Dealer Groups

LotLinx launches 2 new AI-driven consumer experience products

CHICAGO - 

To generate more high-quality conversions for car dealers, LotLinx has expanded its VS product suite with two new CX solutions designed to enhance and customize the customer experience, the company announced on Thursday.

The new products include CX - Photo AI and CX - Amplified Mobile Pages. Both have been equipped to extend VIN-specific consumer engagement and stimulate more profitable digital advertising campaigns, according to LotLinx.

“The auto industry is constantly evolving, particularly with the shift from traditional ad spend to digital campaigns and outreach,” LotLinx founder Len Short said in a news release. “With these new consumer-oriented products, we’re taking a ‘dealer-first’ approach with solutions specifically designed for dealers who are faced with increased days-on-lot metrics. This is an exciting step forward for our company.”

CX - Photo AI can boost underperforming ads with optimized stock photos using artificial intelligence, and CX - Amplified Mobile Pages offers dealers mobile-friendly VIN landing pages optimized to drive high-value conversions.

“Because today’s online car shoppers are 90 percent more likely to view an ad that contains an image, and will wait just 3 seconds for a page to load before abandoning, the logical next step for LotLinx was to release the consumer experience-oriented CX suite,” the digital advertising technology company said.

Photo AI was created to both formulate more relevant and visually appealing ads for viewers and detect when ads are running without an image, according to LotLinx.

“As global consumers rely more on smartphones for their shopping, AMP delivers faster, conversion-enhancing pages, allowing dealers to make the most out of mobile,” the company added.

Additionally, LotLinx recently expanded its VIN-specific solutions for Facebook to include VS - Lead-Enabled Retargeting and launched the LotLinx TURN platform earlier this year.

Infiniti dealers top Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index for 2nd year

MONTEREY, Calif. - 

The newly released Prospect Satisfaction Index U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study by Pied Piper Management Company has ranked Nissan’s Infiniti brand dealerships the highest for a second year.

Toyota’s Lexus brand ranks second, and dealerships selling Mercedes-Benz are ranked third.

Pied Piper’s process to determine its rankings includes “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

Between last July and this past June, the company measured in-dealership treatment of car-shoppers by deploying 5,289 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” to dealerships located across the country.

“Today nine out of ten car-shoppers gather information on-line before they ever visit a dealership,” Fran O’Hagan, Pied Piper Management president and chief executive officer said in a news release. “Dealerships today have to work hard to be helpful from the first visit, because they may not have another opportunity.”

Tesla, Mitsubishi, Lincoln, Ram, Subaru and Chevrolet brands have improved the most from year to year, according to Pied Piper.

Tesla, which improved 8 points from 2016, had the most improvement of any brand, according to Pied Piper. The U.S. brands low PSI score resulted from high variability in sales process behaviors across Tesla stores, the company said.

“For example, Tesla staff on average asked how the vehicle would be used only about half the time (64%), asked about trade-ins 45% of the time, and suggested going through the numbers 56 percent of the time.” Pied Piper explained.

“About 23 percent of Tesla visits were exceptional experiences that under the PSI “letter grade” scale earned an “A,” with an average PSI score above 130.  However, 32 percent of the visits earned a PSI letter grade of “D” or “F,” with an average PSI score below 75.

A total of 21 brands improved or remained the same from 2016 to 2017, while 12 brands declined. Declining brands include Jeep, Fiat, Volkswagen and BMW.

Nine brands consistently ranking at or above the industry average each year includes Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Audi, BMW and Kia. 

Chevrolet, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Fiat are five brands that have scored below the industry average for each of the past five years.

For more information about the Prospect Satisfaction Index and Pied Piper’s scoring process, visit www.piedpiperpsi.com.

Jim Ellis Automotive Group gathers $65K for local first responders

ATLANTA - 

To kick off summer, the Jim Ellis Automotive Group wrapped up a successful charitable campaign where a portion of each sale during the month of May went to support local first responders. 

Thanks to the support of old and new customers alike, a total of $65,000 was raised and is being divided evenly between 10 Atlanta-area police and fire departments.

