Best Practices

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....
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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....
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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....
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Still going strong

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

Park Ave Saab treats its customers as if Saab were still in business, offering a dedicated store with service, parts and a good selection of reconditioned Saabs. The goal is to retain customers and eventually move them into one of the group's other brands....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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Dole out the freebies

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

Stanley Subaru in costal Maine gives its new-vehicle buyers a benefit it calls "Tires for Life." As long as customers follow Subaru's recommended maintenance schedule and have Stanley Subaru perform the work, the dealership replaces their tires for free when they wear out....
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Reviving Auto Row

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

The owner of Volkswagen of Oakland is seizing on the region's property boom by tearing down his dealership and building an apartment complex on the site, with VW and Hyundai stores on the ground level. When the apartments open, around 2018, Mike Murphy expects to charge $3.50 per square foot, or about $2,500 per month for a 700-square-foot apartment....
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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....
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Rejuvenating careers (and selling cars)

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2015

Irfan Siddiqui, general manager at AutoNation Mitsubishi in Houston, has hired about 15 people who had struggled at other nearby AutoNation stores. While not everyone has made it, transferred employees tend to stay longer and perform better than the people Siddiqui hires off the street. In sales, for instance, they are selling at least three more cars a month than traditional hires....
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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....
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BEST PRACTICES

Chevy store redo goes above and beyond

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

Keith McCluskey put on steroids the Apple Inc.-like approach that many dealers are using to modernize their customers' experience....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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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....
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