Social/Digital Media

Podium welcomes new VP & 2 partnerships to collect dealer reviews

CARY, N.C. - 

Podium recently announced the appointment of Matt Murray as senior vice president of strategic accounts as well as new partnerships with DealerSocket and DealerVault.

Podium’s latest integration with DealerSocket and DealerVault automates dealers' common interactions, such as collecting reviews and sending text messages.

The new partnerships will allow dealers using DealerSocket and DealerVault to integrate Podium technology with their existing dealer management systems, according to the company.

“With the addition of these partners Podium now covers nearly every franchise dealer in the country," said Murray in an email interview with Auto Remarketing.

Prior to his current role, Murray most recently served as vice president of strategic growth and retail solutions at Cox Automotive, Dealertrack Technologies and Dealer.com. As senior vice president of strategic accounts, Murray has been tasked with overseeing Podium’s cross-vertical strategic account strategy.

He said both DealerSocket and DealerVault customers have reported substantial increases in total reviews captured since the integration.

“Podium’s integration points automate a significant portion of the reviews process for dealerships, alleviating the burden from employees, and ultimately optimizing their local SEO strategy,” Murray explained. “We are helping to ensure that they will get found, get chosen, and receive valuable insights from both new and existing customers."

According to Podium, its recent growth within the automotive sector follows a $32 million Series A funding round from investors such as Accel, Summit Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Y Combinator.

“We're delighted to now support a broad network of solutions providers in the automotive space, giving a significant number of dealerships a better way to interact with their customers throughout the entire customer journey, and foster valuable, long-lasting relationships,” Podium chief executive officer and co-founder Eric Rea said in a news release announcing the new partnerships.

Online video provider launches ad-serving TV service with AutoDealerNetwork

LAS VEGAS - 

Advertising online video provider Vidillion recently announced its partnership with AutoDealerNetwork.TV to provide dealership customers visiting sales and service waiting rooms with up-to-the-minute news, entertainment and targeted and programmatic ad-serving from Vidillion.

Vidillion allows dealers to both feature their own commercials and block any commercials of their competitors.

The new service’s private live TV network to dealerships includes news, sports, travel, lifestyle, business and weather content from the portfolio of networks provided by Turner, a Time Warner company.

“The AutoDealerNetwork.TV product gives dealerships the ability to feature their commercials- whether that means dealership or auto brand specific spots- while blocking competitor's commercials,” Vidillion president and chief executive officer Tom Engdahl said in a news release. “We feel that is a big deal and really brings a level of targeting into a space that can certainly benefit from local spots hyper-tailored for each market.”

More than 50 northern and southeastern U.S. dealerships took part in the initial launch of the content and monetization network in May.

This year, an additional 3,000 plus dealerships throughout the U.S. are expected to launch the service, according to Vidillion.

“A single AutoDealerNetwork.TV set top box and one TV will display approximately 7,000 to 10,000 commercials each month regarding your products and services,” said Dirk Newsome, operations manager at AutoDealerNetwork.TV.

“If multiple boxes are installed in a property, the revenue opportunities and ability to reach customers in a meaningful way with special offers and direct dealership storytelling are exponential,” he said.

Dealerships can install an AutoDealerNetwork.TV set top box for use with existing TVs.

"This service has unlimited uses and can be applied in auto sales & service businesses, but also in healthcare, spa services and any environment where there is a waiting room," added Engdahl.

Karma Automotive celebrates inspiration for logo: the solar eclipse

IRVINE, Calif. - 

During Monday’s total solar eclipse, Karma Automotive took advantage of the rare occurrence with a multi-city shoot along the path of totality.

Titled, “A Day to Remember,” Karma’s special video footage celebrates the historic event and the inspiration behind its own logo.

“The inspiration behind the Karma logo was an eclipse, showing a spark of sun, the eternal symbol of endless renewable energy,” the company said in a news release.

The brand’s Revero model is the first electric extended range vehicle sold in the U.S. to be powered by the sun.

“We felt it was essential to capture this rare phenomenon,” said Karma chief revenue officer Jim Taylor in the release. “It was an opportunity for us to both document the total solar eclipse and produce our own unique content to celebrate the company's ethos to lean on natural elements in what we do.”

Additionally, the front and rear of each Karma vehicle is fitted with individually hand-painted badges of the company's logo.

Hagerty acquires 'Airbnb of classic cars'

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - 

Classic vehicle insurance provider Hagerty announced Monday it is stepping into the car-rental space with the company's latest acquisition of the peer-to-peer online marketplace for classic cars: Classics&Exotics.

Hagerty has relaunched this marketplace, which is boasted as the Airbnb of vintage and exotic cars, as DriveShare by Hagerty.

The peer-to-peer marketplace has connected American drivers with classic cars owners from across the country since 2014.

Peter Zawadzki, Classics&Exotics founder has joined Hagerty as director of DriveShare since the acquisition.

