mini store's 37 staffers.... Read More »

 

How to get the most from millennial staffers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
If dealers want to attract the best and brightest from the most diverse generation to date, job descriptions should cast the car business as a career with hurdles that millennials should be excited to leap -- not a robotic list of tasks waiting to be checked off, says Jason Dorsey, who bills himself as The Gen Y Guy.... Read More »

 

How to attract, hire and keep college grads

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Dealers increasingly want to hire college grads, believing they bring a high level of professionalism and the drive to succeed. But getting college graduates to consider auto retailing careers can be tough. Large dealership groups would seem to have an advantage, in part because they can offer more opportunities for ambitious new hires who want to advance.... Read More »

 

Giving employees a meal and much more

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Steve Krohn believes there are many ways to reward employees for a job well done. One is Phil Long Dealerships' long-standing practice of giving Thanksgiving Day turkeys to every employee -- from lot porters to general managers, including Krohn, general manager at Phil Long Hyundai of Motor City in Colorado Springs, Colo.... Read More »

 

Getting past the industry's negative image

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
If auto dealers want to hire more college graduates, experts say, they must overcome a variety of negative perceptions: long and odd hours, inconsistent paychecks and workplaces that are less than friendly to women and minorities.... Read More »

 

Forget big vs. small; it's the Best vs. the rest

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
The differences among small, medium and large Best Dealerships To Work For are far less striking than their similarities.... Read More »

 

Dealership hires newbies, then comes the training

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Land Rover North Dade rarely hires salespeople who have worked in the auto industry. "When they have been in the industry, you can't teach them," said General Manager Larry Zinn, 28. And teach them it does. The dealership systematically trains new employees in its processes, culture and approach to customer service. Training is a key to the store's success.... Read More »

 

Dealers take Affordable Care Act in stride

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Hold down costs and turn a profit -- but don't do so by shaving employee health benefits. That is the consensus among owners and managers of stores on Automotive News' list of Best Dealerships To Work For.... Read More »

 

Dealers movin' on up

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
With increased competition for spots on the Best Dealerships To Work For list, 48 dealerships repeated from last year. And many of those slid in the rankings. But not all.... Read More »

 

Lithia expects flat per-unit F&I revenue through 2015

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Lithia Motors expects average F&I revenue per vehicle retailed to stay flat through the rest of 2014 and 2015, at the current level of about $1,200 on a same-store basis. The retailer expects same-store average F&I revenue per unit of $1,202 in the third quarter.... Read More »

 

GREG MAY CHEVROLET -- NO. 1 OVERALL

Building a team, rebuilding a community in tiny Texas town

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Many employees at Greg May Chevrolet spent a lot of time last year being paid to not do their work. The dealership in West, Texas, encouraged its employees to help the rural community recover from a massive fertilizer-plant explosion in April 2013 that devastated a 37-block area.... Read More »

 

Big-city store has a small-town mindset

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 15, 2014
Schumacher European, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Phoenix, is a big store in a major city. How does it avoid the impersonality of a large company, which can leave employees feeling like management is distant and unengaged? By striving for the mentality of a small-town store.... Read More »

 

Rocket Fuel