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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

ARKANSAS

CAR BUSINESS

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE ARKANSAS INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION

LOCAL CREDIT UNIONS READY TO SERVE ALSO Inventory Acquisition 101 PLUS Compliance Overdrive

DALLAS, TEXAS Permit No. 2079

PAID

PRSRT Standard U.S. Postage

Visit us at w w w.arkiada.org

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NAAA Alert - Take Action!

INSIDE

MAGAZINECONTENTS MAGAZINECONTENTS 06 Inventory Acquisition 101 08 Local Credit Unions 14 Compliance Overdrive

WHAT’SNEW R A2Z EDUCATION SERIES - AutoZone Educating the independent dealer to deliver the highest quality service levels to your customers, manage your shop efficiently, train your technicians and maximize profits. niada.tv

NAAA asks you to send a letter supporting H.R. 860, Promoting Charitable Donations of Qualified Vehicles Act of 2011. Seven years ago, Congress changed the tax rules governing car donations. In the first year after the law changed, the IRS reported a 67 percent decline in the number of vehicles donated to charities. The current law does not allow for a tax deduction until a vehicle is auctioned and then only for the auction sale price. The proposed legislation, H.R. 860, would allow tax deductions based on fair market value up to $2,500 and require an appraisal over that threshold. This bill would maintain IRS reporting requirements for both taxpayers and charities without scaring away donors. NAAA urges you to take action by sending a letter to your Congressman asking them to support H.R. 860

MEET THE 2011 AIADA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

R TURBO TIPS – Cars.com Provides Independent Dealers with practicable and actionable tips to help you sell more cars now! niada.tv R NIADA Mobile NIADA Mobile now offers access to Manheim Auction information on the go through our smart phone app. Manheim run lists and market reports are among the many enhancements now available. NIADA.Gigglepop.com

ADVERTISERSINDEX ADVERTISERSINDEX 71B Auto Auction.....................................................7 ADESA ......................................... Inside Front Cover AutoTrader.com ...................................... Back Cover Insurance Auto Auctions..........................................9 Manheim.com.......................................................13 Protective ...............................................................3 SmartAuction................................Inside Back Cover Southern Pioneer Insurance ...................................5 United Acceptance................................................11

NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION WWW.NIADA.COM • WWW.NIADA.TV NIADA HEADQUARTERS: 2521 BROWN BLVD. • ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203 PHONE (817) 640-3838 FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT: TROY GRAFF (800) 682-3837 OR TROY@NIADA.COM.

THE ARKANSAS CAR BUSINESS IS PUBLISHED BI-MONTHLY BY THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION SERVICES CORPORATION, 2521 BROWN BOULEVARD., ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203; PHONE (817) 640-3838. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT DALLAS, TX AND AT ADDITIONAL OFFICES. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO NIADA STATE PUBLICATIONS, 2521 BROWN BOULEVARD., ARLINGTON, TX 76006-5203. THE STATEMENTS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF ARKANSAS CAR BUSINESS OR THE NIADA. LIKEWISE, THE APPEARANCE OF ADVERTISERS, OR THEIR IDENTIFICATION AS MEMBERS OF NIADA, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES FEATURED. COPYRIGHT 2011 BY NIADA SERVICES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. STATE MAGAZINE MGR./SALES Troy Graff • troy@niada.com EDITOR Andy Friedlander • andy@niada.com ART/PRODUCTION MGR. Christy Haynes • christy@niada.com PRINTING Nieman Printing

DON’T FORGET TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR IMPORTANT INFO: WWW.ARKIADA.ORG

FRAN CAVENAUGH STATE PRESIDENT

KENT STEGALL STATE VICE PRESIDENT

DON CAVENAUGH MOTORS Walnut Ridge

KENT STEGALL USED CARS El Dorado

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WILT LEAK STATE SECRETARY MAGNOLIA MOTOR CO. Magnolia

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS Region Region Region Region

One: Aaron Christie, Affordable Rent to Own, N. Little Rock Two: Al Pledger, Al Pledger Motors, Russellville Three: Matt Erisman, Automatic Finance, Springdale Four: Kurt Weiand, Pioneer Auto Auction, Hardy

