Education

Los Angeles metro Nissan store captures brand's most Hispanic buyers

DOWNEY, Calif. - 

Nissan recently announced that its Downey Nissan store in California currently leads the brand in volume sales to Hispanic customers.

In addition to nearly doubling its sales to the Hispanic market this year, the Los Angles metro-area based dealership also leads the brand's Western region in year-to-date overall sales, according to Nissan.

 "The automotive retail business is a people business,” Downey Nissan owner Tim Hutcherson said in a news release.

“The key is to find, hire and train people who truly love every aspect of their career. If they love what they do, who they work for, the product, the process, and the environment the results are going to be positive. It's really difficult to sabotage any task you truly love performing.”

General sales manager, Nakita Joshi said she credits sales growth to the people who make up Downey Nissan, as well.

In April, Downey Nissan moved to a new 55,000 square-foot facility on Firestone Boulevard, which intersects with three cities representing a large Hispanic population.

Currently, 90 percent of the dealerships sales staff are bilingual English-Spanish.

“We’re like family,” said Joshi. “Our customers see themselves reflected in our staff, and that makes a huge difference.”

Downey Nissan is on pace to sell approximately 4,800 new and used-vehicles this year, according to Nissan.

Auction Academy students visit NADA’s Dealer Academy, Bel Air Auto Auction for latest session

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

Auction Academy’s class group 5 recently visited NADA’s Dealer Academy and toured the all-new Bel Air Auto Auction in Belcamp, Md., for a two-day session.

Its third of eight sessions started with a full day at NADA’s Dealer Academy. Students participated in “Through the Dealer’s Eyes,” a program that focuses on covering all aspects of operating a franchise auto dealership, according to Auction Academy.

The program is taught by NADA instructor and former National Auto Auction Association chief operating officer Michael Hayes.

“Our most recent trip to Baltimore gave us an amazing opportunity to experience NADA from a dealer's perspective and our most gracious hosts, the Nichols family of Bel Air Auto Auction, allowed us incredible access to their stunning new location. I am so grateful and excited to be a part of Auction Academy Class 5. I can't wait to see what comes next,” Big Valley Auto Auction general manager and class group 5 student Lisa Franz said in a news release.

On day two, students began with a tour of Bel Air Auto Auction’s 185-acre facility, followed by presentations from Todd August, Avis/Budget Car Rental Eastern regional manager; Will Chandler and Thad Sykes of Next Gear Capital; and Chris Clarke, head of remarketing at fleet management company ARI.

“We were delighted to meet with the Auction Academy class group and particularly enjoyed hearing their observations and answering their questions as we showed them our new auction facility,” said R. Charles Nichols chief executive officer of BSC America, which operates both Bel Air Auto Auction and Tallahassee Auto Auction.

“Auction Academy provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to gain insights in auction operations and develop crucial skills needed to run an auction in today’s complex and competitive environment.  We have observed the benefits of the program among our own employees, as several are graduates of Auction Academy and one of our own, Christina Shepard is part of the current 5th class group. The training they have received has not only proved a great benefit to each of them personally and but has contributed to the operational and service standards that are vital to our auction’s success,” Nichols continued.

In February, Auction Academy’s next class 5 group session will be in Birmingham, Ala., where they will be hosted by AutoTec companies Auction Insurance Agency and Auction Access.

The session will include a tour of America’s Auto Auction of Birmingham and ADESA Birmingham, according to the Auction Academy.

U.S. News recommends top used cars for teenagers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 

U.S. News & World Report has released its list of the Best Used Cars for Teens, and three models from General Motors cracked the rankings. 

The rankings can be a resource for parents in search of safe, dependable used-cars for their new drivers, the publication said. 

“Just because you're looking for a used car for your teen driver doesn't mean you should compromise on peace of mind,” U.S. News Best Cars managing editor Jamie Page Deaton said in a news release. “The 2017 Best Used Cars for Teens are all dependable, provide excellent crash protection and have available active safety features that can keep teens safe.”

To be considered for the list vehicles must be from the 2012 to 2014 model years, according to U.S. News.

Each vehicle must also carry an impressive combination of reliability ratings, crash test scores, and advanced driver assistance features.

Vehicles to make the 2017 Best Used Cars for Teens list include:

  • 2013 Buick Verano, Best Used Small Car for Teens
  • 2014 GMC Terrain, Best Used Small SUV for Teens
  • 2012 Honda Accord, Best Used Midsize Car for Teens
  • 2012 Buick Enclave, Best Used Midsize SUV for Teens
  • 2014 Toyota Avalon, Best Used Large Car for Teens

For teens and parents seeking, more options, U.S. News & World Report has also released an additional list of recommended picks from the 2015 model-year which includes vehicles with the latest high-tech safety features.

