Holiday car shoppers are often ready to buy

CARY, N.C. - 

In the spirit of summer holidays like Independence Day, 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 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’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 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, 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 bought a car over the holiday and seven out of 10 said they wish to make a purchase within three months.

For some used-car shoppers, 'Fly to Buy' makes most sense

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  - 

While most of the time a used-car shopper isn’t going to stray far from home to buy a vehicle, in certain cases it actually makes more financial sense for them to take a flight to a city where car prices are considerably less expensive.

Or as CarGurus puts it, “Fly to Buy.”

Analysts with the company found that because of the way used-car prices differ across the country, flying to a city with significantly lower used-car prices can sometimes be a cheaper option for the consumer — even when travel costs are considered.

“Shopping local makes sense for most car shoppers, but the adventurous deal-seeker could find a used car far outside their home region and still see big savings — with the added bonus of a fun summer road trip,” CarGurus data analyst Lisa Rosenberg said in a news release.

“Even for less ambitious shoppers, this research highlights just how much variability can exist on used-car prices in different markets,” she said. “Expanding your search area even moderately can sometimes unearth opportunities to save.”

CarGurus gives the theoretical example of an Albany, N.Y. car shopper looking to buy a 2015 Ford Mustang.

If the shopper booked a one-way plane ticket to Miami to buy the car instead, then drove the car back to New York, he or she would save over $2,000.

And that includes fuel and plane costs.

Similarly, an Albuquerque, N.M., shopper can hop on a jet to Dallas and save $1,900 when he or she buys a 2007 BMW 3 Series.

And one trip CarGurus listed netted savings of more than $4,000.

If a shopper is willing to trek across the country from San Jose, Calif. to Buffalo, N.Y. to buy their 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, doing so could save $4,347.

If a Nashville Predators fan wants to commiserate with a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, flying from the Music City to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will net a savings of $3,307 on a 2013 Ford F-150.

All told, CarGurus listed what it found to be the top Fly to Buy routes for popular vehicles, which include:

2007 Chevy Tahoe: Reno, Nev. to New York – estimated savings of $2,224

2013 Ford F-150: Nashville, Tenn. to Cleveland – estimated savings of $3,307

2014 Chevy Silverado: San Jose, Calif. to Buffalo, N.Y. – estimated savings of $4,347

2014 Chevy Silverado: Sacramento, Calif. to Boston – estimated savings of $3,036

2007 BMW 3 Series: Albuquerque, N.M. to Dallas – estimated savings of $1,871

2010 Chevy Camaro: Louisville, Ky. to Miami – estimated savings of $1,781

2006 Dodge Charger: Jackson, Miss. to Washington, D.C. – estimated savings of $1,392

2006 Dodge Charger: Memphis, Tenn. to Miami – estimated savings of $2,239

2007 Toyota Camry: El Paso, Texas to Chicago – estimated savings of $1,877

CarGurus determined the savings by taking Instant Market Value data on more than 5 million used cars in the Lower 48 states, determining the IMV on poplar used vehicles in each metro area, then comparing the various metro areas.

The savings account for average airfare costs based on U.S. Department of Transportation Domestic Airline Consumer Airfare Report from the third quarter of 2016; fuel costs based on AAA figures from June 5; and it defined metro areas as 50 miles around the center of a given city.

For more from CarGurus, check out our podcast below with chief revenue officer Sam Zales.


New CFO joins automotiveMastermind


automotiveMastermind has hired Eric Daniels as chief financial officer to reinforce a controlled financial infrastructure that provides product development opportunities within the company.

Daniels most recently served as the chief financial officer of National Response Corporation, a private equity owned environmental services company.

He brings 15 years of experience leading global finance teams of both middle-market private and public companies.

“Bringing in Eric is the right step toward building an executive team capable of making the right investment decisions and solidifying the responsible financial and legal systems of the company,” automotiveMastermind chief executive officer and co-founder Marco Schnabl said in a news release. “Innovation continues to be at the forefront of automotiveMastermind and these executive appointments will help the company grow in all aspects while supporting our current exponential growth.”

Daniels' background includes improving the operational efficiencies of companies in various industries and generating key indicator reporting to help drive growth.

He has managed acquisition integrations, financial system implementations and facilitated capital market transactions, according to automotiveMastermind.

“My previous experience has made me better able to identify a market leader and innovator like automotiveMastermind. The way the company utilizes data and passes it on to our dealer partners adds value and ROI that pays for itself four times over,” Daniels said.

“This kind of performance in the market will help us set the benchmark for how all automotive sales are transacted. The ultimate goal is to make the automotiveMastermind Behavior Prediction Score become as synonymous as a FICO score.”

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.

Consumers show strong midsize sedan loyalty


Consumers’ loyalty to midsize sedans is currently strong and shopper interest across all luxury SUV/CUV segments is up 2 percent from April, according to Jumpstart Automotive Media’s latest shopper interest data report.

Interest in midsize sedans across Jumpstart’s portfolio of sites is up for the second consecutive month, rising by 4 percent during April and May.