Region Region Region Region

Five: Keith Bayird, Bayird Motors, Paragould Six: Kenneth Caruthers, Caruthers Auto & Equip. Sales, McRae Seven: Marty Davis, Davis Used Cars, El Dorado Eight: Open

AUCTION DIRECTORY ADESA Little Rock/ ADESA Springdale Satellite Auction 8700 Highway 70 North Little Rock, AR 72117 Call: 501-945-2444 Fax: 501-945-2605 Gen. Mgr.: Bill Smith Asst. GM: Phillip Willis Sales Mgr.: Angela Sims Fleet/Lease Mgr.: Mike Davis Springdale Satellite Sales Mgr.: Donna Johnson 479-725-1330 Fleet/Lease and Consignment Every Thursday in Little Rock at 9:00am Weekly Tuesday Satellite Auction in Springdale, AR at 9:00am Inoperative Auction Every Other ursday 8:00am Recreational and Specialty Auction Every Thursday in Little Rock at 8:30 am Heavy Truck and Equipment Auction Monthly. Contact Angela Sims for dates and times. Featuring: VRS-CAC, Arvest Bank, Drive Financial, Americredit, ARI, GE Capital, Enterprise RAC, Simmons Bank, PAR Remarketing, SST Remarketing, HSBC, Key Bank, and Arkansas Federal CreditUnion. AFC Financing On-Site Restaurant Airport Shuttle Service Full Service Detail Dept. Body Shop Title Services On-Site Mechanic Shop Local/Nationwide Transport Web site: www.adesa.com

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DANE REED STATE TREASURER DANE’S AUTO SALES Pine Bluff

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

Central Arkansas Auto Auction, Inc. Independent 205 Foster Drive - Beebe, AR 72012 Mail: P.O. Box 250 Beebe, AR 72012 Telephone: (501) 882-6447 Fax: (501) 882-5008 Web site: www.naaa.com

Dealers Auto Auction 1028 S. Portland Oklahoma City, OK 73108 405/947-2886 Fax: 405/943-8370 www.daaokc.com

PRIMARY CONTACTS: Delane Hooten, General Manager Debi Mitchell, Business Manager Type Of Sales Fleet/Lease Contact: Kim Miller & Neal Smith, Sales Consignment: Wednesday 9:30 a.m.

PRIMARY CONTACTS: Owner/ President: Gary Smith General Manager: Bruce Beam F/L Manager: Mike Egdahl Consignment Sale – Thursdays, 8:30am Featuring: Ford Credit, GMAC, AmeriCredit, Avis Budget Group, CitiFinancial, Hertz Carco, Hertz Corporation, RSA, LK Auto Remarketing, R.B. Leasing, W.M. Sales and Leasing, Bank Repos, Bob Howard Auto Group, Bob Moore Auto Group, David Stanley Auto Group, Joe Cooper Auto Group, Enterprise Holdings, Auto Advantage/ Express Credit Auto, Santander Consumer, Midwest Car Corp, ARI, Thrifty Car Rental, Finance Point, Liberty 1, Littleton, Automotive Solutions, BF Remarketing and many more. INOP Sale held weekly. Highline, Import and Special Interest sale as scheduled. GM Sponsored Closed Factory Sale - Every other Tuesday, 10am Auction Access accepted. A proud member of www.auctionpipeline.com Online purchasing available through Pipeline Simulcast. Full service Recon Facility (Paint/ Body, Mechanical, Detail)

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IndustryNews

Inventory Acquisition 101 No need to overthink and thus overcomplicate things. The hottest topic right now in the Buy Here-Pay Here world has to be inventory.

When shopping for a new or additional auction sources, do not limit it to just the large national auctions. Independent auctions are becoming very aggressive in going after dealer business as well. I may be a little old fashioned, but have always preferred the independent auction as they seem to provide better service and an overall buying and selling experience. BY B R E N T C A R M I C H A E L

