Best Practices

VIDEO: Seattle VW dealer mixes metrics and fun

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

Matthew Welch may own Auburn Volkswagen, but the title he cherishes is “chief relationship officer.'' In that role, he relentlessly pushes communication, whether by spreading “true rumors” or holding team meetings to discuss “WIGs” – wildly important goals. The effort has yielded better metrics for tire sales and parts orders. There's a big intangible, too. As Welch says: “You have to run it like a business, but why can't you have fun?”... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Cramped quarters teach valuable lessons

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

When Hodges Subaru moves to a much larger building on Detroit's famed Woodward Avenue, it will take with it many lessons learned during the years confined in a small space. For instance, it will continue to train workers to perform the duties of more than one job, to boost efficiency and teamwork.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Pa. dealership group gains from market-based pricing

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 6, 2015

Eighteen months after #1 Cochran Automotive launched a customer experience initiative centered on market-based pricing and transparency, the dealership group says its market share and customer satisfaction ratings are up. Employee turnover is down, and the company is hiring more people with experience outside the auto industry.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

'Apple way' inspires Seattle dealer

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 30, 2015

Brad Miller, who owns Honda and Toyota stores in booming downtown Seattle, knows the traditional way of selling cars. And he knows he doesn't like it. So last year, the 60-year-old dealer, along with COO Babak Mohammadi, decided to do everything differently.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Each generation learns to go its own way

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 23, 2015

If the Gates family has learned anything in 87 years of operating dealerships, it's that each generation must forge its own business plan.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Food trucks give customers a taste of dealerships

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

Later this month, food trucks will appear in the parking lots of two Oklahoma car dealerships on Saturdays to feed employees and the public, for free.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

BMW store sponsors, hosts Pinewood Derby

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

Early this month, Laurel BMW of Westmont, Ill., took a dozen cars out of its large showroom to make room for a huge aluminum track and hundreds of enthusiastic Boy Scouts and parents. The daylong event was paid for entirely by the dealership and included BMW hats, stickers and other gifts for each Scout participant, as well as food and appearances by celebrity racing guests. Dealer Patrick Womack is doing what he can to fan the passion of fast cars in a new generation.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Eat at the food court, buy a car

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 2, 2015

Aloha Auto Group sells about 3,500 new and used vehicles a year from its seven Kia dealerships, across the islands of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai. His mall location sells about 200, mostly new, vehicles a year. It is profitable despite having no service department.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Helping hand for minority dealer hopefuls

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

Bill Perkins knows how hard it is to get a dealership and to succeed. He lasted one year in his first store. But when he later acquired a dealership in suburban Detroit, other dealers helped him. That made the difference. Perkins has picked up the mantle, mentoring and training others, mostly African Americans, to become dealers. Perkins believes in minority dealers training other minorities to create a mutual support system.... Read More »

VIDEO: Valet car-hauling effort fills service bays

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

Dublin, Ohio, may still feel like a small town. But it is big when it comes to repairing pricey cars, thanks to the Midwestern Auto Group. The dealership's valet service coddles Astons, Bentleys, Ferraris and more as they are trucked in from five states. The program has also spawned ties to local high schools that serve as a talent pool for a booming parts and service business.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Youth movement fuels Utah Subaru dealerships

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

Fountain of youth: Jeff and Tatiana Miller say building a young, college-educated staff at 2 Mark Miller Subaru stores has reduced turnover in entry-level positions and improved relations with shoppers.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Victory Automotive plants seeds in the classroom

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

Rodger Olson, COO of Victory Automotive Group in suburban Detroit, makes no apologies for being a retail geek as he lectures undergraduate students in his class on retail sales at the University of Michigan. Whether it's comparing the franchise models of Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's or measuring the success of 7-Eleven convenience stores' rollout in Taiwan, Olson can speak with the authority of someone deeply immersed in his chosen subject.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Dealer Rezi builds store with his own rules

