YOUR CONNECTION TO ONTARIO’S USED CAR INDUSTRY
THE ONTARIO UCDA
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO
PLUS DEALER PROFILE: Heffner Lexus Toyota /24
SPOTLIGHT SERIES NAPA /34 WHATS UP WITH WARRANTIES /44 SUMMER 2019
Convenient. Accessible. A dynamic platform at your fingertips soon.
Stay tuned on the launch of this unique tool that includes: • Dashboards to optimize your performance and implement strategies • Financing scenarios calculators • Online training modules to increase your efficiency • Access to important news Get in touch with your Desjardins advisor to discover how to obtain your privileged access
2 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
THE ONTARIO UCDA
IN THIS ISSUE
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3
Summer 2019 USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO 230 Norseman Street, Toronto, ON M8Z 2R4 Tel: 416.231.2600 Toll Free: 1.800.268.2598 email@example.com
FEATURED STORIES The ROI of Search Engine Optimization By Angela West
ucda.org Publication Mail Agreement #41890516
Ontario Cars By Angela West
ONTARIO DEALER is published by Laservision Graphics Ltd. four times a year.
130 Industry Street, Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3
Spotlight Series: NAPA By Rhonda Payne
EDITOR Gina Monaco Tel: 1.647.344.9300 or 1.289.456.4617 firstname.lastname@example.org
Whats Up With Warranties
Terry Coster Direct: 416.360.0797 Office: 647.344.9300
by Barbara Lehtiniemi
05 07 09 11 18 20 24 28 32 38 42
The Driver’s Seat Warren Barnard
Editor’s Note Gina Monaco
Member’s Corner Bob Pierce
The Law Matters Jim Hamilton
Trends Chris Chase
Tech Talk Angela West
Dealer Profile Lori Straus
Get More From Your DMS Chris Chase The Common Lawyer Justin M. Jakubiak
Digital Marketing Matt McDonald
Old Car Detective Bill Sherk
CONTRIBUTORS Chris Chase, Ronda Payne, Bill Sherk, Lori Straus, Angela West, Matt McDonald, Barb Lehtiniemi If you are interested in having your personal opinion heard, contact the editor at email@example.com
The publisher of The Ontario Dealer reserves the right to turn down any advertising or content submitted to it. The Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario and the publisher accept no responsibility for claims or statements made by advertisers in this publication or by the independent authors of articles appearing in this publication. All statements and opinions appearing in this publication are those of the writers themselves and are not to be construed as reflecting the position or endorsement of the Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario or the publisher.
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 3
You asked. OMVIC delivered. The Help for Dealers Video Series and Educational Resources In response to a survey, more than 3300 dealers and salespeople told OMVIC they wanted to learn more about: •
All-in price advertising
How to handle contract cancellation
Disclosing collision repairs
Disclosing vehicle condition and
needed repairs •
Disclosing negative equity on bills of sale
And they said they’d like the information via video and interactive tools. OMVIC listened.
Check it Out Meet Vic, host of the OMVIC Help for Dealers video series. These short videos and the downloadable toolkit will assist dealers and salespeople better understand and comply with the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.
Visit omvic.on.ca and take advantage of these free resources.
4 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
“Fairness and professionalism are good for the consumer, the industry and your business”
THE DRIVER’S SEAT New Technology Leads the Way Still, those drops need to be balanced against the fact that overall sales of both new and used vehicles have been at or near record levels for the last five years.
By Warren Barnard, Executive Director, UCDA
AS WE ENJOY WHAT ’S LEFT of our short
Ontario summer, some are concerned that storm clouds may be building on the horizon.
Just like the towering clouds that bring summer downpours that can temporarily cool off a hot, humid August afternoon, there’s talk of economic storm clouds that may cool off the economy. Economic news has continued to be mostly positive of late. The overall economy remains hot, yet we’ve seen a steady cooling off in new car sales for almost a year and a half now. June saw the 16th straight monthly drop in terms of year over year numbers. And some are predicting that used sales will suffer the same fate. I’ve heard from more than a few members, that June was a particularly tough month for used sales.
Our industry, which is often said to be slow to change and adapt to new trends, has, I think, shown great resiliency in meeting consumer expectations when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. The industry has generally accepted the fact that the sales process is now very much driven by the consumer’s love for social media, online research and shopping, digital reviews and new technology. These are what drive the consumer experience when searching for and deciding on which vehicle to purchase. Dealers who have recognized what the consumer wants and can give it to them have thrived and will continue to excel in today’s hyper-competitive market. Dealers who don’t adapt quickly will struggle as the industry becomes ever more digitized. Perhaps the best news for the industry’s future is that, despite many predictions to the contrary, tech-loving millennials (currently between 25 and 42 years of age) still love cars and continue to purchase them, especially tech heavymodels. Sales figures show that the oft-predicted demise of the consumerowned automobile has clearly been exaggerated. Older millennials are now approaching their peak buying years, and while they may value tech features and utilize ridesharing services more than previous
generations, they still need and want their own wheels! So, with all this in mind, New Technology, for both consumers and dealers, is the focus of this issue of The Ontario Dealer. Here are some of the topics in this issue that I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about:
New Tech Roundup High Touch, High Tech: Get More from your DMS What’s new in Warranties Digital Marketing – the great equalizer. How to compete with the big boys The rise of texting as a means of communication – get on board Spotlight on NAPA – explaining the program ABCs – why aren’t you in it? The Return on SEO Keep an eye out for those economic storm clouds, but don’t fret over them too much. They will come and go. There are plenty of potential customers out there and they are not drying up anytime soon. Hope you enjoy this issue of The Ontario Dealer and the remainder of summer! Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, anytime. ■
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 5
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© 2019 SiriusXM Canada Inc. “SiriusXM,” the SiriusXM logo, channel names and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc. and are used under license. All other trademarks, service marks, images and logos are property of their respective owners and are displayed with permission. © 2019 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. Visit MLB.com. Games subject to availability and change and may not include all Spring Training games. NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. PGA TOUR and the Swinging Golfer design are trademarks of PGA TOUR, Inc. and used with permission. The Beatles logo is a registered trademark of © Apple Corps 2019 and is used under license. Elvis Presley™ © 2019 ABG EPE IP LLC. Apple®, iPhone®, iPod®, iPod touch®, iPad® and iTunes® are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Apple TV® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google LLC. Amazon, Kindle, Echo, Alexa, Dash, Fire and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com Inc., or its affiliates. SONOS, PLAY:1, PLAY:3, PLAY:5, PLAYBAR, BRIDGE, SUB and all other Sonos product names and slogans are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sonos Inc. SONOS Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm Off. All rights reserved.
6 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
EDITOR’S NOTE The Better Than Selling Principle
By Gina Monaco, Editor
I recently attended a conference focusing how to build better relationships with customers. Although it was geared to another industry, there were some takeaways I thought could apply to the auto industry. Many of you may already know much of this, but I think it’s always good to be reminded of what we really do, as salespeople. There are three key points to business success that salespeople need to understand. The most important goal is to create and keep customers. While our primary job is to sell, that transactional approach may be short-sighted. Making sales creates short-term dollars while creating customers creates long-term dollars.
There’s a big difference between selling and helping people buy. That difference is attitude.
very best for your employer and your employer’s customers, then take action to contribute where you can.
Traditional “selling” can be quite manipulative. It assumes the following, “Let’s take what we have and talk someone into buying it.” If we take the opposite approach, then the statement changes to, “Let’s find out what the customer wants or needs and see if we can match it with what we have. And, if we don’t have it, maybe we can find it.” If we can’t then – and this may be tough for some – “Let’s send him to someone who can help and ask to serve the customer in the future.” Selling creates a sale but helping people buy creates a customer.
Make helping the customer the top priority in your job. There may be a tendency to look at a customer with just dollar signs in your head. This doesn’t work in the long term. While sales quotas are important, they are a means to an end. And that end is to create and keep customers.
People love to buy but hate to be sold. Focus on what your customers need and want, then help them buy what’s best for them, and make them feel good about it. This approach is better than selling. This is equally important for everyone who works, whether or not in sales. If you’re working in a larger dealership as a receptionist, or in the service department, for example, you may not have direct contact during the sales process but the dealership’s customers are actually paying your salary, so anything you can do to improve your employer’s products and services helps everyone.
So, try starting your day off by asking yourself, “How can I be of greater help to my customers?” Keep a notebook handy and when you have a new idea, write it down. Get others at work to do the same thing. You could even make a contest out of it, with prizes for those who come up with the best new ideas for helping customers. There’s a saying that business is a lot like tennis – those who don’t serve well, end up losing. ■
After all, you’d like to continue to have a job and earn money, even get a raise. One way to guarantee that is to want the
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 7
Members-Only Health Plan
For over 12 years, the UCDA Benefits Plan has provided leading health & dental insurance coverage to Ontario member companies. The stability and value that owners need. The comprehensive plan design that employees love. Call us today 1-866-476-8722 or visit UCDAbenefits.com
Apply Online, by Fax, or Email!
UCDABenefits.com 1-866-476-8722 8 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
MEMBER’S CORNER A Million Dollar Lesson the minimum public liability is $35,000 dollars and rental car companies often carry the minimum coverage … in order to be able to sell you more. California Law Requiring Insurance In California, the following minimum liability insurance is required for private passenger vehicles:
By Bob Pierce Member Services Director
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT insurance
coverage rules couldn’t get any crazier……. read this.
Big or small, every member has insurance for their vehicles, plates and building and a lot of you include family members and others “named” on your policy. Insurance rules are pretty much consistent across Canada. Some provinces have government programs, but most are private company coverage. Ontario has a “no fault” program, which is probably the wrong name for it. The compulsory minimum for Ontario is $200,000, but almost everyone carries at least a million dollars, if not more. (www.ibc.ca/on/auto/ auto-insurance/mandatory-coverage) Then there is the U.S. and that’s a totally different story. A lot of us travel frequently in the U.S. for business and pleasure and often we rent cars. In California, for example,
• $15,000 for injury/death to one person. (Also known as bodily injury liability) • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person • $5,000 for damage to property. (Also known as product damage liability) www.tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g28926-c196885/ California:United-States:Car.Rental. Insurance.Requirements.html Saying NO to extra coverage can have consequences Recently, a member was in California on holiday and rented a car. He declined the extra insurance coverage. He was a named insured on the family business insurance policy and he did not have his own personal auto policy. Consider what might happen if you or a family member are in the U.S. on vacation, rent a vehicle and purchase only the minimum limits for the state.
Under the laws of most states, the at-fault driver’s policy (your Ontario garage policy) could be next in line. Lawyers for the injured party make a Demand for Payment directly from the Driver/Renter. In the California case that demand was for one million dollars (U.S.) Since cases in the U.S. can have very high awards your policy would have to respond for its full limits. Demands for Payments have short timelines for response and penalties for failure to respond, so decisions need to be made quickly. What happens when the Demand is for an amount higher than your policy limit? Your Insurance Company will ALWAYS make the demanded payment only up to your limit. You could be faced with personal liability. Now, you have a problem! You have an at-fault accident, the maximum limits are “paid” against your insurance policy and depending on your claims history you could have serious insurability issues for your business at time of renewal. One thing is for sure … your rates will be negatively affected. Things you need to do: 1) Talk to your broker about additional coverage. 2) Pay the additional rental car coverage for your staff and family members traveling in the U.S. Always purchase the higher limit – not the state minimum. 3) Confirm any possible credit card coverage prior to leaving Canada.
Unfortunately, you or the family member are involved in an at-fault accident involving a resident of the state who also carries the state minimum limit. The injuries to the U.S. driver are catastrophic and their automobile policy and the rental … Better safe than really sorry ….. car policy are grossly inadequate.