Not only where, but what and how to find and purchase it. Like most other areas of the BHPH business, the most successful dealers are focusing on the basics in this area, too. They are firm believers in the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) philosophy. No need to overthink and, thus, overcomplicate things. The first basic they are focusing on regarding inventory acquisition is repeat business. For the more successful dealers, between 30 and 40 percent of their monthly sales are from repeat customers. These will be either lowbalance customers traded into a new vehicle or previously paid-out customers that have returned to purchase again. So 30 to 40 percent of their monthly inventory need is satisfied with vehicles they have a history of and with; that’s pretty valuable information to have when it comes to the vehicles we deal with. Recycling of repossessions is the next basic to focus on. With these, you have the ability and time to completely check the vehicle out to determine its reconditioning need. You also have some historical information for the vehicle. The dealers I have the privilege of working with are recycling on average 60 percent of their repossessions each month to put back out on the lot for sale. The only negative seems to be that the recycled vehicles tend to have a higher reconditioning cost. They seem to need a little more love to get them lot ready but overall are more cost effective than purchasing at auction. Speaking of auctions, they are a basic that should not be overlooked. It is true that there are not as many vehicles going across the block these days, but it is still an effective source. The positive to vehicle volumes at auction being down is that they are becoming very competitive with one another for dealer business. Some auctions are even waiving buy or post sale inspection fees. There is no better time to expand your horizons and check out as many auctions as travel and expense will allow. When shopping for a new or additional auction sources, do not limit yourself to just the large national auctions. Independent auctions are becoming very aggressive in going after dealer business as well. I may be a little old fashioned, but have always preferred the independent auction as they seem to provide better service and an overall buying and selling experience.

I also recommend utilizing the World Wide Web in aiding in the search for an auction honey hole. Most auctions, national and independent, are posting most, if not all, of their upcoming sale vehicles, but post-sale information as well. Most are utilizing Smart Auction, Open Lane, and or OVE for the posting. These are also great resources for the dealer to not only purchase vehicles from the comfort of their office but also to research what auctions have available to know where your next auction visit needs to be. You might just stumble on an auction you weren’t even aware existed. A final basic in the kissing of inventory acquisition would be dealer trades. New car sales are down so this is not the source it once was, but still should not be overlooked. It won’t fill the overall need, but still could fill a partial need. I think the key here is personal contact with the dealer. I’m seeing too many buyers just calling the dealer asking what they have instead of taking the time to actually visit the dealers. Not necessarily a basic, but a stone that should not go unturned would be the private seller. Craigslist, eBay, newspapers and auto magazines are all sources to find vehicles. I, too, used to turn my nose up at this stone feeling it wasn’t worth the time and effort, but with today’s economic challenges, there are sellers out there who simply need the money to get by and are far more reasonable in their expectations. Will it fill the lot? No, but it could fill part of it and that is what counts. As for how to KISS the what and how to acquire inventory, I think it comes down to two very simple questions. How much do you have in the bank account? And how much of that are you willing to spend? There still is enough inventory available as long as you are willing to pay for it. Values are a little out of control right now but have seemed to have leveled off a little in the last month. Finding the right inventory for the right price is still possible. The key will be not to overthink and, thus, overcomplicate it. If you focus on the basics and keep it simple, you will be working smarter and not harder. Brent Carmichael Executive Conference Moderator NCM Associates Inc. bcarmichael@ncm20.com

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LocalLending

Taking the Local:

Riding Your Credit Union to Profits

“What I like is that they work with us. We can call in a potential deal. If they turn down the deal, we can work with them, and maybe change some of the conditions of the deal – bigger down payment or a shorter term.” BY J I M S T I C K FO R D

Independent dealers are always looking to improve the services they offer their customers and that often means looking for and getting new sources of indirect lending, yet getting new sources of credit isn’t always easy. Fortunately for dealers and their customers, local credit unions can serve as a nearby source that wants to work with responsible businesses. Dealers who use credit unions as indirect lending sources have found lots of advantages to having them in their corner. One advantage is credit unions are often well-known in the community the dealer operates in and have their own customer base.

