YOUR CONNECTION TO ONTARIO’S USED CAR INDUSTRY
THE ONTARIO UCDA
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO
MARKETING SKILLS FOR TODAY'S DEALER /12 PLUS DEALER PROFILE: Wayne's Auto World /24
SELF DRIVING CARS /28
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 5
Fall 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 Marketing Skills for Today's Dealer By Angela West
ucda.org Publication Mail Agreement #41890516
Mediation By Joanne Walmsley
ONTARIO DEALER is published by Laservision Graphics Ltd. four times a year.
130 Industry Street, Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3
Spotlight Series: Global Warranty by Ronda Payne
EDITOR Gina Monaco Tel: 1.647.344.9300 or 1.289.456.4617 firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Coster Direct: 416.360.0797 Office: 647.344.9300
by Chris Chase
05 07 09 11 19 22 24 28 32 34 42 44
The Driver’s Seat Warren Barnard
Editor’s Note Gina Monaco
Member’s Corner Bob Pierce
The Law Matters Jim Hamilton
Tech Talk Angela West
Trends Chris Chase
Dealer Profile Ronda Payne
Self-Driving Cars Angela West
The Common Lawyer Justin M. Jakublak
Wholesale Market Trends Chris Chase Old Car Detective Bill Sherk
Super Service Matt MacDonald
CONTRIBUTORS Chris Chase, Ronda Payne, Bill Sherk, Angela West, Matt McDonald, Joanne Walmsley 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 4 | 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 The Benefits of Giving Back and share on-line. It’s great free publicity! Charitable organizations that benefit from what you’re doing will also happily thank you for your generous support with photos and content on-line and in their own publications. Many thousands of people will see and read about your efforts to give back. This won’t hurt when they, or their family and friends, are looking to make a future car purchase.
By Warren Barnard, Executive Director, UCDA
I DON’T THINK OUR INDUSTRY
gets the credit it deserves for giving back, in one way or another, to the community. Partnering with a charity and participating in an event for a good cause, sponsoring a youth sports team, or organizing a charitable drive or event with your staff, are worthwhile activities that can not only benefit the charity you’re supporting, but benefit your business as well. Many UCDA members regularly give back because it’s the right thing to do, but many may not be doing enough to make sure their community knows about it. Promoting your involvement in good causes that give back to the community on your website and social media pages is a given. But don’t forget to let local media, such as community newspapers know about what you’re doing. Local papers are always looking for positive content about local businesses for their publications, websites and social media pages. Local media are usually more than happy to take photos which they will gladly post
As an industry organization, the UCDA has for the past three years, been a supporter of local Ontario charities that offer support to families of children forced to deal with the scourge of childhood cancer. This year, the UCDA has provided donations on behalf of members to the following organizations across the Province, dedicated to this often forgotten cause. • Camp Oochigeas in Muskoka • Camp Quality in Thunder Bay • Camp Trillium in Picton • Candlelighters in Barrie and Ottawa • Childcan in London • Help A Child Smile in Hamilton • Kids Kicking Cancer in Windsor • Families of Children with Cancer in
Northern Ontario September was Childhood Cancer Awareness month and the UCDA promoted that fact to members. I know a number of members actively supported the cause as a result. This year, for the first time, the UCDA, partnering with Manheim Canada, took part in the Cox Automotive-sponsored
Habitat for Humanity Automotive Industry Build Days. I had the honour of spending a day in September working with representatives of other organizations from the automotive industry to help build two houses that Habitat will sell, at cost, to two families who would not otherwise be able to purchase a home. UCDA and Manheim staff participated in a second build day in October. Automotive industry participants, including the UCDA, also donated $100,000 to Habitat to help fund ongoing and future projects. There are many ways to give back to your community, and they don’t need to cost a lot in either time or money. It makes sense to determine in advance how much you’d like to donate, or the percentage of revenue you are willing to contribute. You decide how much. There are plenty of other ways to help that don’t involve writing a cheque, such as: • Donating a vehicle to a charitable organization for a specific event • Providing free space for an event • Organizing things like toy drives (UCDA staff do this every Christmas for Toy Mountain) • Volunteer time to a local charity • Sell tickets to charitable functions As you can see, there a lot of ways to give back and they can all help your business. Consider what you can do as we head into the Holiday Season and be sure to tell people about what you’re doing! I’d love to hear about ways your dealership has given back to your community. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gotta love that
NEW SITE SMELL www.theontariodealer.com
6 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
EDITOR’S NOTE Is the future of electric cars at risk? make it commercially viable.” A year ago, the company said that it was planning to build the cars at a new factory in Singapore that would have been operational by 2020. The Dyson project piqued the curiosity of the automotive industry and many analysts questioned whether a company with substantial engineering experience, but with little car experience, could compete.
By Gina Monaco, Editor
IN THE NEWS RECENTLY, James Dyson,
inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner, announced to his staff in an email that he was abandoning his plans to build electric cars, because he didn’t find it would be commercially viable – his was a $3 billion dollar project. Could that be a forewarning about the electric car market as a whole? In 2017, Dyson announced that his company would be designing an electric car adding his name to the movement being created by the big, established carmakers and specialists such as Tesla. In the email he wrote that while its engineers had produced a "fantastic" vehicle, the effort would be wound down. The company said it had not been able to find a buyer for the project. "Though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to
Carmakers are investing a lot of money into developing electric cars, and it’s been estimated that Tesla could sell a record 100,000 cars this quarter. However, global electric-car sales fell for the first time in July, after China scaled back its subsidies. Sales also declined in North America, but increased in Europe. While electric vehicles account for just a small percentage of the car market, automakers are betting on the future of EVS.
So how are sales in Canada? According to an article on cbc.ca most sales of electric vehicles here are happening in cities, where typical daily commutes are well within the range of all available models. But those sales are relatively small. In the first nine months of 2018, nearly 17,000 battery electric vehicles were sold. In the United States, 50,000 EVs are sold each month, but that represents just 2.1% of all new vehicle sales.
PEI dealership has opened its doors and sells only used electric vehicles. Purchasing used is less costly than buying new – prices at this dealership range from $16,000 to just over $30,000. We also see a growing expansion of vehicle charging stations. Recently, Electrify Canada, the Canadian division of Electrify America, which in turn is a subsidiary of VW, announced that “it will launch its nation-wide electric vehicle (EV) charging network with over 20 installations planned to roll out at select Canadian Tire locations across Canada.” Electric cars may still be a niche market, but the declining demand for gasguzzlers bodes well for the future of these vehicles.
Something new for you Let me introduce you to our new website www.theontariodealer.com. Yes, we’ve added an improved online version of the magazine along with new, original content. We’re just getting started, so visit often to stay-up-to-date with your industry. We plan on rolling out a number of exciting new initiatives over the next year, along with digital marketing campaigns to help dealers grow their business and help consumers make better decisions about their used vehicle purchases. Follow us on Facebook at The Ontario Dealer and on Twitter @ontariodealer
Despite being relatively new, used EVs are popping up in dealerships. A new
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4 | 7
LEARN STUFF AND GET REWARDED. SiriusXM has launched an incentive-based program that is a quick, entertaining and easy way to learn about our service and how to amplify your customers’ experience. Go to sxmdealer.ca/training today to register. With the completion of each module, you will get 90 days of streaming on the SiriusXM app. There’s always something good on!
© 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 rights reserved.
8 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
MEMBER’S CORNER Dealer Insurance is Changing On the contrary, members get rebates for being claims free. But things are changing. Over the past ten years, cars and trucks have become high tech marvels and high performance luxury machines. In the old days, a simple fender bender or bumper "bump" was a nothing claim, but today that claim can be in the thousands of dollars. There is no such thing as a "nothing claim" today.
By Bob Pierce Member Services Director
The Ucda's Insurance Program is celebrating 25 years of providing Members with a quality, stable and affordable service. Trying to convince an insurance company that used car dealers would be a good risk was not easy for the UCDA's first Executive Director, Bob Beattie and Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers. What started with a handful of members, has grown to over 1,600 members, but it hasn't been easy.
Another term dealers need to understand is "frequency". The more times "you come to the well", the bigger the risk you become. Even if you didn't cause the accident, the more times you are involved in one, the more problematic you become for the insurer.
No Fault is Not No Cost Probably the most misused and misunderstood term in the insurance world is "No Fault". If you are involved in an accident and it is determined by the police that you didn't cause it, it doesn't mean that there won't be a claim against your policy. Your policy pays to fix your car and if you are hurt, the cost to your policy could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Over the past two decades, the insurance industry has undergone numerous ups and downs, drastic rate increases from claims due to hail, severe weather like flooding, car theft and the fallacy of NO FAULT.
Add that to the accident benefits and the bodily injury legal battles and we have an insurance industry crying the blues. According to them "they are in crisis".
Through all of it, the UCDA program has performed better than most rate groups and hasn't seen significant rate increases.
This is another insurance term dealers need to understand. Under Ontario Law the insurance industry must offer you
The Facility Fund
insurance. In their wisdom, the industry developed the "Facility Fund". This is where all the "at fault" or high frequency claimers; street racers, careless drivers, impaired drivers, etc., get their insurance. It is not the place you want to end up. The annual premium of a recent past member who had to go to "the Fund" rose from $7,500 a year to $97,000 a year, due to frequent at fault and not at fault accidents. I attended a meeting recently with our insurance partners to discuss the "lay of the land". Our UCDA program is in good shape, but we will NOT be able duck the impact of pending rate increases. In recent months, numerous insurance companies have dropped dealers, taxi/ uber, and trucking programs due to significant losses. Don't look to government to soften the blow. The previous Ontario Government tried to force a 15% decrease on the insurance companies for personal lines policies. It didn't happen... We will continue our efforts to work with our partners to get the best deal possible, for Members. We have a proven track record and you have proven to be a good risk over the years. We will keep you advised. Having an accident or any loss incident is why you have insurance. Today you need to make claims wisely, because more than ever, you need insurance to stay in business. Too many members this year have found out that losing one, means losing both.
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THE LAW MATTERS Autonomous Vehicles - Cue the Lawyers
By Jim Hamilton
Human error is what drove the development of insurance liability law. These new proposed innovations will require a 180-degree pivot to address failures of technology instead.
activity. According to Deloitte, this data will be more reliable than human-reported or human-collected information for assessing risk, pricing auto insurance, managing claims and detecting fraud.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), which represents Canada's property and casualty insurers, prepared a report in 2018 in which they argue that fully autonomous vehicles present new risks to the Canadian auto insurance sector and its stakeholders.
