July 2012

Vboost Offers Dealers New Marketing Option Via Happy Customers’ Music Videos


There is often a great deal of excitement involved when a consumer takes ownership of a new vehicle, and many times these shoppers are ready to share their news with friends and family.

With that in mind, a new company aims to help dealers leverage that enthusiasm in the form of music videos.

Viral marketing firm Vboost announced its opening this week, following a year of development on its Vboost Mobile Application, which the company said is both iPhone and Android compatible.

The application allows a dealership to upload pictures to the Vboost Viral Marketing Platform; the images are then used to create a music video that the customer can upload and share via email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other social platforms.

Vboost is founded by  Paul Moran and Scott Alan.

“We have taken the opposite approach to reaching customers through their social networks — instead of trying to lure customers to the dealers marketing sites, we get the dealer’s marketing message to the consumer through their friends and family,” said Moran, Vboost chief executive officer.

The company cites research conducted by Dealer.com, DriverSide, GFK Research and ROI Research and Performics in 2011 to note that automotive conversations rank as the fourth most talked-about product via social networks.

Eighty-four percent of auto dealer customers are on Facebook, Vboost said, and 58 percent of car buyers post about their new vehicle within 48 hours of purchase.

The research also shows that each of these car buyers has an average of 170 network friends, Vboost said, nine of whom are in the market for a vehicle in a given month. As such, company officials said receiving the video messages from friends can impact potential buyers and help boost dealer sales.

For more information, visit www.vboost.com.

Re3 Conference Agenda Already Includes Several Top Execs

CARY, N.C. - 

As Auto Remarketing Conferences continues to put together agendas for 2012 Used Car Week, one coming together quickly is the second-ever Re3 Conference, which is scheduled for Nov. 14.

Organizers recently revealed the day-long event that delves into the recovery, repossession and remarketing fields, will include an opening general session titled, “The State of the Re3 Industry-Government Regulation & Market Reports.  Insight, Perspective & Ideas from Top Auto Finance Executives.”

That panel is set to include:

—Mike Goins, head of deficiency recovery, TD Auto Finance
—Jeff Haynes, vice president of remarketing & repossession, BBVA Compass Bank
—Brent Huisman, vice president of remarketing, Santander Consumer USA

One of Re3’s afternoon highlights incorporates a session titled, “The Evolution, Revolution & Diversification of the Forwarding Model — Top Tier Executives on the Line.”

Scheduled to be a part of that discussion with moderator, Cort DeHart, vice president of Agero, are:

—Jerry Kroshus, president, PAR North America
—Chuck Tapp, president, Primeritus Financial Services
—Jose Mendiola, president, American Lending Solutions
—Claudia Plascencia, vice president, Repo Remarketing
—Kevin Flynn, chief executive officer, Renovo Services
—Mary Jane Hogan, president, ARMS and the American Recovery Association

The complete agenda for Re3 will be available soon at www.usedcarweek.biz.

Re3 takes place in the middle of Used Car Week.

Starting with the CPO Dealer Forum, Used Car Week gets underway with an event designed specifically for dealers.

This intensely educational two-day gathering — held Nov. 12–13 — will shine the spotlight on the certified pre-owned industry. The nation’s top dealers will share their on-the-lot experiences with selling, pricing, sourcing and marketing their CPO vehicles.

Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions, share best practices and start conversations with dealers from across the country, leaving the event with fresh new actionable ideas for maximizing profits in their certified pre-owned sales.

Used Car Week will wrap up with the National Remarketing Conference from Nov. 14–16.

NRC — Used Car Week’s flagship event — is now in its 13th year, and it remains at the leading edge of the remarketing industry.

The event is all part of the Used Car Week conferences, which are being held at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., from Nov. 12 through 16.

For three days, NRC attendees will be immersed in the big ideas, market insights and in-depth conversations that will shape the future of remarketing.

Whether they happen on the golf course or in the general session room, during a networking event or a small-group discussion, the dialogues sparked during the National Remarketing Conference will lead to solid results for your business.

Plus, an evening networking reception shared between Re3 and National Remarketing Conference attendees will offer an exceptional opportunity to continue discussions and connect with the broader industry.