"I started this company so people could try out these amazing vehicles and owners could make a little money to defray the cost of ownership, and that's still the mission today for DriveShare," Zawadzki said in a news release. "It's a great way to bring more people into the hobby. What we've seen is that people who rent these cars often become classic car owners themselves."

Many of the vehicles listed are also available for events and special occasions. Hagerty said owners can offer discounted daily rates for event rentals.

Rental prices are set by each owner. Drivers can review each renter's profile to find their rental history and rental certifications.

Renters must be at least 30 years old and approved by DriveShare. There is a sign-up process where DriveShare checks each renters’ driving history to ensure they meet the company’s eligibility requirements.

While rental deposit rates vary because they are set by each vehicle owner, DriveShare requires a security deposit minimum of $500, according to Hagerty.

Additionally, each rental includes up to $1 million in insurance protection and access to a comprehensive full-service roadside assistance program designed for just for classic vehicles.

At no cost to the owner or renter, all DriveShare rentals come with Hagerty Plus, which features 24/7 roadside assistance and access to dispatch operators who understand classic cars.

"DriveShare gives people an easy way to get behind the wheel of cars they've always wanted to drive," said Hagerty chief executive officer McKeel Hagerty. "Our goal is to provide a common platform that connects enthusiasts and owners to expand the community of people who love cars."

 

Auto/Mate launches new texting engine built into DMS

ALBANY, N.Y. - 

Auto/Mate Dealership Systems recently unveiled a new texting engine built into its dealership management system designed to help dealers quickly communicate with customers.

Sales and service departments can use the new texting engine for a variety of customer experience related functions, according to Auto/Mate.

"Auto/Mate’s Texting is simpler and far less expensive than most tools currently available in the market," Mike Esposito, Auto/Mate president and chief executive officer said in a news release. "Texting allows dealers to meet customer expectations, have a written record of messages sent and received and improves customer perception of their brand."

The company said its texting engine is designed to be as easy to use as messaging applications on smartphones.

The texting engine also allows users to manage "do not text" records, create message templates and send welcome messages, according to the company.

Dealership personnel  receive  alerts from the DMS when texts from customers arrive.

"The increased opt-in rates and use of messaging allows dealership personnel to communicate with a higher percentage of their customer base on a regular basis, which is critical for establishing and maintaining relationships," Esposito explained.

Additionally, the texting engine can be used by dealerships to follow up with leads and set and confirm appointments.

Texts can be sent to customers from Auto/Mate's CRM.

"Texting is practical in service because it creates a written record of customer approvals and communications that can be used to identify issues within the dealership, retrieve details of discussions, monitor advisors and resolve customer conflicts," Esposito said.

Dealership personnel can use messaging to send service reminders, appointment reminders, service recommendation approvals, vehicle status updates and notifications that a vehicle is ready for pick up.

"We have reached a point where dealerships must embrace and use texting, or they risk being perceived as behind the times," Esposito added. "Our Texting engine makes it easy and affordable for dealerships to implement texting, delivering a better customer experience in both sales and service."

New online review monitoring service for dealers launches

LAS VEGAS - 

A new online review monitoring service, LotRep.com, designed to help dealers accurately monitor and track online consumer reviews in real-time via multiple platforms, launched Thursday.

The site’s software allows dealerships to efficiently and effectively manage online reviews, according to the company.

"Online reviews have changed the way business is done in this day and age. We know how crucial these reviews can be to auto dealers and their customers, but up until this point, monitoring them all has been nearly impossible," LotRep.com founder Brian Lack said in a news release announcing the launch. "We want to make it easier."

LotRep’s slate of features include:

  • An all-in-one dashboard focusing on a review feed
  • The ability to track and monitor various online review sites such as Cars.com, Yelp, Edmunds, Dealer Rater, SureCritic, The Yellow Pages, Facebook and Google
  • An analysis of online reviews via statistics and reporting
  • A "Review Requester" that allows dealership representatives to solicit reviews from buyers via sms or email
  • A "trending list" on the main dashboard featuring rotating keywords and phrases trending on any monitored online reviews
  • A mobile app designed including the most commonly used tools
  • The ability to request reviews from customers

"By integrating LotRep.com into a regular customer service strategy at the dealership, auto retailers will be able to embrace online reviews as a key component to a strategic and effective business tool instead of a dreaded enemy," added Lack.

Access to LotRep.com is currently available free, at no cost for 30 days. For more information, interested dealers can visit, LotRep.com.

Cars.com names America’s favorite convertibles

CHICAGO - 

In time for end-of-summer shopping, Cars.com recently released a list of the most popular convertibles among consumers.

The site’s latest study on shopper's online activity revealed what convertibles are most popular and where in the U.S. shoppers are buying these models most. Turns out, being named as America's favorite was the Chevrolet Camaro.

And the state where convertibles are most popular is right in America's Heartland — Nebraska.

Using the site’s shopper data, Cars’ analysts researched the data to make its determinations, according to the car shopping site.

“There are 30 models categorized as convertibles that are currently available, which is 11.2 percent of all new vehicles on the market, yet convertibles only capture 0.8 percent of sales at dealerships,” Cars.com data analyst David Greene said in a news release.

