Posts Tagged ‘auto dealers’

GM, Costco Teaming for Holiday Sales Promotion

Discount store second-biggest auto retailer in U.S.

by on Oct.06, 2016

General Motors and Costco are partnering to offer the discount retailer's members special pricing on new vehicles for Christmas.

With the baseball playoffs just getting underway this week, the Christmas holidays might seem a long way off. But the holidays have emerged as a major marketing opportunity for carmakers eager to take advantage of the season’s sales-oriented environment.

But General Motors and Costco are already kicking off a special promotion built around holiday sales.

Sales News!

The holiday promotion, which began Oct. 1 and runs to Jan. 3, 2017, is for Costco members. Customers who opt for a new vehicle this year will receive either a $300 or $700 Costco Cash Card, depending on their level of membership. The cash card is in addition to the year-round savings customers receive on GM vehicles through Costco. (more…)

Turning Shoppers into Customers: Mercedes Tops the Chart in New Study

Tesla turns its showrooms into museums.

by on Jul.06, 2015

Offering a test drive can be a real deal-maker, according to Pied Piper research.

When Linda Brightman started out to buy a new car she had her heart set on a new BMW 3-Series. The suburban Los Angeles mother of two made one concession to her husband, agreeing to at least visit a few other showrooms to see what the competitors had to offer. He was nonetheless surprised when she drove home in a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

She liked a lot of the safety features, Brightman explained. But what had clinched the deal was the way the dealers treated her. The salesman at the BMW showroom seemed more bothered than interested in working with her. The Mercedes rep, on the other hand, had all the time in the world to work with her, not just answering questions but anticipating what Brightman might ask next.

Have We Got a Deal for You!

That’s no surprise to Fran O’Hagan, a California researcher who has been monitoring dealer behavior for his annual Pied Piper Satisfaction Index. In recent years, Mercedes showrooms have set the benchmark, he explains, having “changed from a museum curator approach to being as helpful as they can, turning car shoppers into Mercedes owners.”


Tesla May Seek Franchised Dealers After All

Battery-carmaker considers a hybrid retail approach.

by on Oct.16, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent TV appearance.

It’s been win-some-lose-some for Tesla as it pushes to reshape the automotive landscape with a marketing strategy based on factory-owned showrooms. But it now appears that the California-based battery-carmaker might be considering a revised strategy that would include at least some franchised dealers in its distribution mix.

That could permit Tesla to crack into states, such as Michigan and Texas, which have firmly ruled against Tesla’s current approach. It might also permit the maker to expand its coverage even in states, such as New Jersey and Nevada, which have okayed the factory-owned approach.

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“We may need a hybrid system, with a combination of our own stores and some dealer franchises,” Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk acknowledged during an interview with John McElroy on Autoline Daily.


Dealers Playing Critical Role in Recall Crisis – But Franchise System Under Increasing Fire

Tesla gets a loophole in NY.

by on Jun.19, 2014

Dealers have been investing billions for upgrades demanded by automakers like BMW in recent years.

The surge in recalls this year by General Motors and other automakers has underscored the vital role that franchise dealers play in the automobile industry – or so says the powerful dealer trade association – but there are a growing number of challenges to the century-old franchise system.

Dealers are facing a flood of work as recalls accelerate to a record pace – GM alone announcing service actions covering nearly 18 million vehicles sold in the U.S. so far this year. But other makers, including Toyota, Ford, Honda and Chrysler, have announced, or are facing the prospect of, millions more recalls in the months ahead.

What a Deal!

Handling those repairs is one reason why a new study commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade association tasked with protecting the position of franchised dealers, argues that the century-old system is the most reliable and efficient way to deal with the nation’s auto buyers and owners.


FTC Suggests States Repeal Pro-Dealer Laws

Missouri, New Jersey told that direct auto sales are good.

by on May.19, 2014

The Federal Trade Commission told two state legislative bodies that they should repeal laws preventing automakers, such as Tesla, from selling vehicles directly to consumers.

Once again, officials at the Federal Trade Commission have put a broad smile on the face of Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ founder and chairman.

For the second time in less than a month, three administrators suggested that laws requiring new vehicles be sold by independent dealers be repealed or scaled back.

Your Automotive Source!

The administrators, Andrew Gavil, director of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning; Deborah Feinstein, director of the Bureau of Competition; and Martin Gaynor, director of the Bureau of Economics, responded to requests for information from members of the Missouri House of Representatives and the New Jersey State Assembly. (more…)

Despite Settlement on Capitol Hill, US Auto Sales Likely Hit Hard, Says NADA Chairman

Westcott defends franchise system despite increasing attacks.

by on Oct.17, 2013

After a burst of demand over Labor Day, car sales have suddenly slowed.