4. Responsibility for collisions will shift from the driver to the automated technology: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that human error is the primary cause of more than 90% of collisions. As automated vehicles shift liability toward vehicle manufacturers and technology providers, there will be more product liability litigation.”
To address these risks, IBC calls for fundamental changes to provincial insurance laws and federal vehicle safety standards.
Legal Services Director
The year is 2026 and mankind is about to hand over all operational authority to Skynet, an all-seeing, all-knowing artificial neural network. As the machines prepare to become our overlords, there enters on the stage a figure, dressed conservatively and carrying a briefcase, asking to see whoever’s in charge. The dawn of the dreaded Age of the Machines might have to be delayed … the lawyers have arrived. Unless you have been living under a rock, like many humans are forced to in the imagined future of the Terminator movie franchise, you will be aware that big players with big money are trying to develop vehicles that will drive us around without our assistance. In Ontario, these vehicles are being tested on public roads as this article is being written. In all the excitement (hype?) over self-driving cars, the media have overlooked the lawyers. More specifically, the legal changes necessary to our insurance regime built up over many decades since we unharnessed horses in favour of the internal combustion engine.
IBC identifies four different impacts on the auto insurance industry that will accompany this evolution: “1. There will be fewer collisions, but the technology in automated vehicles will make repair and replacement more expensive: In a U.S. study, KPMG predicts that over the next 10 years, automated technologies will reduce the frequency of collisions by 35% to 40%. However, because the technology for automated vehicles is expensive, KPMG predicts that repair costs will increase by 25% to 30%. 2. Vehicle use will have new risks: The European Parliamentary Research Service identified risks that will emerge with the rollout of automated vehicles. These risks include software and network failure, programming choices, hacking and cybercrime, and failure to install or update software. 3. Vehicles will record significant amounts of data: Vehicles will be equipped with complex sensors that can monitor and record vehicle
IBC's suggests addressing these impacts through focusing on two key areas: “1. A single insurance policy covering both driver negligence and the automated technology: The automated vehicle’s insurer would compensate injured people if the automated vehicle caused a collision, regardless of whether the human operator or automated technology was in control. 2. A data-sharing arrangement with vehicle manufacturers, vehicle owners and/or insurers: The data-sharing arrangement would help determine the cause of a collision, whether the vehicle was in manual or automated mode at the time of the collision and the vehicle operator’s interaction with the automated technology.” We have become used to the disruptive effects of technology. It seems we just hear about the next new thing and soon it has become the “new normal”. It may be that autonomous vehicles will be that kind of disruption, but I suspect, in the end, the answer may have a lot to do with the lawyers.
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MARKETING SKILLS FOR TODAY’S DEALER By Angela West
IN ANY COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY , the work of a marketer is never done. Marketing is essential for spreading the word about your business, boosting sales by generating new leads, maintaining a positive reputation with existing and future customers, and informing the public about what makes your business different than competitors. In marketing, there’s always a steady stream of new technology and strategy that can easily revolutionize the way a business operates, helping to cut costs, generate new leads, or breakthrough to
12 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
audiences they never thought possible. It also makes it possible to better determine and meet the needs and wants of your customers, and maintain positive relationships with customers who may have complaints or suggestions about your services. A modern dealer needs to be able to analyze data and trends to capitalize on opportunities before they fade away, to recognize what kind of content best connects with their audience, and stay engaged with their community in order to learn how to better reach local customers.
Know your customers and what makes them tick It’s crucial that you know as much about your customers as possible the more you know about the people who frequent your business, the better off you’ll be. Become familiar with the demographics of your
MARKETING SKILLS | ANGELA WEST
audience, breaking them down by age, gender, education, diversity, and other information you might consider to be possible. This information should be available to you in customer relationship management (CRM) software used by your salespeople. This information will allow you to more accurately target advertising so that it reaches people who are likely to purchase from your dealership, rather than falling on deaf ears. By getting to
know the demographics of your client base, you might find that you’ve been spending too much of your advertising budget on targeting the wrong audience. Performing a demographic breakdown will allow you to better tailor messaging to audiences who have historically purchased from your dealership, and let you easily pivot in the event that your customer base evolves over time.
Data analysis is becoming increasingly important Being able to measure and analyze past, present, and future marketing data has become more important over the years - data has become one of the most valuable tools in a marketer’s arsenal. Being able to understand marketing analytics can help you to optimize your business’s return on investment by making each and every dollar
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MARKETING SKILLS | ANGELA WEST customers holding the keys to their new ride. Videos, especially, do very well on social media platforms such as Instagram.
count through being able to know the outcome of your marketing efforts. Analyzing past and current business data unlocks valuable information about the success of marketing campaigns and initiatives, helping you cut out marketing efforts that aren’t making an impact. Data also shows you how your current efforts will fare in the future, and lets you pinpoint opportunities for improvement or change. In order to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts, it’s recommended that you obtain marketing reports on a quarterly basis. Reports allow you to see how many eyes have been on your ads, what actions people have taken, and how effective these efforts have been. This gives you an opportunity to cut out media that isn’t doing you any favours, letting you distribute more of your marketing budget into proven channels to attract more customers and generate leads. If you’re advertising in areas where marketing reports aren’t available to you, it may be a good idea to cut these out of your initiatives. Without reporting to show that your dollars are being well spent, there’s no guarantee that anybody is seeing or caring about your marketing efforts, or that the medium is reliable in any way. Marketing analytics also allow you to learn from past mistakes, capitalize on short-lived trends, and more accurately plan for the future of your business. Being able to analyze data allows you to determine what aspects of your business customers are most satisfied with, and what areas frequently received complaints or criticism.
These images connect with people, compelling them to share content more often, and to recall it at a later time. Using visual content can help your dealership connect with audiences who may not be able to connect with or understand text-based marketing, and encourages people to share and engage with your posts, photos and videos online.
Measuring this data allows you to improve the customer experience by improving processes and deploying more resources to problem areas, increasing client retention and reducing negative reviews and feedback. Fluency in visual content lets you get the most out of your marketing. It’s estimated that the majority of people are visual learners, meaning that content with heavy visual elements is much more likely to resonate and illicit a reaction from most people. Visual content is also processed faster than text is (up to 60,000 times faster), and can be understood by wider audiences because it isn’t restricted by language barriers. Visual content has been shown time and time again to be a more effective marketing tool, with many businesses taking advantage of this by including heavy visual elements in their marketing initiatives. Knowing when and how to implement visual content into your marketing efforts is extremely important, as it could mean the difference between a successful or failed marketing campaign. Visuals can come in the form of infographics, well-shot photographs of vehicles on your lot, videos of vehicles in action, and pictures of satisfied
14 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
Adaptability ensures that you can pivot at a moment’s notice The world of marketing and sales is constantly evolving, with dozens of new technologies, solutions, strategies and trends being introduced each year. The barrage of new marketing elements can be overwhelming, especially since not every trend or piece of technology is worthy of the hype, nor are they perfectly suited to all industries. Though not every emerging technology or trend will be worth your time or attention, there will be massive opportunities to be found in the worthy ones, making it important that your eyes and ears are open and that your finger is on the pulse. It’s absolutely crucial that today’s dealer has the ability to recognize when marketing trends are going to be well-suited to their business in order to implement them and get the most out of them before it’s too late. Missing out on a perfectly suited trend or opportunity will give your competitors more than enough room to get ahead of you, and will ultimately cost you customers and sales. In order to get the most out of these trends, your business needs to be able to adapt quickly emerging technologies should be easy to implement into your workflow, trends should be capitalized on while they’re still fresh, and strategies rolled out before you get left in the dust.
MARKETING SKILLS | ANGELA WEST Stay up to date by joining your local Chamber of Commerce
Marketing automation can be a game changer Email newsletter campaigns are a great way to spread the word to an audience. They’re cheap, easy to share, measure, and are effective in delivering targeted messages to important audiences. Marketing automation platforms like Sharpspring offer email marketing tools that allow you to quickly create visually striking emails that are sure to get the attention of your audience.
Dynamic personalized emails can be quickly sent out without any need for complicated coding, letting you create custom emails with a personal touch. Messaging can be customized based on audience segmentation, helping you better target specific demographics and types of buyers. These platforms offer in-depth analytics that let you see the ROI of email marketing campaigns in real time. For example, you can send an email when a customer makes an initial inquiry, time another different email to go out if they haven’t responded in a week, and so on. Don’t discount traditional media
focusing your efforts on traditional media - especially if they’ve proven valuable to your business in the past. There’s still plenty of room for traditional advertising strategies like radio, television and newspaper ads, billboards and banners, and direct mail. No matter how popular digital media has become, there are inevitably going to be people who your message won’t reach online, which is where traditional marketing strategies come into play. Radio, television, and newspaper ads are a great way to reach older audiences and those who have chosen to hold onto traditional media. These marketing campaigns can still have a great impact depending on the audience you’re trying to reach. Direct mail campaigns are another great way to reach people, especially those who may not use or check their email inbox often. As our email inboxes become more cluttered, things like direct mail can have a more profound affect because they’re a tangible reminder of your brand.
While the Internet is home to a wealth of knowledge, not everything you read, see, or hear is going to be true, nor is it going to be relevant to your operations. It can be extremely difficult to find accurate information about marketing online, especially relating to your local community. What works in a large American market may not work in a smaller Canadian one, for example. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce can go a long way in helping you stay up to date on what’s going on in your community, and what other successful business owners are doing right and wrong. The Chamber brings together people with different information and experience levels that you can connect with and learn from, applying proven strategies to your market that can completely change the way you do business. In addition, Chamber membership gives you access to valuable networking events that can boost the local brand of your business with fellow influential business people if you participate as a sponsor. Successfully marketing your dealership is about much more than simply being active on social media and monitoring online reviews. To rise above the competition, you have to ensure that your eyes and ears are always open, ready to adapt and implement new strategies, technologies, and trends. Taking advantage of marketing automation solutions and being able to carefully analyse the data available to you, will help reach audiences more effectively, increasing your sales and generating more leads. ■
Digital marketing reigns supreme, but that doesn’t mean you should stop
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MEDIATION UCDA MEDIATION SERVICES – FREE, FAST AND EFFECTIVE By Joanne Walmsley
I WAS THRILLED when I drove my “new
to me” car away from the car dealershp last February. But, the thrill quickly vanished the next morning when the car failed to start! A few more tries and a few nasty words later, the engine caught and I was able to get to work. Fast forward to the end of the day, and again the car failed to start. I repeated my morning routine – repeatedly turning the key in the ignition and uttering a few expletives. That last nasty word must have done the trick because finally, the engine turned over. It was back to the dealership for me and this “lemon” of a car! I was angry. And it showed in my tone of voice when I expressed my displeasure about being sold a vehicle that failed to work the day after I purchased it. My anger
16 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
quickly softened though, as the service manager apologized for the inconvenience and explained my car would be looked at immediately and the problem would be fixed. And fixed it was, at no cost to me. I left the dealership feeling grateful and happy. But, what if I had become ornery, and highly agitated and spoke over what the service personnel was trying to say to me? What if I had just ranted and raved and threatened? What if I had been one of “those” customers? Chances are, you have dealt with one or two of “those customers.” You know the ones. Individuals, who will not back down and have no desire to discuss a situation rationally. In fact, it may seem suggesting ways of resolving a
MEDIATION | JOANNE WALMSLEY situation is futile as the individual has already decided not to entertain any ideas you present.