Jumpstart’s May report determined 49 percent of midsize sedan shoppers surveyed by the company are exclusively researching vehicles in this category.

“As shopper interest in SUVs and CUVs has grown exponentially over the past few years, luxury auto brands have been expanding their lineups to include more size, feature, and pricepoint options. And we’re seeing that these brands are now experiencing broad audience appeal,” Jumpstart marketing and strategic insights vice president Libby Murad-Patel said in a news release.

“We are also interested to see that midsize sedans — a segment that had the fifth largest loyalty decrease in 2015 – 2016 (down 11 percent) — has seen loyalty grow every month this year. As loyalty continues to be a challenge, especially amidst the growth in SUV and CUV options, this is impressive.”

Behind Ford and Chevrolet, holding its rank as the third most-shopped brand, Toyota gained 6-percent share last month.

Toyota saw success among some of its core and newer models such as the Camry, RAV4 and C-HR.

Fellow Japanese brand, Mazda, also gained 6 percent share in May, the automaker currently ranks eighth among of all brands researched on Jumpstart sites.

The report broke down Toyota & Mazda growth trends in May:

  • Toyota

— Camry (+8%, rank 17)

— RAV4 (+16%, rank 32)

— Corolla (+15%, rank 55)

— C-HR (+89%, rank 104)

— 86 (+41%, rank 136)

— Yaris iA (+19%, rank 248)

  • Mazda

— CX-5 (+7%, rank 13)

— MX-5 Miata (+18%, rank 14)

— CX-9 (+20%, rank 26)

— 6 (+17%, rank 77)

— CX-3 (+4%, rank 85)

Jumpstart's May report is based on the shopping behavior of more than 17 million car shoppers who are researching vehicles across the company’s portfolio of automotive publishers.

CarStory revamps solution to keep mobile shoppers & ‘skimmers’ on VDPS

CARY, N.C. - 

CarStory has released an enhanced version of its Market Reports that is designed to heighten mobile shopper engagement on VDPs, according to the artificial intelligence platform’s creator Chad Bockius.

“The main focus for this release was all about the design, in terms of the look and feel, but more importantly how we represent the analytics that we share and how to optimize Market Reports for mobile shopping,” Bockius said in a phone interview with Auto Remarketing.

“Over three-fourths of consumers today are shopping on their mobile device — both on their couch and on the lot. And as a result of that, it has created a culture of skimmers.”

Because mobile devices have become the primary type of interface for a large majority of the population it is important to make mobile shopping experiences conveniently engaging, Bockius explained.

“They’re going to skim information quickly and we had to address that,” he said.

“We had to create an experience that allows consumers to access and consume the data the way that they want it. Which is just a reality of 2017.”

CarStory Market Reports is now fitted with added additional data elements, such as a feature on the Market Reports home screen where machine learning is used to automatically identify images, according to Bockius,

“Based on our research, we know exactly which images consumers want to see first, and we use that data and our machine learning to process those images to create a collage on the first screen of the Market Report. Which is not just a nice design element, but more importantly it’s giving information to the consumer,” Bockius explained. “It’s not giving them the information over text, it’s giving them information visually, so they can see what features the vehicle has.”

Bockius said CarStory offers dealers three benefits: more engagement, more leads and ultimately more sales.

“In our research, we have found that dealers who have employed Market Reports see a 60 percent decrease in bounce rate. And we have seen a 24 percent increase in lead conversion,” he said.

Bockius believes the dealer VDP should be the best resource for a consumer who is making that decision to buy.

“The more people that you are bringing into the door, the more you are going to be able to sell. If you can’t engage that consumer on the VDP, it’s the equivalent of having that consumer walk off your lot,” he said.

“We have brought all the critical research information directly to bare on the dealers’ VDP to keep those consumers engaged and tell the consumer the whole story, so that ultimately they can make that confident decision to buy.”

CarStory has the largest depository of inventory data in the industry, according to Bockius.

“It’s quite amazing, the amount of science and the amount of data processing that occurs to generate these reports, but at the end of the day our goal is to hide all that to ultimately create a simple summary that consumers can access right on that dealer VDP,” he said. “When we analyze the data, we are looking at a specific vehicle relative to the market competition in a local area. All of our data comes down to two buckets of data we have to sort and analyze the first is all of the market supply data or the actual inventory, so what is available for sale today — that’s part of the data.”

Bockius said consumer demand data, which covers a variety of things, is the second source of CarStory data.

“We look at what consumers are searching for, the vehicles that they are spending their time on, the vehicles they are cross shopping and the features they are looking for,” he added.

Bockius mentioned that Kevin Frye, eCommerce director of Jeff Wyler Automotive Family once told him that with CarStory Market Reports, he can become an instant expert on every car on the lot.

