A select group of franchised dealers are in the running for one of the industry’s most prestigious honors.
TIME and Ally Financial on Tuesday announced the nomination of 49 exceptional dealers for the TIME Dealer of the Year Award, recognizing them for their business success and dedication to giving back.
Chosen from nearly 17,000 franchised dealers nationwide, the dealers nominated for this significant award have demonstrated strong business acumen and a steadfast commitment to their communities. The honorees will be recognized by Ally and TIME at the 103rd annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 15 during a formal ceremony where the national winner will be announced.
“The award applauds the incredible effort each of these dealers puts into their businesses and their communities,” said Doug Timmerman, president of Auto Finance at Ally. “They are influential business leaders and admired ambassadors for worthy causes. It’s an honor for Ally to recognize their generosity and impact in cities and towns across America.”
In its ninth year as the exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize the dealer nominees and their many community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. The finalists for the award will receive an additional $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive an additional $10,000 to give to charity.
Nominated by executives from state and metro dealer associations throughout the country, each nominee represents their respective association in the national competition. The awards are sponsored by TIME in partnership with Ally and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.
A list of the dealers in the running for this award is available below. To learn more about each of the 49 nominees, go to AllyDealerHeroes.com.
TIME Dealer of the Year Nominees
Edward Babcock, Junction Auto Family, Chardon, Ohio
Tommy Baker, Baker Motor Co., Charleston, S.C.
Winstead Paine Bone, Wilson County Motors, Lebanon, Tenn.
Steven Brimhall, The Minnesota Motor Co., Fergus Falls, Minn.
Steve Brown, Frank Leta Acura, St. Louis
Jim Buzzetta, Mercedes-Benz of Huntington, Huntington, N.Y.
Donald Cavenaugh, Cavenaugh Ford Lincoln, Jonesboro, Ark.
Colleen Chapleski, Dean Arbour Ford of Tawas, Tawas City, Mich.
Raymond Ciccolo, Boston Volvo Cars, Boston
Jim Coleman, Jim Coleman Toyota, Bethesda, Md.
David Cuene, Broadway Automotive Green Bay, Green Bay, Wisc.
Terry D’Arcy, D’Arcy Buick GMC Truck, Joliet, Ill.
David Daunhauer, Byerly Ford, Louisville, Ky.
Jacqueline De Luz, Big Island Toyota, Hilo, Hawaii
George Doetsch III, Apple Ford Lincoln, Columbia, Md,
John Ernst, Ernst Toyota, Columbus, Neb.
William Farrell, Berglund Luxury Roanoke, Roanoke, Va.
Fletcher Flower, Flower Motor Co., Montrose, Colo.
Paul Gaudet, AutoServ Dealerships, Tilton, N.H.
Stacey Gillman, Gillman Subaru, Houston
Bill Golling, Golling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Jeffrey Haraden, Mohawk Honda, Scotia, N.Y.
Eric Henricksen, Don Aadsen Ford, Ronan, Mont.
David Kelleher, David Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Glen Mills, Pa.
Steve Klein, Klein Honda, Everett, Wash.
Doug Knust, Harry K Ford Store, Winner, S.D.
Christian Kostelecky, Sax Motor Co., Dickinson, N.D.
Lawrence Kull, Burns Honda, Marlton, N.J.
Ken Marks, Tallahassee Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Tallahassee, Fla.
Walt Massey, Walt Massey Chevrolet Buick GMC, Lucedale, Miss.
Greg Maurer, Dale Willey Automotive, Lawrence, Kan.
Tom Miller, Tom O’Brien Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Greenwood, Ind.
Susan Moffitt, Porsche Shreveport, Shreveport, La.
Steven Olliges, Team Ford Lincoln, Las Vegas
Diana Pfeiffer, Alaska Sales and Service – Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska
Mark Porter, Mark Porter Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pomeroy, Ohio
Dan Roesch, Larry Roesch Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Elmhurst, Ill.
Paul Rusnak, Mercedes Benz of Arcadia, Arcadia, Calif.
William Strickland, Bellamy-Strickland Chevrolet Buick GMC, McDonough, Ga.
Bradford Strong, Strong Volkswagen, Salt Lake City
Eric Stuteville, Stuteville Chevrolet of Durant, Durant, Okla.
Howard Tenenbaum, Keyes Toyota, Van Nuys, Calif.
Wally Thornhill, Thornhill GM Superstore, Chapmanville, W. Va.
Natalie Tindol, Tindol Ford Roush, Gastonia, N.C.
Brian Tyrrell, Tyrrell Chevrolet Co., Cheyenne, Wyo.
Santosh Viswanathan, Willis Ford, Smyrna, Del.
Ronnie Watkins, Ronnie Watkins Ford, Gadsden, Ala.