"The UCDA mediator acts as a neutral or unbiased third party to help other parties settle a dispute." Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we cannot satisfy a customer. In situations like this, the mediation services offered by the UCDA can help. For decades, the UCDA has offered free dispute resolution services to Ontario consumers and motor vehicle dealers. Mediation is available to consumers who have purchased a motor vehicle from a dealer in Ontario. Services are offered whether the dealer is a UCDA member or not. “By offering this service,” states James Hamilton, UCDA Legal Services Director, “the UCDA is fulfilling its mission to enhance the reputation and image of our industry while, at the same time, providing a venue for the swift and effective resolution of disputes involving motor vehicle transactions.” What is UCDA mediation? In a dispute that goes to court there is a winner and there is a loser. In mediating a dispute however, the goal is to work together to arrive at a reasonable solution that is satisfactory to both the consumer and the dealer. In fact, throughout the mediation process, both parties are actively involved and are given an opportunity to suggest ideas that would help lead to a resolution.
The UCDA mediator acts as a neutral, unbiased third party to help other parties settle a dispute. As Hamilton explains, “UCDA mediation is informal, non-threatening and is almost always done by e-mail or over the phone. Acting as a ‘go-between,’ the UCDA mediator will speak with the consumer and the dealer, back and forth, as long as progress towards resolving the dispute is being made. Though most successful mediations find resolution through suggestions made by each party and their willingness to give and take, there are times when the mediator may suggest some possible solutions to the parties.” How does UCDA mediation work? It is important to note that before any mediation occurs, both the consumer and dealer are made aware that the mediator is impartial and not acting on behalf of either party. It is explained that the mediator holds an unbiased position and acts to facilitate a quick and effective resolution to the problem for both parties. Additionally, both parties are informed that the mediator will not provide legal advice. Here is what you can expect from the mediation service offered by the UCDA. First contact • First contact, generally by a consumer, is made by telephone or e-mail. • Usually within 24 hours, the UCDA mediator will contact the consumer to discuss the complaint.
• The mediator records all relevant information about the problem. • The consumer is asked to identify what they expect in order to resolve the dispute. • The mediator asks the consumer to forward a copy of the bill of sale and any other relevant documents, such as a Safety Standards Certificate, repair invoices, service records, etc. Informing the dealer • Once the mediator has a clear understanding of the issues involved, and any relevant documents have been received, contact is made with the dealer. • The mediator explains the reason for the call. • The mediator asks if the dealer agrees to participate in mediation to resolve the complaint made by the consumer. (Few dealers refuse as they realize the mutual benefit of the mediation process.) Mediation process • The mediator relays the consumer’s story to the dealer. The dealer then provides their side of the story. (There are after all, two sides to every story!) • Part of this call includes letting the dealer know about the consumer’s desired remedy. The dealer is asked to respond by accepting the solution or by making a counter offer. If
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MEDIATION | JOANNE WALMSLEY who have participated in the UCDA mediation service agreed. “As in any retail industry, situations can arise that result in a very angry customer. In these instances it is very helpful to have a “go-between” who can diffuse the situation and offer reasonable solutions for both the dealer and the consumer,” said one.
applicable, other options may be suggested by the mediator at this time. • Communication is a back and forth process and as it continues the mediator attempts to find common ground between the consumer and the dealer. In this way, the mediator can bring the parties closer to a resolution that will be acceptable to both. • Mediations can be resolved in a few days; sometimes in just a few minutes. Resolution • Few successful mediations result in one party getting everything they want. Usually, compromises must be made by each party in order to reach a resolution. • When parties agree on an acceptable solution, the mediator verbally confirms the terms of the agreement. The mediator then follows up by sending a confirmation letter outlining the terms to each party.
• If no progress is made in the resolution process and the mediator feels the parties are unwilling or unable to reach “I would recommend the mediation services offered by UCDA because they a resolution, the mediation efforts are unbiased. The customer complaint cease. is presented to the dealer and the mediator works with both the customer • The mediator will then send a letter and the dealer in order to come up with to both parties. The letter outlines the a solution that is fair to both parties. I facts, the desires of each party, the appreciate the professionalism and points the parties agree upon as well expert communication offered in as those that remain disputed along the UCDA mediation service,” shared with the positions of both parties on another. those issues. UCDA mediation works According to Hamilton the UCDA mediation service has grown into a respected resolution option with a 70% success rate. “Even if resolution is not reached, our mediation services leave parties little doubt that all that could have been done has been done.” The used car dealers I spoke with
photosbypierce.com 130 Industry St., Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3 e email@example.com www.photosbypierce.com
18 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
Another individual stated, “I recommend UCDA to all dealers as it is very helpful to get a professional’s opinion and advice when it comes to resolving consumer complaints.”
It is, of course, best if a consumer with a complaint first goes to the dealer where the vehicle was purchased to discuss the complaint. Most complaints are resolved at this stage, but, if the dealer and consumer are unable to come to an amicable solution, it’s good to know that the UCDA mediation service is available. It’s also good to know that it is free, fast, fair and effective. ■
TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE
TECH TALK By Angela West
HERE’S THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AUTOMOTIVE GADGETS AND APPS. Winter is the perfect time to accessorize your vehicle to maximize your comfort, and to pick up great gifts that will enhance the driving experience of your friends and family members. Here’s the latest on what’s happening in the world of automotive gadgets, apps, and accessories.
A seamless car drying experience Non-contact detailing is the best way to enjoy a spotless vehicle without running the risk of scratching the finish, especially in the drying process. The BigBoi Blowr Mini Miniature Air Blower is the perfect solution for car enthusiasts looking to protect the integrity of their finish, and make a great impression with a spotless
vehicle. The BigBoi Blowr Mini is the perfect tool for drying your vehicle after a thorough wash, blowing away dust and debris, and for keeping your tires spotless, keeping your paint safe. The BigBoi Blowr Mini is more powerful than the name implies, armed with a 3,000 watt 4.0 HP motor that uses heated, filtered air to dry your vehicle and protect the integrity
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TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST of paintwork, chrome, metal, and glass. The Blowr Mini comes with three interchangeable nozzles and a 3.5 meter commercial grade hose that makes drying any part of your vehicle a breeze. The noise reduction twin filter system ensures that you can use the BigBoi Blowr anytime without causing a disturbance. Users can choose between three different air temperature settings - 15, 25, or 45 degrees Celsius that are perfect for any task.
Find out more about the BigBoi Blowr Mini at www.ibigboi.com. Improve cell reception anywhere you go with a portable signal booster When you’re on the road, reduced cell phone reception can be frustrating especially if your phone is an essential business tool. Reduced service can mean dropped or lower quality calls, interrupted mobile data, and unsent text messages. The SureCall N-Range Vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster aims to solve this problem directly, improving reception on all major carriers throughout North America with a powerful phone mount and outside antenna that are easy to install. The SureCall Signal Booster is the most effective way to ensure that important calls won’t be dropped, and that you’ll be able to receive important emails and texts no matter where you’re driving. The SureCall N-Range Vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster uses Extended Range Technology to capture and boost cell signals in order to help you avoid lost calls, improve call quality, and ensure that streaming data and texting can be used in just about any environment. The SureCall N-Range works with all major North American mobile providers, making it good for use in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The booster’s 3-step installation process makes it easy for anybody to use, and makes transferring the
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device to other vehicles seamless. Next time you’re on the road and need consistently strong reception, the SureCall N-Range has your back.
Check it out at www.surecall.com. Get peace of mind by ensuring your children aren’t accidentally left in the vehicle According to KidsAndCars.org, 2018 was the worst year in recent memory for children dying after being left in hot cars - in many of these cases, the child was unknowingly left in the vehicle. One of the most dangerous mistakes that a parent can make is to leave their child unattended in a hot car, where temperatures can increase at extremely high rates, leaving children open to heat stroke. The Backseet Buddy Child Car Safety Device has been designed with the intention of combating this very serious problem. The Backseet Buddy features a lightweight child friendly car seat device, and a non-intrusive and userfriendly mobile app that ensures your children are never at risk of accidentally being left unattended in your vehicle. The device is secured through Apple iBeacon and Eddystone, with each user receiving a unique ID to ensure high level security. The app operates in the background, allowing you to continue streaming music and videos without interruption, alerting you via push notification when your child has been left in the vehicle unattended. These notifications are sent every minute until manually dismissed, helping you get to your child before it’s too late. To learn more about the Backseet Buddy, visit www.backseetbuddy.com. Capture every moment in stunning high definition with a premium dash cam Dash cams have become an absolute necessity for serious drivers, helping to
accurately identify responsible parties in accidents, avoid theft, and more. The Thinkware F800PRO enhances the capabilities of traditional dash cams, offering drivers a next-generation experience with superior recording quality, super night vision features, and an energy-saving park surveillance capability. The Thinkware F800PRO’s enhanced recording quality shoots driving footage in full HD and ensures high quality video even in low-light conditions. The Thinkware F800PRO records at 1920 x 1080 in 30FPS, using a 140° wide angle lens that captures everything you need to see. The energy-saving Parking Mode works to detect motion and impact, and can be used for time lapses, shooting at 2FPS and playing back at 10FPS. Antifile corruption means that your footage is safe from data loss, minimizing the amount of backups you’ll have to make. An iOS and Android mobile app and built-in Wi-Fi ensure seamless operation, and THINKWARE CLOUD gives drivers the opportunity to use features including remote live view, vehicle location, geofencing, and driving impact notifications. Learn more about the Thinkware F800PRO dash cam at www.thinkware. com.