Chris Maynard, vice president of lending for Michigan First Credit Union of Lathrup Village, Mich., said his organization has about 85,000 members who bank at nine branches spread out through the state’s three most populous counties. Headquarters isn’t 2,000 miles away in another state. “We’ve been doing indirect lending through car dealers associated with us for about five years,” Maynard said. “Our program gives us a chance to grow our membership, increase our loan volume and forge relationships with dealers. Our loan program is very important in creating valued relationships with successful businesses.” Credit unions benefit from being associated with dealers through making loans, he said. If customers don’t belong to the credit union, they join as part of getting the loan. Now those people might not do anything else with the credit union except pay off the loan, but that gives the credit union an opportunity to offer them other services, such as checking, credit cards and home loans. Dealers benefit from being associated with a credit union because they get to work with a local lender who has a consistent underwriting approach, Maynard said. Another benefit: the credit union will steer customers to dealers who use their lending services. It’s the perfect time for members inquiring about taking out an auto loan to learn more about dealers who partner with the institution. Credit unions also are about customer service, and now dealers are their customers. “The credit unions work with us,” said Bill Perkins, president of the Bill Perkins Automotive Group in Eastpointe, Mich. “I’ve been working with Michigan First for about three-and-a-half years. What I like is that they work with us. We can call in a potential deal. If they turn down the deal, we can work with them, and maybe change some of the conditions of the deal – bigger down payment or a shorter term. We can work with them to a deal work to the advantage of everyone involved.” Craig Underwood, president of New Haven Auto Sales in Shelby, Ohio, has been working with the Ohio-based Directions Credit Union for about 14 years. He has a great appreciation of how their relationship has been nurtured over the years. “We work with banks and other lending institutions, but I’ve got to say that Directions is the best in terms of ease of use,” Underwood said. “We really value the relationship we have with them and they make it very easy to work together to serve our customers’ needs.” Jan Davis, sales manager for the Nice Car Co. dealership in Ottawa Lake, Mich., near the Ohio border and 30 minutes south of Ann Arbor, Mich., has also been working with Directions for the past several years. “We have a face-to-face relationship with Directions,” Davis said. “That’s important.” Having someone to call and speak with really helps maintain a strong relationship between dealer and credit union. Personal interaction is preferable to many dealers than dealing with a

company via the Internet and lending computer programs. While credit unions will work with dealers, they are still careful about lending practices. Trina Larson, director of sales and marketing for CRIF Select (a division of Denver-based CRIF Lending Solutions), said her company specializes in facilitating indirect loan programs for credit unions and her specific business is the auto and motorcycle department. CRIF helps set up loan programs for credit unions that are aimed at vehicle buyers. “We have been around for about 20 years,” Larson said. “We used to be known as Aimbridge. We’ve seen an increase over the past three years in credit unions seeking to get into the car loan business. They have money to lend and want to diversity their portfolios. “ Larson said credit unions are member owned, and therefore fairly conservative by nature. One thing they don’t want to do is lend money, sell the portfolio and leave delinquent customers hanging if they’re unable to repay the loan. That strategy, in part, led to the economic meltdown whose effects are still being felt. “Credit unions don’t like defaults,” Larson said. “But they do like working with customers to make loans that benefit everyone. After the bank problems of 2008, many credit unions saw that there was a niche to fill, in terms of auto loans, and many wanted to fill that niche. If a credit union doesn’t have the resources for marketing, that’s where we come in.” Larson said a smart credit union doesn’t do business with just anyone. They want to do business with dealerships that are stable, have been in business a while and maintain a certain volume of business. Credit unions are in it for the long run and want to work with dealerships that feel the same way. Customers come back to dealerships that take care of them, so an accommodating lender is an important part of the process. “Let’s face it, the paperwork involved in buying a car is intimidating,” said Underwood. “We all know that there is a lot of federal and state paperwork that a customer is supposed to read before a deal can be completed. Any help a dealer can get in guiding the customer through the paperwork maze is greatly appreciated. And credit unions help with that. There’s no sense of funny business from credit unions when it comes to paperwork and that lends credibility to us.” That credibility, he said, pays off in terms of repeat business. Buyers feel well treated by the credit union and by the dealership. The sense of fair treatment makes it much easier to get that customer back when it’s time for customers to buy another vehicle. It also helps promote word of mouth, which always is valued by the smart dealer. Credit unions understand the retail auto business, too. Obviously, there is a difference between franchise dealerships that sell both new and used vehicles and independents. Dealers who are afraid a credit union doesn’t understand that difference may worry they’ll be judged by the same criteria CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

