Tag Archive | "dealerships"

Dealers’ Choice Awards Voting Open Until April 15

TORRANCE, Calif. — Voting for the 12th annual Dealers’ Choice Awards is now open and will remain so until midnight on April 15.

Dealers and dealership personnel are encouraged to vote for their favorite vendors, suppliers, banks and finance companies in 34 categories covering new- and used-car leads, training, marketing, F&I products and more. Voters must write in the name of each company and score them in five categories, including whether they would recommend the provider to another dealer.

“As companies large and small have learned over the years, the Dealers’ Choice Awards are based on quality votes,” said David Gesualdo, publisher of Auto Dealer Today and F&I and Showroom. “We are extremely proud of our program, and I want to thank everyone who has already voted for giving their partners the chance to earn much-deserved national recognition.”

Honorees will win first-place Diamond, second-place Platinum and third-place Gold awards. The winners will be announced in May and listed in the July issue of Auto Dealer Today, and the awards will be presented at a special ceremony at Industry Summit in late August. Voters must complete five categories for their votes to count, and each voter will be eligible to win one of two Amazon Fire HD 7 tablet computers.

To participate in the 2016 Dealers’ Choice Awards, click here.

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New Alliance Between AutoStar Solutions And KISS Concepts Group Brings Innovative Technology To Independent Dealerships Nationwide

FORT WORTH, Texas – Dealership software provider AutoStar Solutions has announced a new strategic alliance with consulting agency, KISS Concepts Group, to represent the AutoStar Fusion Ignite dealer management system (DMS) to independent dealerships throughout the United States.

As part of this new collaboration, independent agents and agencies that are members of KISS Concepts Group (an acronym for Keep It Simple Successfully) will act as outside sales representatives, introducing independent dealerships throughout the United States to the Fusion Ignite DMS platform.

“We’re very proud to be working with such a well-known and highly respected organization in our industry like AutoStar,” said KISS Concepts Group President and Chief Relationships Officer, Rod Heasley. “As one of the most recognized leaders of enterprise-level dealership technology, this new alliance represents a huge opportunity for KISS Concepts Group agents to enhance established relationships and provide their dealership clients with the tools needed to grow and prosper.”

“We’ve enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Rod and we’re looking forward to joining him in this latest venture,” said Antonio Rajan, Chief Revenue Officer of AutoStar Solutions. “Having our products represented by some of the most respected and reliable independent agents in the US will be instrumental in bringing our solutions to the marketplace and helping us achieve a new level of brand recognition as well as market penetration.”

The web-based Fusion Ignite DMS provides the fundamental elements needed to manage a Buy Here Pay Here, wholesale, or cash based dealership operation. Features of the system include the ability to set up and optimize deals, manage inventory, print compliant forms, make automatic calculations, take payments, and more.

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Mich. Governor Signs ‘Anti-Tesla’ Bill

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law on Tuesday legislation that adds tighter restrictions on direct-to-consumer vehicle sales. The move effectively bans Tesla Motors from selling vehicles in the state.

Introduced in May, House Bill 5606 originally focused on prohibiting auto manufacturers from dictating what fees a franchised dealer can charge customers. But thanks to a procedural loophole, state lawmakers were able to toss in a last-minute amendment without public comment or debate. And that amendment reinforces a ban on selling vehicles directly to consumers.

The “Tesla Motors Team” reacted the day after the state legislature approved the legislation on Oct. 15. The electric-car maker called the bill a “raw deal,” writing that the last-minute change created an “effective prohibition against Tesla operating in Michigan. The company added that the move was a continuation of the “anti-competitive behavior” the company faced in New Jersey and Missouri.

“By striking a single, but critical word from … the law governing franchise relations in Michigan, the dealers seek to force Tesla into a body of law solely intended to govern the relationship between a manufacturer and its associated dealers,” Tesla stated in its blog post.

Gov. Snyder, however, said Tesla misunderstood what the new law does.

“The bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan,” Snyder said in a press release. “This is already prohibited under Michigan law.”

The last-minute amendment deleted the word “its” from a sentence in the existing law. A press release from the Governor’s office said that the change was made to allow manufacturers who don’t have their own franchised dealers to sell through another manufacturer’s dealer network.

Snyder added that lawmakers should discuss the current business model to determine if it was good for the state’s consumers.

“We should always be willing to re-examine our business and regulatory practices with an eye toward improving the customer experience for our citizens and doing things in a more efficient and less costly fashion,” said Snyder.

General Motors issued a statement yesterday in support of the legislation, saying the new law would “provide stability and support for our dealers.”

“Further, it will ensure we compete under the same rules in the marketplace as other automobile manufacturers,” GM stated.

Tesla officials could not be reached for comment.

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Used-Car Prices Fall as Ending Leases Fill Dealer Lots

It’s a good time to buy a used car, reported The Detroit News.

Millions of previously owned cars and trucks are flooding the market as leases expire and customers look to upgrade. Prices have fallen since the start of the summer, and inventories are climbing.