More leads. More trades. More inventory. The CARFAX Canada Vehicle Trade-in Widget provides realistic trade-in values from a trusted third-party, helping drive quality leads from your website to your dealership. Learn more at go.carfax.ca/leads
2016 Nissan 370Z typically trades for:
If you want to consider trading in, CARFAX Canada values your car at:
(Average Trade-In Value) (Average Tax Savings)
$28,841 + $3,749 $32,590 *
* This is not an offer to purchase your vehicle. All values are provided by CARFAX Canada from actual transactions of vehicles just like yours. Final trade-in value adjustments will be made by the dealership after an inspection of your vehicle including an assessment of current condition, previous history, and odometer readings.
TRENDS By Chris Chase
FOR SOME TIME, you've been hearing
about the impending demise of traditional car models as auto manufacturers continue to tighten their focus on crossovers and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). While SUVs were once positioned as more expensive, upmarket alternatives to cars, the popularity of utility vehicles across a variety of size classes has made them increasingly affordable to a wider range of buyers. Upscale and luxury car brands were among the first to bring lower-priced subcompact SUVs and crossovers to the marketplace. Models like the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Audi Q3 and BMW X1 have become successful aspirational vehicles, drawing a younger audience to showrooms and, if that manufacturer is lucky, turning those youthful buyers into lifelong customers. More recently, mainstream brands are getting in on the subcompact crossover action with new entry-level models.
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If you want proof that utilities are on their way to replacing cars in many Ontario driveways -- beyond the fact that 70 per cent of Canadian newvehicle sales in 2018 were SUVs and trucks -- you'll find it in a trio of small Asian crossover models.
As these small utility vehicles continue to gain market share, they will push subcompact cars to the sales margins, and eventually out of the marketplace altogether. Read on for an introduction to three of the models reshaping the market for small, affordable vehicles.
The Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR and Hyundai Venue have more in common than their geographical provenance. They're all stylish, small utilities that come exclusively with front-wheel drive, a product-planning decision that runs counter to the idea that AWD is a major selling point for SUVs in all size and price categories.
Car manufacturers know that most buyers at the entry-level end of the marketplace are looking for an affordable vehicle, and leaving AWD off the option sheet is an easy way to keep price down. Additionally, many of the budget-minded buyers in question won't miss AWD, because they previously owned a front-wheel drive compact or subcompact car.
Hyundai expects its newest model to be a strong seller right away when it arrives at dealers in late 2019, and we have no reason to doubt that. Hyundai has already taken the subcompact crossover segment by storm with the Kona, and the smaller Venue will add yet another stylish utility vehicle to the Korean brand's arsenal. The victim here will be the Hyundai Accent subcompact car, which we predict will disappear within the next couple of years. Hyundai has yet to reveal detailed specs for the Venue, but we know it will have a 1.6L engine making about 120 hp. A manual transmission will help the Venue stand apart from its competition, but will be presented
TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE
Nissan Kicks Positioned below Nissan's popular Qashqai and Rogue SUV models, the Kicks has already become a linchpin of the brand's small-vehicle lineup in Canada: As of September 2019, it had handily outsold the Versa Note hatchback and Sentra sedan combined. as a cost-saving option, rather than a driving-enthusiast magnet. Most Venue models will be sold with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Nissan Kicks Nissan introduced the Kicks in 2018 to replace the Juke. Underneath its more conventional styling is a 1.6L engine making 125 hp, which comes mated to a continuously variable transmission.
Toyota C-HR The C-HR also made its debut in 2018 as Toyota's first-ever subcompact crossover. It's a surprisingly daring styling exercise from Toyota and a marked departure from the brand's normally conservative designs. It's a touch wider and rides a little lower than the Kicks, giving it a sportier look, but a 2.0L engine with 144 hp prioritizes fuel economy over performance.
Toyota offers less variety than Nissan at the entry-level end of its crossover lineup; next up from the C-HR is the RAV4, now a compact only in name. And the C-HR has yet to present a serious threat to Toyota's small car models: So far in 2019, its sales figures are similar to those of the Yaris, while the Corolla remains a bestseller. ■
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DEALER PROFILE Wayne’s Auto World By Ronda Payne Loyal Customer Led to Thriving Dealership WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS DEALERSHIP , Wayne’s Auto World in Hamilton, owner Wayne Thomas says his success comes from a simple formula: He doesn’t discriminate or make conclusions about the kind of car someone wants or needs and he makes sure to provide great customer service that moves shoppers from hesitant and “just interested” to becoming a buyer.
There’s not much more to it than that. Well, maybe there’s a little more. Like a lifetime of loving cars, watching his dad’s success in the industry, automotive-specific education and ultimately setting up shop in the pole-position location on the used car drive in his region. “Shaking a hand is the most gratifying thing, because it’s like congratulations,” Wayne says. “When you’re selling a car, there’s a lot of car dealers, there’s a lot of car sales people and basically… people look for every excuse under continued on next page
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Wayne's Auto World
the sun not to make a decision. You’ve got to give that person enough reasons: You’re at the right dealership, you’re dealing with the right person and you’ve got the right car at the right price. Basically, you’re trying to give them enough reasons to go over that edge to say, ‘yes, I’m ready to say Yes’.” While the situation has improved a great deal since the higher-pressure sales of the 80s and 90s, Wayne notes there are still some buyers who have trust issues with car salespeople. And now, with the internet becoming that silent salesperson everyone turns to, there are more variables. “I find with the Internet, it’s about price,” he says. “People are shopping from further away these days.”
He continued helping his dad out for a few years until Grade 9 when he thought he’d try something outside the automotive industry. He took a parttime job at a restaurant and hated it. He lasted just one week before he found another job. This time at a Ford dealer detailing cars after school. “I did that for about a year and then the used car manager at the Ford dealer, he sent us to Ford in Oakville, the manufacturer. They had a couple day courses [in detailing],” he says. “Ford of Canada had that, back in the days when they had that splatter paint in the trunk.” So Wayne, who was just a teenager at the time, spent two days learning how to spray on those funky in-trunk patterns, paint vinyl, work with the checkerboard patterned trunk inserts, buff, shampoo and everything else from tip to tail. It was a big deal in the 70s and 80s for Ford to have good looking vehicles on the road – both new and used.
But it wasn’t always that way. When Wayne got into the automotive industry, he was a tender 11-year-old. His dad was the general manager for a dealer and Wayne would go with him to work on Saturdays to wash cars on the lot. People would come to shop from the “We’d spray paint the engines, the blues, surrounding area. the black and the oranges, depending on the car,” he explains. “My dad was the general sales manager of Unique Chrysler when it was an Then, the used car manager who had American Motors dealer,” he explains. been helping Wayne along left the “That was in Oakville and we lived in dealership to go to Nissan in Burlington, Burlington.”
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which was a Datsun dealership in those days. He pressured Wayne to come and work for him at his new location and Wayne kept saying no, because he liked the job where he was. But then, the stakes got too high to turn down. He was offered $10 an hour. “It was 10 bucks an hour when the minimum wage was about five. That was in 1980,” he says. “I was 16 and living like Rockefeller.” Well, as much of a Rockefeller as one going to high school and working part time could be at least. He stayed on at Nissan until he finished high school then took a four-year program at the Northwood Institute in Michigan and earned a major in automotive marketing and a minor in business. During the summers, Wayne worked at Towne Chevrolet in Oakville, where his dad was working. He moved through all the departments of the dealership to enhance his education and when he finished his schooling, he started selling vehicles there. In the early 90s he went back to the Nissan dealership as a sales person, then a couple years later became the sales manager at the Honda dealership in Stoney Creek in Hamilton.
DEALER PROFILE | RONDA PAYNE There’s no prejudice towards the kinds of cars Wayne sells. He intends to help out all types of customers whether they have $5,000 or $30,000 to spend. He offers domestics and imports, vans, cars and trucks.
“Up to ’98, I had a customer that I kept selling cars to wherever I went,” Wayne says. “He would buy cars from me and only me. I would find him whatever car he was looking for and he’d say, ‘Wayne, when are we going to go into business together?’ and I’d say, ‘One day’. Then I had a bad day with a customer.” After that bad day, Wayne went home and talked to his wife about leaving his job and starting a business. She agreed, so Wayne phoned that long-term customer and said it was time, he was ready to start the business. “Then my partner said, great. Now go out and find a spot,” Wayne says. “That was 1998. We started small, with cheaper, older cars.” Wayne’s Auto World kicked off with a minimal amount of money and maybe six or eight cars, but the location at 1 Parkdale Ave. in South Hamilton ensured the slogan of “number one on Parkdale.” By 2015, the lot was “bursting at the seams,” according to Wayne, and they annexed the lot with a second location just a couple of blocks away on Queenston Road. Now, between the two locations, Wayne’s Auto World holds about 70 to 100 cars at any given time and Wayne realizes there may be a need to add a third location in the future to continue with growth.
“Shaking a hand is the most gratifying thing, because it’s like congratulations,” He also runs a fairly lean operation. There are five employees between the two locations and a small detailing shop on site where cars are cleaned up prior to going on the lot and where detailing work is done for customers who purchase the service. When asked what makes Wayne’s Auto World different from other used car dealers in Hamilton, Wayne answers that it’s about customer service. “A lot of time, I’ll hear customers say, ‘I bought a car from another dealer and two weeks in, a problem popped up and they said, ‘sorry, I can’t help you’.’” Wayne explains. “If I bought something for ten grand and had to dip into my pocket and spend more money to repair it two weeks later, I’d be pretty upset.”
“You try and keep a good name. Keep a good reputation and customers will come back,” he says. Because he is conscientious about treating customers right and because the automotive business was in the DNA passed down from his dad, Wayne gets a lot of referrals and repeat business. He supports the community where he grew up and grows his business by sponsoring ball teams, supporting the United Way and donating when customers have requests for worthwhile causes. He hopes his customers talk about how he’s a fair guy to deal with and that they feel they got a fair deal on their car. He uses the same advertising tools as other dealers like Ontariocars.ca, Auto Trader, Kijiji and the Wayne’s Auto World website, but the rubber meets the road with ensuring everything is done right for the customer. It’s that customer service aspect that counts. “There’s like 28 car dealers on Parkdale alone,” he explains “If I don’t do a good job for (my customer)] they’ll be at one of the other places and the other sales guy is going to be eating my lunch.” ■
So, he makes sure to take care of customers by being fair and honest. It shows. Wayne’s Auto World has been voted Best Used Car Dealer by the Hamilton Spectator Readers’ Choice Awards many times and is up for the award again this year. He’s also managed to edge out the big dealers a couple of times in the car dealer category of readers’ choice awards hosted by other papers.