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 9
N IM PR AN EW O D VE D !
The new and improved CBB Connect. Your all-in-one remarketing tool.
With more features that make it even easier to appraise, value and re-market your inventory. New Desktop and Mobile Application Enhancements: • Add and delete favourite vehicles to make searching and recalling data even easier • Seamlessly share vehicle valuations and a customer-facing worksheet via email • Add and see all notes specific to a vehicle in one record • Copy and paste in the VIN field for even greater accuracy
Desktop-only Enhancements: • Switch between values, appraisals and residual values at the touch of a button • Download and print valuations and a customer-facing worksheet
Mobile-only Enhancements: To make the mobile app even better we’ve added: • A new icon layout that lets you easily navigate between values, appraisals, residual values and the listing market view • A large font option to make reading data easier • New horizontal value table views to make it easier to see the data you want • A simple “swipe away” function to delete a vehicle from your list • Copy and paste in the VIN field for even easier vehicle data input
CBB Connect subscribers can seamlessly update to these great new features by switching update settings in the control panel to “automatic”. Not a CBB Connect subscriber yet?
Find out why CBB Connect is the complete all-in-one remarketing tool. Contact Sales at email@example.com or call 1-800-562-3150 today.
THE LAW MATTERS Amendments to Repair and Storage Liens Act (“RSLA”) and Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) Authorization A provider is required to get authorization from the consumer or their representative and keep proof of same. Invoice Requirements Tow and storage providers are required to deliver a written invoice containing details as required by the legislation.
By Jim Hamilton
Access to Vehicle Providers have to give a consumer whose vehicle is towed or stored, or a person acting on their behalf, access to the vehicle without charge to remove all property contained in the vehicle.
Legal Services Director EFFECTIVE LOBBY EFFORTS BY ONTARIO insurance companies resulted in sweeping amendments to the RSLA and CPA as they apply to the towing and service industry. The majority of these changes took effect over two years ago. However, many of these changes are still not well known. CPA Regulations Disclosure Towing and storage providers are required to give consumers: • The name under which the provider carries on business; • The telephone number and address of the provider, and any other ways that the consumer can contact the provider, such as by fax, email or through a website; • A current statement of rates; and • The address of the location where the provider will take the vehicle. In addition, a provider must disclose if it has a direct or indirect interest in a location or facility where vehicles may be towed for repair, storage or appraisal.
Note: These amendments above do not apply in circumstances where a tow and storage provider provides tow and storage services as a result of the vehicle being impounded, detained under the authority of other laws, or otherwise lawfully seized. Prohibitions Tow and storage providers are not allowed to recommend salvage yards, auto body repair shops, or storage yards unless they are asked by the consumer to do so. The provider has to give a written statement as to any benefits the provider receives for such a referral. A provider is not allowed to charge an amount for services that is greater than what the provider usually charges, unless there is an agreement in place. Identifiers on Tow Trucks and at Business Premises Providers are required to clearly post on both sides of every tow truck and at business premises that they operate: • The name of the provider’s business; • The telephone number
• If applicable, the provider’s municipal licence number. The provider is required to have rates available at all business premises from which they conduct business, and on their website (if one is maintained). RSLA Regulations Fair Value To determine the fair value of the repair the following factors shall be considered and may be included in calculating the fair value amount: • The repairer’s fixed costs, variable costs, direct costs and indirect costs; • The repairer’s profit; and • Other relevant factors. To determine the fair value of storage, or storage and repair, certain factors will continue to be included, such as expenses related to insurance and labour, and all lawful claims for money advanced in relation to the vehicle. Notice Where a storer knows or has reason to believe that the motor vehicle was received from a person other than the owner or a person having the owner’s authority, the 60-day notice period is shortened to 15 days when the motor vehicle is registered in Ontario. The notice period remains 60 days for vehicles registered in another province or country. The amendments provide that where documents are required to be or may be given under the RSLA, they can be sent electronically or faxed, in addition to the methods identified currently in the RSLA, such as by registered mail.
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 11
THE ROI OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION By Angela West
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) is the art and science of getting your dealership ranked as highly as possible on Google in organic (meaning unpaid) search results. Despite any ads you may have seen, there is no magic formula that will catapult you to the top. Getting to the front page of Google for your potential leads takes time, effort, and someone that knows what they are doing. Because of this, SEO usually means an ongoing commitment of funds to a third-party agency. Business owners can be reluctant to do this and need to be shown the return on investment before they buy into the idea.
12 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
Why do SEO at all? While some may scoff at the question of “why do SEO at all?”, it is actually a very valid one. If you have paid ad campaigns in place on Google and have optimized your Google My Business listing, you will appear on the front page of Google results without having to do proper search engine optimization work. However, there are studies which show that many users skip over paid ads and will instead choose sites that are ranked higher in organic search. In addition, tuning up
your website for better search engine performance has the knock-on effect of improving site usability, which increases trust in your brand. To find out more about SEO for dealerships, we naturally turned to Google and interviewed one of the agencies that actually ranked for dealership search engine optimization; the logic being that an agency that
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION | ANGELA WEST does its own SEO properly can walk the walk instead of talking the talk (and in the SEO world, there are many who talk a good game but don’t deliver tangible results). Strathcom Media of Edmonton was one of the agencies that turned up on this search, and we spoke with Melina Beeston, its lead organic strategist.
OD: What should a dealer ask a prospective agency to make sure they know their stuff? Nobody should ever approach your company directly to guarantee first page results for arbitrary search engine queries. Realistically, if no work has been done on SEO up until that point, you may still see yourself on the front page, but it can never be guaranteed that it will stay that way for any permanent period of time. We want to know what your goals are as a dealership and not just your preferred ranking position in search. If someone doesn’t care about your larger goals as a dealership, that is your first red flag.
OD: What should you be measuring and, in the end, paying for? On the website side, above all, we care about organic sessions. They are the most stable metric, especially in the local areas that you are likely to sell a car to someone. There are lots of people who don’t click on ads, people are savvy and realize that the results they are seeing at the top are ads and still trust the top organic result. People do click on ads when they are further down in the sales funnel. Generally someone may see an ad, are ready to buy, and it is the easiest to click on, and that’s why it’s smart to have a full funnel strategy. We do use data we get from Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns to aggressively reform the organic strategy where we need to.
Leads and conversions are also important. These can be website actions like chat window launches, phone calls, and significant actions from your Google My Business listing such as driving directions or phone calls.
attention to SEO, in some all of them are - so you could actually see a high rate of competition in a smaller city too.
Keyword ranking position on its own is not a stand-alone key performance indicator (KPI), especially as the SERP (see #3 below) has changed so much that simply ranking first does not even guarantee visibility anymore. Organic sessions from search and leads and conversions are more important.
Use the same business name in every citation online (any listing of your dealership's name, address, and phone number). No nicknames, no old business names, or anything that is not the actual business name. This can make a mess of citations online. Google cares about relevance, distance, and prominence.
The following four items are generally what we take into account for clients: 1. Organic sessions – (Did customers actually find you in search?) 2. Leads & Conversions – (Did a customer take an action that resulted in getting in contact with your dealership?) 3. SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) Visibility – (Are you present for the right keywords, both in ranking position and SERP features?) 4. On-Site Engagement Metrics – (Are customers who found you in search spending time on your website and finding the answers they were looking for?)
OD: Should you be paying more for SEO in a competitive area such as the GTA? Yes and no. It depends entirely on the number of competitors in the area and your strategy. If you do a Google search in your area for dealerships, typically you will see a local pack with three top results and their Google My Business listings. The market may have more than three dealerships, so it can be much more resource-heavy to get into the top 3 if you are not there already. In some markets, dealers are not paying
OD: What can the dealer do on their end to make a difference?
Treat your customers nicely and ask them to leave you a review. The best way is to ask in person face to face. Make sure they are excited about doing it, and let them know that it is important. We encourage Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews. Most dealerships are sponsors and donate money in their community. If you do that, you should ask for a followed link back to your website from the event page or organization you’ve donated to if possible. When you get these links back, it encourages Google to treat your website as a trusted, relevant authority. The case against DIY SEO After reading Stratchcom’s advice, you may be thinking that you could manage it yourself with internal resources. The problem is that your internal resources are not highly-trained SEO professionals that keep on top of the many updates that Google releases to its search engine over the course of a year. Google makes updates multiple times per year, and there is usually at least one that requires a change in technique or strategy.
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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION | ANGELA WEST Something you were doing a month ago may not work after an update rolls out. In addition, Google never releases a comprehensive list of the updates it is making; it may signal that certain sites or tactics may not work as well with a major update, but it will never tell you exactly what it is doing in order to keep the “secret” in its secret sauce. SEO agencies usually have to figure it out and have the training and tools to do so quickly; your marketing department does not have these tools or these skills. Trying to do DIY SEO work by educating yourself through Internet research is very much like trying to be your own doctor by Googling medical advice; most of it simply isn’t relevant and you’ll just get a ton of bad information you have to sift through. If you try out something you find on a Google search, chances are good the technique may be out of date, and doing the wrong thing can actually tank your search engine results. For example, there is a technique that was in use in the 2000s called “keyword stuffing”. Website owners found that the more they used a specific search term on a page, the higher the page would rank for it. This isn’t the case anymore since Google released a major update to close this loophole, but you will still find many websites recommending it. This is just one example of techniques
The return on investment for search engine optimization is generally not immediate, unless you had no placement on the search engines before at all.
that used to work until Google made changes to its search engine algorithms, and an SEO agency keeps on top of them daily. Tools such as Moz and SEMRush tend to have very good resources and tutorials, but interpreting their reports and results properly is a task best left to someone with experience. If budget for an SEO agency is simply out of reach for you, it is better to use one of these tools than to do nothing at all, but you should make a goal of eventually setting aside enough budget to hire someone to do it for you. It’s also worth exploring a one-time SEO fixup with an agency if you don’t have the budget for ongoing monthly work; that will probably yield more results for you than trying to use SEO tools on your own.
Buying a house? Refinancing? Self-Employed? Renewing? Let’s Talk! Gina Monaco 289.456.4617
firstname.lastname@example.org www.ginamonaco.com FSCO #10315
14 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
But the long-term return on investment is a consistent number of leads and most importantly putting your dealership in front of people on mobile who are ready to walk in and buy the vehicle they are searching for. In the end, if you are tired of working with the same old leads you are getting from other sources, SEO is the best way to level up your marketing game. Notes: 1.Organic sessions: “Organic” refers to unpaid traffic, and sessions are defined by Google as “a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions.” Organic sessions are tracked and can be counted with Google Analytics and other reporting tools. 2. It is important to note that keyword ranking is not that important as tools such as Moz and SEMRush tend to focus on this KPI in their reports another good reason to choose an agency over doing it yourself. ■
ONTARIO CARS ONTARIOCARS.CA OFFERS A MORE ENGAGING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WITH LIVE CHAT
THE USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO launched its new vehicle
By Angela West chat, bringing both parties closer than ever before. The new live chat features are set to be implemented shortly, offering customers and dealers alike a new way to communicate anytime, anywhere. Live chat gives vehicle buyers a unique opportunity to ask and answer vehicle questions, discuss pricing, financing, or trade-ins, and conduct follow ups with recent buyers.
listing website, Ontariocars.ca, to great success in late 2017. The website has differentiated itself from other online vehicle buying platforms by giving customers a more confident and secure vehicle purchasing experience, featuring all-in pricing, no liens on listed vehicles, full disclosure, and a clean, distraction-free design. Since its launch, Ontariocars.ca has seen more than two thousand UCDA member dealers listing new and used vehicles on the site, offering users a safe experience that is guaranteed to be free of unsavoury and private sellers.