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 2, 2015

Michael Rezi will proudly tell you that they do things differently at his Nissan of Cookeville store, here in this central Tennessee market of 100,000 people. But that is specifically the way the 32-year-old dealer wants it.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Dealerships say thanks with local gift cards

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 19, 2015

Two dealerships in Grand Junction, Colo., hope a customer-appreciation promotion will generate nearly $200,000 worth of business for locally owned shops and restaurants in their hometown -- and sell some new cars in the process.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Dealership adjusts as traffic changes course

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 12, 2015

It used to be that whenever a customer called AutoNation Honda Roseville, the call reverberated around the dealership for anyone to answer, regardless of their specialty.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Is Saab defunct? Not at this dealership

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 29, 2014

Nearly all Saab dealers reached a dead end after the Swedish brand's bankruptcy in 2011. But not Park Ave Saab in Maywood, N.J. The New York City area dealership started courting Saab drivers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania with ads, service coupons and emails. It offers readily available parts, service and a selection of low-mileage used Saabs.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Second-chance store lets staff shine

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 22, 2014

At AutoNation's Houston Mitsubishi store, General Manager Irfan Siddiqui has found top performers by hiring people who have struggled in their roles at other nearby AutoNation dealerships.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Urban-living trend a chance to branch out and up

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 15, 2014

Few dealers would get far offering a $2,500-a-month lease. Not on a car, anyway. But outside San Francisco, where the booming technology sector has sent real-estate prices into the stratosphere, one Volkswagen dealer is betting that apartments are a different story.... Read More »

For Murphy, building up charity is the next move

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 15, 2014

Mike Murphy's plan to embed his Volkswagen of Oakland dealership into a mixed-use development that includes housing may be one of his final acts in the car business. He is pivoting away from the car business and toward charity to honor his wife, Margot, who died in 2011 after a nine-year battle with breast cancer.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Creative pairing: 2 dealers innovate as partners

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 8, 2014

After toiling to revitalize separate single-point dealerships in the Detroit area, two childhood friends merged and expanded operations to compete with larger groups. "It's not an acquisition, but a partnership," says Sam Slaughter. The distinction is key.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Mini store wants customers singing its praises

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

Surprising and treating customers to extras is part of a program Mini USA started in July to boost its image as a premium brand.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Cardinale group makeover flexes digital muscle

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

In 2008, the recession was raging, and dealer Joe Cardinale decided to make some changes. He committed heavily to online sales and marketing, and parted ways with third-party lead providers, developed his own systems and software to manage his online presence. And he set stringent goals for his staff and held them accountable for results. It has worked wonders.... Read More »

VIDEO: How dealers connect with tech-savvy buyers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 17, 2014

Three dealers have found ways to forge bonds with car shoppers who are short on time and long on Web smarts. A Honda store has mobilized a young sales team hired from Starbucks and Best Buy. A Mercedes store has a special "honeymoon" tool kit for boosting online ratings. And a photo-friendly Audi store is snapping its way to more Internet leads.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Jeep history goes underground

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 17, 2014

Many dealers collect historic vehicles, and some even display vintage cars in their showrooms. But one dealership in Hamilton, Ontario, has found a way to make a World War II-era Willys MB Jeep the centerpiece of its showroom -- without sucking up valuable indoor display space.... Read More »

BEST PRACTICES

Luxury retailer is in for long haul

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

Living a teenage boy's fantasy of driving exotic cars is part of Tom O'Keefe's job at Midwestern Auto Group, a 15-franchise group of mostly exotic and luxury dealerships in Dublin, Ohio, that offers valet service to its high-line customers.... Read More »

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Seattle VW dealer mixes metrics and fun

Seattle VW dealer mixes metrics and fun

Matthew Welch may own Auburn Volkswagen, but the title he cherishes is “chief relationship officer.' Mon., April 13
» Watch the Video
     
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