“We’re not opposed to that,” he said of expanding further.
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SELF-DRIVING CARS HOW FAR AWAY ARE YOU FROM SEEING THEM ON YOUR LOT? By Angela West Angela recently attended Collision 2019, Canada’s largest tech event held in Toronto and came away with some interesting insights. This is just one of the many stories she has. AT COLLISION 2019 , one of the world’s
largest tech conferences, the atmosphere as Dmitri Dolgov takes the stage is less like a trade show, and more like a megachurch. We’re all here to worship at the altar of what technology can do for business, and Dolgov is here to sermonize about self-driving cars.
28 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
As the Chief Technology Officer of Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, Dolgov is clearly used to giving the same speech to the gathered faithful. He cautions that safety and security are behind every decision made at Waymo, and talks up the improved safety of the roads of the future, where selfdriving cars will remove the one major contributing factor in all collisions: human error. One of the statistics he puts up on the screen during his talk is that 94% of
all crashes in the United States involve human choice or error, whether that is alcohol, distracted driving, fatigue, or speeding. He proposes that self-driving cars will reduce the worldwide auto accident statistics of 150 deaths an hour, or two people per minute. As the Chief Technology Officer, Dolgov describes the various technologies that go into “building a driver”, and really gets into the weeds on the computer and navigational systems that go into a Waymo vehicle. Each system and technological advance is greeted with hushed reverence by the crowd; we know that we are watching history being made. But Dolgov, and other self-driving vehicle proponents who spoke at Collision, do not predict that this magic tech of the self-driving car will be immediate, or even soon. But it is coming. “What we’re building now has been developed with scale in mind,” he promises or warns depending on your viewpoint.
SELF-DRIVING CARS | ANGELA WEST Infrastructure, tech, and regulations still need to develop At a panel discussion on the future of transportation at Collision, Sterling Anderson, the former Director of Tesla Autopilot and the current co-founder of Aurora Innovation, said that not only was it still necessary to develop the right technology, but to develop the right regulatory framework. The development of the underlying technology would take several years, according to Anderson, and regulatory acceptance and appropriate infrastructure may take even longer than that. Marianne Wu, president of GE Ventures, acknowledged that many cities don’t yet have the necessary infrastructure to support autonomous vehicles, although cities such as Toronto are setting up pilot projects. Dolgov’s talk included discussing the results of a selfdriving Waymo taxi service, Waymo One, that has been set up in Chandler, Arizona with hundreds of riders. How close are we coming to self-driving cars in Canada? As of January 1, 2019, autonomous vehicle testing was being allowed by the Ontario government by technology companies, academic institutions, auto manufacturers, and other industries involved in the manufacture of selfdriving vehicles. Everything is still very much in the testing and development phase as far as autonomous vehicle technology goes, at least in Ontario. Insurance companies also have a long way to go when it comes to working out insurance for driverless vehicles. While there will be fewer collisions, the incidents will be more expensive because of the added, expensive technology in a self-driving vehicle. Insurers may also divide liability between manufacturers and “drivers”, since self-driving car owners can’t be held responsible for hardware and/or software failures.
Between the development of autonomous driving technology, development of new auto insurance policies, and regulatory acceptance, it’s safe to say that self-driving cars are a good 10-20 years from being on Canadian roads and in your lot. But what happens once they get here? How will self-driving cars impact the dealership model? It could be argued that several paradigm shifts will affect the dealership model far in advance of self-driving cars making it onto lots. The first, and probably the closest time-wise, is services such as Carvana, where you can buy a vehicle entirely online, effectively eliminating the dealership from the equation. The second is selling vehicles ondemand, much like ZipCar, where you essentially rent a car as long as you need it. This removes the cost of ownership and needing to pay for a parking space for a vehicle, particularly in highdensity urban areas. Treating vehicles as subscription-based services was a
hot topic at one of the panel discussions at Collison, where overall vehicle affordability and social acceptance of not being a car owner were two of the factors panelists listed as being reasons why future drivers would find this model attractive. And speaking of affordability, one thing is certain: the initial rollout of selfdriving vehicles will have a high price tag. Think of the VCR when it was first introduced, or the first laptops. New technology rarely comes cheap, and self-driving cars are sure to be reserved for only the wealthiest when they are first released to the market. But they will be a hot ticket item, and will likely outsell non-autonomous vehicles for many reasons; grandma can hang on to her license for another few years, the
inevitable cachet of being the latest technology, and possible lowered insurance rates for their inherent safety. When self-driving cars do take over the market, your long-term business plan will want to account for hiring more automotive techs in your service department who are trained on selfdriving technology. While you may not need a coder in the house, you may need to send your techs for training on how to maintain and service these vehicles, training which will inevitably be made available by the manufacturer. There may also be more of a need to clear non-autonomous vehicles from inventory once the technology becomes available. That time may come when luxury brands start offering self-driving cars. Will self-driving cars ever take over the driving experience entirely? That question remains to be seen. Throaty engine revving and feeling that thrill from accelerating is not something drivers are likely to abandon soon. That, and there are definitely those among us who do not trust technology fully to do a good job of keeping us alive on the road, no matter how many failsafes and backups are in place. But self-driving vehicles are coming, they will change your business, and the only question remaining is exactly when they will be on roads. While it won’t be soon, it will be soon enough that if you plan to be still running your dealership twenty years from now, you’ll need to plan for it. ■
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4 | 29
DISRUPTING THE WARRANTY INDUSTRY – FOR THE BETTER DEALER-SPECIFIC WARRANTY PROGRAMS CREATE A BETTER CAR BUYING EXPERIENCE FOR ALL By Ronda Payne THERE’S SO MUCH MORE to selling a car
than just selling a car. At their best, car sales involve a relationship – hopefully a long-term one that leads to referrals and next-car purchases. That means a variety of factors (beyond the car and the price) need to be in place to ensure the sale and post-sale experience feels good to the customer and give them the confidence and desire to talk honestly about the positive experience they had with their dealership. A used car warranty can be part of this package. Dealerships can explain the warranty program and lay out the value, ultimately leaving the decision in the customer’s hands, but when it’s a cookie-
30 | THE ONTARIO DEALER
cutter warranty, it’s hard to say who it benefits most – the dealership? The customer? The warranty provider? Plus, without the right training, sales people may be hesitant to discuss the warranties available given their lack of information and knowledge. Dealers who understand how the right warranty program can make the car buying and ownership experience better and less risky for everyone involved, have likely already heard about Global Warranty. Roy Neufert, President and CEO of Global Warranty notes the company has been working with UCDA members for 32 years, since the company was founded. Roy and his team believe in taking the time to get to know a dealership and its needs in order to find the right suite of products to take care of customers and create that
positive experience they will want to talk about. “We will consult with each retailer and review our different product offerings to suit their specific market, inventory and their customer needs. We customize and use our 32 years in the Canadian market to find the perfect fit,” Roy explains. “We create a personalized dealer profile and they can start selling warranties on their cars immediately.” The Global Warranty dealer profile gives dealers access to the full range of mechanical warranty products and the used-car specific packages including those designed for tires, rims, interiors and exteriors. All cars (and their parts) have a determined life expectancy that decreases over the time of ownership. While there’s never a good time to have an alternator, fuel line or powertrain fail, knowing there is a warranty in place not only reduces the customer’s financial stress and worry, it makes purchasing the car that much easier because they know the dealer is looking out for them for the long term and not just trying to make a quick sale. “The likelihood of mechanical failure increases over time,” Roy says. “The average vehicle now has over 33,000 parts and the complexity of vehicles
SPOTLIGHT SERIES | RONDA PAYNE
“We provide all the training, resources, marketing materials and ongoing support to ensure a seamless experience from start to finish,” Roy says.
today is greater than ever. That’s where Global Warranty steps in. If a failure occurs, we’ve got your customers covered. Our goal is to provide peace of mind from the point of purchase through to your last ride.” Through their warranty offerings, Global Warranty works behind the scenes to ensure the relationship with your customers remains solid and troublefree. The team is 60-strong with Roy at the helm, Client Services Concierge staff, Claims Adjusters and the heart of the organization – Dealer Account Managers.
Unlike some warranty programs which may be confined to provincial or regional boundaries, Global Warranty is available across Canada, so whether your customer stays put or moves around, you’ll be keeping them covered.
That’s the key to considering the product line up from Global Warranty – they are “in it for the long-haul,” with UCDA dealers. It’s a relationship that has been going for three decades strong and the kind that dealers generally want to share with their customers.
“They work hard to ensure that our partnered dealerships receive the best client care so they can deliver superior customer service,” says Roy of the Dealer Account Management team. “You can be confident that your customers will “We are a strong believer of the UCDA experience worry-free driving once the organization and the members it car goes over the curb from the lot onto represents and serves,” he continues. the street. That’s where our job begins, having your customer’s back and helping “Again, we want to partner with our them navigate around the potholes in the dealer network for long-term mutual road ahead. Not only does this build trust, success.” it creates customers for life.” Dealer Account Managers are fully trained on the Global Warranty software and receive advanced knowledge and resources into all of the warranty products so that they can answer dealer questions, interface with dealer customers and most importantly pay claims quickly to get those customers back on the road after a failure. Knowing this kind of system is in place enhances the dealer sales team’s confidence in that everyone has peace of mind when the car leaves the lot. “We are a team of driven and hardworking individuals committed to disrupting the warranty industry, for the better,” notes Roy. “We are constantly innovating our products to better suit the needs of our customers and the ever-changing automotive industry. Our dealership retailers are our partners and we’re in it for the long-haul. We put people first and deliver worry-free driving and peace of mind.”
"You can be confident that your customers will experience worry-free driving.."
“We’ve got the regional differences down pat,” he notes. “Our product is integral to the used car world. We provide the ability for our drivers to feel confident in the future of their purchase, just like they would with a new vehicle. We provide confidence in knowing that they won’t have to provide additional investment in the years to come with their pre-owned vehicle.” This gives dealers another level of confidence and relationship building. When a car drives off the lot, then comes back just a few months later with a major issue, everyone imagines a used car nightmare that won’t end well. With a warranty in place, legitimate concerns can be addressed without the extra stress and finger-pointing everyone wants to avoid. To offer a warranty experience in alignment with a UCDA member dealer's values, check out the suite of products offered by Global Warranty at globalwarranty.com or contact the team at email@example.com or 1-800265-1519. ■
Part of the partnership includes a complete training and collateral package that ensures sales teams are fully trained and have all the materials they need to share the advantages of Global Warranty with their customers. The wide range of product offerings gives dealer sales teams the flexibility to offer different warranties to different customers based on their needs, budget and vehicle.
