Education

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.

Auto/Mate announces Customer User Summit keynote

ALBANY, N.Y. - 

Auto/Mate Dealership Systems has selected Lisa Copeland of Lisa Copeland Global Enterprises to deliver the keynote address for its Customer User Summit from October 11 to 13 in San Antonio.

Copeland’s presentation is titled "Outwitting Fear; Mastering the 7 Principles of Fearless Success."

"Lisa is a longtime motivational speaker in the auto industry and her presentations are well known for being fascinating and energetic," Auto/Mate president and chief executive officer Mike Esposito said in a news release. "We look forward to having her join us."

She has been appointed by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to deliver his "Seven Ways to Outwit Fear," according to Auto/Mate.

In her keynote, the company said Copeland will discuss the seven principles of good that allow individuals to succeed.

The summit will be held at the Hilton Palacio Del Rio, on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

Friday is the deadline for both Auto/Mate customers and exhibitors to register for the summit at a discounted rate. Exhibitor opportunities are offered to Auto/Mate's Open/Mate and third-party partners and other industry vendors.

Additionally, the summit’s agenda is now finalized and the names of its sessions have been announced. For a full list, visit the event page at http://www.automate.com/usersummit/agenda.

For additional details about sponsorships and exhibitor opportunities, contact Auto/Mate's manager of events and marketing communications, Jessica Joralemon, at usersummit@automate.com.

To register for the Customer User Summit, visit http://www.automate.com/usersummit.

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.

ServNet owners meet, select 7 scholarship program winners

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

ServNet auction owners and members of its executive team met for the group's semi-annual business meeting and a visit with national remarketers at a Meet the Owners event last month.

At the Owners' Meeting, members discussed the group's Leadership Succession, which will occur this fall.

Carolina Auto Auction’s Eric Autenrieth will assume duties as ServNet's president, and current president, Kevin Brown of Missouri Auto Auction, will be succeeded by Patty Stanley of Carolina/Indiana Auto Auction as chairman of the board.

"The dominant competitive advantage of ServNet Auctions is its dynamic Owners Group, many of whom are second- and third-generation auto auction operators. ServNet's semi-annual Owners' Business Meetings are prime opportunities for the auctions' owners, who have decades of experience and a personal investment in the industry, to discuss the challenges of the market, as well as to identify opportunities for growth and explore new methods," said ServNet chief executive officer Pierre Pons.

The group also discussed the role ServNet next generation auction owners will play in building and strengthening the independent auction group.

"While the board as it currently stands is led by first-generation owners Kevin Brown and Patty Stanley, the remaining five seats are filled by next generation owners Eric Autenrieth, Beth Barber (State Line Auto Auction), Steve DeLuca (Auto Auction of New England), Ashley Dietze (San Antonio Auto Auction) and Rob Thompson (Mid-State Auto Auction). These owners have all developed into strong, capable, visionary leaders in their own right, as they continue the pattern set by their parents in building the family businesses," said Pons. "Their participation helps ensure the vitality, longevity and strength of our organization."

Additionally, the group reviewed the impact their moves to smaller, mobile auction operations in secondary markets, as well as the impact of incentives or rebates to high volume customers on both the dealer and commercial sides of the auction business, according to ServNet.

Following the business meeting, ServNet's owners and executive staff met with Dallas-area based commercial accounts and industry partners at a Meet the Owners Luncheon.

During the luncheon, the group announced the seven winners of this year's ServNet Scholarship program for children of ServNet Auction employees attending both two- and four-year colleges.

"We were pleased to expand the scholarship program this year, adding an additional award for $2,500 for a student attending a four-year college," ServNet's Brown said in a news release. "We are very happy to announce the names of seven ServNet scholarship recipients."

Recipients of ServNet’s $1,500 scholarship for study at a two-year college include Darlene Delgado and Douglas Stack.

Delgado begins her freshman year at Glendale Community College of Arizona, where she will pursue an associate of arts degree in social and behavior science and Stack is going into his sophomore year at Corning Community College in New York, where he is a CAD major.