To distribute the funds raised through this campaign, the Jim Ellis Automotive Group decided to split funds between any police and fire department that is the responding agency for each of the Jim Ellis dealerships. This means that 10 first responding agencies will receive a check for $6,500, along with a catered lunch at their department when the funds are presented.

The agencies receiving funds include:

• Chamblee Police Department

• Cobb County Fire Department

• Cobb County Police Department

• DeKalb County Fire Department

• DeKalb County Police Department

• Doraville Police Department

• Gwinnett County Fire Department

• Gwinnett County Police Department

• Marietta Fire Department

• Marietta Police Department

Going above and beyond raising funds for local first responders, Jim Ellis Automotive dealerships are hosting first responder appreciation events in each of their dealership areas. The first appreciation breakfast was held on June 22 at Jim Ellis Mazda Marietta and events are scheduled to follow over the coming months at Jim Ellis Chamblee (July 20), Kennesaw (Sept. 14) and Buford (Oct. 19).

“First responders do so much for our communities and they often do not receive the honor or appreciation that they deserve,” Jim Ellis Automotive Group president Jimmy Ellis said. “Our local first responders put their lives on the line daily for the safety and well-being of complete strangers and we wanted to do something above and beyond to show our appreciation for them.

“Many of our customers made it clear that they feel the same way as they rallied behind us to support this endeavor,” Ellis continued. “We look forward to continuing this campaign through the rest of the year as we host appreciation events at our dealerships and offer special discounts to first responders in both sales and service.”

In addition to the cash donations that will be made to the local first responders that serve their dealership areas, Jim Ellis Automotive dealerships are offering special discounts for the rest of the year to all eligible first responders.

As a token of appreciation, all qualifying first responders can take advantage of $500 off their next vehicle when purchased from Jim Ellis. That is $500 off the best negotiated price at any of the Jim Ellis dealerships.

On the parts and service side, eligible first responders will receive 15 percent off parts and service at any Jim Ellis dealership through the end of the year.

Group 1 buys a dozen UK dealerships

HOUSTON  - 

Group 1 Automotive has purchased a 12-store dealership group in the United Kingdom, bumping its store count in the country to 43, the retailer announced Wednesday.

Beadles Group Ltd. includes seven brands throughout its dozen stores in the greater London area: Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Skoda, Toyota, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen.

These stores will keep the Beadles name.

"The Beadles Group is a great fit for Group 1, as we further expand our footprint and brand portfolio in the UK. Beadles was established in 1893 and incorporated in 1915 and has an outstanding reputation for customer service and satisfaction," Group 1 chief executive Earl Hesterberg said in a news release. “This acquisition bolsters our scale, provides additional management resources, and introduces new brand partnerships in the UK. We are also pleased to grow our existing relationships with key brand partners.

"With this addition, our UK operations are estimated to generate over $2 billion in annualized revenues," he said.

The 12 dealerships themselves are expected to pull in annualized revenue of $330 million.

Holiday car shoppers are often ready to buy

CARY, N.C. - 

In the spirit of summer holidays like Independence Day, Cars.com suggests that auto dealers align their pre-holiday advertising and mobile content in time for holiday weekends.

The third-party shopping site found that during holidays, car shoppers tend to buy — and they also want special offers delivered to their mobile phones.

Consider the traffic dealerships saw this Memorial Day weekend.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, 30 percent of mobile consumers Cars.com surveyed purchased a car.

Roughly 71 percent of mobile consumers said they visited a dealer to specifically shop for a vehicle, and 26 percent for service, according to a recent Memorial Day Weekend survey on Cars.com’s blog.

On a non-holiday weekend, 60 percent of consumers visit a dealer for service and 40 percent to shop.

When it comes to special offers via mobile, around six out of 10 shoppers told Cars.com that they prefer “special offer” content shared with them on their mobile devices, while 81 percent of dealers prefer to share “why buy from us” mobile messaging, Cars.com Research and Insights senior manager Amanda Kaleta-Kott explained.

Additionally, during the Memorial Day weekend, 41 percent of all store visits were walk-ins where the shopper didn’t contact the dealer prior to making a visit.