Richard Willis, Willis Lexus, Des Moines, Iowa
Greg Wills, Wills Toyota, Twin Falls, Idaho
The automotive industry is experiencing a used-car renaissance with consumers heavily favoring used inventory over new for their vehicle purchases. While many factors are in place, this shift could primarily be attributed to used vehicle quality being better than ever, while new car prices continue to skyrocket.
In fact, per Cox Automotive data, in August, the average price of a new car was $37,401. Additionally, interest rates have recently decreased a second time with the potential for further cuts made in the future. Millennials, a generation once assumed to prefer ridesharing over vehicle ownership, are also playing a role as they’ve increased their used inventory purchasing. All these conditions have created a pathway to success for independent dealers in 2019.
At NextGear Capital, we educate our independent dealer clients on the evolving used-car marketplace and help them better understand how floor planning their inventory drives maximum results. Here are the top trends we’ve seen effecting independent dealers in 2019.
Competition for used vehicles is rising
For independent dealers, these market conditions are primed for taking advantage of floor planning to boost sales cycles. Turnover for used inventory is already 10 days fewer than it was in 2018. However, franchise dealers have also taken notice of increased consumer demand for used inventory and are stocking their lots accordingly. As a result, independent dealers have more competition for used inventory and are under added pressure to land the right vehicles for their customers.
Consumer finance companies are bullish on independent dealers
A significant amount of consumer finance companies are now expressing interest in independent dealers, which until recently, were considered taboo for these lenders. However, consumer finance companies and banks have noticed that used cars are becoming a more attractive investment. This is thanks to the improved quality of inventory across the board and the uptick of millennial consumers interested in purchasing said vehicles.
Data driving results for independent dealers
For dealers to be successful, it’s important they understand both who their clients are and the vehicles they’re interested in – with data being the key to this equation. Data can unlock a treasure trove of buyer insights to help independent dealers strategically source the exact inventory their clients want. Ultimately, data enables dealers to make better decisions about which auction to attend and what inventory to purchase. Floor planning partners, such as NextGear Capital, can look at the historical data of a dealer’s business, reviewing information such as units sold per month, lot capacity, average turn time and holding costs. With that knowledge, a solid partner can then map out a plan for dealers to function more efficiently and increase profits.
Dealers are taking advantage of market conditions
With the many factors contributing to favorable market conditions, there was a fear many independent dealers would buy too quickly and suffer as a result. However, throughout 2019, most independent dealers have become more savvy than aggressive in their decision-making. They understand that their processes must align to succeed in this environment. This means having the right technology tools and the proper line of credit in place before acquiring new inventory.
Overall, NextGear Capital has seen an increase in flooring volume throughout 2019 which indicates to us that dealers are confident. To ensure they finish the year strong, independent dealers are encouraged to be mindful of the trends listed above, but also remain consistent and disciplined and the results will follow from there.
Lisa Mackie is the vice president of sales at NextGear Capital.
Along with finalizing its lineup of keynote speakers for NADA Show 2020, the National Automobile Dealers Association is making its award-winning educational training programs more readily accessible to members and their staffs.
NADA said its training offers, such as the Professional Series classes and Academy seminars, are now available to all dealership employees through the new Education Subscription program.
“The subscription to NADA’s educational training programs is a powerful tool for providing continuous training and development to dealership employees at a low-cost monthly subscription,” said NADA chairman Charlie Gilchrist, a multi-franchise dealer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.
The subscription can be secured here.
NADA and Reflection Software recently won a gold award from the Brandon Hall Group for excellence in the category of Best Use of Video for Learning.
The award-winning training video module, “Finding Meaning Behind the Words: How Video Scenarios Brought the DISC Model to Life for Dealerships,” is part of NADA’s Professional Series course in Leadership, which centered on teaching how to effectively utilize the DISC Behavioral Model when interacting with colleagues and customers.
Reflection Software, which offers custom-built training and career development products, created the video module to supplement NADA’s instructor-led training classes.
“We are developing industry-leading curriculum for our members, and it’s satisfying when it is recognized beyond the auto industry by an organization as established as the Brandon Hall Group,” NADA executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Stanton said in a news release.
NADA and Reflection Software worked together to develop the video module, which included real-life video scenarios with interactive decision points to enhance the learning experience through observation and action. The video scenarios created for the module were designed to be authentic to the dealership setting.
Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards Program has recognized leading organizations during the past 20 years for the latest trends in Human Capital Management, according to Rachel Cooke, Brandon Hall Group COO and leader of the HCM Excellence Awards Program.
“The initiatives that were honored are not only innovative but fit the unique needs of the business and create truly remarkable success stories,” Cooke said.
Brandon Hall Group is an HCM research and advisory services firm that provides insights on key performance areas, including learning and development, HR/workforce management, leadership development and more.