Attendees can obtain an early bird discount to all of these events through Oct. 15.

With close to 700 attendees, and more than 100 different dealerships and dealer groups in attendance at the 2011 event, Used Car Week promises to bring the highest caliber of speakers in the industry. The 2011 Used Car Week attendee list can be found here.

For more details about registration or any of the events, visit www.usedcarweek.biz.

Used Car Week's first promotional video also can be viewed below.

Penske Sees Q2 Double-Digit Growth in New & Used Retail Sales


In looking back at the first half of this year, as well as the second quarter, specifically, Penske Automotive Group had double-digit revenue rises to report, along with significant growth in both new and used sales.

For the second quarter of this year, revenue increased 19.2 percent to $3.4 billion, and for the first half of 2012, revenue increased 18.6 billion to $6.6 billion.

The company noted the revenue surge for Q2 was driven by an increase in total retail unit sales of 20.9 percent.

Breaking it down further, new unit sales increased by 24.8 percent, and used retail unit sales grew by 16.4 percent.

On the other hand, for individual vehicles, the average transaction price per unit fell for both new and used.

The average transaction price for a new unit was $36,959, down 1 percent; and for used, the number came in at $25,666, down 3.1 percent.

Moving along, total same-store retail unit sales increased 12 percent in the second quarter, and same-store retail revenue increased 9.4 percent.

Commenting on the results, chairman Roger Penske said, "The company's second quarter results reflect strong performance across both the U.S. and International markets.

“We experienced strong unit sales throughout the quarter, particularly through our Toyota, Honda and Lexus dealerships, and we increased our service and parts gross margin by 130 basis points to 58.6 percent. Further, I was particularly pleased that we were able to drive a 230 basis point improvement in selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent of gross profit,” he continued.

Editor's Note: For a more detailed description of Penske's Q2 results, stay tuned to Auto Remarketing.


Georgia & Illinois Dealership Groups Give Back to Communities

ATLANTA and JOLIET, Ill.  - 

This week, a couple of dealer groups announced new ways they are working to give back to the their communities.

First up, Atlanta-based Jim Ellis Automotive said it will be sponsoring the 2012 Jim Ellis Charity Golf Tournament on August 26, at the Chateau Elan Golf Club in Braselton, Ga.

The event will benefit various children's charities in the Atlanta area, officials shared.

Jimmy Ellis, chief operating officer of Jim Ellis Automotive states, "We are incredibly proud of the phenomenal support from around the community for our annual golfing tournament. The generosity of the vast array of vendors, manufacturers, business owners, employees and individuals all contribute to make this event incredibly successful every year.

“We look forward to another great tournament that will allow us to give back to the community and truly help those in need,” he added.

Sharing some background on the event, this is the 12th year for the Jim Ellis annual charity golf tournament. 

Charities which have benefited from the event include the Aflac Cancer Center, Boys and Girls Club of America, Children's Hospital of Atlanta and Georgia's
Center For Children's Advocacy among many others, among others.

Just last year, the tournament hosted over 250 golfers and raised over $50,000 in proceeds for the charities, the company noted.

“This year is on par, no pun intended, to achieve similar results for the 12th annual golfing tournament that will include a full day of golf, raffles and awards during the closing of the ceremony,” they added.

For those interested, registration to participate or sponsor the 2012 Jim Ellis Charity Golf Tournament is open until Aug. 13.

Sponsorships are available for a wide variety of levels including individual through platinum sponsors.

For more information on the tournament, visit http://www.JimEllisGolf.com.

Chicago-Area Dealership Supports Local Women's Group

Looking farther North, and the Bill Jacobs Auto Group is  working to support community organizations in the Chicago area.

Their latest effort includes the donation of a two-year lease of a Chevy Cruze to the Abby Foundation for a raffle.

The Abby Foundation for Women — which works to raise money and distribute it to established non-profit organizations that help women and their children, and fund scholarships for young women and returning women — is hosting its 27th Women Together Luncheon that helps raise money for scholarships.