“You can imagine how difficult it is for any salesperson to know the specific, the whole story about hundreds of cars,” he said. "We automate that process for you, we can put that information right in your pocket and you can be an expert whether you’re talking to a consumer on the phone or on the lot instantly, and that is going to help dealers move metal,”

CarStory is completely free to dealers. For more information, about Market Reports or to become a participating dealer, visit

Florida Ford store involved with PERQ’s $25K promotion winner


PERQ — a service provider that says it has experts in online consumer engagement and behavior to help dealers — on Wednesday announced the winner of its annual $25,000 FATWIN Sweepstakes. The recipient was a customer who shopped online through a Florida Ford store’s website.

Jose M. Hervis Garcia from Plantation, Fla., was selected from more than 171,000 eligible FATWIN entries. Garcia, his wife and two sons plan to put the money toward a house.

“This is one of the best parts of my job — watching dealership customers deploy interactive website experiences that consumers are engaged in and get value from. We devised the $25K sweepstakes to incentivize the consistent provision of quality data by consumers – which translates into higher conversions for our dealership customers,” said Muhammad Yasin, director of marketing at PERQ.

“On behalf of the PERQ team, we’re pleased to congratulate the Garcia family and wish them well as they start a new adventure in a new home,” Yasin continued.

The company said the drawing illustrates the effectiveness of PERQ’s FATWIN Trade Appraisal Plus solution. Garcia, who had visited multiple dealership websites, landed on the Sawgrass Ford website and was able to quickly go through the interactive Trade Appraisal Plus experience, answer a few questions, and get an estimated trade value for his vehicle.

As part of the process, Garcia entered the sweepstakes — and the rest is history. Now Garcia and family are shopping for a new home, and the dealership has a very happy customer.

“You always see these types of sweepstakes, but you never expect it’s going to be you or your customer that is going to be the beneficiary,” said Rob Baker, Internet sales director at Sawgrass Ford. “It’s a delight that you can put that type of happiness into someone’s life.”

Baker said the entire team at the dealership presented the oversized $25,000 FATWIN check to Garcia and his 8-year-old son.

“The money helps a lot,” Garcia said. “The kids know that this money is going to improve their lives. We are all very happy. I want to thank PERQ and Sawgrass Ford for this opportunity to find a new home.”

Shift’s free BMW contest open for entries


Online used-car marketplace Shift has announced that next month, the company is set to gift one California resident any BMW listed on (provided the vehicle is priced at $20,000 or less) as part of its current California BMW Giveaway contest.

Californians interested in entering the contest can visit the Shift Facebook page, where on July 10 the grand prize winner will be announced as well.

Contestants must be over the age of 18 to win and entries will be accepted until July 9, according to Shift.

In addition to the grand prize, Shift has collaborated with Navdy, Turo and YourMechanic to give dozens of participants partner prizes on June 26.

“We are excited to announce our BMW car giveaway,” Shift chief executive officer George Arison said in a news release. “In just two years, Shift has become the No. 1 seller of used cars in the Bay Area and BMW has consistently been our number one selling car. This contest is our way of saying thank you to our loyal customers.”

Additionally, the contest's grand prize winner can also opt to apply $20,000 towards the purchase price of any BMW they choose.

Auto/Mate integrates DMS with DealerMine's 360-degree CRM solution


Auto/Mate Dealership Systems's DMS is now fully integrated with automotive CRM and BDC solutions provider DealerMine.

DealerMine is a 360-degree automotive CRM solution designed to advance revenue in both the sales and service departments.

The solution’s CRM can handle prospecting, lead management, desking and campaigns for sales departments and help drive traffic and maximize dealer’s shop capacity through service scheduling, online scheduling and telephony solutions, according to Auto/Mate.

"We welcome DealerMine as an Open/Mate partner," Auto/Mate president and chief executive officer Mike Esposito said in a news release. "DealerMine's CRM solution provides way more than just contact management; it provides dealers with the actionable data they need to increase their competitiveness at every stage of the sales and service cycle."

Additionally, Auto/Mate said it currently offers seamless integration for third-party vendors with its Open/Mate program.

"Auto/Mate is an advocate of open standards integration as a way to increase competition, lower prices and improve the quality of products offered by all vendors," the dealership DMS software provider said.

Dealer Teamwork secures U.S. patent for digital marketing tech platform


Dealer Teamwork recently announced that it has received a United States Patent for its Merchandising, Personalization and Optimization Platform (MPOP) technology that creates, distributes and publishes contextual marketing campaigns.

The new patent covering Dealer Teamwork’s MPOP technology grants valuable intellectual property protection for the company’s processes regarding methods and data formats connected to developing marketing campaigns using transaction data.

"This new patent shows Dealer Teamwork's customers that while we provide a successful software platform, we're incorporating innovative technologies to ease marketing implementation and seamlessly facilitate the distribution of transactional data to their respective marketing channels," Dealer Teamwork chief executive officer and co-founder Sean Stapleton said in a news release.

"We ensure the highest level of accuracy and ease for our customers to publish transactional data — better enabling them to provide the necessary signals to search engines and deliver the most relevant content to in-market shoppers, and therefore help grow dealers' businesses," he added.