“When compared to a segment like minivans, which has just seven models available and double the sales market share of convertibles, it is obvious just how aspirational the convertible segment is,” he said.

The convertible models to make it on the top 10 list range from affordable and more expensive options.

The top 10 most popular convertibles based on Cars.com site activity include:

1. Chevrolet Camaro

2. Mazda MX-5 Miata

3. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

4. Jaguar F-TYPE

5. Chevrolet Corvette

6. Ford Mustang

7. Porsche 911

8. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

9. BMW 4 Series

10. Fiat 124 Spider

The top 5 convertible-loving states according to Cars.com site data include:

1. Nebraska

2. New Mexico

3. Connecticut

4. New York

5. Hawaii

“It’s no surprise that states like Florida, California and Hawaii made the most-popular lists,” added Greene. “They’re all among the wealthiest states as determined by household income, and of course the year-round sunshine in those states makes convertibles a sensible lifestyle choice.”

For additional information about the study, visit cars.com/news.

J.D. Power appoints 1st chief digital officer

COSTA MESA, Calif. - 

J.D. Power recently announced it has filled its newly created position of chief digital officer.

Chosen for the position is Bernardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a business, technology and product design leader who most recently served as managing director of strategy at Huge, a global full-service digital agency, according to the consumer insights provider.

In his new role, Rodriguez will be responsible for J.D. Power’s new product development, branding, marketing and mergers and acquisitions.

Rodriguez will oversee the design and content of J.D. Power’s digital interface with clients and consumers and report directly to J.D. Power chief executive officer and president Finbarr O'Neill.

"Bernardo is an accomplished business leader with proven experience to accelerate transformation of businesses through the development of data and analytics, strategic products and capabilities that drive growth opportunities," O'Neill said in a new release announcing Rodriguez’s hire. "Bernardo has the ideal background to integrate various data sources into a holistic view of the consumer.”

At Huge, Rodriguez collaborated with Fortune 100 companies on the design and execution of product and brand strategies.

He led projects such as developing a digital transformation and experience strategy for a $12 billion Canadian telecom company, a product strategy for a $30 billion global financial institution, and a small business segment digital strategy for a $120 billion U.S. telecom company, according to J.D. Power.

"I have always admired the spirit of innovation that J.D. Power brings to the industry through its continued technological advancements and unmatched data and analytics capabilities,” Rodriguez said. "I look forward to bringing my digital expertise and vision to my new role and contributing to the future successes of J.D. Power."

Additionally, Rodriguez has also served as the chief digital officer at Kaplan Test Prep and managing director at Accenture, where he headed the firm’s North American Digital Strategy Practice for telecommunications, media and technology.

New website plans to offer free vehicle history reports

LAS VEGAS - 

A new website is set to launch on Tuesday that aims to provide free vehicle history reports that are supposed to include title records (including mileage), accident records and potential title brands.

Officials from VinCheck.Info explained that they can offer this information to consumers since their advertisers will be covering the cost.

VinCheck.Info is looking to meet the needs of buyers who want to run a VIN check on their own as well as those who want to compare results with data obtained from sellers. The site insisted results are based on data compiled from various industry sources, non-profit organizations and government agencies including the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS).

VinCheck.Info also said its mission is “to make comprehensive vehicle history reports available to as many consumers as possible by offering these services at no cost.

“The web-based service believes in empowering consumers to use the latest data delivery technology for protection from fraud and unsafe vehicles, and to help prevent the resale of stolen cars,” site officials continued.

VinCheck.Info added that it also plans to offer VIN decoding as well as a license plate lookup tool soon at no cost to consumers.

For more information, visit www.vincheck.info.

Car buyers increased online research means less dealership visits

CARY, N.C. - 

Consumers' grasp of more online vehicle research channels than ever means fewer dealership visits because car shoppers depend on digital resources to educate themselves, according to Netsertive’s latest survey on U.S. car shoppers’ buying patterns.

The digital marketing technology company’s Automotive Shopper Path to Purchase Survey found that 67 percent of respondents only visit up to one to two dealerships before making a purchase.

While 45 percent of consumers know which brand of car they want when they begin their research, 34 percent say they don’t know which dealership they want to buy from and look to online resources for guidance.

The most popular channels for research are consumer reviews, local dealer websites and search engines, according to the survey.

Additionally, the study also found that almost 50 percent of car shoppers use mobile devices to conduct their research before buying.

This highlights dealer’s need for mobile-optimized websites in order to remain competitive and attract these customers, Netsertive said.

“The automotive industry is extremely competitive, especially now that buying decisions are increasingly made before customers visit a dealership,” Netsertive chief executive officer and co-founder Brendan Morrissey explained in a news release.

Netsertive’s study examined more than 500 U.S. consumers using Google Consumer Surveys.

For additional information about the Automotive Shopper Path to Purchase Survey, visit https://www.netsertive.com/new-study-finds-car-buyers-visit-fewer-dealerships/.

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