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LocalLending CO NTIN U E D FROM PAGE 8

as franchise dealers don’t need to do so. Tim Crosby, vice president of loan development for Directions, said the lender has 18 branches spread across central Ohio and the Toledo area. Directions, which caters to franchise and independent dealers, likes working with dealers who meet its criteria. “We have a program aimed at large franchise dealer operations,” Crosby said. “This program is technology based. Dealers submit information using a special app via the Internet. This app provides what I like to call instant decisioning. It’s all run by computers.” Franchise operations tend to be more heavily invested in technology, have several other resources to call upon and often deal with larger volumes of money and vehicle sales. Independent dealerships, on the other hand, can vary greatly in terms of size, sales, money and technology. Some independent dealerships are every bit as sophisticated as a franchise operation, but for others, a fax machine is the height of sophisticated technology, Crosby said. Thankfully for those dealers, the program aimed at independents recognizes this fact, and Crosby understands there are mom-and-pop dealerships that still prefer to do things via fax. Directions’ special car loan department accepts apps via fax, and approval or denial is returned to the dealer the same way. Speed counts when completing a sale, and credit unions can make a decision quickly.

Buying a vehicle is a very emotional business, said Underwood. Even if customers have done all their research on the Internet, compared prices, compared options and evaluated dealer reputations, that decision is an expensive one they’ll have to live with for some time. So when it comes time for customers to sign a contract, they can be very nervous. Every dealer has a story about a buyer who talked himself out of buying a sound vehicle that was sold at a reasonable price. Credit unions often are able to quickly answer whether or not a loan will be made, giving the customer less time to get nervous about the deal. Underwood said he can get an answer in 30 minutes; if a customer has to come back in three days to work out the terms of the deal, that’s three days of worry and doubt that have to be overcome. Credit unions also offer another benefit: competitive loan rates. Perkins said he likes working with credit unions because they offer good rates. The best service in the world is nice, but if that service pushes the loan out of most customers’ price range, it really doesn’t help the dealer. He noted the lending landscape has changed over the past decade. There are still a lot of banks out there, but the number of local banks that know the community and are willing to work with local businesses one-on-one has declined as local banks have been merged with large national outfits. It’s possible for a bank customer

who belonged to an institution with one or two branches to now be part of a bank with 3,000 branches thanks to mergers. Another reason to consider credit unions is marketing: they’ll literally drive customers into dealers’ arms. Most credit unions hold some sort of vehicle sale promotion during the year. Many do it several times a year. These promotions allow dealers to bring good vehicles to the credit union locations. The credit unions and the dealers typically split the cost of the promotion. It’s a real benefit to all: the credit unions get to expand their loan portfolios and dealers get to make additional sales. Oftentimes, good credit union customers are told they have been pre-approved for a loan and are invited to visit the credit union on a particular day when there will be vehicles for sale provided by participating dealerships. Perkins said when he’s been involved in a promotion such as these, he’s never sold less than 20 vehicles. Do that four times a year and that’s 80 extra sales a year. Even if you sell 500 vehicles a year, that’s still an extra 15 percent a year, and what dealer doesn’t want to see a 15-percent sales boost with minimal marketing effort on his part? “We’re happy to be on board with Directions Credit Union,” Underwood said. “We know that our customers are being taken care by the indirect lender, and the customers know that they’re getting a good loan at competitive rates. That’s a win-win in my book.”

the NEXT generation of NIADA try NIADA’S new MOBILE APP ACCESS GUIDEBOOK VEHICLE APPRAISAL SERVICES • GET INSTANT VEHICLE HISTORY REPORTS • ACCESS AUCTION PRE SALE RUN LISTS NATIONWIDE • STAY INFORMED WITH NIADA EVENTS & PROGRAMS

Get Started with NIADA’s Mobile App Today! For Details & Instructions Visit: http://niada.gigglepop.com or Call 1-855-MY-NIADA (855.696.4232)