Manheim prepares to gift 5th car to Calif. auto shop students

ATLANTA - 

Manheim California recently announced that it has planned another trip to Valley High School in Santa Ana, Calif. for the third year of its “Flip this Car” project, which shows auto shop students how to recondition cars and auction them off to expand their understanding of career options in the automotive industry.

The program provides students with both the opportunity to learn real-world skills and raise money to support their auto shop programs.

Manheim California developed the program with High School, Inc., a non-profit organization established to help prepare students for the 21st century workforce.

“When you can connect the best of what your organization has to offer with a need in the community, that’s where magic happens,” Manheim California general manager Tom Wemhoff said in a news release. “We’re thrilled to be continuing our partnership with High School, Inc. and working closely with our dealer partners to continue inspiring the next generation of the automotive workforce.”

Manheim California connects with its dealer partners to secure vehicles for the auto shop students and donates the total sale price back to the school once the vehicle is bought at auction.

All proceeds have gone to support Valley High School’s auto shop program for student’s new tools and resources.

Additionally, students can watch the sale from their classroom via Simulcast.

“From the first time I saw the hopefulness and pride in the students’ faces as their first vehicle crossed the auction block, I knew we had something special,” said Wayne Hefft, Manheim’s client solutions executive who has led the partnership for the last two years. “We’re proud of the success these students have achieved and look forward to continuing this great program.”

Manheim California has completed the "Flip This Car" project with four cars, earning a total of $14,000 in two years.

Hefft is currently working with Valley High School and dealer partners to secure the project’s next vehicle, according to Manheim California.

“Our goal at High School, Inc. is to set students up for success in the workforce by enabling them to build the skills and knowledge they need,” added program Director, Shaylin Johnson. “The unique partnership we have built with the Manheim team is exemplary of how local businesses can get involved and help drive students toward brighter futures.”

Edmunds, AP partner to publish consumer-centric auto content

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - 

Edmunds announced Wednesday that it has struck a new content collaboration deal with The Associated Press to produce articles for its "Behind the Wheel" column.

Edmunds has signed on to provide weekly content to the AP column, which covers vehicle comparisons, car shopping tips, consumer advice and expert automotive opinions.

"This collaboration makes perfect sense, The Associated Press has a stellar reputation as one of the most trusted independent news sources, and Edmunds is known as one of the most trusted resources for unbiased automotive information," Edmunds chief executive officer Avi Steinlauf said in a news release.

"We're thrilled to leverage the expertise of our industry-leading vehicle testing and consumer advice teams to help the AP's millions of readers find their perfect vehicle."

The "Behind the Wheel" content from Edmunds will be published by the AP on Wednesday mornings, according to the company.

Additionally, Edmunds said articles will be bylined by its editors and will cover a wide range of consumer-centric topics.

"We are pleased to be working with Edmunds to offer additional automotive content to AP's members and customers that's timely and useful," added Lisa Gibbs, director of news partnerships at the AP. "The content provided by the experts at Edmunds aligns with AP's mission of accurate, unbiased reporting."

CarMD launches new educational online 'health report' tool

IRVINE, Calif. - 

CarMD recently launched CarMD Garage, its new turnkey online tool that provides car owners, used-car shoppers and auto industry partners with useful vehicle service and repair information.

Using any vehicle’s year, make, model and mileage, the new service generates a free CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Report with information on how to both reduce the cost of vehicle ownership and extend a vehicle’s life.

“CarMD Garage offers a way to find solutions for some of the most frequently searched for vehicle service and repair information as well as automated, accurate parts purchasing,” CarMD technical director David Rich said in a news release.

“Different CarMD Garage features will appeal to different markets, whether you are a consumer who just wants to stay on top of your vehicle’s performance, a DIYer who wants service your own vehicle or get details and estimates for repairs, or an aftermarket or telematics affiliate partner looking to enhance the overall value provided to customers by offering monthly vehicle health reports.”

Each free CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Report features the following information:

•        VIN decoding

•        Average miles per gallon

•        Recalls

•        Service Maintenance Due

•        Warranty Status

•        Predicted Failure count

•        Technical Service Bulletin count

Premium report information is available for purchase for most 1996 to current OBD-II cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs.

