Best Practices

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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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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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....
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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....
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BEST PRACTICES

Hidden cameras save dealership thousands

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 3, 2014
Service Manager Jeff Sterry spends next to nothing to repair damages that customers say his shop caused to their cars. That's because, despite the customers' claims, his shop typically didn't damage the cars. And he can prove it....
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Racing, tech events draw crowds to Hoffman stores

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 27, 2014
Hoffman Auto Group holds more than 100 elaborate events annually to attract and retain customers. Some buyers zip around a racetrack in Porsches at 130 mph. Others are treated to a feast of food and information about a car's infotainment system. On Tuesdays, smartphones take a back seat to face-to-face communication. These are among the techniques the Connecticut company is using to grow as it nears its 100th anniversary....
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BEST PRACTICES

N.J. dealer lets customers choose the charity

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 27, 2014
One dealer's charitable impulse turned into a community fundraising powerhouse under the banner Kindle Community Challenge....
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BEST PRACTICES

A terrible wreck, but not a total loss

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Most dealerships send totaled cars straight to the junkyard. White Bear Mitsubishi put one on display, and it has been reaping the rewards ever since....
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BEST PRACTICES

Do-it-all dealer learns to delegate as business grows

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 13, 2014
Through long hours and hands-on involvement in every corner of his business, Mike Wood has rapidly built a group of four dealerships in seven years. He has more growth plans. But first he says he is learning to master a new business skill: letting go....
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BEST PRACTICES

Maine store's free tires bring customers back

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 6, 2014
Stanley Subaru gives its new-vehicle buyers a benefit it calls "Tires for Life."...
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BEST PRACTICES

L.A. retailer knows the value of a good name

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 29, 2014
The adage that success is about "location, location, location" certainly applies to Honda of Los Angeles. But that was difficult to see three years ago. The store, which is booming now, was boarded up and in bankruptcy court in 2011....
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BEST PRACTICES

Charity is a priority, not a look-at-me

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 22, 2014
George Nahas, a Chevrolet dealer in central Florida, says his annual budget for philanthropy has consistently been greater than $100,000 per year. Though Nahas says his charitable projects help him sell a few extra cars per year, additional business is never a factor when he evaluates a request....
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BEST PRACTICES

Dealerships' tech team offers training for all

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 15, 2014
A few years ago, Ford's quality ratings began to take a hit from consumers who found its MyFord Touch infotainment system less than user-friendly....
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Over-the-hill used cars fuel Honda store

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 8, 2014
Aging, high-mileage trade-ins are welcomed at RiverTown Honda in Grandville, Mich. The store sells up to 30 'Budget Row' cars monthly at an average gross profit of $700. The dealership is also finding value in a low-cost oil change program. It attracts hundreds of consumers weekly. And those bargain hunters are often willing to share their 'priceless' email addresses, which allows the store to grow its customer base....
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BEST PRACTICES

Hiking pay to get 'the pick of the crop'

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 8, 2014
Earl Stewart Toyota in Lake Park, Fla., examined its pay scale this summer. The conclusion: not high enough. So it hiked its pay scale. For the lowest-paid employees, the change meant a 38 percent jump in their hourly rate....
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Don't just wholesale that old trade-in

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 1, 2014
Last year River Town Honda in Grandville, Mich., embraced older, high-mileage trade-ins instead of selling them at near-zero profit to wholesalers. General Manager Rick Clift says the decision has lead to "the biggest single piece to our growth." River Town markets the older vehicles under the moniker "Budget Row collection" both in a special section of its lot and online. The store is selling 25 to 30 such vehicles a month at an average net profit of $700....
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