Tag Archive | "partnership"

NIADA Member Services Creates New Partnership Program


ARLINGTON, Texas — The National Indepedent Dealers Association’s member services division has created a new partnership program designed to offer members a wider array of companies whose products and services they can trust, according to an association announcement.

“This new affinity partnership initiative focuses on firms that serve certain segments of the insurance/financial services markets as well as new leading-edge entrepreneurial firms entering our market,” NIADA Senior Vice President of member services Scott Lilja said. “We are excited to kick off 2017 with this innovative and powerful new member services initiative.”

The NIADA National Partner Program (NAPP) will include partner providers that will provide a broad portfolio of products and services that independent vehicle dealers use on a daily basis. NAPP partners, according to the association, will undergo the same scrutiny and due diligence as the companies in NIADA’s successful national corporate partner and national member benefit programs.

Inaugural NAPP members include AutoPoint, Berkshire Risk Services LLC, DealerRater, Frazer Computing, High Tech Locksmiths, Keystone Automotive Operations, Northland Used Car Leasing and Daily Rentals and Reynolds and Reynolds Document Services.

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5 Tips for Finding and Keeping a Good Mentor


If you’re building any kind of business, you are going to need advice at some point down the line, reports Entrepreneur. For busy professionals, whether they’re experienced entrepreneurs or those about to embark on making their first business idea a reality, a guiding hand and some words of wisdom from a mentor are gifts worth their weight in gold.

Watching LinkedIn’s “The Mentor Who Shaped Me” series unfold, I’ve been thinking about the people who have shaped my career in digital marketing. I want to share four ways some of my digital industry peers and I have found for finding and keeping a great mentor relationship thriving.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask.

If you’ve identified someone you think would be a perfect mentor, don’t worry about whether he or she is too busy. There’s no point in recognizing the need for you to grow and be guided professionally if you don’t shoot for a mentor who is successful and probably stretched for time. Have the confidence that the reply will “yes,” and get your pitch together. What have you got to lose?

2. Ask right, and be mentor-worthy.

“Anyone giving up their time to help you with your professional life and career is going to want to make sure their time is being spent wisely,” says digital strategist Lisa Williams. If you don’t know the person you’re targeting, explain who you are and what you are about.

Tell this person why you’ve identified him or her and be thorough about what you want from the relationship and what you envision as the time commitment. Most busy people like order, so being explicit with timing and desired outcomes is more likely to elicit a positive response than a woolly request for a coffee and a chat.

Also: Ask questions. Lots of questions.

3. Choose someone with a different perspective.

“You won’t learn or grow much unless you face your flaws and ignorance of some of the world around you,” suggests Cedric Chambaz, a marketing manager at Bing Ads. So, try to find a mentor who will challenge your thinking and show you there might be a different way to approach a problem, or an additional potential one you never knew existed.

Having empathy with others is a huge part of being successful in your career, so even if you don’t agree with someone on any given subject, you’ll find that at least understanding another’s point of view will greatly help your personal brand and also your decision-making process.

4. Seek out more than one.

In my book Pioneers of Digital, Carolyn Everson — global head of marketing solutions at Facebook — recommends you take on a “board of advisors” to help with multiple aspects of your career. No one person will have all the answers, so choose a number of different mentors with different backgrounds and experiences to shape your goals and outcomes in a more wholesome way.

5. Try to reciprocate.

A mentor/mentee relationship should never just be a one-way affair. Try to make it useful for your mentor by asking what he or she might like in return. Many will say that giving of their time is a way to give back and help to shape someaone’s future. But never assume. It’s a relationship, so there must be something you can do in return to make the union more fruitful and a “career positive” for you.

Having a mentor early on in my career was very valuable as I sought to define in what direction and how far I wanted to go. For some people, a formal process of seeking out a mentor is the best way to go, but as creative director Joy Archer says, “One significant thing about mentor relationships is that the best ones seem to grow organically, rather than being an ‘arranged marriage.’”