The addition of live chat support is another major example of how Ontariocars.ca is changing the way UCDA dealers do business, creating a more modern and customer-friendly experience.
The latest feature being added to the already impressive Ontariocars.ca is the addition of customer to dealer live
Ontariocars.ca - An enhanced vehicle purchasing experience for customers and dealers
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 15
ONTARIO CARS | ANGELA WEST How Ontariocars.ca is changing the customer experience
Safety and reliability are extremely important to customers looking to purchase used vehicles online - private sellers have only served to muddy the process with vehicles with major undisclosed problems.
The live chat features being introduced by Ontariocars.ca allow for instant communication between customers and dealers, allowing for real-time conversations that go a long way in sourcing information, increasing customer trust and confidence, and improving customer retention rates.
Ontariocars.ca was developed with the intention of enhancing the online car buying experience for both customers and UCDA member dealers.
Ontariocars.ca helps us attract more customers, and sell more cars. – Dan Ruccolo, Pre-Owned Sales Manager at Henley Honda All vehicles listed are certified lien free and customer transactions are protected by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund for up to $45,000 per vehicle, allowing customers to feel confident in their decisions. Users can easily search for vehicles and dealerships in their location, narrowing down searches to year, make, model, price, and body type, allowing them to find the vehicles they’re looking for more efficiently than ever before. The website makes it easy for UCDA
16 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
members to take centre-stage and give their dealerships the attention they deserve through dedicated micro sites. These micro sites give customers instant access to information about a dealership, as well as unique pages for every vehicle in its listings, with full descriptions, details, and images. UCDA members can also quickly and easily upload their entire inventory through the Ontariocars app, and syndicate listings with other popular websites including Auto Trader and Carpages, eliminating the hassle associated with maintaining multiple listing platforms. Ontariocars.ca is focused on improving the online experience for UCDA members, completely eliminating the clutter and distractions that only serve to bog down other online services. Ontariocars.ca is available to all UCDA members free of charge.
Dealers can capture conversation data to pick up where they left off in future interactions with returning customers, as a learning experience for future customer interactions, as well as for training purposes. Live chat will be available across a variety of platforms, including Ontariocars.ca, dealer websites, Facebook, and Google - all through one easy to use portal. Implementing live chat across all online platforms has been shown to result in an increase of leads up to 35% higher than current numbers. Live chat is available on both desktop and mobile platforms, offering a seamless experience for dealers and customer representatives who wish to quickly snap vehicle photos with their mobile device and return to their laptop to continue chatting with a customer. Through live chat, dealers can choose to accept customer conversations at any time, with the option to keep the feature
ONTARIO CARS | ANGELA WEST active 24/7, or to disable it when the dealership is closed. This means that salespeople can better control the flow of incoming leads, interacting with customers and keeping them engaged at any time, from anywhere, using all their favourite devices. With Ontariocars.ca, your dealership will never miss another lead again, and will be able to offer customers the convenient modern experience they’ve come to expect. The Live Chat Experience Let’s face it - the phone is going the way of the telegram. Modern customers see the telephone as more of an inconvenience than anything. Phone calls often leave customers frustrated when they’re unable to reach a customer representative. Phone calls also have issues like long wait times due to high call volume, or calls that go unanswered during busy times or off hours. This is especially true for customers who have come to expect businesses to provide them with 24/7 support - customers don’t want to phone a business only to be met with a pre-recorded message. According to a study conducted by HubSpot Research in 2018, 42% of customers have come to expect some level of real-time online chat support from businesses and brands they interact with. This number is only expected to rise in the coming
years. In an age where businesses are competing to offer customers the most convenient experience possible and where information is available at all times, customers simply don’t have the patience to wait around for an answer to their questions. Customers are expecting to be able to engage directly with sales and customer representatives - without adapting your customer service offerings, you run the very real risk of losing out on a huge portion of your audience. The advantages of Live Chat According to HubSpot, up to twothirds of customers report that the most frustrating part of customer service is being put on hold or having to speak with multiple customer representatives. Live chat means not having to drop what you’re doing in order to have a full conversation with the representative on the other side of the phone. It also means no more waiting around for a customer representative to pick up your call, no more being put on hold, and no more being transferred only to hear the same answers and experience the same wait times. A report by ICMI suggested that live chat features can lead to increases in revenue per chat hour of up to 48%, with a 40% increase in conversion rates. Live chat support is faster and more efficient than communicating
through email, and less restrictive than speaking over the phone, delivering immediate results that customers will be more satisfied with. With live chat, your customers are able to ask important questions about vehicles, and discuss prices, parts, maintenance, incentives, and many more critical aspects of buying a car. Live chat features completely change the customer experience, giving them the information they need quickly and effectively, letting your dealership close sales and generate leads faster than ever before.
"42% of customers have come to expect some level of real-time online chat support from businesses.." Slow service and communication results in slow growth for your business. Without the ability to engage with your customers in a simple and convenient way, they’re likely to cut their losses and move onto another dealership that can better meet their needs. Live chat gives you the opportunity to ensure that your sales representatives are better connected with customers, creating stronger, more reliable relationships that will result in higher sales volume and more promising leads. If you are a UCDA member and want to begin listing your inventory on Ontariocars.ca, the process is simple. Go to the website, click on the About page, and follow the instructions under “Dealer Registration”. If you are not yet a UCDA member, being able to list your inventory free on the website is just another benefit of becoming one. ■
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 17
TRENDS By Chris Chase
HUMANS TEND TO RESIST CHANGE , so
the introduction of any new automotive technology is bound to inspire a backlash. Take autonomous vehicles, for example. Despite promises that autonomous cars and artificial intelligence will reduce traffic congestion and commuter stress by taking over driving during peak travel times, many drivers are worried about the implications for privacy and protection of personal data. But for some drivers, an equally serious concern is the fact that they simply won't get to drive as much. Even in today's techcentric auto industry, there are many cars that cater to buyers desperate to indulge their love of driving. Here’s a look at some affordable vehicles that will attract usedcar buyers not ready to hand over the keys to the robots. Volkswagen GTI, Golf R and Jetta GLI The Volkswagen GTI is the original "hot hatch," originating as a performance version of the 1980s Rabbit economy
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car. More than 30 years of evolution has transformed the GTI into something of a budget-priced grand touring car. It's still a lot of fun to drive quickly, but boasts comfort and refinement that also make it one of the best daily drivers among sporty small cars. A 2.0L turbocharged engine powers recent GTIs with 200 or 210 hp, depending on the model year, and a Performance Package option in latemodel versions bumped output to 220 hp and added larger brakes. Buyers who prefer a sporty sedan may find what they like in the Volkswagen GLI, a compact sedan based on the popular Jetta. Its performance is a little more laid back than the GTI, too, which makes even better as an everyday car.
Volkswagen's Golf R is an extension of the GTI line, even if it doesn't share the name. It packs nearly 300 hp and AWD. The extra traction brings year-round utility, but it also adds weight, so the Golf R isn't that much quicker in a straight line. On the surface, the Volkswagen GLI sedan reads like a GTI with a trunk, but prior to the 2019 model, the Jetta-based GLI was built on a different platform and focused less on all-out performance than the GTI hatchback. Honda Civic Si Honda took the sportiest version of its best-selling Civic in a new direction in the
TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE mid-2010s, replacing a small, high-revving engine with a larger motor that generated more low-end torque. That move changed the car's character, giving it a more grownup feel. The result was a less-thrilling sport compact that was a little easier to live with in boring, day-to-day driving. The Civic Si took a brief hiatus before moving to the car's 10th-generation platform in 2018 and getting a new turbocharged engine. This latest version of the Si still isn't as thrilling as those older, high-revving models, but it's quick all the same and comes with a precise manual transmission that is entertaining and easy to drive. Mazda MX-5 Every time Mazda updates this tiny roadster, enthusiasts worry the changes will water down the dialed-in performance that has made the MX-5 one of the best driver's cars in the marketplace. Somehow, though, Mazda managed to keep driver involvement at the heart of the latest MX-5's design. To wit, when the fourth-generation car came along in 2016, it was actually smaller and lighter than its predecessor, something rarely seen in a marketplace where new technology and stricter safety requirements often force new designs to become larger and heavier. Despite the 2016 model's improvements, older versions of the MX-5 remain desirable. Regardless of model year, this roadster's manual transmission is among the best in the industry, and an available automatic broadens the car's appeal without impeding handling prowess.
Ford Focus Like Volkswagen, Ford employed a multi-pronged approach to its sport compact strategy, offering two distinct high-performance versions of its Focus hatchback. Ford added the Focus ST to the lineup in 2013. Its 2.0L turbocharged engine was among the most potent in its class at the time with 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, and that power worked with a nicely-tuned chassis to provide excellent handling and a firm but compliant ride. The RS arrived in 2016 with a larger engine making 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque as well as AWD with a drift mode that made it easy to pull off wild power slides. It's not a practical feature for everyday driving, but fun to play with in a controlled environment. On the downside, these highperformance Focus variants don't feel as fancy inside as the Volkswagen GTI or GLI, and aggressively bolstered seats are uncomfortable for larger drivers. Hyundai Elantra Sport Hyundai surprised a lot of people in 2018 with the Elantra Sport, a driver-focused version of its strong-selling compact sedan. The surprise wasn't so much that Hyundai decided to make such a car, but that they executed it so well.
and suspension tuning have a negative effect on the car's handling, but we suspect it would take a pretty picky driver to tell the difference. Mini Cooper S The single letter 'S' makes a world of difference to the Mini Cooper driving experience. It denotes a more powerful engine and firmer ride, both of which amplify the go-kart driving feel this car is known for. From 2014, the Cooper S used a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. It's more powerful than the previous generation's 1.6L turbo and delivers that power more smoothly. Buyers craving even more power might prefer the John Cooper Works package, which bumps output to 228 hp and 236 lb-ft. The JCW model, as it's commonly referred to, feels pretty extreme with its tight suspension and larger wheels. The Cooper S is an easier sell for a buyer looking for their first sporty car. Mini also made the Cooper S and JCW as a convertible and a short-lived roadster that is possibly the closest direct competitor to the Mazda MX-5. Fiat 500 Abarth
A 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, and a well-sorted chassis mimics the GTI's combination of sharp handling and a compliant ride.
Fiat brought the modern version of its iconic 500 subcompact to Canada in 2012, and the brand's Abarth performance division wasted no time working up a "hot" variant. Its 160-hp engine doesn't look like much on paper, but it's enough to make this tiny car an awful lot of fun.
There's also a Sport version of the Elantra GT hatchback that adds a dose of practicality. Some feel the GT Sport's different proportions
Key characteristics are a firm ride and an obnoxiously fun exhaust sound. Whatever your opinion of the 500, the Abarth treatment will amplify that, so sporty car shoppers will either love this car or hate it. Fiat added a retractable roof option to the 500 Abarth in 2013. While Fiat calls it a convertible, it's more like a large sunroof, as the car retains the hatchback model's roof rails and pillars. ■
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 19
TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST
TECH TALK By Angela West
HERE’S THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AUTOMOTIVE GADGETS AND APPS. At long last, the summer is here! What better way to enhance your road trips this summer than putting the hottest gadgets and accessories to the test? Here’s the latest on what’s happening in the world of automotive gadgets, apps, and accessories. Take your navigation to the next level Whether it’s staying on course for your next road trip or saving time by avoiding traffic and taking alternate routes, advanced GPS navigation systems have a wide variety of uses that can keep you connected and change the way you drive.
wrist. New TripAdvisor technology is perfect for finding points of interest while travelling, pointing you in the direction of recommended local attractions, hotels, restaurants, and more. Learn more about the Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S at www.garmin.com. system instead of using Google Maps or similar apps on your smartphone. A navigation system is purpose-built for being used in a vehicle in a safe manner, and hands-free driving laws across Canada are in place that can result in severe penalties if you are caught even touching your smartphone. In some cases even having it within reach and visible can subject you to a fine.