The premium option offers vehicle title history reporting, such as DMV and accident history, as well as a list of detailed predicted failures with descriptions and parts and labor estimates for service issues.

CarMD Garage also can be integrated into partner websites, apps and telematics services.

CarMD said its new service offers business partners a low-cost way to enhance their offerings and increase customer retention.

“As online auto parts purchasing becomes more prevalent, automotive enthusiasts and DIYers find that it can be difficult and time consuming to search millions of parts online to find the right part for a specific vehicle,” the company said.

“When maintenance is due, CarMD Garage pinpoints the right part and provides a direct link to purchase the part online, which also reduces returns for the online retailer.”

Currently, the company is seeking select affiliate partners in the used-car, usage-based insurance, automotive retail and repair shop referral markets.

For more information about the CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Report, visit carmd.com/garage.

Cox Automotive & NADA partner with Hireology for dealership workforce conference

CHICAGO - 

Hireology is looking to help dealerships slow the costly churn of employees being added and subtracted from their workforce.

Officials from the hiring and talent management platform are working in partnership with Cox Automotive and the National Automobile Dealers Association to host a retail automotive human capital management summit called Elevate. Intended for general managers, dealer principals and HR leaders, Hireology insisted attendees will assess competencies, identify gaps and formally develop 2018 human capital management plans during the conference, set for Sept. 19 in Chicago.

Hireology went on to highlight participants will build the strategy and tactical plan to turn their hiring and talent management processes into a source of competitive advantage. Leveraging a provided playbook to guide discussion, attendees will create a plan unique to their organization and outline steps necessary to successfully implement changes after the event.

“As the retail automotive industry enters a more challenging cycle, management teams must leverage human capital as a source of competitive advantage,” said Adam Robinson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hireology.

“For most dealerships, the people side of their business is an under-managed operation that represents huge upside potential. Attendees will leave this event with a defined human capital game plan that can dramatically improve their competitiveness and profitability.”

New research from Cox Automotive and Hireology will be released at the event, providing critical insight into the state of dealership staffing. Through extensive research of more than 1,000 dealerships, their employees and the broader U.S. workforce, the 2017 Dealership Staffing Study provides perspective on

—Current perceptions of working in automotive

—How to drive greater applicant engagement

—Tactics to drive great buyer satisfaction via your staffing strategy

A wide array of summit speakers are on the agenda, including:

—Michael Dunlap, director of business development at Schomp Automotive

—Isabelle Helms, VP of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive

—Chris Hoffman, regional managing partner in San Diego at Fisher & Phillips

—Chris Holzshu, executive vice president & chief human resources officer at Lithia Motors

—Jessica Kain-Barton, director of client relations and sales at Kain Automotive

—Eve Knudtsen, president at Knudtsen Chevrolet

—Eric Savage, owner of Freedom Automotive Group

—Steven Szakaly, chief economist at NADA

Elevate will be held Sept 19 at the Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare, located at 5550 N. River Road in Rosemont, Ill. Click here to register and purchase tickets. For more information, call (312) 283-3625, email hpigman@hireology.com or visit hireology.com/elevate2017.

eAutoAppraise enhances valuation transparency with Black Book

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - 

Black Book now serves as the trade appraisal engine for eAutoAppraise, an online trade-in solution fitted with vehicle shopping features designed to lead dealers to more successful sales transactions.

All eAutoAppraise dealers can now provide customizable value ranges on specifically tailored vehicle questions powered Black Book values.

Ranges are narrowed down following a series of questions answered by the customer about the details of their vehicle trade.

"We're excited to partner with eAutoAppraise, a superior online appraisal engine that offers dealers a chance to close more deals quicker, and make strong profit margins," Black Book senior vice president of sales Jared Kalfus said in a news release. "An accurate valuation on a trade is a key component to the car-shopping experience, and customers that come equipped with a more narrow number in mind have a better experience at the dealership."

Additionally, eAutoAppraise’s office suite also offers dealers values, special offer banners and direct mapping to specific dealerships for geo-targeting.

"Our mission is to provide dealers with the best leads possible for increased sales, and to serve as the catalyst for simple vehicle sales transactions," Barry Brodsky, managing partner of eAutoAppraise, said in the release.

"The vehicle trade appraisal component is extremely crucial to any new vehicle transaction, and with Black Book powering our valuation process we're confident that we can offer up an experience that will increase customer satisfaction online and at the dealership," he said.

Cox Automotive Media Solutions outlines digital marketing strategy series

ATLANTA - 

Cox Automotive acknowledged today’s retail landscape moves faster than ever. And if dealerships and other industry participants are not out front, everyone can risk falling behind.