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NIADA Mobile now provides instant auto transport quotes as part of its innovative mobile app. With the

addition of ShipCarsNow to the NIADA mobile app, NIADA members will have shipping costs at their fingertips, giving dealers the ability make quick, informed purchase decisions whenever and wherever they buy wholesale inventory. NIADA Mobile currently provides vehicle values from Black Book, Kelley Blue Book and NADA; CARFAX and AutoCheck reports; as well as pre-auction run lists, continuously updated vehicle data, and VIN bar code scanners. “ShipCarsNow is one of our NIADA National Member Benefit Partners and we are excited to include nationwide auto transport as another service within of our mobile app platform,” said Scott Lilja, NIADA vice president of member services. ShipCarsNow recently introduced ShipCarsNow Mobile, a mobile app that gives auto dealers and remarketers a fast and easy way to get multimodal auto transport quotes from any smartphone. One of the few auto transport companies to offer flexible options of truck and rail service, ShipCarsNow’s mobile app complements their online auto transport service and offers auto dealers mobile access to instant auto shipping quotes while they’re bidding on cars at auction. In addition to instant price quotes, the ShipCarsNow mobile app provides users a link to register with ShipCarsNow.com for lower, preferred customer prices. NIADA members can use the app to login to ShipCarsNow.com to get quotes, track shipments, and quickly access ShipCarsNow sales representatives. To learn more about the NIADA Mobile app with ShipCarsNow auto transport quotes, visit http://niada.gigglepop.com

OfficeMax Offers New Partnership At NIADA, we’re always looking for ways to help you get more out of your membership. That’s why we’ve teamed up with OfficeMax to introduce the OfficeMax Partner Advantage program. OfficeMax is a leader in both business-to-business office product solutions and retail office products. OfficeMax provides office supplies and paper, in-store print and document services through OfficeMax ImPress technology products and solutions, and furniture to consumers and to large, medium and small businesses. OfficeMax customers are served by 35,000 associates through direct sales, catalogs, e-commerce and retail stores. OfficeMax has more than 40 years of experience in the business-to-business marketplace and is recognized as one of the most experienced national business products supplier. Corporate United, the nation’s largest group purchasing organization, selected OfficeMax as the 2010 recipient of the Corporate United Supplier of the Year Award.

Partners

NIADA Mobile Adds ShipCarsNow Auto Transport Quotes to App

Through the OfficeMax Partner Advantage Program, NIADA members receive:

- Exclusive member-only pricing - Superior personalized service - Innovative programs that deliver value to companies and individuals - Highly skilled technology team - More than 25,000 office essential products - Award-winning house brands - Large recycled product offering - Multiple ordering channels Online ordering is easy; just visit www.officemaxsolutions.com and type in the following: User name: 0722739w Password: omaxadvantage1 To order via phone, call 877-969-6629. Members with 20 or more employees may call 800-248-6343 to request more information on setting up your business account.

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IndustryEducation

AutoTrader.com’s Dealer Learning Center Gives Dealers Free Online Access To Educational Resources In an effort to help dealers leverage the Internet to effectively advertise online, AutoTrader.com has launched its Dealer Learning Center (DLC). This

online educational portal brings on-demand video tutorials, topical articles, proprietary and independent research, best practices and marketing handbooks to the dealer community at no charge. Dealers and their staffs can anonymously access these resources at www. dealerlearningcenter.com. As the go-to place for educational content on a variety of online marketing and research topics, the DLC includes information on online merchandising best practices, industry insights, video, social, mobile, chat and more. Dealers can also find important research studies such as the 2011 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study and the Northwood Dealer Walk-In Study. “This is yet another way that AutoTrader. com is fulfilling our promise to the dealer community: We Work for You,” said Chip Perry, president and CEO at AutoTrader.com. “We only win if our customers win, so we have been continually focused on ensuring that they have all the tools and resources necessary to be successful. From transforming our sales team into true advertising consultants a few years ago to creating more robust educational programs and resources, AutoTrader.com is bringing the latest information on effective online marketing and merchandising to the dealer community.” The Dealer Learning Center is an extension of the already robust programs AutoTrader. com offers through its Dealer Learning team, which supports the educational needs of dealers through hands-on learning. Comprised of automotive experts with extensive dealership experience, the Dealer Learning Team aims to help dealers use the Internet as a tool to drive shoppers to their showrooms as well as integrate online best practices with in-store processes that maximize operational efficiency. In addition to directly serving the dealer body with an array of educational materials, the Dealer Learning Center will also enable AutoTrader.com advertising consultants to enhance their interactions with their customers by providing facilitated learning that aligns with their customers’ objectives. Visitors can also see a schedule of upcoming events with information about the local market educational workshops being conducted throughout the country. These workshops are open to AutoTrader.com dealer customers, and in many cases, non-customers. Visitors can also learn about the AutoTrader.com Dealer Learning team and read workshops descriptions. The Dealer Learning Center was designed for ease of use and to provide visitors learning flexibility on the topics important to them. For