But even if you have your smartphone safely stashed and are receiving audio instructions over Bluetooth from a navigation app, these apps are known for using a huge amount of data. If you are constantly on the road, or even on a long trip, this can become The Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S is an preventatively expensive given the cost of data plans in Canada. advanced GPS navigator that aims to help you drive smarter by connecting Garmin has made a name for you with detailed and updated maps, itself in automotive tech, and the real-time traffic and live-parking, Bluetooth calling and smart navigation, DriveSmart 51 LMT-S is yet another major innovation in the navigation and built in Wi-Fi. Voice-activated space. The Garmin DriveSmart 51 navigation lets you get where you’re LMT-S features a 5-inch capacitive going without taking your hands off touch display that makes on-screen the wheel. navigation easy. It also pairs with Garmin smartwatches to display It’s worth asking why you would navigation and driver alerts on your consider an in-vehicle navigation
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A smart wireless parking sensor that fits on your license plate frame Newer model vehicles feature parking sensors and rearview cameras that make parking and backing up safer than ever before. Owners of older vehicles don’t have to be jealous anymore, as the FenSens Smart Wireless Parking Sensor looks to even out the playing field a little. Offering similar functionality to sensors found in modern vehicles, the FenSens Smart License Plate Frame is able to detect objects behind and in front of your vehicle, sending alerts directly to
TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST your phone to make you aware. There’s no complex installation process involved - the Smart License Plate Frame is easily installed on your existing license plate, taking about five minutes from start to finish. The smartphone app can be used handsfree, and allows you to continue using your favourite apps. Anytime there’s something behind or in front of your vehicle, the app sends alerts through vibrations, audio, and visuals to ensure that you’re aware of the object or person. The frame itself is weatherproof, with batteries requiring a change every five months. The FenSens Smart License Plate Frame also features anti-theft features that will help to keep your new accessories safe. Find out more about the FenSens Smart License Plate Frame at www.fensens.com. The latest updates to Apple CarPlay Apple CarPlay is Apple’s answer to distracted driving, letting you enjoy the many useful features on your iPhone without taking your hands off the steering wheel. CarPlay is a more user-friendly answer to the infotainment system, putting Apple iOS right on your dashboard and serving as a massive upgrade to these built-in systems. CarPlay gives motorists real-time directions, and lets drivers make phone calls, send and receive texts, and listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks - all without taking their eyes off the road. At the 2019 Apple Worldwide
Developers Conference, Apple unveiled some promising new updates coming to CarPlay. One of the most significant upgrades is the addition of a brand new dashboard that makes more efficient use of your car screen’s real estate. The new updates also allow drivers to use Siri with a wide range of third-party apps, decreasing the chances of drivers being distracted by their screen, or tempted to poke around. Other minor changes to CarPlay include aesthetic changes to the Apple Music player and locationbased smart notifications. Changes to Maps are forthcoming, which will make CarPlay even more useful for drivers looking for improved navigation. Find out more about the newly revamped Apple CarPlay at www.apple.ca. A digital co-driver that you can rely on
taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel. Chris can be easily installed right on your dash or windshield without any need to visit a mechanic or installation expert. Once installed, the automotive digital assistant works similar to home-based assistants, listening for voice commands and performing a number of tasks for drivers and passengers, including playing music,
Digital assistants have become all the rage in homes around the world. Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant have changed the way people interact with their digital aides. Digital assistants serve a wide range of functions, making it possible to take notes, listen to music, find directions, and even order items online without even looking at your phone or computer. Chris, the digital assistant specially designed for drivers, is the latest addition to the rapidly expanding digital assistant sphere. Automotive assistants work to decrease distracted driving, letting drivers enjoy their favourite apps and features without
finding up-to-date directions, realtime navigation, making phone calls, and sending and receiving text and WhatsApp messages. The assistant features a built-in speaker, as well as the ability to broadcast sound through your vehicle’s stereo via an FM transmitter accessory. Chris even features unique gesture controls that make waking it up, changing songs, and choosing message or call recipients a breeze. Chris can also be used offline without any Internet connection necessary. Get your digital assistant today at www. chris.com.
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 21
TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST A lifesaving mobile tracking app On a wet evening this past June, 17year old Macy Smith went off the road after her car hydroplaned, causing the vehicle to flip three times and sending it into a nearby ditch. Her arm was pinned, and things looked bleak for Macy. After she missed curfew, Macy’s mother went searching for her - she was eventually found and recovered after seven gruelling hours. Macy suffered nerve damage in her arm, but escaped with her life. Both Macy and her mother credit Apple’s Find My Friends app for saving her life - the app led her mother directly to the scene of the accident, even though the vehicle had disappeared into an embankment. Find My Friends has been available on the Apple Store for some time, but its true potential has been shown with serious incidents like these. The app is available for free, letting users easily find their friends and family members who have willingly shared their locations temporarily or permanently. Location-based notifications can be used to inform users when their friends and family members have reached a certain destination, making meeting and finding each other easier
than ever before. If a user no longer wants to be followed, they can easily switch off the app with the touch of a button. Find My Friends is a perfect solution for parents and guardians who are worried that their children, friends, or family members may one day end up in a situation similar to Macy Smith. Find My Friends is available on the App Store. For more information, visit www.apple.com. Never lose your car keys again Let’s face it - at some point everybody has managed to misplace or lose their car keys, spending minutes or hours trying to track them down - searching the house and retracing steps until they’re finally found. This problem is easily eliminated with the Tile Pro, a tracking device designed to attach to your keychain, or any other easily-lost objects. The Tile Pro uses the Tile app to
Find out more about the Tile Pro at www.thetileapp.com. Be better prepared for any emergency situation When you’re on the road, you need to be prepared for anything that can happen - even the most disastrous situations should be adequately prepared for. This means having access to first aid kits and other helpful tools that can assist you in the event of an emergency or accident. The Red Cross Multifunction Flashlight & Radio is an extremely helpful tool that all serious drivers should have in their vehicle or in their home. This multifunction flashlight and radio is ideal for situations with poor visibility, featuring a powerful LED light, as well as a white light panel powered by a solar panel or by a manual hand turbine in low visibility
photosbypierce.com 130 Industry St., Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3 e email@example.com www.photosbypierce.com
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help you pinpoint exactly where you left your keys, showing you where it is on a map and navigating you towards it. The Tile Pro features a range of 300 feet, ensuring that you’ll be able to find your lost items from almost anywhere. It’s designed to fit compactly on your key, measuring just 42mm x 42mm x 6.5mm, weighing just 15.5g. The replaceable battery lasts for up to a full year, covering you anywhere, anytime.
TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST situations. The digital FM radio features a scanner and a siren, and can be re-set or turned off with the touch of a button. Also included is a built-in compass, making it an essential tool to have at your disposal in the event of an accident or life-threatening situation.
you see exactly what you want to see on your HUD. HUDWAY add-ons available in the near future include a night vision thermal camera that improves your awareness in low visibility conditions. Rear view and side view cameras will also be available, eliminating blind spots and helping you park perfectly every single time. For more information about the HUDWAY Drive Portable Head-Up Display, visit www.hudway.co.
Find out more about the Canadian Red Cross Multifunction Flashlight & Radio at www.redcross.ca.
dangers of distracted driving, showing all the information you need on a sleek display positioned directly on your dash.
Never fight over who gets to charge their devices again
The HUDWAY Drive Portable Head-Up Display is touted as being one of the best on the market, offering a sleek and slim design, an ambient light sensor in its projector, endless widgets and functionalities, and easy one-time installation. The installation process is simple - mount the unobtrusive display to your dash, pair your device to the HUD using Bluetooth, and it’s ready to be used daily.
Fighting over who gets to charge, use, or plug in their favourite devices has become a common problem in vehicles due to limited ports. The BESTEK 200W Car Power Inverter looks to change this, letting everybody charge and use their electronics and devices by offering four 4.8A USB ports and two AC outlets, plugging directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. A smart recognition feature ensures that each device receives optimal charging speeds, up to 2.4A per port. The BESTEK Car Power Inverter features isolation voltage protection, protecting you and your devices from short-circuits, low-voltage, over-charging, and overloading, automatically switching off to protect devices from damage. For more information about the BESTEK 200W Car Power Inverter, visit www.bestekmall.com. Keep your eyes on the road and enjoy the benefits of sleek HUD
With the HUDWAY Portable Head-Up Display installed, drivers can enjoy a wide range of features, including receiving phone calls, text messages, and notifications from your favourite apps - all while your phone is in your pocket. The HUD projects maps and directions, using GPS navigation to get you where you need to be. The HUDWAY Drive Portable is also customizable, featuring a number of driving widgets that let
Warm yourself up and enjoy your favourite warm beverages on the go
The little things in life are often the most satisfying - whether it’s a warm cup of tea or coffee, or a nice hot bowl of soup. The Aleko Portable Travel Hot Pot Electric Car Kettle is one of the best ways to enjoy the little moments in life, even while you’re on the go. The Aleko Electric Car Kettle was designed with camping trips, hikes, and road trips in mind, plugging directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter and letting you boil up to one litre of water on the road. The compact kettle measures 20.3 centimeters (8 inches) tall, and 14 cm (5.5 inches) in diameter, making it perfect for your on-the-go food and beverage needs. Find out more about the Aleko Portable Travel Hot Pot Electric Car Kettle at www.alekoproducts.ca. ■
Head-up displays have become more and more common as drivers learn the
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 23
DEALER PROFILE Heffner Lexus Toyota By Lori Straus Community ROI: The Heffner Philosophy SEVERAL YEARS AGO , my in-laws were celebrating a milestone anniversary. Several members from my family attended, including my grandfather, John Heffner Sr. To my surprise, Mr. Heffner, as everyone at the dealership calls him, was chatting it up with one of my husband’s uncles. I asked what was going on, and Mr. Heffner said he had been waiting for decades to thank him again.
I asked, “For what?” A Used Car Dealership Since the Beginning Heffner Lexus Toyota has gone by several names over the years: Breithaupt Street Garage, Heffner Motors, Heffner Toyota. (Mr. Heffner had also tried selling several OEMs before settling on Toyota.) In the family, we often called it simply “the shop.” But it started as a garage in the 1950s and in 1960 Mr. Heffner began selling used cars. In fact, when he bought his second property, 1620 King St. E., in Kitchener, he planned to create the first indoor used-car showroom in town. continued on next page
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“He never sugarcoated anything,” says Willy. “So if the customer had a major problem, he was honest, he told them about it. But if he made a mistake on a diagnosis, he always stood behind his repair.”
“The used car business drives new car sales, in our case,” says John Heffner Jr., president of Heffner’s and one of Mr. Heffner’s two sons. Willy Heffner, the other son and VicePresident of the dealership, explains that if someone’s first car is a pre-owned one, and often the second one is, too, then the third or fourth car might be a new one. People First, Not Product “We don't have the best reputation as an industry,” says Nick Heffner, son to Willy and one of two brothers training to take over. (Stephen was unavailable for an interview.) “And I think that we try and work very diligently at that here to try and buck that trend.” The Heffner family looks at the whole package of the customer visit, starting by how they refer to their customers. They use the term “guests,” following Lexus’s practice. Second, they follow what’s often referred to as “the golden rule”: treat others as you would like to be treated. “That's the philosophy that pervades the entire dealership,” says Willy, “and that's what we always do. If you treat other people fairly, they will know that, and then they'll feel more comfortable coming to you.” Lot Design With Green Space The dealership’s property includes a new and used building for both Toyota and Lexus brands, a collision centre, parts and service departments, a duel-level garage, 18 bays to repair cars (though nine are used for a second shift), and two Express Lube bays. It sits on over 16 acres of land and encompasses 132,000 square feet of space.