Award entries, which were evaluated by a panel of independent industry experts and Brandon Hall Group analysts and executives, were based on the following criteria:
— Fit the need
— Design of the program
— Overall measurable benefits
Each year, the NADA Show brings world-renowned speakers and industry experts to its four-day event to share insights on topics that will help drive dealerships into the future. The keynote speakers for NADA Show 2020 include David Cameron, former prime minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016, and Mary Barra, chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors.
Gilchrist, the 2019 NADA chairman, and Rhett Ricart, 2019 NADA vice chairman, will share their perspectives on the auto industry. Kathleen Madigan, voted best female stand-up at the American Comedy Awards, will offer comedic relief.
NADA’s annual show returns to Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb. 14-17.
Attendee registration for the show is open here. The early-bird registration discount ends Sept. 13. NADA said the popular hotels are selling out.
The shortage of trained auto mechanics has been the subject of many news articles. Matrix Trade Institute’s 20-week accelerated auto mechanic training program is working to ease that shortage.
Noting the great demand for auto mechanics as many mechanics approach retirement and not enough prospective mechanics are looking to enter the profession, Matrix Trade Institute says it has trained more than 80 mechanics in northeast Ohio since it started out at the beginning of this year.
Matrix Trade Institute co-founder Dustin Peugeot says his company works toward “igniting careers.”
“If you want to learn the trade, we can get you there faster and more efficiently with interactive learning technology and hands-on skill and efficiency training,” Peugeot said in a news release.
The institute also trains local dealerships and auto repair shops in increasing their workforce’s efficiency. Matrix says its Upskill Efficiency Bootcamps helps dealerships and shops improve retention and recruiting efforts.
Matrix says it uses “upskilling” and efficiency training to help boost productivity, wages, and growth opportunities. The institute says it has helped “progressive organizations” such as Penske, Conrad’s, and Sunnyside.
Peugeot said shops that use “focused, off-site, hands-on education” to retain employees “never has a recruitment problem.”
“That’s what we're designed for,” Peugeot added. “We’re the lever businesses need to be better than the competition, produce more today, and prepare for tomorrow as the talent gap widens.”
Manheim says that its introduction on Wednesday of personalized vehicle suggestions within its Manheim Market Report valuation tool means time savings for dealers, who will see “highly relevant and immediately available inventory” on a page that they use daily.
Manheim says that dealers are seeing more of a need to use smart technology in making the best buying and selling decisions during a time of what it describes as “growing margin compression and uncertainty in the market.” The company is introducing the personalized vehicle inventory to help dealers accomplish this.
M LOGIC, a Manheim group of advanced decisioning products that the company launched earlier this year to bring Cox Automotive data to the remarketing industry, drives the suggestions.
Manheim says tens of thousands of dealers use the Manheim Market Report each year as a source of wholesale vehicle values to research which vehicles to buy and how much to pay for them. When dealers seek MMR valuations for a given vehicle, they will see — in a carousel-style format — up to 12 similar vehicles available for sale.
To access detailed information about the vehicle, dealers can click on a specific similar vehicle. Or, they can choose to view additional similar vehicles for sale within the Manheim Marketplace. Manheim says that by using those features, dealers can find and compare relevant vehicles quickly. That allows them to make more informed buying and selling decisions, Manheim said.
Using millions of vehicle transactions, along with vehicle data, MMR values vehicles given their specific mileage, condition, exterior color and region. The digital site displays the base MMR and adjusted MMR values and also includes AutoCheck and Carfax quick links. Manheim said that places important decision-making information at clients’ fingertips, on mobile and desktop channels.
The company says the addition of M LOGIC suggested inventory to MMR “raises the bar in wholesale valuation tools.” According to the company, it gives Manheim’s clients an edge in bringing success to their businesses.
“Personalized vehicle inventory is our latest innovation from the M LOGIC suite of decisioning products and is live today for all MMR users,” M LOGIC associate vice president Ben Flusberg said in a news release.
Flusberg added, “Our MMR digital site receives 75 million valuation requests each year, so we know it’s a tool that dealers regularly use to complete their research. At the same time, a common theme we hear from dealers is that it’s hard to find the right inventory, especially within digital channels.”
He also noted, “By presenting relevant vehicles at the moment dealers are doing their research on MMR, we're bringing the right inventory to them at the right time. It's part of Manheim’s commitment to continually help its clients become more efficient and profitable. And based on the strong digital engagement we've seen so far, we know this new feature is really helping them."
As a wholesale vehicle valuations tool, MMR uses millions of vehicle transactions and vehicle data to value vehicles given their specific mileage, condition, exterior color and region, according to Manheim. The digital site displays the base MMR and adjusted MMR values and also includes AutoCheck and Carfax quick links. That, according to Manheim, places important decision-making information at clients’ fingertips over mobile and desktop channels.
Dealers will experience this new functionality by logging into Manheim Market Report and using their Manheim credentials.