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4 | 31
THE COMMON LAWYER How do dealerships deal with improper, off-duty social media conduct by employees? salesperson may be an absolute star on the sales floor, charming both customers and management alike. Online he may be a Mr. Hyde – a hideous personality without compassion or remorse – the antithesis to the sales star that you see and deal with daily. Without putting into place protections and safe guards, a dealership's reputation and business can easily be damaged in the social media age.
By Justin M. Jakubiak SOCIAL MEDIA USE is at an all-time high and is increasing daily. This presents both business opportunities and risks to your dealership and its management team. In my role as the ever-cautious conservative lawyer, I will use this article to focus on those risks and what you can do about them.
It is not uncommon for individuals to have multiple online personalities which they check frequently throughout the day – a dating app, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat and more. What's more, is that for some people, their on-line or digital personality is markedly different from their in-person self. Your top
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Consider the following example: a top-performing salesperson is the face of your dealership. Customers love her, your staff love her and she presents really well on both radio and television. However, after a quick online search, you come across this individual’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. You are devastated to discover several posts and tweets made by this person which promote alt-right views. If your customers discovered this, your dealership's standing and reputation as a long-time family owned and friendly business could be devastated. Can you terminate this person’s employment with the dealership? What about discipline… would it even work? Generally, an employee's conduct while he or she is off-duty is none of the employer's concern. The exception to this rule is where there is a real and material connection between the offduty conduct and the workplace. An employer may be legally allowed to discipline or terminate an employee for cause for off-duty conduct where this connection is established. These
principles and those discussed below have been applied in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces. A Real and Material Connection There are five factors that are used to determine whether a real and material connection exists: 1. The employee's conduct harms the company's reputation or product; 2. The employee's behaviour renders the employee unable to perform his or her duties in a satisfactory manner; 3. The employee's behaviour leads to other employees refusing or being unable to work with him or her; 4. The employee is guilty of a serious breach of the Criminal Code or the applicable human rights legislation. This renders the employee's conduct harmful to the general reputation of the company and its employees; or 5. The employee's conduct places difficulty in the way of the company's ability to carry out its function of efficiently managing its resources and directing its employees.
These factors were set out in Millhaven Fibres Ltd. v O.C.A.W., Local 9-670 and have been applied by adjudicators in subsequent arbitration and court cases. In order to be successful, an employer must establish at least one of the five factors before it can discipline or terminate an employee for off-duty conduct. Given we are dealing with off-duty conduct, which has historically
been outside of an employer's reach for discipline and termination purposes, there is a very high threshold to meet to establish one of the factors. Employers must conduct a thorough investigation to substantiate the claims under any of the five factors. In determining whether there is a real and material connection, the employee’s interests in the autonomy of their private life is to be balanced against the employer's desire to protect its reputation and business. Given the delicate nature of the investigation, and the balancing act which must take place, it is wise for dealerships to consider getting outside assistance to provide advice and conduct the investigation. The analysis for whether an established real and material connection merits discipline or is just cause for dismissal is contextual. Some of the factors in determining whether there is just cause for dismissal include: • the employee’s service time with the company; • the seriousness of the employee’s actions and whether the actions were repetitive, provoked or premeditated; • the employee’s disciplinary history and whether the employer engaged in progressive discipline before the dismissal; and • the employer’s policies and whether the dismissal was in accordance with those policies.
Some of the factors for determining whether discipline for improper, off-duty social media usage is warranted include: • the number and frequency of the comments and whether they were deliberate; • whether the comments disparaged the employer, its customers, its management or employees; • whether the comments identified the employer and could reasonably have affected its reputation or business interests; • the nature of the comments and whether they were hateful, racist or threatening; and • the impact of the comments on colleagues or the workplace generally and whether the comments were motivated by hatred.
Social Media Examples of a Real and Material Connection What does it look like when a real and material connection has been found to exist in the context of an employee’s social media conduct? The following are some real-life examples of litigation where off-duty social media usage was found to have a real and material connection to the workplace: • In ATU, Local 508 v Halifax (Regional Municipality) (McQuarrie), an employee's colleagues were upset by the employee's social media posts. These posts led to disruptions at the workplace and conflicts between employees; • In York University Staff Association v York University, an employee used his Facebook account to associate himself with the University as an employee and to make anti-Semitic posts and comments; • In Chatham-Kent (Municipality) v CAWCanada, Local 127, an employee identified their workplace, co-workers and managers in their social media posts; • In Tenaris Algoma Tubes Inc. and USWA, Local 9548 (D), Re, an employee posted
to his Facebook account that violent and humiliating sexual acts should be performed on a particular female colleague who he identified in the post by describing a distinctive physical feature of hers; • In Maxam Bulk Services v International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115, an employee made disparaging comments about the employer's main client on Facebook; and • In IUEC, Local 50 v ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Canada) Ltd., a YouTube video was circulated of an employee exposing his genitals and stapling them to a wooden plank.
While the above examples arose in the context of a unionized workplace, similar fact patterns also regularly occur in the context of non-unionized workplaces. There are fewer published cases involving non-unionized workplaces as most of these types of matters are settled outside of Court through mediation or arbitration. In conclusion, an employer is not powerless when an employee engages in improper, off-duty social media conduct. A wide variety of social media behaviours can merit discipline or constitute just cause for dismissal. Implications for Employers Dealerships, big and small, should take the time to implement (or review their existing) social media conduct policies. A well-written social media policy will allow a dealership and its management to protect the dealer's reputation against any improper, off-duty social media usage by employees. The policy should be distributed to all employees for their review and acknowledgement of receipt. Justin Jakubiak is a Partner with Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and is recognized by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. This article was written with the assistance of Anthony Campione, Articling Student, and is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. ■
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WHOLESALE MARKET TRENDS By Chris Chase
WHEN WE LOOKED at the state of
gained control of the U.S. Congress in November 2018's mid-term elections and announced it wanted to make changes to the deal.
Ontario's used-vehicle wholesale market in the fall of 2018, the Canadian government had just finished negotiating and signing a new freetrade deal with the United States. The Canada-United States-Mexico agreement (CUSMA, also known as USMCA) avoided major tariffs on Canadian-built cars exported to the U.S., a piece of good news for an edgy Ontario auto industry whose success depends on those American exports.
There was cautious optimism in September 2019, as news outlets reported that House Democrats and the Trump administration were making progress in addressing some of those changes, which largely revolve around labour laws and environmental regulations.
But CUSMA soon faced a new challenge from the Democratic Party, which
But mid-September brought a new source of anxiety, as Congressional
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Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry over allegations President Donald Trump asked Ukraine's president to investigate Trump's political rival, Joe Biden. That raised the possibility of further CUSMA delays due to the Democrats' attention being split between trade negotiations and the impeachment process. "I'm so frustrated that we haven't seen ratification," said Tom Kontos, Chief Economist with U.S.-based KAR Auction Services, in September 2019. "That's the problem I have, because
WHOLESALE MARKET TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE we went through all the gyrations of the negotiations and the typical Trump approach of posturing and then backing off on a threat of tariffs and other things." Brian Murphy, Vice-President of Research and Editorial with Canadian Black Book (CBB), said people in the auto industry need the reassurance that would come with the signing of a finalized trade deal. "There are a lot people in our business, myself included, who would like to see it signed so that there's more certainty for the future," said Murphy. "Most people are assuming it will be signed. It's hard to say what would happen if forces south of the border wanted to open that and change terms and conditions. I think people feel fairly confident that things aren't going to change greatly, but the last few years have been unpredictable in terms of world trade, and not just in the automotive sector."
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Kontos said that if CUSMA "unravels and goes back to square one, it's probably favourable to the used-car market, because it creates more anxiety on the new-car side than the used-car side. Whenever there's the potential for some of these complexities to raise the cost or lower the sales of new vehicles, the used market steps in as a substitute." General Motors strike Also in mid-September, about 46,000 General Motors workers in the United States went on strike over healthcare costs, wages, and job security for both permanent and temporary employees. According to the Associated Press, the effects of that dispute have spilled over into Canada, as parts shortages have forced production stoppages at GM factories in Oshawa and St. Catharines, Ontario. While the strike affects GM's new-vehicle operations most directly, there have also been media reports of replacementparts shortages for GM vehicles already on the road. If the strike goes on long enough, its effects could eventually be felt in the used-car industry—but at the moment, that seems unlikely. (At press time, the UAW and GM had reached an agreement.)
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WHOLESALE MARKET TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE "To affect the used-car market, it would have to go on for a really long time," said Murphy. "I'll knock on wood when I say this, but I don't expect that to happen." He said he's not sure many shoppers would turn to "lightly-used" vehicles because they're not offered with the same incentives that GM pitches to new-vehicle buyers. "As far as new cars, it's more of a risk," said Murphy. "If you're willing to wait several months to get your vehicle and you're not in a rush, that's one thing; but if you're in a position where your current vehicle is inoperable or has been written off or stolen and you want to buy a certain product from GM, if they don't have it and you need a car, then you start to look at competitors." Kontos said a GM strike was more likely to have a marked effect on the used-car marketplace "back in the day, when it was a bigger player in the overall market. I've seen that happen, where it caused the same sort of pattern as I described for the trade uncertainty. I'm hoping it's a non-event overall and doesn't last long." Used car values staying strong Despite those potential sources of economic uncertainty, wholesale prices for two- to six-year-old vehicles continue to climb, according to the Canadian Black Book Used Vehicle Value Retention Index. In July 2019, the
average used car was worth a recordsetting 31 per cent more than it was in 2010, when the auto industry began digging out of a hole created by the 2008 recession, and used-vehicle values set another record high at the end of August 2019. One of the surprises from that August report is that car models are a driving force behind high wholesale prices. Subcompact and mid-size sedan models have made major gains in 2019, despite media reports that cars are being driven toward obsolescence by SUVs and crossovers. "You would think that, with all the discussions about the taste of the consumer switching to SUVs, we would see cars go down," said CBB’s Brian Murphy. "We are seeing that in the luxury segments, but in the massmarket segments, interestingly enough, compact, subcompact and mid-size cars have all done quite well over the last 24 months." Murphy said instability in the price of gas is playing a role in that trend. "Gas prices ... seem to be fairly unstable; this year, we've seen more than a 30 per cent swing," said Murphy. "I don't know if that's making consumers more sensitive to gas prices and making them think about a car as a
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more efficient way to get around. We've seen unexpected strength in those car segments, and it's quite consistent month over month." An increasing scarcity of sedan models at new-vehicle dealers could be playing a role as well. Ford has stopped building its Fiesta, Focus and Fusion models for North America. Other automakers, like Nissan and Hyundai, still make small- and mid-size cars, but those brands' more recent focus on utility vehicles reflects a Canadian reality: light trucks (pickups and utilities) now account for 70 per cent of new-vehicle sales.