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“We're fortunate that we're in a bit of green space here,” says Nick. With a creek that runs through the property, and trees and grass throughout, Nick says the surrounding nature gives the dealership a more natural environment than many dealerships have (or can have, given that many are located deep within city limits). “There's deer that run across the property, too,” he adds. The dealership also has an on-site café, the Morning Glory Café, that is run by a local charity and helps train people who’ve had difficulty retaining employment due to various addiction problems. Not only does the café align with Heffner Lexus Toyota’s commitment to its community, but it also lets customers relax while waiting for their car in service. Building Customer Relationships “We're here to help the customer out,” says John, explaining the underlying perspective that affects every decision they make. Nick says, for example, that although sales reps are encouraged to serve customers promptly, they’re also encouraged to take time to build relationships.
Today, technicians must abide by those same guidelines. “Our technicians know if they recommend something that isn't needed for the car just to make more money, that's grounds for dismissal,” says Willy. Although technicians can—and should—tell customers that, for example, their brakes are wearing down, they cannot say that those brakes need replacing. Recon That’s Above Board The Heffners understand that a used car to the dealership is a new car to the customer, says John. Because of that, they will recondition a vehicle past required safety standards. “We don’t want them buying something that just barely passed [safety tests],” says John. For example, brake pads must have 50% material left on them before the car sells, otherwise, Heffner’s will replace them. “We definitely err on the side of caution when it comes to reconditioning,” says Nick. “It does, at a certain point, affect the bottom line a little more. But it's all about building that relationship with the customer and making sure that they feel comfortable with us and want to tell people about us.” Heffner’s also has a 30-day exchange policy on their vehicles.
“If I have a salesperson that's sitting in “The funny thing is,” says John, “we have the café having a conversation with the that out there and I don't think more than customer,” he says, “I'm not going to two people a year would use that, out of say, ‘You should be out on the floor, there the near thousand used cars that we sell might be someone else coming in.’” He between Toyota and Lexus.” would rather the sales rep enjoy their conversation with the customer. “Make Treating Customers Fairly them feel welcome, make them want to enjoy themselves coming here. And if you In keeping the customer experience in enjoy doing that, that's absolutely perfect.” Heffner’s also enforces policies within their mind, Heffner’s chose to avoid certain practices. The first: they don’t charge an staff that are meant to build trust with the administration fee. customer. This goes back to Mr. Heffner’s days as the owner.
DEALER PROFILE | RONDA PAYNE “We don't think it's fair, therefore we don't charge it,” says Willy. John adds, “We don’t see a reasonable value in charging one.” Enforcing Warranty with a Grain of Salt When it comes to warranty claims on new and used cars, John and Willy allow for some leniency. For example, if the warranty claim is legitimate but the customer’s warranty expired a few days ago, John says that nine times out of ten they’ll fix it as though the vehicle were under warranty. Heffner’s sells their rust-proofing through First Canadian. Each time they sell a rust proof, says Willy, they put a little money aside. If a customer comes in with an expired warranty, in certain cases Heffner’s will cover the costs from that fund. “We're here to help the customer out,” John says. “We want them to feel good about it. We want them to come and buy another car from us.” Staff Philosophy The owners of Heffner’s understand the importance of a strong workforce that supports the dealership and they do what they can to protect it. Even during the major recession several years ago, John and Willy refused to lay anyone off. Sales staff have some autonomy over pricing. “One of the things that people hate the most about buying a car is the back-and-forth game trying to negotiate a price,” says Willy. To reduce that customer pet peeve, Heffner’s allows the sales staff to negotiate the first few hundred dollars. “We’ve done that forever,” says Willy. Alongside regular benefits, Heffner’s also has a profit-sharing program: They believe that if the dealership does well, the staff
should participate in that. Another perk of working at Heffner Lexus Toyota is that the dealership is not open Sundays. “We will not ever open on a Sunday,” says John. Opening Sundays often requires part-time staff who aren’t as experienced as full-time staff, and John and Willy believe that negatively affects the customer experience. These benefits, among others, contribute to a low staff turnover rate. On the anecdotal side, I can still walk into the dealership, after not having worked there in over 20 years, and call several employees by name whom I knew from those years. On the more statistical side, John and Willy said their sales staff turnover rate is at around 5 percent. The dealership has over 220 employees now. When I was a kid, I knew almost everyone at the shop except for the mechanics. (The exception there was Sam. Everyone knew Sam, even 10-year-old me.) Although Nick admits that the size of the dealership makes it difficult to remember everyone’s name, he does his best to take part in the last stage of the hiring process so employees can at least put a face to a family member. Always a Part of the Community “I think the biggest growth spurt happened about the mid-1990s or so, which is when Will and I made a conscious effort to get more involved in our community,” says John. When I was a kid, friends would ask me about the price of a car. “Even just, like, ball park figure,” they’d insist, and they couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a price list floating in my head. Now, as an adult, I hear about how the family dealership has helped an organization within the community, sometimes unfairly
giving me a little credit. (As I said, I haven’t worked there in over 20 years.) “I think being involved in the community,” says John, “your name gets out there, and you benefit from top-of-mind marketing. Everybody knows about us in the community. They know what we stand for.” However, John and Willy don’t ask organizations what Heffner’s will get out of it in turn. Although the dealership’s name and logo are displayed, it’s not a question they ask when organizations approach them for support. “Never asked that question,” says John. “It’s not relevant. We’ve chosen to support our community.” John and Willy have even donated cars on occasion, including recently a used car to a local museum that wanted to include the Cambridge Toyota plant as part of its exhibition. What Goes Around, Comes Around In the early days, Mr. Heffner borrowed from friends and family—and paid them back—to get started. My husband’s uncle was part of that time: he worked at a shop that sold Mr. Heffner parts on commission. My grandfather had been waiting for decades to once again thank him, because without that kindness, he wouldn’t have been able to succeed as he had. Heffner’s continues that community connection as a thank you to the community that has supported it since the beginning. The first organization to receive Mr. Heffner’s support was—and still is—the Red Cross, because its programs arranged for Mr. Heffner and his family, which included 5-year-old John Jr., to come to Canada and join his mother-in-law’s family. The list of supported organizations has now grown to 200. Because of Mr. Heffner’s commitment to say thank you to everyone who helped him, Heffner Lexus Toyota has become the dealership it is today, one that was born out of a used car repair shop almost 60 years ago, is still owned by family, and supports the community that has helped it, its employees, and their families thrive throughout the decades. ■
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GET MORE FROM YOUR DMS By Chris Chase
IF YOU RUN A SUCCESSFUL usedcar dealership, you recognize the importance of ensuring that your business is customer-centric, from actually selling cars all the way down to the most mundane administrative tasks. Among those seemingly boring background decisions is choosing a dealer management system (DMS) and making sure you get the most out of that high-tech investment.
DMS software has been around for
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a long time, but if you’re not paying attention to the latest technology developments, you could be missing out on functionality that can improve customer retention and, in turn, boost profitability. It's time to rethink the DMS label Jason Harris, an Ontario-based automotive strategy expert, says dealer management software is evolving and what these programs are able to do is expanding.
“When dealer management systems first came out, they were designed to manage the day-to-day business of a dealership (such as) accounting and being able to handle information and data, where it was stored and how it was used,” said Harris. “Now we're starting to see an evolution with DMSes where it's becoming management of the entire business. That includes (both) customer retention management systems and managing leads and how we nourish those into actual customers.”
Harris said it might be time to rethink the DMS label and view these software programs as business management platforms that can handle all of a dealer’s day-to-day business efforts. He said the auto industry is gravitating toward systems that can do everything, so dealers will no longer have to subscribe to multiple products. "On average, a manager has six to eight different systems they have to use on a day-to-day basis just to do their daily operations," said Harris. "That's why you see really big companies like Cox Automotive trying to put them all together under one umbrella in their own version of what they call a digital retailing tool or e-commerce solution. Right now, though, no one company has got it all." Third-party integration or all-in-one solution? “For people to embrace one company to work with, going to a modular strategy makes sense,” Harris said. “What you're going to see over time is the modular strategy will go away and it will literally be one cheque you write to one company you work with.” For now, there’s still a place for modular DMSes that support thirdparty integration, according to Colin Kroetsch, CEO of Kitchener, Ontario’s Dealerpull. The company’s cloudbased DMS is designed specifically for independent used-car dealers and offers a variety of integrations. Dealerpull's current partners include vAuto, Lubrico Warranty, Cargurus and eDealer. The system also integrates with the UCDA's OntarioCars.ca used-vehicle sales portal.
"..no one company has got it all." Kroetsch's advice to dealers hoping to maximize the benefit from their DMS
investment is to take full advantage of any included or available thirdparty integrations. As an example, he points to Dealerpull’s two-way direct synchronization with the Dealertrack finance portal. Kroetsch says such capability "reduces data entry, allows for quicker submissions and minimizes mistakes." Last year, auto-industry publication Automotive News discussed the issue of "dirty data" in an article about DMSes and third-party integration vendors. That piece backs up Kroetsch's assertion that dealers should look for a system that allows for easy "bidirectional" data flow and eliminates the potential for errors that can arise from having to manually enter the same data in two or more places. Give your provider feedback If you're unhappy with the way your DMS works with third-party modules -- or with any aspect of the system, for that matter -- Kroetsch says it's important to tell the provider about it. Letting them know how they can better serve your business is as important as choosing the system in the first place, because the right software will help optimize your processes and customer experience. "Our team constantly collects and takes into account suggestions from our users,” said Kroetsch. “This keeps us
aware of improvements that need to be made and new features that would help to better our users’ DMS experience.” Kroetsch also pointed out the importance of using your DMS's reporting and analytics functions. "A dealership that regularly reviews its past metrics will most likely make better-informed decisions moving forward," he said. "Which vehicles are selling most quickly? What are your current leads looking for? Which insurance or warranty products are selling most consistently?" You're not just buying a product, you're buying a process "What dealerships have to realize is that when DMSes started out, they were products that helped you create a process to do business," said Harris. "Now, you're actually able to go out and select your process: 'I like how they handle their data, I like how they organize the information and the sales process they're encouraging me to use their tool with.'” For tech companies developing DMS software, that realization at the dealer level is an indicator that vendors are no longer just selling a product, but a process. "In a lot of demos I've sat in on, I've found that's where they're starting to go. It's
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YOUR DMS | CHRIS CHASE a process to go along with the product. From a dealer's perspective, that's exactly what they're looking for … a product that's not only going to provide a process but also provide the experience to go along with it,” said Harris. He said some of the bigger names in newer digital retailing products have attractive interfaces, "but DMSes never really caught up because dealerships continued to pay stupid prices (for the software) but never demanded anything more, and it became a monopoly. There are only four or five big DMS software suppliers out there. As an industry, we've been resistant to change because we're so comfortable with what is out there and new technology scares us." Define your customer experience first Searching for the right DMS to optimize your customer experience is a great idea. But before you start shopping around, know what you want their experience to be. In today's used-car marketplace, that experience is rarely centered around actually selling a car, because most shoppers already know what model they want and which features they're looking for. Therefore, your DMS has to be able to accurately track leads so you know what vehicles a customer has looked at online before they come through the door.
