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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Santa Fe Ford, a dealership that's operated in this northern Florida city for 22 years, just posted its best January used-vehicle sales total.

Dealership executives described January as traditionally soft month; however, they went on to note that the sales team was able to move more than 80 used units this year.

Santa Fe Ford attributed the sales success to its use of the JP Automotive Marketing solution that boosted its online presence.

"Since switching to JP Automotive Marketing for Internet services, we have seen an incredible bulk of high quality Internet leads come in month after month that are converting into sales at the highest rates," explained Greg Waitcus, vice president of Santa Fe Ford.

"January has always been an off month for us, but this month, thanks to our incredible Web presence, we sold 82 used vehicles," Waitcus continued.

"With new-vehicle sales off across the board, it's very nice to be seeing steady profits in our used car department, and it's all coming from the Web," he added. 

Officials said improving their search engine optimization was by far the best idea. Randy Holt, Internet sales manager for Santa Fe Ford, elaborated on this point.

"When someone is actively searching on Google for a term such as Gainesville used cars, or Ford dealerships in Florida, we want to be there," Holt stressed.

"Our customers come back. If they don't find us in the first place, we don't get the opportunity to earn their loyalty," Holt continued.

"Our high visibility online gives us the one shot we need," he went on to say.

Christian Jorn, president of JP Automotive Marketing, said his company can help franchise dealerships enhance their organic searches through Google or other search engines. Jorn also praised executives at Santa Fe Ford for their recent sales successes.

"Greg and Randy have the right idea about online marketing," Jorn contended.

"Today's online consumer wants to see full disclosure on the Web site, including price," Jorn indicated.

"Santa Fe Ford is dominating the Gainesville market largely because they are honest people and they treat their customers to world-class service at the right price," Jorn concluded.