It’s a delayed reaction to a recovering auto industry: When credit loosened two or three years ago, it became easier to lease a car. Now those leases are coming to an end, and car buyers are flocking to dealerships to turn in their now-used vehicles.

While analysts predict supply levels are still years away from pre-recession numbers, they say the used-car market should continue to rebound through the remainder of the year and into 2015.

“During the recession, it almost cost as much to get a used car as it did to get a new car, but now the market is going back to historical norms and it’s going to be better every month,” said Larry Dominique, vice president of California-based TrueCar, an automotive research site. “From 2008 to 2012, there was a significant growth in the number of leased cars and now they’re all coming back to the market. As supply is increasing, auction values are dropping … making used cars more affordable.”

The average used car sold at a franchised auto dealership for $10,963 in September, down about 2.1 percent from a year ago, according to CNW Research. Although the September average is 0.7 percent higher than August, prices had fallen every month before that since May.

Georgia-based Manheim Inc., which tracks the used-car market, says prices are falling back to normal levels after a long period of “exceptionally strong pricing.”

Concurrently, used-car inventory has risen for the past three straight months; it was up 1.5 percent in September compared to the same month a year ago, according to TrueCar. About 9.76 million used cars were available in the U.S. in September, compared to about 9.62 million last September.

The number of certified pre-owned vehicles — those inspected and deemed worthy to resell by manufacturers — are on the rise, too. AutoTrader.com said the supply of those has increased 6 percent in the past six months.

“The last quarter of 2014 will be a great time to get a good deal on a used or certified pre-owned vehicle,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at auto research site AutoTrader.com.

Mark Tracey, used vehicle manager at Huntington Ford in Rochester Hills, said he’s seen a better supply of used cars on his lot, and that prices “have been slipping.”

“We’re finding more trade-ins,” he said. “Two or three years ago, we struggled to get cars in. Now, we’re getting lots. That’s helping.”

Lower prices and better supply have led to an increase in used-car sales nationwide: Through September, used-car sales were up 3 percent over the same period last year to 28,805,863, according to TrueCar.

During and after the recession, used-car prices soared and inventory dropped as fewer people bought new cars, which eventually led to fewer used cars being turned in. Now, the market is shifting back on the heels of robust new-vehicle sales.

Automakers sold 1.2 million new cars and trucks in September, a 9.4 percent increase from a year ago, and analysts have predicted the annual rate of sales could reach 17 million vehicles in the coming years. Sales have been steadily rising since 2010 after falling to 10.6 million in 2009. Last year, sales were 15.9 million.

The used-car trend does have downsides, industry analysts say. Because supply is high, selling a used car is harder than in years past. Manufacturers will also start charging higher lease rates, since resale values will drop because of the the high inventory and low prices.

Analysts are split on if the used vehicle market will affect the strong sale of new cars and trucks.

TrueCar’s Dominique said the high inventories could “add a level of challenge” to new vehicle sales, but AutoTrader.com’s Krebs said it could actually help.

“It opens up the markets to more people,” she said. “A lot of people can’t afford to buy a new car. Expanded inventory of used cars means more people can get new transportation.”

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New Online Tool Triggers Real-Time Leads for Dealerships

CLEARWATER, Fla. — AutoLoop’s new Instant Online Leads feature brings real-time alerts to sales personnel when prospective buyers are searching for vehicles online.

Alerts are triggered by a customized form that online shoppers can fill out requesting follow-up information through a dealership’s website.

The feature was added to AutoLoop’s Essentials marketing platform which is an online sales tool that offers flexible marketing strategies that can be tailored to meet prospective customer’s interests.

“As more and more people turn to the internet for car shopping, dealers need the ability to engage them immediately,” said Matt Rodeghero, AutoLoop’s Chief Product Officer. “They are a dealership’s most viable customers because they’ve already expressed interest in a specific vehicle online.”

When a potential customer submits a request through the online form, Instant Online Leads notifies a sales representative by email and phone. If a specific sales rep is unavailable, the system will automatically contact the next one on the list.

The feature allows sales reps to quickly follow-up with customers who have already expressed an interest in buying a car, preventing the loss of a potential sale, according to AutoLoop.

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Carfax Lawsuit Now Lists More Than 700 Plaintiffs

MINEOLA, N.Y. — The law firm that filed a $350 million antitrust lawsuit against Carfax now represents over 700 dealership plaintiffs — up from just 124 when the suit was originally filed in May 2013.

Bellavia Blatt Andron & Crossett, P.C. alleges that Carfax has illegal alliances with key players in the auto industry, which freezes out competition, thereby resulting in increased prices and unreliable vehicle history reports. According to the firm’s officials, dealers are forced to do business with Carfax at grossly inflated prices, only to have Carfax spend these inflated revenues on ads that disparage dealers as dishonest.

“The number of participating dealers in this suit continues to grow on a weekly basis,” said Bellavia Blatt Senior Partner Leonard A. Bellavia. “This is a testament to just how important this case is to their future business dealings.”

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