example, they can watch a 10-15-minute video tutorial on a topic of their choice or read an article on the same topic. It also lets dealers rate the educational resources on a five-star rating scale to help other users determine which assets contain the most valuable content to serve their educational needs. Furthermore, the DLC features full-site search capabilities to help users immediately locate the information they seek. Finally, the DLC offers a variety of ways for dealers to keep up to date with the most recent resources and events added to the site. Dealers can opt in to a monthly email update, which gives a rundown of all new content that has been uploaded to the site during the previous month, they can subscribe to an RSS feed, or they can visit the site’s overview page to stay informed.

“We were very thoughtful with the development of this site, taking into consideration how different visitors may prefer to learn as well as browse the content. Our priority is to accommodate and facilitate dealer learning, not only in person but also online,” said Eddie Cawley, director of dealer learning. “Our educators have retail automotive backgrounds, and they are interacting with dealers and their staffs every day. They understand the pain points of dealerships and have insight into what educational information they are hungry for. The content on the DLC speaks directly to the feedback we’re hearing from the field, and it will continue to evolve and grow.” Allyson Estes, Director of Industry Relation & Dealer Learning, explained further. “As an industry, we face new challenges all the time. AutoTrader.com has tremendous access to resources, research, and best practices about effective online marketing. It is our responsibility to share that information with the dealer community so that the industry as a whole is successful.” “We rely on dealers for learning just as much as they rely on us. It’s two-way sharing. This learning center is a new way to foster that communication,” she said.

Two of the most popular workshops the team is asked to conduct are OnLot2Online and Customer Connections. According to the workshop description for OnLot2Online, three out of four consumers are shopping online for cars, and they expect the same level of customer service online and offline – from reception to selling and financing. As a result, today’s dealerships require an integrated approach in order to convert prospects into customers and create ongoing customer loyalty. OnLot2Online was designed around this concept and focuses on how to take in-store best practices and move them into the online space. This program covers creating an “Internet Culture” at the dealership among all employees, aligning the online and offline retail shopping experience for shoppers, effective online merchandising tactics, new platforms to engage and influence car shoppers, and methods for tracking and sourcing dealership traffic. Customer Connections offers insight into how dealerships can engage and respond to online shoppers when they call, email, or walk in to the dealership. Additionally, it covers the dealership’s role and the dos and don’ts of new consumer engagement platforms such as live chat and social media-dealer rating sites. It also identifies various channels in which today’s shoppers contact the dealership and explains what shoppers are looking for from the dealership experience. Workshop participants also have an opportunity to practice effective methods for addressing and engaging shoppers. “Our workshops are very interactive. It creates an environment where dealers can also learn from each other. It’s an excellent way to reinforce learning and discover new ways that dealers make the Internet work for them. We are able to share many of the best practices that are working for dealers in other markets as well as the findings from performance metrics on AutoTrader.com,” said Eddie Cawley. The Dealer Learning team also conducts workshops on other topics like business transparency and inventory acquisition. The workshops are customized so that the information is relevant to the audience. “Different dealerships have different needs based on a variety of factors, so we take that into consideration when coming to a market or dealership to conduct a workshop. We want the content to be meaningful to the dealers in the room,” Cawley said. The Dealer Learning Center offers a new, effective format for extending the lessons from interactive workshops the Dealer Learning team conducts around the country. This online platform offers an immediate way for dealers to access these helpful insights about effective online marketing. Dealers can learn more at www.DealerLearningCenter.com.

