The automotive industry continues to evolve around the way consumers research, buy and service vehicles. One thing remains the same in the highly competitive industry - dealers continue to implement marketing strategies and technologies to help drive new sales and service business while at the same time retain their existing customers.
Dealers have hundreds of companies to choose from that offer a range of services from niche programs to full-service marketing companies. Researching and evaluating that many companies can be very time consuming and often confusing. Therefore, we are releasing the Top 10 Companies to Watch in 2017 to help identify companies that are leading the industry with innovative solutions.
In summary, the companies on this list are leading the industry and are helping achieve measurable results for some of the most demanding and successful dealerships, associations and OEMs in the industry.
The 100th NADA Convention and Expo will take place in New Orleans this year, and while there’s certainly enough going on there to keep you occupied, you might want to consider taking a day or two to explore The Big Easy, a city with a unique blend of history, mystery music, food and attractions.
Its Place in History
New Orleans was founded by the French, ceded to Spain and after the founding of the United States, grew to encompass the histories and attitudes of a diverse population through the decades. A key port city, New Orleans has been pivotal in many battles on American soil, and the mixing of cultures has given the city a unique blend of art, language, music, architecture and more. While there are areas favored by tourists, the entire city can provide a trip through history.
The Vinart Auto Group has three franchise dealerships in Pennsylvania and another in New Jersey. The group consists of an Acura dealership, a Honda dealership, two Hyundai dealerships and two used car locations, as well as a dedicated collision facility. Andy Wright is a second-generation dealer with more than 400 employees. The Vinart Auto Group reached $230 million revenue in 2016, and Wright was able to finish 2016 strong with help from a new way to engage with Facebook and other types of leads. He had to look no farther than the smartphone in his pocket; text messaging has proved to be a game changer for the Vinart Auto Group.
Wael Ghali is the president at the Coral Springs Auto Mall, located in South Florida. Ghali has more than 20 years in the automotive industry and, since taking his current role in May 2015, has increased sales at the Buick GMC store by 40 percent, brought the Kia store to No. 1 in South Florida, increased Nissan sales an average 17 percent per year and brought the Honda store from No. 34 to No. 17 in the nation. Prior to Coral Springs, Ghali was the GM at Lexus of Pemboke Pines, where he led the store from No. 34 to No. 2 in the nation for 2013 and 2014, increased fixed ops revenue by more than 50 percent, and increased sales an average 20 percent per year during his tenure.
What would you do if you knew you could trade keys with approximately 20 percent of the customers in your DMS right now? You’d contact them and make some sales. To put it simply, if you’re not tapping into the valuable data you already have access to, you’re actively turning down sales.
It seems like everyone is talking about data mining, and it may surprise you to learn it’s not just a buzzword. Data is an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting with your customers and offering them what they need. Businesses, however, often shy away because the concept of data mining sounds confusing or time-consuming, but the simple truth is it’s not as complicated as you may think. And, when you leverage the insights available to you, your bottom line stands to grow exponentially.
Competition to attract car buyers is as great today as in any other time. Transparent lead providers are arming price shoppers with all the information they need to squeeze almost all the profit from car deals. Car buyers have plenty of dealers to choose from when shopping for a new car, so what makes them decide to buy from you? There are car buyers out there who are looking for more than just the lowest price. Many want greater value and a relationship with a dealer that will help them maintain a safe and great-looking vehicle.
Knowing where a consumer is in the vehicle purchase process is critical when it comes to advertising strategies. Let’s face it — a much different approach is required for effectively communicating and engaging with consumers who are in the market to buy a car in the next five years versus those who are ready to buy within the next five weeks.
Video has always offered automotive advertisers huge opportunities when developing their advertising strategies to engage consumers and ultimately drive business. Today’s marketers have gotten even more sophisticated as viewing has shifted across screens by extending the power of video to various devices — from mobile to laptops and tablets.
And once again, marketers are raising the bar by using video backed by data from high-quality consumer sources to improve their overall marketing efforts and drive more car sales.
New analytics solutions now give dealership general managers much deeper insight into how much gross is being lost through their used car reconditioning processes.
By using reconditioning software that creates daily reports on fundamental reconditioning benchmarks, GMs have at hand the data at the same actionable level they use for other decisions for controlling costs and improving gross. The benchmark metrics this reporting provides are vital if GMs are to effectively manage reconditioning holding costs.
Understanding holding cost and knowing how to minimize this expense propels the manager’s ability to manage dealership cash liquidity. Managing liquidity is important because cash is the fuel that runs the dealership engine — and when times are hard, liquidity is the safety net that keeps the doors open.
Coming off of an extremely successful 2016, you may be wondering how you can best keep this momentum going into the New Year. The answer is simple: service calls. Google research shows that 60 percent of consumers who perform mobile searches regarding parts, services or cars will make a phone call first.
Yet, according to Marchex, more than 10 percent of all phone calls to dealership service departments go unanswered, disconnect while on-hold or are hung up on when transferred. That’s a huge amount of potential revenue leaving your store every month. The majority of calls into service departments involve such routine items as oil changes, scheduling requests and questions about vehicle pick-up. This presents a perfect opportunity to bring some machine learning into your dealership.
In today’s data-rich environment, dealers are more dependent than ever on the timely, cost-effective and secure movement of their data to key partners and vendors.
Dealers have multiple options when choosing how they will work with their vendors on the movement and protection of their data. These options have consequences that are often confusing and may impact the cost and flow of data that is currently moving to trusted partners.