"When a dealership approaches me and says, 'Our system and our experience are not in line with each other,' the best advice I give them is to define what your experience is," said Harris. "We have to ask ourselves how these tools are working to help provide a good experience for the customer. Is your current system supporting that goal?" More often than not, the answer is "No". That's because in the past, choosing a DMS was all about the dealership's needs, such as making it easier to order a part or track vehicles being added to the dealer's inventory. "It's usually the DMS they signed up for 15 years ago and it never changed," said Harris. "The DMS may provide newer add-ons that could help generate that type of experience, but the dealer doesn't know about it." One of the next developments in dealer management systems will be adding an e-commerce component to the vehiclesales experience, such as the one Cox Automotive is working on now with its Dealer.com subsidiary. Harris said that would introduce tablet functionality to link the showroom environment with a dealer's online experience, technology that Harris said is "developing out of a process, and that process is creating an experience for the consumer. We're beginning to see these systems change in a way that's more beneficial to the customer."
Kroetsch says one of the ways his product helps dealers improve the customer experience is with a welldesigned interface. "Since our inception, we have focused on a customer-forward and attractive system design," he said. "Our goal is to support our dealers with a platform they can use comfortably, both for their private wholesale use and openly in front of customers on the retail side. As this new online digital retailing era unfolds, we believe this focus will (continue to become) more important." Should you go local? Kroetsch said Kitchener-based Dealerpull "will eventually be made available in all Canadian provinces and the American market." For now, though, it's sticking to its home turf in order to focus on Ontario's tax and language regulations for used-vehicle retailers. That raises the question: Is there a benefit to seeking out a homegrown DMS solution?
"A dealership that regularly reviews its past metrics will most likely make better-informed decisions moving forward." "It's a consideration sometimes, especially when you're talking about outbound phone call, email or text message efforts," said Harris. "We do have to be concerned the system we're using is compliant with CASL (Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation), but that's not usually a difficult thing. Most of the companies I see out there are able to
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YOUR DMS | CHRIS CHASE add those filters or rules so that they are compliant." No matter which DMS you choose, Kroetsch suggests going with a product that promises solid tech support to answer questions during the implementation process. He said Dealerpull's small size makes it easier for the company to respond to customer queries and "typically have their questions sorted out within a matter of minutes." And while choosing which DMS to use in your dealership is a big decision, it's just as important to think about when to start using it. Kroetsch suggests planning implementation of new software "during the typical slow periods in the auto industry. This will help to eliminate stress, confusion and frustration." Future DMS growth could mean big opportunities A recent analysis of the dealer management system marketplace by Research Reports Inc. suggests that sales in the DMS space will grow more than 8 per cent between now and 2025, as dealers take a keener interest in optimizing their business practices. That increase will bring more competition and, hopefully, spawn more well-designed DMS products.
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Regardless, Harris believes there is no "magic pill" in the DMS market. "What it comes down to is you can't buy your way out of bad operations," he said. "There's nothing that promises, 'buy this one product and increase operational efficiencies and profitability by 55 per cent.' If anyone claims that, run for the hills. It's snake oil." Earlier this year, ScotiaBank issued an auto-industry report that predicted new-vehicle sales will fall in 2019 and 2020 following a record-setting year in 2017. While the used market will continue to absorb inventory from strong new car and truck sales in 2017 and 2018, the decline will eventually affect the pre-owned marketplace, and Harris said used dealers need to get ready for that. "As an industry, we've been able to half-ass our way through operations and still be able to make money, (but) the bottom line is we can't half-ass our way through it anymore," said Harris. "The customer is truly in the driver's seat now. When we start talking about the different tech and systems we're using, we not only have to ask how it's going to work for and benefit us, but how it will benefit the customer. If we're not developing processes that are relevant to them, we're going to be left behind." ■
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THE COMMON LAWYER Back to School, Back to Basics things that are crucial to your dealer's long-term success, and its compliance with the law. Legal Liability
By Justin M. Jakubiak I JUST RECEIVED MY FIRST back-to-
school flyer and immediately felt a pit in my stomach. Growing up, I always hated back-to-school flyers and the sight of corn fields (especially in August when the stalks got high!) It was as if the mere sight of corn or flyers would bring the start of school, and the end of summer freedom, closer.
Although it’s been quite a few years since I was last in school, August still fills me with a bit of melancholy. That said, I have always found that taking a moment to take stock and ensuring that I was prepared for what lay ahead was always a great salve to the August blues. I hope that this article helps you this back-to-school season; Fall is a great time to remind you and your team of the little
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Owning a business can mean many things – pride, purpose, and profits! However, it can also entail the not so great aspects of entrepreneurship, namely liability and costs. With risk comes reward, right? While often true, the savviest business people know how to maximize their reward, while minimizing risk. Competition, customers, regulators and even your own dealership can pose a risk to your profits. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution – remain compliant. Sounds easy enough, but with everyday tasks and endeavours it can be all too easy get caught up in the whirlwind of making deals and to brush off the more tedious aspects of running a business.
• Access and inspect the dealer's premises, vehicles, books and records; • Remove records to make copies; and • Make inquiries regarding any complaint about the dealer's conduct. Obviously, and guilt or innocence aside, anyone facing an OMVIC inspection is going to feel apprehensive and will likely have many questions and concerns. It is therefore incredibly important that you either know your rights, or have a trusted advisor to turn to for guidance. Whatever you do, don't go it alone and DO NOT lose your temper and take it out on the OMVIC inspector (they are just doing their job!). A dealer I know took this approach and ended up with a Notice of Proposal to Revoke the licences of both himself and his dealership. Complete Forms on Time and Accurately!
Taking steps to maintain your registration is crucial and can have disastrous consequences if done incorrectly, or not on time. Many Know Your Rights! dealerships, while great at completing the paperwork for customers, such The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) is a broad statute which imposes as Bills of Sale, may not be as good at completing its own paperwork to OMVIC. a long list of obligations upon dealers Incorrect paperwork, or its late submittal, and salespersons and provides OMVIC can lead to big headaches. with very broad powers – including the right to carry out an inspection of your Too often, I have seen salespeople suffer dealership to ensure compliance with significantly because they have failed the MVDA. to renew their licence on time. A best practice is for dealers to record and During an inspection, an OMVIC monitor expiry dates of all salespeople inspector has the right to:
to ensure renewal applications are submitted on time. It is a mistake to think being a few days late in filing a renewal application is not a big deal. I have seen more than one salesperson be without work for many months as a result of a late filing, and a subsequent Proposal to Refuse Registration being issued by the Registrar.
• That the vehicle will be reasonably fit for the purpose a buyer makes known to the seller Selling vehicles 'As Is' might seem like a get-out-of-jail-free card; however, even if the contract contains the required 'As Is' statement, all required disclosures under the MVDA must still be included, or the customer may be able to cancel the contract.
I recommend one person be responsible for ensuring all sales staff are properly Marketing Your 'Product' registered. This is particularly prudent when your business is thriving and new Advertising is one way to reach potential faces become a common occurrence; clients, so it’s important that that they a gatekeeping approach can help are accurate and in accordance with streamline the process and minimize the requirements of the MVDA. I have mistakes. However, it remains worked with many dealers who have important for salespeople to review struggled with getting advertising right their applications for accuracy before – and not just small dealers, but some of they are submitted. the province's biggest franchise dealers as well. In short, advertising correctly Sales Contracts can be tough and the rules around advertising can be confusing. As you know, the MVDA sets out the basic requirements for sales contracts It is an offence under the MVDA to – such as the salesperson’s name and make false, misleading or deceptive registration number, the make, model, statements in any advertisement model year and trim level of the vehicle, relating to motor vehicles. Mistakes and required disclosure related to a vehicle’s history. However, two other Acts can have serious repercussions on a that influence what a sales contract really dealer's reputation, and may lead to charges being levied by OMVIC for nonmeans are the Consumer Protection Act compliant advertising. and the Sale of Goods Act. The implications that arise from these two acts are that any ambiguities within the contract will typically be interpreted in favour of the consumer, and a wide range of implied conditions and warranties will be 'read-in' to the contract – even if not expressly included! Some of these implied conditions and warranties include: • That the vehicle will be free from any charge or encumbrance in favour of a third party
There is no doubt that theatrics and dramatizations are effective at capturing the attention of customers – who doesn't want to try the world's best cup of coffee? However, honesty remains the best approach. Customers are interested in the physical product, but also in reliability, convenience and trust – and they are willing to pay for these! A reputable history, ethical practices, and positive client experiences are marketable qualities a dealership can use to attract long-term business. It is more worthwhile to direct your advertisements to the appropriate clients, rather than pretend your product is something it isn’t. Don't risk your dealership being charged thousands of dollars because painting a lemon as a lime might turn a quick buck.
It is also important to remember that if an advertisement for a vehicle includes a price, that price must be the 'All-In Price' and include ALL fees and charges the dealer intends to collect. The only additional fees a dealer may charge are HST and licensing. As OMVIC likes to say, all-in price advertising is the law. Easy Steps Dealers Can Take In conclusion, I would recommend that all dealers and salespeople take a moment during the dog days of summer to brush up on their requirements under the MVDA and associated regulations. OMVIC and the UCDA each have great resources outlining the various items that trip-up dealers on a regular basis. Additionally, OMVIC offers free educational seminars and advertisement review services. Being pro-active and seeking outside advice to ensure your dealership is in compliance can be significantly less costly than dealing with the aftermath of a provincial offence charge, discipline matter or worst of all, a Proposal to Revoke. Preparation and best practices will also allow you to step away from your dealership and focus on the fact that the dreaded time is near -- school is almost here. Justin is a Partner with Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and is recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. This article was written with the assistance of Matthew Rutledge, a summer law student. ■
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IS YOUR DEALERSHIP MISSING OUT? By Ronda Payne
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SPOTLIGHT SERIES | RONDA PAYNE
THE NAPA PROGRAM BENEFITS OPERATIONS IN THREE KEY WAYS MEMBERS OF THE UCDA know there
are a number of benefits that come with their membership. This includes things like ongoing dealer education, group health and dental plans and help with liens. For those dealers who repair cars and get them into top shape prior to sale as well as those who provide servicing, there’s one program that can’t be overlooked – the NAPA Auto Parts Program.