Reflecting its position as a leading provider of products and services for automotive dealers and car buyers, Cox Automotive on Monday announced the launch of Nextology, what the company highlighted as an exclusive, future-forward digital marketing strategy series presented by Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Dealer.com.

Utilizing a fast-paced interactive format and exclusive insight culled from its category-leading network of consumers and dealerships, Cox Automotive explained that Nextology events will foster deep connections with leading digital marketing strategists and experts as well as other top dealers. The events will combine dynamic working sessions, data-driven keynotes and strategic consultations, all in a premier setting with overnight accommodations provided.

“The Nextology series will be underpinned by our deep understanding of and relevance to our clients' day-to-day marketing and operations challenges,” said Brian Geitner, president of Cox Automotive Media Solutions.

“We’re excited to create a new level of value for our clients by delivering direct access to Cox Automotive and media executive leadership as well as internal subject matter experts in a consultative, collaborative and collegial environment,” Geitner continued.

The company noted attendees will also learn about and demo new and emerging products from the automotive industry's leading digital marketing platforms.

The Nextology series builds on Cox Automotive’s commitment to dealer education. The company has hosted events in dozens of markets across the country, bringing insights and best practices to more than 2,600 attendees representing 1,600 dealers.

Following a successful launch in Miami last month, the next event will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston on July 19 and 20 and will feature a keynote address by Geitner. Additional dates will be announced later this year.

For more information about Nextology programs, visit dealer.com/events/Nextology or to register for the Boston event, go to this website.

NIADA sets new convention attendance record

ARLINGTON, Texas - 

For the second year in a row, the NIADA Convention and Expo was the largest ever.

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association highlighted that the final count is in, and it shows this year’s convention, held June 12-15 at The Mirage in Las Vegas, edged the 2016 total for most attendees in the 71-year history of the event.

Overall attendance was up for the fifth consecutive year, and the number of dealers was also up from last year. And just as in 2016, nearly 20 percent of those attending the 2017 convention did so for the first time.

Among attendees who responded to NIADA's post-convention survey, the association reported:

—98 percent said they were satisfied with the event

—88 percent said the convention met their objectives

—94 percent said the information presented was very useful

—98 percent said the speakers and panelists were very prepared and more than three-fourths gave the sessions “good” or “excellent” ratings.

 In addition, the survey also showed:

—95 percent said they are likely to attend future NIADA events

—96 percent said they are likely to recommend NIADA events to others

—99 percent said they plan to engage with NIADA in the future

“An awesome investment in my business," wrote Larry Schmidt of Countryside Auto and Cycle in Fond du Lac, Wis. “Four days of industry-specific training along with trade vendors to improve my business — that’s an investment every dealer should be making. I'll be back next year."

NIADA highlighted the 170-plus vendors and industry partners that exhibited in the 60,000-square foot Expo Hall also felt they got their money’s worth — 84 percent of respondents to the exhibitor survey rated the value of their NIADA Convention experience “excellent” or “good.”

Alvlis Tabaks of Elva DMS said his company exhibited at NIADA’s event for the first time and “the experience we got there was beyond our expectations.

“The event structure was perfect and gave the right balance between the sessions and the expo,” Tabaks continued. “So we managed to get useful information from industry experts and had enough time to interact with attendees at our booth.”

The exhibitors gave the convention a 90 percent overall satisfaction rating, while 95 percent approved of the level of decision-makers among the attendees and 90 percent said they are likely to be back to exhibit at the 2018 Convention and Expo – which will be held June 18-21 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., as NIADA's biggest event leaves Las Vegas for the first time since 2009.

Just as it surpassed its record-setting predecessor in attendance, the 2017 convention topped the 2016 event with more sessions on more topics than any previous NIADA Convention. That included for the first time a dedicated area of focus on certified pre-owned, as well as sessions addressing retail, compliance and an even more extensive buy-here, pay-here component.

In addition to keynote speaker Captain Richard Phillips — inspiration for the hit movie Captain Phillips — the featured speakers included many of the top names in the used vehicle industry, beginning with NIADA's own Chuck Bonanno and Shaun Petersen.

Others included leadership trainer Dave Anderson, TrueCar CEO Chip Perry, Cox Automotive's Janet Barnard, attorney Tom Hudson, KAR Auction Services chief economist Tom Kontos, FBI Special Agent Edward Parmalee, AutoZone’s Ray Curry and NABD president Ken Shilson, among many others.