Twenty percent of those walk-in shoppers surveyed by Cars.com bought a car over the holiday and seven out of 10 said they wish to make a purchase within three months.

Park Place moves Texas Jaguar store & adds Land Rover brand

GRAPEVINE, Texas - 

Park Place Dealerships has both moved its Jaguar dealership from Plano, Texas, to Grapevine and added the Land Rover brand to its portfolio.

Construction for Park Place’s new store, Jaguar Land Rover DFW, is complete and is set to open on Saturday with a roster of 70 employees. This is the third dealership in Northeast Tarrant County for the company.

“Northeast Tarrant County has been growing at a great rate since we opened the Lexus dealership in 2000,” Park Place chairman Ken Schnitzer said in a news release. “We moved our Mercedes-Benz dealership from the Mid-Cities to Grapevine in 2012 and we recently broke ground on a Porsche dealership, which we plan to open next year. To say we love doing business in this area may be an understatement.”

Located between Dallas and Fort Worth, Jaguar Land Rover DFW is a two-story, LEED-certified facility on eight acres that has a nine-car service drive, a 2,800-square-foot carwash and a shop with 34 service bays and an 18-car service drive.

“We will be adding jobs as we begin to assess new positions that will be needed to best serve our clients in the Park Place manner,” Park Place president Jordan Case explained. “We are always looking for people who enjoy taking care of others and working in an environment where they are valued.”

Additionally, Park Place’s newest facility’s showroom can hold up to 12 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, according to the company.

Park Place’s former Jaguar Plano store was a recipient of the 2016 Pride of Jaguar Retailer Excellence distinction for its fifth consecutive year. Only 16 of the 162 total Jaguar dealers in the U.S. were selected, according to the company.

Customer advocacy, sales and business excellence were the three core business categories Jaguar dealers were recognized for.

Last year, Jaguar Plano also earned the Marque of Distinction title as the No.1 Jaguar dealership in the country three years in a row. Just one Pride of Jaguar Retailer Excellence recipient is awarded the title each year.

ProMax adds open recall monitoring tool

DAVENPORT, Iowa - 

Dealer Marketing Services, the makers of ProMax Unlimited, recently released Recall Check, a new feature for the platform that tracks open recalls.

Recall Check was designed to monitor a dealer’s entire inventory for open recalls.

“Recall Check gives our dealer customers a foolproof way to track all pertinent recall information and use it to generate service business and protect their dealership from liability,” ProMax chief executive officer John Palmer said in a news release.

Recall Check is powered by the provider of automotive recall news and data Recall Masters, which draws on a comprehensive OEM database.

“As the automotive market evolves, Recall Masters is continually evolving our systems and database to provide the most valuable information possible to promote sound dealership business initiatives and consumer safety,” Recall Masters chief executive officer Christopher Miller said.

“The integration with ProMax’s Recall Check feature allows their customers to easily access unique recall data and information through the existing ProMax workflow. ProMax dealers can focus on efficiently managing recalls and attending to the needs of consumers through a familiar, proven platform. The partnership with ProMax is one more step in the right direction to ensure consumer safety and to mitigate the risk of automotive-related injuries.”

The new solution uses an automatic nightly process and checks for recalls anytime a trade is booked in or a vehicle is delivered.

“Recall Check is a tool that can be leveraged in a number of ways,” added ProMax chief operations officer Shane Born. “The automatic monitoring ensures that all recall information is available; dealers can craft different strategies based on their local laws and individual prerogatives. Savvy dealers can use Recall Check to better evaluate trades, book in inventory, or funnel customers to their service lane in some instances. There are also options to print recall disclosure forms on sold vehicles. It has everything a dealer needs. There are a lot of possibilities.”

Additionally, all recall information obtained by Recall Check is tracked across several reports dealerships can access at their leisure.

LHM store named on Arizona top workplace list

PHOENIX - 

Larry H. Miller Dodge Ram Avondale recently announced that it has once again made it onto The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com’s 2017 list of Top Companies to Work For in Arizona.

The dealership is on the list for the second consecutive year. A total of 100 companies are chosen each year.