"In July 2019, the average used car was worth a recordsetting 31% more than it was in 2010.." "Depending on the brand, we're seeing models disappear," said Murphy. "It could be a case of scarcity, but it seems that consumers don't have any reservations about paying good money
WHOLESALE MARKET TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE for cars. It may be more the case that the used market is looking at what was new two to six years ago. It's an interesting phenomenon." Kontos thinks the market's current strong car values could be due to the way car models are making their way to used dealer lots. He says many franchise dealers get access to off-lease cars as soon as they're turned in. That means fewer of those vehicles are making it to auction -- where smaller, independent dealers might focus their buying efforts -- and that reduction in volume is keeping values strong.
high in light of the growth in off-lease volume. I think the reason for that is dealers are more prone to hold on to the trades they take, rather than send them to auction." Steady Canadian dollar keeps U.S. dealers coming north From early summer 2019 through the end of September, the Canadian dollar held steady, trading between $0.75 and $0.77 USD, and Murphy said that is keeping the border open for used vehicles moving south.
"We are hearing verbal reports that some of the U.S. money at auctions Leasing is stabilizing at sustainable is slowing down a bit, but there are a levels lot of reasons for that other than the dollar," said Murphy. "Both countries Murphy said leases make up about have healthy increases in off-lease 30 per cent of new-vehicle purchases, which he thinks is a sustainable level as supply this year and the next few years, so there's more supply around. I would far as wholesale values are concerned. also attribute that to a softer market in general." "I don't see that as a red flag at all," he said. "It really hasn't grown beyond He thinks that as long as the dollar that. It was around the 50 per cent stays below the mid-80-cent range, mark in Canada before the financial there's still an opportunity for people crisis, but that just makes too many to make a profit by shipping vehicles to used cars three or four years down the the United States. road. "If we get up beyond 35 per cent or the high 30s, then I would start to get worried that we might be creating a future problem for ourselves." Kontos thinks a drop in dealer consignment sales at auctions has helped counterbalance the increased take-up for leasing as the economy has recovered from the recession. In the wake of the downturn, when leasing was not as readily available, Canadian consumers gravitated toward 84 and 96 month loans to keep monthly payments down, but fewer of those cars are winding up at auction after trade-in than industry analysts expected. "We aren't seeing a lot of growth there," said Kontos. “Dealer consignment volume is actually down in Canada, so that's helping wholesale values stay
"(That's not happening) as much as it was a couple of years ago," said Murphy. "It's an important factor, because that additional demand in our market helps
to keep our used-car prices fairly high, which is good for dealers." Murphy said those higher values also keep the cost of leasing down, which is good for consumers, as it means they're more likely to be in an equity position at the end of their lease term. While the current exchange rate is still attractive to U.S. dealers, Kontos said from the American perspective it's not favourable enough to create new incentive for a buyer to come north. "That's at a level lower than the peak from a couple years back, when there was more of a supply shortage in the U.S," he said. "Now, with there being ample supply in the U.S., American purchases in Canada are holding steady. It's those (dealers) who are habituated to making a portion of their dealer inventory from purchases in Canada." How much higher will wholesale values go? Murphy said he thinks used-vehicle supply will be the deciding factor in whether Canadian wholesale values continue to set records. He attributes some of the current run of record values to the consumer's realization that, as the economy comes under pressure, they can save a lot of money by buying a three or four year old used car instead of a new one. "If the Canadian dollar strengthens -- and most people who do forecasts don't foresee that -- we'll see it slow down," said Murphy. "Certain segments are definitely slowing. I don't think it's going to be an abrupt stop, but truthfully, we've been expecting it to slow down for a while now, and it just keeps going. I think that's because the economies are still quite strong on both sides of the border. "We've just had unprecedented strong prices. It's almost nine years of monthover-month high-level prices. It's been quite a run." ■
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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT REPUTATION MANAGEMENT By Chris Chase
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BEFORE THE INTERNET , if you wanted
to know what people thought of your dealership, the easiest way to find out was to send out a client survey, asking them to rate their experience doing business with you.
If those customers responded honestly, you would know what you were doing right and what needed improvement. Most importantly, you had control over that information. If someone reported a negative experience, it was between you and them, and you could do your best to make it right in a bid to maintain your business's good reputation.
But reputation management is a different beast in the Internet age. The web makes it easier to promote your business, but it also provides displeased clients with multiple avenues to broadcast the reasons they didn't enjoy doing business with you. So it's up to you to find out what people are saying about you -- and where -- so you can address those complaints. Your reputation is everything "Your reputation is what other people say it is, and (now) they can say it almost anywhere," said Kevin McKillop, CEO of automotive digital advertising firm
REPUTATION MANAGEMENT | CHRIS CHASE MoveYourMetal.com. "All the Internet has done is make it so the dealer has less control over it." McKillop likened the Internet to a digital comment box, like the actual boxes businesses used to place on their front counters. "It's not your comment box anymore," he said. "People are leaving comments in boxes all over the place and now you have to worry about all of them, not just your own." The fact that those comments exist is not the problem. The issue is that, unlike a client survey or a comment card dropped in a box, anyone can read the comments your clients post on the Internet. That makes client opinions of you more important than ever. "I think people get a lot more brave when they're behind a keyboard and they may be more critical of things and their experiences," said Susan Murphy, co-founder of Ottawa's Jester Creative. "People might say things that we either don't agree with, or that are true and are constructive criticisms we need to take in and do something with." How do you know where people are talking about your business? You won't know until you go looking. If your dealership is active on social media, that's an obvious place to start. But a client may also leave a review -- good or bad -- on sites like Google, DealerRater or Yelp, and it's up to you to find them. But it's not as hard as it sounds. "For a car dealership, how many places can people leave reviews, and where would people go look for them?" asked McKillop. "You're not talking about thousands of places. I could maybe list half a dozen locations where people would actually look for reviews and be able to find them."
The easiest way to find out where people are talking about your dealership is the same way your clients might find you: by using a search engine. "What's important is for business owners to be on top of their comments," said Murphy. "They need to be Googling themselves, they need to be going to some of these review sites and checking and making sure they're addressing anything that might be an issue, and that they're being grateful to the people who are leaving positive comments." "I don't think it's a lot of work on the dealer side," said McKillop. "Once you find the links to these review locations and bookmark them, make a routine of checking them once a week. You can set up an account at each site and respond to reviews, but it doesn't need to be instantaneous. You can take 30 minutes a week and go check them, and that's it." What do you do if you find a negative review of your dealership? The Internet has trained people to expect near-instantaneous responses from businesses when they interact with them online, so when you find a negative comment about your business, you need to deal with it promptly. "You can't let a negative comment fester on your page, because other people start jumping into that, saying 'Well, if they did that to you, then they might do that to me,’" Murphy said. "The conversation goes wild. You have to be able to control that conversation by responding in a timely manner." "What's bad is leaving any negative reviews and not answering them," said McKillop. "It looks like a double don't care: whatever the reason was, right or wrong, this customer is upset and they voiced it, but then you didn't care that they voiced it." As important as it is to respond promptly, Murphy said there's also value in taking a deep breath -- literally and metaphorically -- before you reply.
"As a business owner, you have to step back," she said. "If someone leaves a negative comment on your Facebook page, you have to read the comment and assess whether this is someone giving valuable feedback that I need to respond to. "You have to take the feeling and emotion out of it and say, 'If this person was calling me on the phone, how would I respond? What would be the appropriate response to this?'" One way to eliminate some of the emotional burden of dealing with negative comments is to outsource the task of monitoring and responding to online reviews. "It's definitely advantageous to have a middle person read it, absorb it and reply to it, where it's unbiased," said Meg Arthur, senior advisor with social marketing firm FYI Guys. "The regular review reader is going to read emotion in something. Given the way people are naturally, it's immediate to react … and get defensive and get your back up." "It is a very emotional thing when someone says something you don't want them to say about your business in a public forum," said Murphy. "You want your customers to be happy and come away with a positive experience." Learn to see the positive side of a negative review It may seem counterintuitive, but Murphy, Arthur and McKillop all agree that it's easy to use a negative review to help improve your dealership's online reputation. Just as anyone who searches
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REPUTATION MANAGEMENT | CHRIS CHASE for reviews of your business can read your clients' complaints, they will also see how you've dealt with them. "Negative comments are often an opportunity for business owners to right a wrong—to look at the critique and take steps to solve the issue the customer is having, but do that in a public forum," said Murphy. "[My clients are] so afraid of negative reviews and commentary,” said Meg Arthur. “I say, 'Embrace that and thank them for giving you the opportunity to make it right.'"
300 reviews, and they had a 5.0 star rating," he said. "That's impossible. As a consumer, I don't believe that. If you want to be believable, you need people to say bad things." Crisis management 101 Murphy said crafting an appropriate response to negative reviews is a form of crisis management that works just as well for car dealerships as it does for governments or any business that deals with customers on a regular basis.