Even though Democrats and Republicans have agreed to end their debate over the deficit – for now — new car sales could drop sharply this month, in part due to the impact of the government shutdown and concerns about a possible default, according to the chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association.

David Westcott, NADA’s current chairman, said he wasn’t ready to dispute the forecast by John Krafcik, president of Hyundai Motor America, who said he believed sales could fall by as much as 10%.  General Motors and Ford also have expressed concern about the potential impact of the shutdown both on September sales, and on consumer confidence over all.

Your Auto News Source!

Westcott was in Detroit to meet with members of the Automotive Press Association where he discussed not only the impact of Washington’s political crisis but also about the growing challenges to the nation’s century-old dealer franchise system.  It has been facing sharp attack on a number of fronts, including a concerted effort by automotive newcomer Tesla Motors which wants to sell cars through its own, factory-owned retail network.


Mercedes-Benz Tops New Car Shopper Satisfaction Survey

Showroom policies likely to close – or lose – deals.

by on Jul.08, 2013

What happens in the showroom can clinch -- or cost -- a sale.

When she began looking for a new car, Chris Anderson had her heart set on a midsize Ford sedan. But in the end, she wound up buying from the Detroit maker’s cross-town rival General Motors. It wasn’t that she liked her new car better.  It was the dealer she liked – or more precisely, the Ford dealer she didn’t want to buy from.

And the Detroit saleswoman is not alone.  What happens when a customer walks into the showroom can have a big impact on what they buy – or where they buy – says Fran O’Hagan, an automotive analyst whose annual Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index is aimed at measuring which dealers and brands do the best job in treating prospective car shoppers.  And this year, the study found Mercedes-Benz repeating as the industry leader.

Sales News!

The Pied Piper study relies on so-called “mystery shoppers” who go through the car buying process at thousands of U.S. showrooms each year subtly notating how well salespeople handle such basics as providing buyers with a vehicle walk-around, brochures and test drives, things O’Hagan explains “correlate highly with whether a customer buys.”


Mercedes Doing the Best to Close the Deal

The Internet has changed all the rules of car buying, shows new study.

by on Jul.13, 2012

Closing the deal.

Mercedes-Benz dealers are most likely to deliver customers the sort of shopping experience they want – and then close the deal, according to a new study.

Asian luxury dealers were close behind, along with Jaguar and Cadillac, according to the latest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index which uses so-called “mystery shoppers” to measure the way potential car buyers are treated.

The study looks at 60 different sales activities, from the simple act of greeting a customer when they walk into the showroom to providing a test drive.  Surprisingly, salespeople proved reluctant to take one of the most important steps of all, actually asking a prospect if they’re ready to close the deal.

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“The world has changed dramatically with the advent of the Internet,” said Pied Piper research chief Fran O’Hagan. Twenty years ago, the dealer was the gatekeeper, controlling every aspect of the car buying process.  Today, however, “A customer can go to the showroom knowing as much as you want.  So, the role of the salesperson has changed.”

Click to Enlarge the Chart.


FTC Moves to Block Deceptive Car Dealer Ads

If it’s too good to believe…

by on Mar.16, 2012

Frank Myers AutoMaxx was one of five dealers cited for misleading ads.

By most measures, auto dealers are doing a lot better job than in decades past when plaid-suited salesmen would promise anything to close a deal.  But abuses still occur, prompting the Federal Trade Commission to step in.

Government regulators have reached a settlement with five dealers from around the country in which they promise to stop running deceptive advertising – specifically, ads that promised to pay off whatever a consumer owed on a vehicle being traded in.

Such claims proved particularly appealing to buyers who were “upside down,” in trade lingo, owing more on a vehicle than it was actually worth. Having negative equity is normal during the period after a person buys a vehicle on credit, and the lengthier the loan terms the longer the period the buyer is upside down.

Your Trusted Source!

“Buying a new car or truck is a major financial commitment, and the last thing consumers need is to be tricked into thinking that a dealer will ‘pay off’ what they owe on their current vehicle, when they really won’t,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The Federal Trade Commission is constantly on the lookout for potentially deceptive ads, and brings actions to stop them when appropriate.”


U.S. Auto Dealer Count on the Rise

New study says sales per dealership could reach all-time high.

by on Feb.15, 2012

For the first time in years the number of U.S. auto dealers increased in 2011.

It’s become a seeming fact of life that the number of U.S. auto dealers will steadily decline each year – with massive cuts during the industry’s recent downturn — but 2011 saw an unexpected turnaround with the dealer count actually rising for the first time in years.

New research also suggests that if the automotive recovery remains on track, 2012 could be the best year on record for American automotive retailers from a sales per showroom standpoint.

Your Inside Source!

Research firm Urban Science reports the number of dealerships actually increased last year after two years of significant attrition. As of Dec. 31, 2011, there were 17,767 dealerships in the U.S., a 0.6% increase from 17,659 in 2010.


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