The point is: Take a look around you right now at some of your peers and colleagues. Some of them might be acting as your mentors already.

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Toyota, Mazda in Talks on Expanding Partnership


Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp are in talks to expand their technology partnership to fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), sources said on Saturday, as global automakers face rising costs to comply with stricter emission regulations, reported Reuters.

The two Japanese automakers already have a technology and production tie-up, and Toyota was now considering providing fuel-cell and plug-in-hybrid technology to Mazda, said the two sources, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Mazda, in return, was considering offering its partner fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engine technology under its proprietary SkyActiv series, the sources said.

Mazda has been trying to develop FCVs on its own, but it has decided to team up with Toyota, which produces the Mirai, the world’s only mass-market fuel-cell car, the sources said.

Toyota has said hydrogen FCVs offer the most promising zero-emission alternative to conventional cars since they have a similar driving range and refueling time.

Toyota has already decided to share some of its patents concerning fuel cell technology for free, hoping this will speed up the development of the infrastructure.

The Nikkei business daily reported the two companies intended to reach an agreement on the partnership soon.

Toyota and Mazda officials said nothing has been decided.

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Spencer Capital Holdings Acquires SouthWest Dealer Services


NEW YORK – Spencer Capital Holdings, Ltd. (“Spencer Capital”), a value-oriented global holdings company, has acquired SouthWest Dealer Services (“SWDS”), a leading independent full-service provider of finance and insurance (“F&I”) products and services to auto dealers in the United States. SWDS has more than 250 employees that currently serve over 550 active dealers across 14 states in the south-western and mid-western US. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

SWDS is an independent full-service F&I distribution platform, founded in 1988 by Steve Alderson. The firm’s approach utilizes local sales forces whereby dealers have a hands-on experience with SWDS representatives in their individual markets. SWDS currently operates eight strategic locations, situated within the dealer markets they serve.

The acquisition of SWDS is immediately accretive to Spencer Capital and is complementary to its existing portfolio of companies. The financial and operational support of Spencer Capital will provide SWDS with the opportunity to grow its presence and expand its client capabilities, while maintaining its autonomy. Dealers are expected to significantly benefit due to increased and efficient access to products and services across the Spencer platform, notably from Spencer Re, a reinsurance firm, and USA Risk, an independent captive insurance provider.

“We’ve known the team at SouthWest Dealer Services for years and they have an outstanding reputation in the industry, which we experienced firsthand through Spencer Re,” said Ken Shubin Stein, Chairman of Spencer Capital. “The partnership is both a natural and strategic fit as there are multiple growth channels for us moving forward. We’re excited to invest alongside the management team to build out a ‘coast to coast’ footprint for SWDS, which will both complement and fuel the development of Spencer’s existing global platform of leading and value-driven insurance and financial services companies.”

Commenting on the transaction, Steve Alderson, Founder of SWDS, said,
“Partnering with Spencer Capital is a best of both worlds situation. We’re looking to capitalize on the wave of industry consolidation and expand geographically through strategic acquisitions, while maintaining the level of local support that our dealers are accustomed to. SWDS has been approached by many capital sources over the years, but until we met the team at Spencer Capital, we hadn’t found a truly strategic partner that mirrored the image of what we are trying to create.”

SWDS will keep its name and continue to operate as it has effectively done for more than 25 years. There will be no personnel changes as a result of this transaction.

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Fiat Chrysler Wants to collaborate With Others on New Vehicles


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said his company is in talks with other automakers to share the costs of developing new vehicles and technology, particularly to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and called on the United States to ease fuel economy targets for 2025, reported Reuters.

“I think (automakers’) costs … (are) well in excess of what I consider a mature industry to be able to afford,” Marchionne told reporters at the Detroit auto show on Monday.