All of the companies were honored at an awards breakfast reception held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel on Thursday.

“It is incredible to see that a culture based on the values of stewardship, hard work, integrity and service can make such a difference both in the lives of our employees and our customers,” LHM Dodge Ram Avondale general manager Mike Messina said in a news release.

“As our employees embrace the culture that we are striving to achieve, it drives them to succeed. In turn, it drives our business, making us the best place in town to work and do business. It is extremely gratifying to see the many lives that have been enriched as this dealership continues to evolve.”

LHM Dodge Ram Avondale said it was recognized for its employee incentive programs such as the dealership’s holiday bonus program, employee appreciation celebrations and Saturday lunches.

Each company on the list completed a two-part assessment process conducted by Best Companies Group (BCG), an independent workplace research firm.

BCG used the combined data from both parts of the assessment process to select the 100 companies honored.

The process began with BCG’s Employer Questionnaire, which asked about benefits, human resourse policies and the fun things employers do for their employees, according to LHM Dodge Ram Avondale.

Following the first assessment, companies were asked to take the Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey.

The survey measures employee experience in the following nine core focus areas:

  1. leadership and planning
  2. corporate culture and communications
  3. role satisfaction
  4. work environment
  5. relationship with supervisor
  6. training
  7. development and resources
  8. pay and benefits
  9. overall engagement

The 100 companies are to be named in a special supplement in the July 2 issue of The Arizona Republic, as well as at topcompanies.azcentral.com and www.BestCompaniesAZ.com.

Galpin sets 11,000-unit summer sales goal

NORTH HILLS, Calif. - 

Galpin Motors is currently aiming to sell 11,000 vehicles during its annual summer sales event, which kicked off on Memorial Day weekend and will continue through the end of September.

Over the years, the dealership has committed to sales challenges such as the Galpin 3,000, the Galpin 4,000, the Galpin 6,000 and the more recent Galpin 10,000.

Galpin said this year it was time to bring the sale to 11,000.

“The Galpin 10,000 has always been a fun summer sales event, but this year we thought it was time to take it all the way up to 11,” Galpin Motors president Beau Boeckmann said in a news release.

“We need that extra push to go one louder and are very excited about the Galpin 11,000.”

Additionally, throughout the summer, Galpin said, in conjunction with its sale its employees will work with a number of community organizations and charity groups to collectively contribute 11,000 hours of charitable service to the dealership's local community

Employees’ community activities will include volunteer work and city beautification projects, according to Galpin.

“Meaningful philanthropy plays a big role at Galpin and we look forward to positively impacting our community while also reaching our sales goals,” Boeckmann said.

VinSolutions to host summit on CRM utilization & retention

MISSION, Kan. - 

VinSolutions is set to host its annual VinWorx User Summit on July 11 and July 12 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The two-day summit provides attendees training on improving CRM utilization and how to use data to increase customer retention. 

"Automotive and marketing trends are changing on an ongoing basis, coupled with a shifting sales forecast in automotive. For dealerships to stay ahead of their competition, they need to know how to create a personalized customer experience and how to maximize marketing, lead-generation and ongoing customer engagement," VinSolutions Senior Director of Performance Management Mark Vickery said in a news release. "VinWorx is the perfect setting for dealers to gain some new insights, skills and approaches to making their dealerships more profitable."

VinWorx speakers, break-out sessions and software training will focus on topics relevant to auto dealers, such as what dealerships can expect from the car selling process in today’s digital landscape.

Breakout sessions will cover three themes related to VinSolutions' Connect CRM: Connect, Ignite and Succeed.

The summit's line-up of keynote speakers includes Cox Automotive Chief Operating Officer Mark O'Neil; Tim Mueller, automotive industry strategist from Google; PCG Communications founder Brian Pasch; and Mike Burgiss, Cox Automotive’s vice president of digital retailing.

"We are always asked by our customers what can be done to make them better dealers," Vickery added. "At VinWorx, you can have that conversation with VinSolutions experts and your peers from across the country."

For more additional information about VinWorx or to register for the summit, click here.