NADA Foundation outlines plans for major workforce initiative

TYSONS, Va. - 

Last fall, a robust research project involving Cox Automotive and Hireology uncovered how much personnel turnover costs dealerships as well as what characteristics stores should seek in new employees.

Now, the National Automobile Dealers Association is strengthening its efforts to help dealerships stabilize and strengthen their human resources.

On Friday, the NADA Foundation’s Board of Trustees has approved plans and funding for a largescale workforce initiative to promote the value of dealership jobs, especially service technicians, in the automotive retail industry.

The initiative — which will include a new NADA Foundation website, videos, digital and social media content, and outreach to opinion leaders — will be developed in 2018 and launched at the 2019 NADA Show in San Francisco. The Foundation will also begin fundraising for the initiative in 2019.

“Local dealerships provide more than a million good-paying jobs in sales, management and service, which benefit communities everywhere,” said NADA Foundation chairman Annette Sykora, who is the dealer principal of Smith South Plains Ford and Lincoln in Levelland, Texas, and a former NADA chairman.

“And the future of our industry is the dealership workforce,” Sykora continued. “Considering the shortages that dealerships now face, especially in recruiting, training and retaining technicians, the time is now for our Foundation to educate America on the value of these jobs to workers and local communities.”

 The NADA Foundation developed the framework for its workforce initiative over the course of 2017, after identifying the great need to harmonize efforts from automakers, training centers, and dealerships — especially on recruiting technicians.

There is currently very little brand-neutral information on training centers, according to Jonathan Collegio, NADA’s senior vice president of public affairs, whose department administers the NADA Foundation.

“What we found are a lot of competing silos that don’t appear to be talking to each other, which makes getting into a technician career unduly burdensome on potential recruits,” Collegio said. “It is incredibly difficult for someone interested in a technician career to find clear information about the benefits of a technician career, and how to gain the training and certifications necessary. We plan to provide compelling information on these good-paying careers at dealerships.”

Collegio cited competing information on training centers as a major hindrance to recruiting, as OEMs often only refer to training centers they are partnered with, while ignoring other programs. For example, on its website, one major automaker references its Baltimore and Chesapeake, Va., T-10 training centers, but ignores a major training center near Washington, D.C., because it is not associated with that automaker.

"A potential recruit in the Washington, D.C., area may therefore not know there is a training center nearby," NADA said.

There is also a lack of targeted messaging and marketing to promote the careers, which Collegio says the NADA Foundation will address in its marketing efforts.

As NADA ramps up its efforts, one of the orchestrators of the research from Cox Automotive is upbeat about dealerships’ potential workforce.

“My hope by conducting this research is we’ll be able to change people’s opinion about what it’s like to work in the automotive industry, in particular, dealerships,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive, at the time the research initially was released.

“It’s an exciting new world. The world at dealerships is changing significantly. We need the next generation of workers to embrace looking at this industry differently,” Helms added.

Auction Academy adds IARA CAR Certification to curriculum

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

Auction Academy announced Monday that its two-year training curriculum will now include IARA CAR Certification.

The addition of the IARA CAR Certification program follows the company's move to become a major sponsor of Auction Academy, the organization said. 

IARA’s training program is designed to address each step of the remarketing process. It covers the consignment and grounding of the vehicle, the completion of wholesale transactions and upstream selling, according to Auction Academy.

“Our goal is for all 24 students in the current class group Class 5 to complete all 20 modules of the CAR Certification course within their remaining 13 months of the Academy,” president Penny Wanna said ina  news release. “They will mark their graduation from Auction Academy and be officially recognized as CAR Certified during the 2019 Conference of Automotive Remarketing.”

She said Auction Academy’s current class group of 24 students will begin CAR Certification training during their fourth class session.

The upcoming session will be hosted by Chuck Redden of AutoTec, Tom Adams of Auction Insurance Agency and Steve Demedicis of AutoCheck on Feb. 22 to Feb. 24.

Wanna and IARA executive director Tony Long will attend the session to introduce the IARA CAR Certification course to the class, she said in a news release.

“The International Automotive Remarketers Alliance has long recognized the Auction Academy, in recent years under the guidance of Pierre Pons, as the primary source of training for some of North America’s best managed auctions,” added Long.

“Now under Penny Wanna’s leadership, the Academy continues to expand its reach to a more comprehensive audience. With the close ties that exist between IARA and Auction Academy, it only made sense to include the CAR Certification program in the Academy’s curriculum. IARA is thrilled that this training will expand the newly automated delivery of the program to even more auction professionals,” he continued.

Additionally, according to Auction Academy, Wanna who is CAR Certified also plans add designated time slots to two-year class groups and seminar series program agendas for IARA CAR Certification proctored testing opportunities.

Auction Academy announces more 'in-depth' upcoming seminar series

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - 

Auction Academy has released its schedule for this year’s 2018 Seminar Series program.

Auction Academy’s upcoming seminars will kick off with a a workplace culture session that will be held in Franklin, Tenn., March 26 and March 27. 

“Different from our two-year program, the Seminar Series offers one-day intensive sessions, with in-depth focus on a single specific topic or functional area. These sessions have become increasingly popular because we target the most important aspects of the auction industry with usable hands on information and applications,” Auction Academy president Penny Wanna said in a news release.

“Holding to this strategy, we chose as the first topic area for 2018 the various aspects of Workplace Culture, specifically to include harassment of any type: physical, sexual, verbal or visual. Not only is this a timely subject, given what we see in the worlds of media, entertainment and government, but it is a critical subject with profound implications for the workplace in our industry,” Wanna said. 

Following the workplace culture session, a session on condition report writing will be held in Kansas City, Mo., May 21, 22 and 23.

Additionally, Auction Academy’s third-quarter session that will address the topic of fleet/lease compliance will be held in conjunction with the IARA Summer Roundtable on Aug. 20 and 21 in Marco Island, Fla.

Lastly, a fourth seminar series session on Oct. 29 and 30, also in Franklin, Tenn., will cover dealer sales.

Auction Academy said space for each of the series sessions is limited, and potential participants should reserve their space early.

Editor’s Note: Updated to correct dates.

NAAA to host auction standards training in Orlando


The National Auto Auction Association’s Standards Training Program will host two days of hands-on vehicle inspections and arbitration training in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday and Friday.

Classes will be instructed by Manheim director of arbitration Matt Arias, who will cover damage analysis on day-one and arbitration on day-two.

Day-one will center on how to inspect and identify areas of risk such as:

  • What the inspections cover or not
  • Interior damage
  • Vehicle information
  • Trim and series/model breakdowns
  • Prior repairs
  • Ways to streamline without sacrificing quality
  • Structural damage          
  • Ways to measure effectiveness for continuous improvement
  • Exterior damage

Day-two will cover the following topics concerning arbitration:

  • Understanding stakeholder’s perspectives         
  • Mutual gains vs. fixed pie negotiation
  • Sustaining or improving your bottom line
  • Mediation vs. arbitration
  • Arbitration policy sync and update
  • Scenario training
  • Know your best alternative to negotiated
  • Agreement benchmarking

The classes are $500 each and $750 for both.

Hotel accommodations include the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort and the Florida Hotel at the Florida Mall, where participants can request the Manheim Central Florida rates of $123 and $129 per night, respectively.

In addition to serving as the intermediary for arbitration claims and mediation at Manheim, Arias is responsible for operational support and continuous improvement activities of auction operations, auction policies and arbitration departments.

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


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


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


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