The U.S. government wants automakers to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline for their lineup of vehicles by 2025. Marchionne said that with gasoline prices sliding to $2 a gallon or less, consumers have less incentive to pay extra for advanced fuel-saving technology. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will review the targets by 2018, and Marchionne said he expects other automakers to lobby the EPA to extend the timetable for achieving the 54.5 mpg target and the corresponding target for carbon dioxide emissions.

Marchionne deflected questions on whether FCA was in merger talks, but said that automakers’ relatively low stock values reflect investor perceptions that car companies are wasting capital producing their own versions of commoditized technologies, such as the hardware for four-cylinder engines.

Recently, separate media reports suggested that the Italian carmaker was talking to PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen about a potential tie-up. Both reports were denied by Fiat and the French and German companies.

FCA’s October announcement that it would spin off luxury unit Ferrari prompted speculation that the automaker would seek another merger partner, possibly to plug a hole in Asia.

Marchionne said Ferrari will always stick to its policy of keeping production levels below market demand, and dismissed speculation that the luxury group could significantly increase sales after the spin-off.

“To cite Enzo Ferrari, we will always sell one less Ferrari than the market wants,” said Marchionne, who also serves as Ferrari chairman. “That’s a policy that will never change.”

FCA plans to sell 10 percent of Ferrari via a public offering and distribute the rest of FCA’s stake to its shareholders. A bond issue may accompany Ferrari’s IPO in the second quarter, Marchionne added on Monday.

He said he expects the car markets in Europe, Brazil and the United States to post single-digit growth in 2015.

He said FCA would sell more than 5 million vehicles this year, up from an expected 4.7 million in 2014. The carmaker also expects to report 2014 results in line with guidance, he added.

The group said earlier on Monday it would add more than 1,000 workers at its Melfi plant in southern Italy thanks to “extremely positive” sales for its new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X models, allowing it to fully utilize the plant’s production capacity.

Marchionne said the new positions were a “big step forward and a positive sign for the country.” FCA will also end a state-backed temporary layoff scheme at the plant, allowing 5,418 employees to return to work full-time.

The positive results at Melfi are just a first step in FCA’s bid to make its European operations profitable by 2016.

They are part of a bigger goal to invest 48 billion euros ($56.73 billion) over five years to 2018 to boost sales by 60 percent to 7 million cars and increase net profit five-fold. Analysts have called those targets highly ambitious, but Marchionne reiterated on Monday that those targets still stood.

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NIADA Partners with EFG Companies


DALLAS, Texas — The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) and EFG Companies have announced a new strategic partnership to drive greater F&I profit opportunities for independent dealerships nationwide.

Independent auto dealers operate in a highly fragmented F&I product market where there is an abundance of products, but a lack of relevant and consistent dealership engagement in terms of F&I training, compliance and recruiting, officials said. With almost 40 years of experience as an industry innovator of consumer and vehicle protection programs, EFG serves the independent dealer as a single-source provider for F&I products, services and administration.

“EFG Companies represents a leading force in the F&I training, compliance, and ancillary solutions market. We see a tremendous reservoir of very innovative, high impact, and leading edge F&I solutions that our member dealers need more than ever to effectively compete and ensure compliance within a very dynamic, hypercompetitive auto retail finance market,” said Scott Lilja, senior vice president of member services of NIADA. “EFG Companies exemplifies at the highest level what we look for in an endorsed NIADA National Corporate Partner.”

“During this time of increased compliance oversight and economic expansion, it is imperative that independent auto dealerships be equipped with the ability to drive F&I revenue in a compliant manner while increasing customer satisfaction,” said John Pappanastos, president and CEO of EFG Companies. “EFG has proven that an engagement model which combines F&I and sales training, recruiting services and industry analytics drives healthy and sustainable business growth.”

EFG’s dealer services field team is 100% AFIP certified, and the company has been certified as a Center of Excellence by Benchmark Portal — a customer service designation that less than 10% of companies achieve. In 2014, EFG was also the only product provider awarded the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Blue Seal of Excellence, with EFG’s claims adjusters averaging 15 years of experience.

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