Best Practices

Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 21, 2014
A Chrysler Group dealership chain is stripping away layers of management to sell cars faster. A Chevrolet-Cadillac store is enchanting customers through Disney training. And an Audi dealership uses $2 envelopes to ensure the return of $300 key fobs. These are just a few ways three California auto retailers are boosting sales, customer satisfaction and profits....
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BEST PRACTICES

Cue from airlines helps dealership cut no-shows

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 21, 2014
Robert Karbaum came up with is an "appointment boarding pass" to send to customers' smartphones via text or e-mail minutes after they schedule a test drive....
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BEST PRACTICES

Courting consumers, moving 'smelly tires'

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 14, 2014
For customers and employees alike, the change in culture over the past few years at Bozard Ford-Lincoln in St. Augustine, Fla., has been like a breath of fresh air....
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BEST PRACTICES

Custom Nissans give dealership added oomph

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 7, 2014
When it comes to customizing, there are the usual hot-rod-able models like the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro. But the Nissan Altima? Absolutely, says Eric Grubbs, CEO of Grubbs Nissan in Bedford, Texas....
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BEST PRACTICES

High-end Hyundai buyers enjoy private lounge, dinners and more

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 30, 2014
The lounge inside Burns Hyundai in Marlton, N.J., offers red-carpet perks to Genesis and Equus buyers. It has been essential to winning over customers from brands such as Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz....
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BEST PRACTICES

Mass. store becomes a one-stop shop for fleets

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 23, 2014
Imperial Municipal Partners caters to an important segment that many traditional dealerships aren't well equipped to handle -- commercial and government fleet buyers, including police departments....
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BEST PRACTICES

Retail group spells out privacy for customers

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 16, 2014
Jeff Wyler, CEO of the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family in Cincinnati, is convinced that dealerships soon will be subject to stricter privacy laws. So he is going extra lengths to inform customers of their rights and explain how the group's 13 dealerships gather and use data....
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BEST PRACTICES

With Sunday hours, there's no waiting to service cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 9, 2014
Going to Sunday service is not about church for customers of Vista BMW Pompano in suburban Miami....
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L.A. store finds sales in freeway gridlock

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 9, 2014
Dealer Hani Nassif is putting Hyundais face-to-face with gridlocked motorists – both day and night. The cars are housed in a massive glass display bridge alongside Interstate 405 near Los Angeles. Nassif says the colorful new structure has helped boost new-car sales tenfold and increase the size of his workforce....
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BEST PRACTICES

When a deal collapses, the sales reward remains

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 2, 2014
Operating in a lower-middle-class area, with about 20 percent of deals falling through at the finance desk, dealer Carlos Uruchurtu struggled to keep salespeople from jumping to dealerships in better neighborhoods. His solution: a compensation system that would give sales staff small but significant rewards for their efforts, even if those efforts didn't lead directly to a sale....
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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....
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BEST PRACTICES

Sonic: E-sales offices speed replies to leads

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 26, 2014
In the past five years, Sonic Automotive dealerships have slashed average response times to electronic leads to seven minutes. E-sales offices now operating in most of the chain’s 105 stores have made the difference....
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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."...
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BEST PRACTICES

Porsche owners unleashed at racetrack

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 19, 2014
As a rule, Porsche buyers have a need for speed. Hoffman Porsche of East Hartford, Conn., has started indulging that need by offering its most loyal customers a free excursion to the local racetrack....
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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....
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BEST PRACTICES

Matick Chevrolet says hello to customers, hello to sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 12, 2014
It's not the 100-car showroom, high-volume Corvettes or massive new collision shop that have propelled Matick Chevrolet into the brand's top 1 percent of sales volume. Rather, it is employees' obsessive approach to customer service, owner Karl Zimmermann says of the single-point store just outside Detroit....
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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....
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How dealer Rick Case thrives on 'wow factors'

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
71-year-old Rick Case says the way to stand out in a crowded South Florida market is to do things differently. That means free car washes, discounted gasoline, beefed-up warranties and books touting the chain's “Treat every customer as we would our best friend” culture. If that’s not enough, there are also wedding services and cheap haircuts...
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BEST PRACTICES

Jaguar Land Rover dealer staff gets taste of luxury

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
Jaguar Land Rover North Scottsdale isn't just puttin' on the ritz for its customers. It's taking dealership employees for a steakhouse lunch, then an afternoon tea at the nearby service-oriented Ritz-Carlton hotel as part of their training....
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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....
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Texas dealer sells natural gas, too

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 28, 2014
Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, the nation's largest Chevrolet dealership, has opened its own compressed natural gas fueling station to help sell the brand's new natural-gas-powered vehicles. "If we're going to sell this, we ought to have the fuel that it calls for," says Ken Thompson, the dealership's fleet manager....
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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....
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BEST PRACTICES

Warren Henry hires help to hire the help

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 21, 2014
Warren Henry Auto Group hired an outside staffing agency to handle the 55 to 65 hourly employees who work in its detail shop and as porters....
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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....
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How a Texas store fixed used-car-supply issue

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014
Mike Shaw Toyota in Corpus Christi, Texas, struggled to find good used cars. So it started providing free appraisals to service customers and offered to buy their vehicles on the spot. The result: more used-car inventory, bigger profits and higher scores for service satisfaction....
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Special Report
Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

A Chrysler Group dealership chain is stripping away layers of management to sell cars faster. A Chevrolet-Cadillac store is enchanting customers through Disney training. Mon., July 21
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