“Bill Jacobs Joliet is very proud to support this worthy organization, and they hope that many will come out and support the Women Together Luncheon,” the company noted.

This year, the annual Women Together Luncheon will take place on Aug. 17 at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park, Ill. Tickets are $35 each, and raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 each or six for $25, officials shared.

The featured speaker for the event will be Val Warner, co-host of Windy City Live.

“Bill Jacobs Joliet (Naperville, Ill.) would like to promote this event and hopes that many will help support young women and their children by attending or purchasing tickets,” the company shared.

“The dealership is excited to be involved and hopes that the winner enjoys their new Chevy Cruze,” officials added.


VW Exec Recognized as Dealer Association's ‘Woman of the Year’

HERNDON, Va.  - 

It was announced this week that an executive from Volkswagen Group of America has been named “Woman of the Year” by the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.

The recipient of the award, Machelle Williams — general manager of organizational development and diversity, human resources  at VW Group of America — was selected for her “industry leadership and outstanding contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” officials noted.

Williams has been with the company for 17 years.

The award recipient was recognized during a ceremony at NAMAD's 2012 Annual Membership Meeting in Las Vegas on July 26.

"Machelle's longstanding service to the Volkswagen family, and her commitment to promoting diversity within the organization has earned her well-deserved recognition," said Jonathan Browning, president and chief executive officer, VW Group of America.

"She is an exceptional asset to our company, the automotive industry and to the communities she serves; we couldn't be more delighted to see her receive this award,” he added.

The company also highlighted Williams’ tenure with VW in more detail.

“Over the years, Williams' hard work and dedication have afforded her remarkable growth and advancement within the Volkswagen family,” officials shared.

And after a decade working with Volkswagen Credit in Libertyville, Ill., she has spent the past seven years leading Volkswagen Group's Talent Management organization, which includes talent strategy, employee development and engagement, leadership development, recruiting and executing high-impact diversity initiatives, the company explained.

And when the exec isn’t working, “Williams is also devoted to the betterment of rising minority leaders in her community and the communities in which Volkswagen has operations,” officials said.

She currently serves on the board of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and the InRoads Mid-Atlantic board.

In other news from the company, also recognized at the meeting was Carl Barnett, Sr., president of the Barnett Auto Group, who has earned the National Automobile Dealers Association’s  Lifetime Achievement Award.

Barnett owns Onion Creek Volkswagen in Austin, Texas, among other dealerships across the country.


Beggs: Wholesale Prices Up for One Truck Segment


In reviewing last week’s activity in the wholesale lanes, Black Book’s Ricky Beggs noticed something that had not been spotted in two months.

Speaking about the 14 used-truck categories that Black Book monitors, Beggs noted that “the compact pickup trucks actually increased by $12. This is the first positive movement change in the past nine weeks (for any truck segment)."

Overall, the average change for the car segments was a downward adjustment of $51; for trucks, it was a decrease of $43.

Breaking down the car segments, Beggs noted that while there weren't as drastic of declines this week, a few categories saw measurable drop-offs.

“There were no $90 and greater declining adjustments like the three segments from the previous week, but the greatest declining segments were varied from the premium sporty cars at $87 to the entry midsize cars at $79 and then the luxury level cars at $64,” he said. (Those same three segments were the ones with $90-plus declines the previous week.)

“This is quite different from a year ago in the cars where the overall declining change was less than half at $23 with the prestige luxury cars declining the most at $56 with one segment, and the near-luxury cars actually increasing by $13 for the week,” Beggs continued.

As for trucks, four segments declined less than $30 and then compact pickups jumped $12.

However, luxury SUVs were off $113, the second straight week it has eclipsed a $100 decline. Additionally, full-size crossovers fell $99, and their average change over the last three weeks is a downward adjustment of $102, Beggs pointed out.

Looking forward, Beggs said: “What can we expect as we look ahead? The percentage of adjustments that were increases at 18 percent this past week continues a run where seven of the past eight weeks had sub-20-percent increases. With a four-week average change of  (negative) 0.37 percent for the cars and (negative) 0.46 percent for the trucks per week, we expect a continuation of change in this same range."