Bob Pierce, UCDA Director of Member Services notes that there are three primary reasons members should seriously consider being part of the NAPA program if they haven’t signed up already: proximity, rewards and quality. “We do a lot of marketing on it. It’s still a very, very strong member service here at the UCDA. Out of a membership of 5,000 we have 1,600 members, new and used, that are on our NAPA program and that’s grown, obviously,” over the 10 or so years, the program has been offered, Pierce says. Of course, there’s still plenty of room for everyone to
take part and reap the rewards of the program. Proximity Location, location, location. Not everyone realizes that proximity is a money saver for businesses who do repairs. Put a car up on a hoist, call an auto parts provider for a part they don’t have in stock and start watching the money add up as the hours tick past. The hoist is occupied, preventing it from taking on other cars, mechanics are bumping into each other working on the cars they have parts and equipment for and the customer grows frustrated with the wait. “NAPA has hundreds of stores across Ontario. They have one in almost every region, so they can get parts [to dealers] in a timely fashion,” Pierce says. “That’s why we chose them. Ontario is a big province to supply, it’s not easy to [reach] that level of supply and meet demand. We’re a provincewide operation and we’ve tried [being province-wide] for a number of programs. NAPA fit that bill. Most of the members are on [the program] because NAPA is around the corner.”
needed, they are also close enough to get them delivered in a hurry. Pierce knows that dealers often have local deals with businesses in their community, but it’s NAPA’s size that makes them a more efficient option. “You need to be able to call a parts supplier and have those parts delivered in a very timely fashion,” he says. “Because the car is up on the hoist, it’s taking up $100 an hour or $75 an hour and you need the brakes to complete the job. If that local store didn’t have the brakes for a 2010 Chrysler 300 or whatever you were working on, then you have to wait until they are brought into the area. It’s a consistent supply, on time, which is something dealers didn’t have before we had the NAPA program.” Even before the program launched, originally, Pietraszko started getting parts from NAPA because a family member worked in sales for the company, but even after that person moved on, Pietraszko knew he was getting his parts from the right place. He signed up for the UCDA program as soon as it began and not only does he like the service he
Wally Pietraszko, owner of Wally’s 3 Bay Auto Sales of Kitchener, Ontario, is a big fan of the NAPA program and notes that proximity is one of the reasons he’s still part of it some 10-years later. He signed up when it first came online. “How close it is to your location is part of it,” he says. “When NAPA is within a 15-minute drive, you get your stuff right away. They’ve got a big warehouse right in Cambridge and they are nonstop. I can’t afford to leave a car sit on the hoist waiting for parts. Usually, I’d say, 99 per cent of the time, the first part they send is the right part.” The key is that as part of the program, dealers have NAPA as a partner and a supplier they can rely on. Not only is NAPA more likely to have the parts
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SPOTLIGHT SERIES | RONDA PAYNE
“Obviously, the higher volume dealers are getting more of that reward. Prior to the NAPA program they weren’t getting anything out of their parts buying.” In the early years of the program, Pietraszko was getting significant sized cheques from NAPA. “I got cheques from NAPA for $20,000, so I don’t know how much in parts that represented,” he says. “That’s going back to 2010.”
receives from NAPA, he also enjoys a nice financial benefit. Which leads to the second main benefit, the financial rewards. Rewards “Last year, about 30 to 40 per cent of dealers shared in about $1.5 million in rewards,” says Pierce. “The more they buy, the more the reward grows. In some cases it grows every year. It will depend. The rebate is a certain percentage of gross sales and although the reward money is important,
suppliers still have to be competitive in price for parts.” And NAPA is. The program is for used car dealers, but also includes new car dealers who take trade-ins and have a used-car side to their business, which increases the overall volume of parts bought through NAPA. “It’s a program that is driven by volume and the more you buy the bigger the rebate is going to be,” he says.
"..the more you buy the bigger the rebate is going to be.." Sometime later, he separated his business and sold part of it, keeping only the sales side and doing a small amount of repairs that continues to keep him appreciating the program. “I still buy and I still get the rebate,” he adds. “But it isn’t just the rebate. Obviously that’s a nice thing, it’s a bonus.”
Let us help your dealership with:
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SPOTLIGHT SERIES | RONDA PAYNE
to people, they want to know that what went into it is the good stuff. If you’ve got a problem within 12 months, I’m going to say, ‘Hey, get over here,’ it’s looked after, it’s quality service.”
In addition to the rebate, many dealers have found that NAPA’s quality is hard to match. Quality Not only does NAPA have a full complement of parts available at their locations, the company also offers them in a varying degree of quality including good, better and best options for dealers to choose from. These are nonOEM parts for dealers who don’t want, or need, OEM product for repair work. “For used cars, dealers don’t necessarily want to put original Toyota parts on a four-year-old Toyota,” Pierce says. “[NAPA parts] aren’t cheap quality and they aren’t the highest price point, but the dealers get to pick the quality they want to put on it for the price. NAPA is a great partner. I get very few complaints. They have warranties on the parts which are very similar to the OEM parts.” Pietraszko feels that NAPA always has his back when it comes to delivering quality parts in a timely fashion.
NAPA is Pietraszko’s first call and he says UCDA dealers get treated with the respect that comes from calling NAPA first, rather than another parts supplier. He also believes in putting the best quality parts on a car, regardless of what it is. “In grocery shopping, are you going to buy the Tide detergent or the no-name? That’s right, you’re going to get the Tide,” he says. “That’s how I explain it
"It isn’t just the quality of the parts either, but the quality of the supplier relationship." Like all UCDA member programs, the NAPA parts program is something to opt-in on. Dealers decide if they want to be part of it or not. For dealers looking for a reliable parts supplier, joining the UCDA-NAPA program is a no-brainer. As Pierce says, it’s impossible to match the proximity, rewards and quality NAPA delivers. ■
“They’re big, they’ve got everything I need and the service is great,” he says. “That’s why I stay with them. They’ve never let me down. It’s a complement to your business and gives you a little bonus at the end of the year.” Some parts suppliers might be able to offer parts a little cheaper, but as Pierce explains, quality is about far more than price. It isn’t just the quality of the parts either, but the quality of the supplier relationship. “Once they looked at the program, the dealers said okay, ‘If I need brakes, I don’t want the car up on a hoist all day, I need the brakes now’,” he says. “You might save five or 10 bucks, but you waste that money if you have to wait.”
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 | 37
HOW TO COMPETE WITH THE BIG BOYS By Matt McDonald
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IT ’S ESTIMATED THAT 52% of Canadians have five or more Internet-connected devices in their home, with 74% of Canadians spending an average of 3 to 4 hours online every single day. With social media and the Internet playing such a major role in the everyday lives of Canadians, digital marketing has become more important than ever before. Digital marketing is the easiest, most cost effective way for Ontario dealerships to establish their brand, and to be seen by a wide audience of potential customers.
Digital marketing also presents an opportunity for businesses to be bold and innovative in their messaging, making it possible to hypertarget users who these messages will resonate with. Small businesses don’t have to worry about having to compete with bigger dealerships - the digital marketing playing field is an even one. Even on a smaller budget, those who are willing to put enough time and effort into shaping and maintaining their digital marketing strategy can succeed.
DIGITAL MARKETING | MATT McDONALD that you serve the city of Hamilton will yield better results than if you include areas like Mississauga and St. Catharines. If you’re targeting a specific region, it’s important to stick to this area and not deviate from it.
By being persistent, staying open to new ideas, thinking creatively and being willing to take chances, your dealership will be able to compete with the big boys. Optimize Google My Business to improve local search results For auto dealers, getting your brand noticed by local audiences is far more important than screaming into the endless void of the Internet. Attracting the attention of local people who are reliable leads should always be the goal. One of the best ways to improve your dealership’s local search results is by maintaining and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) page. Google My Business is a free tool that lets businesses manage their online presence, increasing the chances that your business appears in local search results in Google Search, as well as on Google Maps. This means that when
people in close proximity to your dealership search for something along the lines of “car dealerships near me”, a well-crafted GMB listing ensures that your business will be one of the first to be listed. These listings usually appear before organic search results on the first page, potentially putting your brand directly in front of thousands of eyes. It’s important to be as specific as possible with these listings. If you’re located in Hamilton and most of your clients come from the city, indicating
Optimizing your GMB listing is as easy as ensuring that your profile is complete, featuring important information about your business, an accurate business description, and photos and videos of your dealership; the more of them, the better. Encouraging reviews is another great way to optimize your page, and shows people that customers are having positive experiences at your dealership. It’s important to respond to every single review - no matter how positive or negative. Thank people for their kind words and glowing reviews, and make an honest attempt to fix or remedy
Trust at first sight Introducing the CARFAX Canada Advantage Dealer program The newest way for dealers to set themselves apart from the competition while attracting more customers using the CARFAX Canada brand. A program that showcases dealers who value transparency, helping them to build trust and confidence in consumers like never before!
To learn more, talk to your CARFAX Canada rep, call 1.866.835.8612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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DIGITAL MARKETING | MATT McDONALD whatever issues those people who left negative reviews may have had people will see and acknowledge these efforts, and it will resonate with them. Remember that negative reviews are inevitable, and to keep a cool head when responding to them. Tools such as Podium (www.podium.com) are a great way to keep on top of current reviews and solicit new ones, not just for Google, but for all sites and apps that host reviews.
Transform your brand into something that stands out The nature of being a small business means that there is much more room for flexibility and creativity when it comes to shaping and evolving your brand. Large businesses are married to the brand that they’ve shaped over the years, being contained to the same messages, tone, theme, and style. While this consistent branding approach works for many, it means that these brands often cease to stand out after some time. Using this flexibility to transform your brand into something unique can give your business a major competitive advantage, and is a surefire way to get people buzzing about what your dealership has to offer and why it’s comparable or superior to bigger companies. Social media makes it extremely easy to establish a brand that people can connect with. Adopting a brand image that’s seen as being fun and authentic by users is effective, as it encourages people to engage with your posts, and as a result, more likely to consider your business when looking to purchase their next vehicle. You can establish a fun, engaging brand by holding semi-regular contests and promotions, posing compelling questions to your
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customers, and displaying that your brand has a sense of humour through memes, images, videos, and comments.
"It’s important to respond to every single review – no matter how positive or negative." Social media platforms like Instagram provide a tremendous opportunity to engage with users - posting photos of proud new vehicle owners, new additions to your lot, and accessories that you think people need to see will get people talking. There’s also a good chance that your competitors aren’t using these platforms to their fullest potential. By being willing to engage and interact with customers, you create a sense of community and make it far more likely that users are going to continue to follow your company and buy your products. Let your voice be heard by adding a blog Adding a blog or a regular feature to your website is another costeffective way of
creating a unique brand image, and increasing local search results through improved search engine optimization (SEO). Implementing a blog on your website and social media channels gives you an opportunity to communicate a wide array of ideas and concepts to your audience - it’s also a great way to show off new or underappreciated products and services that you’re excited about. Many large dealerships don’t maintain any sort of regular blog posting schedule - many of them don’t even have a blog section on their website. This provides you an opportunity to blog about interesting topics that pertain to your dealership, offer tips and advice to car owners, highlight new additions to your lot, and even to write about upcoming events in your community to grab local searchers. Google Search takes high quality content, like blog posts, into account in its search rankings, increasing your SEO and putting you ahead of your
DIGITAL MARKETING | MATT McDONALD
competition - all it takes is regular, well-structured content about whatever subjects you feel suit your brand. The key here is to do it regularly, once or twice a month to start, and don’t cheap out on the content quality because Google does factor this highly into its search engine results. A blog you pay a writer $40 to do may be riddled with inconsistencies, repetition and grammatical errors; all of which Google looks for. A budget of around $100 per blog is more realistic and will get you the kind of quality Google, and more importantly your readers, will like. Blog articles can also be repurposed for monthly email newsletters, which are another inexpensive way of increasing your leads list and staying in touch with your current customers. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are both excellent email newsletter services, and many dealer CRMs have email newsletter capabilities. It is preferable to use a reliable, dedicated email newsletter solution, because otherwise, your email newsletters could end up in Junk or Spam folders where they will never be seen.
Determine where you’ve been succeeding with your marketing budget, and focus on that platform rather than choosing a “shotgun” style approach to spreading your brand message. Without knowing where your messages are going to be successful, you’re just hoping that somebody hears you. Facebook Ads are also much easier to self-manage than Google Ads. While Google Ads tries to be user friendly, you are actually better off hiring a firm to manage Google Ads for you. The learning curve for Google Ads is much steeper than Facebook Ads and it is much easier to waste your money while you are training yourself on the platform. You may want to consider Google Ads if you are in a highly competitive area, such as the GTA, or if you are not appearing high enough in organic results on Google and need the paid ads to show up on the first page. If you are looking for a firm to manage Google Ads, look for a Google Certified Partner. These are people who have completed Google’s extensive training on how to place ads on its networks.