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Black Book’s Tim West Named to NAAA Hall of Fame Tim West, Black Book’s vice president and North American auction director, was inducted into the National Auto Auction Association Hall of Fame during its 63rd annual conference in Chicago. “Tim is extremely knowledgeable, personable and dependable,” NAAA chairman of the board David Angelicchio said. “He’s out there exchanging ideas and sharing information with our members. His efforts have earned him respect as a trusted friend and advisor to many auction owners and general managers. He embodies what it means to be a true NAAA stalwart.” West joins three of his Black Book associates in the NAAA Hall of Fame: Gene McDonald, Dave Cape and Bob Burnett. Since he began his career with Black Book in 1984 as an editorial assistant, West has worked diligently to build personal relationships with those in the industry. During the next decade he served as editor of both the Old Car and Domestic Car guides, then as assistant field coordinator and North American auction director. In that position, West expanded his connections and support during the transition from predominantly locally owned auctions to corporate owned and operated. He manages the overall industry interaction vital to Black Book’s ability to provide accurate and timely information, and oversees the production department, ensuring the quality of the printing and shipping of all the printed guides.

Kelley Blue Book Warns of Fake Website Scam Kelley Blue Book, a leading provider of new car and used car information is warning online car buyers of a scam using a fake Kelley Blue Book website. The scam attempts to solicit funds from

buyers through an escrow-based, guaranteed buyerprotection program - something Kelley Blue Book does not offer. Kelley Blue Book warns that any escrow-based consumer-to-consumer service or buyer and seller protection program offered under its name is a scam. Car shoppers should be aware that imitation websites look similar to the actual kbb.com and they should be cognizant of the domain name (URL) and email address (view the actual address, not the display name) provided by the seller. Car shoppers that encounter this type of offer from online sellers are strongly urged to report the seller to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov . For tips on how to protect yourself from phony online car-buying scams or fraudulent buyer protection programs, visit the FBI website at www. f bi.gov/news/stories/2011/august/car_081511/ car_081511 .

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Have you ever tried staring at a Magic Eye poster or book? At first glance, they look like complex, two-dimensional designs. However, if you view them in just the right way, images seem to pop out in 3D. But it can be a difficult task because the designs are intricate and sometimes overwhelming. For those in the auto finance world, it’s easy to get the same feeling when looking at the vast number of regulatory changes taking place each year. With so much happening at once, it can be hard to see the big picture. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and look for the patterns. So what have we been seeing in 2011? A common thread across recent laws and regulations is a strong focus on the credit decision process. Three areas in particular offer key examples of this:

Denial Notices: Section 1100F of the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementation regulations require disclosing a credit score and related information in adverse action notices when that information is used as part of the credit decision. The purpose is to encourage applicants to review credit report and credit score information to see if errors or inaccuracies are causing credit denials. Risk-Based Pricing Notices: The federal risk-based pricing rule requires dealers, lenders and third-party providers to notify consumers when they receive materially less favorable credit terms than others based on consumer report information. The idea is to give consumers more information and prompt them to review their credit report information to confirm it is correct. It can also help consumers avoid unnecessarily accepting higher credit costs due to credit record errors and inaccuracies. Privacy Disclosures: The new model privacy notices aim to create more consistency in how vendors, including dealers and lenders, present information. The disclosures are given at the beginning of the credit transaction process so consumers can choose a vendor with privacy disclosures most in line with their informationsharing preferences. The new form is required to be comprehensible to consumers, with a clear format and design; provide clear and conspicuous disclosures; enable consumers to easily identify sharing practices of a financial institution so they can compare privacy practices among financial institutions; be succinct; and use an easily readable type font. In each of these cases, the laws and regulations focus on preventing consumer misunderstanding, controlling consumer information, encouraging review of credit records for errors and preventing fraud. These are all actions that take place when a consumer is completing a credit application and a credit decision is being made. These new laws and regulations are aimed at helping borrowers and buyers be more informed at the front end of the credit process. Arguably, this also helps dealers and lenders prevent problems up front, a particularly important benefit during difficult economic times. It is better to have informed customers and accurate credit information at the time of the credit decision. Spotting issues after the sale will often be too late to avoid the losses they will bring. Like those Magic Eye images, patterns across the regulatory environment aren’t always easy to see at first. But if you adjust your focus, you can train your eye to spot the common threads and see the bigger picture. This can ultimately lead to a better understanding of regulators’ key concerns and help your dealership maintain compliance. BY CHIP ZYVOLOSKI

Chip Zyvoloski is senior attorney for indirect lending at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. For more information, visit www.wolterskluwerfs.com/indirect.

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