Recipients of the $2,500 scholarship for study at a four-year college or university include Madelyn Andrews, who attends SUNY College at New Paltz, N.Y.; Anne Dabroski of Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Timothy Fujii, a junior at American University in Washington D.C.; Grant Richardson, a junior at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.; and Nina Emmick, a junior at the University of South Dakota, who has been awarded a second ServNet scholarship.

Last year, Emmick, daughter of Angela Emmick of KCI Kansas City, won one of ServNet's first scholarships as a sophomore, and she is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.

"Encouraging education is vital to the health of our industry, and we're pleased that ServNet's Scholarship program will offer assistance for both two- and four-year college programs," Stanley added.

"The auction industry is as much about 'family' as it is about anything else, and we believe that ServNet's Scholarship Program is both an important way to support that family as well as an investment in our future."

ServNet said the scholarship program was established last year as an ongoing initiative to help employees and their families pursue higher education.

In January, additional information and application forms for the 2018-2019 academic year scholarship awards will be available at www.servnetauctions.com.

NIADA honors NC dealership for community service

ARLINGTON, Texas - 

Along with announcing its college scholarship winners, the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association named Matthews Motors as the recipient of the 2017 NIADA and Cox Automotive Community Service Award in recognition of charitable efforts which have made a notable impact in Clayton, N.C.

The award honors independent dealerships for outstanding contributions to its community and the innovative ways it helps community partners fulfill their missions

During the National Leadership Awards Banquet at the 71st annual NIADA Convention and Expo this week, the family-owned and operated dealership’s owners Steve and Dale Matthews accepted their award from Cox Automotive president of inventory solutions Janet Barnard.

"Helping shape a better world through responsible company and individual actions has long been a part of the Cox culture," Barnard said in a news release. "We commend Steve and the Matthews Motors team for embodying those principles and demonstrating how every person, every organization, every day can make a difference when it comes to serving your community."

"We're honored to receive this award and be recognized by NIADA and Cox Automotive for creating positive change in our community," Steve Matthews said. "The real reward, however, comes from the impact we've made serving the Clayton area all these years."

In addition to the award, Cox Automotive also made a $10,000 donation to Clayton Area Ministries, the dealership's charity of choice. The organization provides food, medicine and utility bill assistance with to area residents.

Matthews Motors has supported more than 15 local charities and youth programs in the past year, according to NIADA.

The North Carolina dealership has raised more than $70,000 for Clayton Area Ministries and partnered with other local businesses to raise more than $10,000 for the Southeastern Medical Oncology Center's free mammogram screenings program.

NIADA scholarship winners

Also during this week's festivities, NIADA revealed the five recipients of its 2017 Scholarship Awards during the 71st Annual NIADA Convention and Expo at The Mirage in Las Vegas this week.

Each year, the NIADA Foundation partners with Manheim to sponsor a student from each of the association's four regions who has displayed exemplary abilities in education with a $3,500 scholarship to the college or university of their choice, and a $10,000 national scholarship for a student to attend Northwood University in an automotive-related field.

Recipient of the NIADA Foundation/Manheim Scholarship to Northwood University is Ali Nasrallah, a sophomore from Midland, Mich.

He has served as Northwood's student government vice president, vice president of the investments and personal finance club and vice chairman of the university's student-run International Auto Show.

Nasrallah is a dual major in automotive marketing and management and finance, and a minor in accounting.

This year’s regional scholarship winners include Logan Brinks of Marne, Mich. from Region I, Braden Martin of Nashville, Tenn. from Region II, Riley Raynor of Enid, Okla. from Region III and Juan Carrillo of Oxnard, Calif. from Region IV.

Brinks was elected class president at Coopersville High School where he played on the football team and became a National Honor Society member.

NIADA said Brinks is considering attending the University of Michigan, where has wanted to pursue a career in the auto industry.

Raynor, valedictorian of her graduating class at Chisolm High School is interested in attending Central Oklahoma University or the University of Alabama to study pre-law, psychology and philosophy. Her list of academic honors includes the Superintendent's Honor Roll, the National Honor Society, and Oklahoma Girls State.

Carillo, who also earned valedictorian honors, participated in football, baseball and taekwondo at Channel Islands High School in Oxnard, Calif. He has served as vice president of Future Leaders of America and mentors elementary school students.

NIADA said Carillo plans to major in mechanical engineering and pursue a master’s degree in automotive technology.