There are also local news sites which usually have reasonable digital advertising rates. Any news site in Ontario from Village Media (www. villiagemedia.ca) is a good place to start, and of course your local newspapers will have digital-only advertising packages to sell. Local news sites are excellent for brand awareness and are generally targeting the same demographics you would pick on Facebook. In the end, your budget and marketing goals will determine which platform is best to select. As a smaller dealership, your greatest strength is in your agility. Larger dealerships may have a certain amount - or even all - of their advertising budget and social media use mandated by the OEM, who may not be in a position to make the best decisions locally. With smart management, even a small budget can yield large results. ■
Make the most impact with your advertising budget If you’re working with a limited marketing budget, it’s a good idea to choose a method that you can confidently know will get the most traction. If you’re looking to hypertarget a specific audience, doing things like choosing Facebook Ads over Google Ads can yield much better results, as its targeting is much more specific in pinpointing things like interests, purchasing habits, and demographic information.
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THE OLD CAR DETECTIVE 1961 FORD STARLINER AT KINGSVILLE CAR SHOW On Friday, May 17, two hundred classic cars and street rods filled the parking lot at Migration Hall in Kingsville, Ontario, for the annual car show hosted by the students and staff at Kingsville District High School.
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From a Packard to a Volkswagen and everything else in between, this year’s show had something for everyone – including Dragula 2.0, a slingshot style dragster built by the students themselves with the expert guidance of their auto shop teacher, Gord Osborne. Among the cars that caught my eye was a beautiful light blue 1961 Ford Starliner 2-door hardtop with wide whitewalls, fender skirts, and tailfins. Russ Hazael of LaSalle, Ontario, found the car last year in Indianapolis and bought it. His uncle had owned a red 1960 Ford Starliner that raced at the
By Bill Sherk
Checker Flag oval track near Windsor as #94. Russ now has the 1961 version with Starliner license plates and a 292 cubic inch Ford Y-block V8. And to top it off, Russ was born in 1961! The Ford Starliner was built for only two years (’60 and ’61) and derives its name from the sweeping curve of the roof on the 2-door hardtop. The Starliner name is closely related to similar names used by the Ford Motor Company beginning in 1952, when the Ford convertible was given the new Sunliner name. Two years later, in 1954, Ford brought out a
2-door hardtop with a glass roof. And because you could see the sky above you from the front seat, it was called the Skyliner. The Skyliner name was temporarily discontinued in ’55 and ’56 when the glass top 2-door hardtop was called the Crown Victoria. In 1957, the Skyliner name was revived when Ford brought out its first retractable hardtop, which remained in production for three years. When 1960 arrived, the sweeping look of the roofline on the 2-door hardtop inspired the new Starliner name. I told Russ Hazael I remember filling the tank on these cars when I pumped gas after school at an Esso station in Toronto in 1962. Ten years earlier, Ford had placed the gas cap behind the rear license plate. By 1960, the license plate was on the rear bumper and no longer in line with the gas cap. I still remember the small metal hook just below the trunk lid for opening a section of trim to put in the gas on a Starliner. When I asked Russ to demonstrate, he cheerfully knelt down and pulled on the hook to open the fuel door just as I had done 57 years earlier. In this hobby, the fun never ends! ■
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WHAT'S UP WITH WARRANTIES By Barbara Lehtiniemi
THE USED-CAR WARRANTY INDUSTRY
may seem like it's been around forever—it hasn't—and offers little to draw fresh attention. However, the warranty industry is one of constant change. Evolving automotive technology and economic factors prompt constant revisions to existing warranty products and expanded offerings. For a status update on the state of the automotive warranty industry, we talked to representatives from four Ontariobased warranty providers. Following are some key points. Lubrico Warranty
Lubrico Warranty, of London, Ontario, started the used-car warranty industry in Canada. When founder Terry Fletcher—
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who is still Lubrico's President—came to Canada from England, he recognized that there was no warranty coverage for used cars in this country. "Lubrico invented the whole concept of a used-car warranty" in Canada, says Henry Hammond, Lubrico's Marketing and Technology Manager. Using a similar warranty concept offered in England as a model, Lubrico was founded in Ontario to offer used-car buyers warranty coverage. "Warranties take the risk out of car purchases," says Hammond. They offer peace of mind to the buyer, knowing
their car isn't going to fall apart soon after purchase. For dealers, warranties mean buyer satisfaction. "Warranties eliminate the worry about unforeseen vehicle problems that result in unhappy customers," says Hammond. Over the past forty years, the industry has evolved beyond vehicle extended warranties and now includes dozens of value-added products like rust protection, financing, key fob coverage, and GAP insurance, according to Hammond. An expanded product line is good for dealerships and for customers, but it can make the F&I office experience arduous. "Customers would rather have a root canal than buy a car," says Hammond. Buyers
WARRANTIES | BARBARA LEHTINIEM resist high-pressure sales and the add-ons presented to them in the F&I office. A friendly, streamlined purchasing process results in happier customers.
anniversary in 2019. NationWide has maintained a core product line for many years, covering new and pre-owned vehicles.
Lubrico will warranty any make, model, or year of vehicle, providing the broadest possible coverage base for used-car buyers.
Jeff Ballantyne, NationWide's Dealer Development and Marketing Manager, says its most popular warranty product continues to be its "Simply The Best" (STP) distance-based warranty.
The company introduced the concept of "if you don't use it, you won't lose it" with its Claims-Free Double Your Term offer. For customers who make no claims during a two-, three-, or four-year warranty, Lubrico offers the option to purchase an identical second term of the same coverage at low cost. Lubrico warranties are a profitable product for dealers, says Hammond, and many dealers sell their products exclusively by choice. There are also dealer rewards for loyalty, including rebates and partner programs, and a points program.
In recent years, Neufert has noticed a lot of new warranty providers springing up, crowding the marketplace. He has concerns with some of the new entities in the marketplace, some of which are using questionable incentivized business practices to influence employees of dealerships to sell their product. Neufert encourages dealerships, when they're shopping for warranties, to contact other dealers and find out if promises made are supported by promises delivered. Global delivers, and expects, integrity in its dealer relationships.
"If a dealership is unhappy with the way a claim turned out," says Neufert, "Global Lubrico warranties are fully insured will make it right." Neufert says that by Northbridge General Insurance Corporation. As Lubrico's website, lubrico. Global goes out of its way to ensure that each customer gets value. com, claims, its warranties "contain no fine print, there are no hidden clauses, "Even though someone is buying a used and Lubrico plays claims fast and hassle car," says Neufert, "it's a new car to that free." person. They deserve the protection." Global Warranty Global has warranties available for vehicles of any year, make, and model, Global Warranty, also headquartered in and promises the "ultimate" in dealer London was founded over 30 years ago by support. Dealers partnering with Global Roy Neufert, who is still its President and have access to Global's "EazeeApp" and CEO. For Neufert, his personal ethics of are eligible for its rewards program. honesty and integrity underpin Global's corporate philosophy. As vehicles become increasingly more sophisticated with each model year, "People buy warranties for protection," Global Warranty constantly monitors says Neufert, who believes warranty new-car manufacturing to ensure they providers should be "promise keepers." Global Warranty doesn't "play games" with have the right warranty products in place before currently-manufactured vehicles coverage, says Neufert; "we don't hide ever hit the used-car market. behind the fine print." "If air conditioning is covered in the warranty," says Neufert, "then every element of the a/c system is covered— there are no hidden exclusions."
NationWide Auto Warranty NationWide Auto Warranty, out of Waterloo, is celebrating its 20th
"With the STP distance warranty, there's no time limit," says Ballantyne. "If the plan is for 200,000 kilometres, the warranty is in place no matter how long it takes to reach that." NationWide also offers STP as a term-based warranty. NationWide recently introduced a new product: RV warranties. The company already offers motorcycle warranties, and will be offering a special 20th-anniversary
warranty this year. All products are fully insured, says Ballantyne, and provide an excellent revenue stream for dealerships. "NationWide is a dealer-driven company," says Ballantyne. "By not offering their product directly to consumers we avoid undercutting the dealerships." "It's all about relationships," says Ballantyne, noting that NationWide has an excellent team of sales staff. Sales team members are easy to get in touch with, according to Ballantyne, and provide training to dealerships on how to collect and enter warranty information. NationWide emphasizes to dealers the difference between warranty products and insurance. According to Jim Voll, the company’s Insurance Specialist, there are substantial differences between the two product lines that are not always fully understood. "NationWide's GAP Protection Plan, Loan
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WARRANTIES | BARBARA LEHTINIEM Guard, and Clean Slate Protection Plans," says Voll, "are insurance plans regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO.)" FSCO licenses and regulates insurers in Ontario to ensure they comply with the law. NationWide's warranty products are fully underwritten by insurance, but they are not insurance products. Even the applicable sales tax is different: the full 13% HST for warranties, but only 8% for insurance products. Its primary operations are in Ontario and Eastern Canada but its warranties provide protection throughout Canada and the United States. Sym-Tech Dealer Services Sym-Tech Dealer Services, of Richmond Hill, launched in 1971 when five GM dealers got together to offer a rustproofing program. From there, Sym-Tech has grown to include a full line of warranty and ancillary products, as well as F&I training. "These days, warranty and related product providers don't compete on a product basis," says Derek Sloan, Sym-Tech's Executive Vice-President. There's little difference between warranty products on the market, says Sloan. The distinct difference arises from what value is added to the product.
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Sym-Tech's added value resides in its full menu of products, training technology, and a field team that is registered with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC,) Ontario's vehicle sales regulator. "We train by showing," says Sloan, noting that Sym-Tech's field team members can perform automotive sales in a live environment as a training model. Sym-Tech's customer base is predominantly new-car franchises, but the company offers its products and F&I training to both new and used-car dealers. Sym-Tech uses a "performance model," says Sloan, that focuses on how to sell to the customer in an F&I environment. The aim is to help the customer feel comfortable and informed. Dealers have to be aware of what's going on in the industry, says Sloan, and they should be asking what the value-added element is to warranty product lines. Sloan identifies the biggest trend in the pre-owned vehicle industry as the nonprime market. Non-prime has become a significant part of Sym-Tech's training process.
"Non-prime sales are pulling in a larger share of the market," says Sloan. Another trend Sloan recognizes is the growth in dealer groups, which are increasingly looking for more of a North-American solution when making warranty decisions. Sym-Tech was recently acquired by the US-based Amynta Group, a North American warranty company. The partnership gives Sym-Tech tremendous clout in the North American market, says Sloan, but Sym-Tech will remain true to its Canadian roots. Dealerships have to be at least as savvy as their customers when making warranty product decisions: understand the industry, know the products available, and compare quality of service. Every aspect will help determine which warranties are the best fit for you and your customers. When working with warranty providers, dealers should consider availing themselves of the expertise of each firm's sales staff. Knowing and understanding the products available and the level of service offered will be invaluable when explaining warranty options to car buyers. During the time it took you to read this article, the automotive warranty industry evolved again. Industry knowledge is essential for dealers purchasing and marketing warranty products. ■
ANOTHER $1.5 MILLION DEALER LOYALTY REBATES GENERATED FOR UCDA MEMBERS IN 2018.
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We didn’t invent used car warranties, but we did make them Eazee. At Global Warranty we value innovation and customer To learn more about what Global Warranty can do for your service above all else, and our Eazee claims app combines customers, visit us online at www.globalwarranty.com, the best of both. Just fill in the online warranty application, or call us direct at 1-855-509-4690. hit send and we’ll take it from there. It’s flexible, hassle-free and extremely user-friendly - just like us.
The ULTIMATE in driving protection
48 | THE ONTARIO DEALERStar Series | 30/30 Bumper to Bumper | ULTIMATE Test Drive | Tire and Rim Protection | ULTIMATE RV Series ULTIMATE