"As business owners, we are subject to that review process at all times," she said. McKillop said once you respond to "That can be a good thing, and it can also negative feedback and show the client be scary, because one bad review can you care about their experience, more mess things up for people. It's one of often than not they'll come away with a those things that is a natural and normal positive opinion of your business. part of the online world now, and it's something that, as business owners, we "Once you've shown these people you care, have to look at carefully to make sure they may remove their review -- but don't we're on top of it." ask them to do it -- or at the very least, if Murphy said it's also important to someone else looks, they see there was a problem but that you helped them. That's recognize the difference between someone offering a constructive critique a positive,” he said. and a "troll" with a bone to pick, either with you or one of your employees, but McKillop also thinks negative feedback that it’s usually pretty easy to tell. is an essential part of establishing a positive reputation. Arthur describes situations where someone “goes off the handle" as a "I saw a local dealership a few years ago different beast that may require a on a review site that had more than
specialized response. She said there will also be rare occasions where the best response is none at all. "I keep thinking about a customer who had a review come up and the person was threatening police action," said Arthur. "We didn't respond to that, because it was a completely irrational review. The client told us what had happened and there wasn't any way to fix that. You might not even know that negative experience happened. "We tend to take a screenshot of it before doing anything. The majority of the people who are reading the reviews are rational human beings, so in that type of situation, we don't respond right away. You don't want to heighten the situation." "What we'll often do when we work with a company is come up with text or copy that can be used to answer many of the questions we'll come across," said Murphy. "Then we escalate up the ladder as we need to, depending on what the issue is."
Let us help your dealership with:
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REPUTATION MANAGEMENT | CHRIS CHASE Promote your successes Just as social media and review sites like Google and DealerRater provide a platform for clients to air their grievances about their interactions with your dealership, they also make it easier for you to promote your successes and the things that make your business stand out. "Having a vibrant social media presence is important," said Murphy. "Just posting daily on Instagram or Facebook, being online and being engaged with customers already gets you ahead of the game." "So many times people think it's just monitoring your reviews and waiting for people to reach out to you," said Arthur. "Reach out to your customers and see if there's anything you can do before they realize that they need that. Instagram is an especially great platform to do that. We use that all the time to encourage dealership clients to post photos of their cars, or for repair shops to suggest servicing that someone doesn't think about until a warning light comes on. "We're more accessible than ever, and that makes it important to maintain an active presence online and show that you are willing to engage with the consumer." It's also important to remember that it's okay to ask a customer to post a review of your business, especially if their experience was a positive one. "When people have a good experience, the majority don't say anything," said McKillop. "They move along because that's what they expect. The majority of people who will leave reviews unsolicited are those who have had bad experiences. If you don't ask for reviews from customers, that's basically asking for all these review sites to be a dumping ground for negativity." McKillop said part of the benefit of keeping track of what people are saying about your business, and where they're saying it, is that you can direct
clients to leave reviews where they'll have the most impact. "It's a numbers game. You need to consistently encourage all of your customers to leave a review, and make it easy for them," he said. "Wherever you're got a collection of bad reviews -- say your Google rating is low but you have a good rating on DealerRater -encourage all of your customers to leave a review on Google." Murphy said customer testimonials are a powerful tool, too. "Don't be afraid to ask for those testimonials, and put them on your website when you get them, because those are gold," she said. "Putting a really good FAQ section on your website is also is a good way to get people familiar with how you do business and it sets an expectation for people: This is what you can expect when you come to buy a car from us. That helps alleviate some of those questions, fears and uncertainties going into a business relationship with a dealer." Communication is key Whether a client leaves your dealership with a positive or negative opinion, communicating with them is an important part of bolstering your business's online reputation. You also need to keep an open line of communication with your staff to ensure a consistent level of service.
"..negative feedback is an essential part of establishing a positive reputation." "If (a negative review is) a matter of someone going online and saying they
talked to one person who said one thing, and then called back and someone else said something different, that's a communication issue you have to work out with your staff," said Murphy. "It's not about blaming people, but it's about having a conversation. This happened, the left hand isn't talking to the right hand, so let's figure out how we're going to put the right information in the right people’s hands so it doesn't happen again." "Negative reviews are a great opportunity to find where there's something missing in the organization," said Arthur. "It could be a great learning experience for the dealer to understand that the sales staff needs more training, or maybe a service advisor hasn't had enough experience to handle the busiest shifts." As a manager, it's also important to remind your staff that a client can come away with a negative opinion even if the salesperson or service advisor did everything right. "It's important to be open with your staff and educate them that your business is online, people are going to leave reviews and sometimes things might happen," said Murphy. "Try to nip it in the bud. As a staff member, if there's an issue and it seems like the customer might be unhappy, go to the owner or boss and tell them something happened and they should be prepared for them to leave a negative review. You might even want to give them a call and talk to them before they do that." "Talk to the people who were involved," said Arthur. "Find out more about the customer and put together the story, so that when you contact the person who wrote the negative review, you’ve had a chance to gather your thoughts and get more information and listen while they tell you their side." "There are a lot more people saying good things out there," said Murphy. "Focus on the good stuff and promote it and you'll find that the bad stuff starts to filter to the bottom after a while." ■
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4 | 41
THE OLD CAR DETECTIVE 1941 CHEVY COUPE A BLAST FROM THE PAST!
ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 , Catherine and I arrived at the big annual car show in Bothwell, Ontario, hosted by Old Autos newspaper. We checked in at the registration table and then relaxed under a big awning. I was content to sit for a while but Catherine wanted to stretch her legs so off she went to look at the cars.
Ten minutes later, she came back and told me there was a car out there I had to see. I followed her onto the display field and there it was – a 1941 Chevy coupe that took me back to the 1950s! The yellow finish blended perfectly with the light grey roof with green pin-
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By Bill Sherk
striping between the two colours. It also had wide whitewall tires, chrome rims, outside sun visor, and rows of louvers on the shaved hood. The trunk lid was shaved too. The owner was nowhere to be seen but his name was on the card on the windshield: Warren Cassells, Pickering. We returned to the registration table and asked how we could find the owner. We were directed to Ken at the next booth. He had a microphone and announced all over the field for Warren Cassells to come to the registration table to meet the Old Car Detective.
Ten minutes later, Warren arrived and we sat down to talk about his car. He saw it for sale on Kijiji this past spring and contacted the seller in Port Loring, Ontario. A deal was struck over the phone and Warren drove four hours north from Pickering to pick it up. It was already finished to perfection, just as we saw it at the show. A fellow named Alan in Sudbury performed the work and owned the car for seven years, then sold it to Rick in Port Loring, who sold it to Warren this year. Under the hood is a 383 Stroker V8 based on the Chevy 350 with 700R4 tranny and Camaro rear end. The 1941 Chevrolet was the top-selling car in America with its fresh new styling on a wider body covering the running boards by the lower portion of the doors. Our feature car when new had a 3-speed manual transmission on the steering column (“three on the tree” we used to say) with a special feature described in the sales brochure: “Gear shifting is virtually effortless because of Chevrolet’s exclusive vacuum gearshift (all models). Eighty per cent of the effort required to change gears is supplied by a vacuum cylinder. Shifting is performed quickly and surely at a touch of the finger.” The original engine was an overheadvalve six cylinder with 216.5 cubic inches cranking out 90 horsepower, a very respectable output for 1941. Today, our feature car has all the horsepower the owner will ever need. ■
This car looks good from every angle.
Updated interior invites you to climb in and go for a drive
I’m in the middle with Warren Cassels (right), owner of the ’41 Chev coupe. Lionel Mueller (left) has many old car stories to share for another day. Stay tuned!
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SUPER SERVICE IS ABOUT MORE THAN FIXING CARS By Matt McDonald
A SUCCESSFUL SERVICE DEPARTMENT
opens up the opportunity for increased revenue, and can go a long way in creating and maintaining loyal customers who return time after time because of your exceptional service. Dealership service departments have an advantage because they know the vehicle inside and out, and more than likely will have dealt with customers in the past. Failure to offer the highest level of service can turn away long standing customers in an instant, and even cost your dealership major sales in the future. There are many minor and major improvements that can be made to every service department that will go a long way in improving the overall customer experience, increasing the likelihood of repeat customers, glowing recommendations, and positive reviews.
Too many dealerships don’t take the marketing value of their service department seriously. To many, it’s simply a value added service that
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complements the dealership’s sales department. Treating your service department as just another source of income will negatively affect the customer experience, as they’ll only be receiving sub-standard service. This is the quickest way to drive previously loyal customers to competitors who can offer them far superior service at similar or more affordable prices, effectively eliminating any chance that these customers will ever return to your dealership. The service department should be treated as seriously as the sales department. Your service department will go a long way in encouraging future vehicle purchases, and your sales department will be able to recommend the dealership’s service department for future repairs and tune-ups. Customers who receive premium service are far more likely to recommend your business to their family and friends, leave positive reviews, and perhaps most importantly, return to purchase vehicles and have their vehicles
serviced in the future. Service departments are an important part of reputation management Online customer reviews and feedback have become more important than ever before. Too many negative reviews can severely impact your business, costing you sales, customers, and even driving down your website in search engine results. With everybody having the ability to leave a public review, rating, or feedback, there’s too much at stake to not take the maintenance of your business's reputation seriously. This has made reputation management a necessary part of the modern workplace. You and your employees should be fully aware of the fact that every customer who walks through the door has the potential to negatively impact your business, and you should aim to please them in any way possible. If your brand develops a reputation for cutting corners, being cheap, or not caring about the experience of
SUPER SERVICE | CHRIS CHASE customers, it’s game over. Once the negative reviews begin to flow in, it can be very difficult to dig yourself out and regain control of your company’s reputation. Once you have enough positive reviews rolling in, people will take notice, and it’ll begin to influence purchasing habits. A large number of positive reviews that mention your service department or salespeople will make your dealership stand out when compared to competitors. Too many negative reviews will have the opposite effect. Managing your online reviews has been made much easier with solutions like Podium, which allows you to connect, view, manage, and respond to reviews, leads, and other customer interactions from a wide variety of sources in one convenient central hub. These solutions let you consolidate your online business interactions, allowing you to easily manage your brand’s online presence, and helping you and your team avoid jumping from platform to platform. Your service department should exceed the expectations of every client who walks through the door. The experience they have while they’re in your service department will heavily influence their trust in your brand, which will in turn influence their opinion of you, the staff, and your operations. If customers have a negative experience while having their vehicle serviced, they’re
unlikely to ever return. They’ll also be far more likely to warn others about their negative experiences, affecting your overall business. A positive experience will go much further in earning their trust, encouraging them to visit your dealership again, spread positive reviews about your business, and make them more likely to interact with your brand in the future. Positive interactions with your brand can work to drive your dealership’s brand awareness, complementing your marketing efforts.
is convenient, comfortable, and welcoming, and a properly outfitted waiting room is a great way to add comfort and improve the overall experience. Make sure that customers are given a friendly greeting by staff members, and give them access to somebody who can readily answer their questions or concerns. Doing small things like giving customers access to complimentary water, coffee, and tea can go a long way toward making them more comfortable, and takes minimal effort on your end.
Make the customer experience a comfortable one
Customers are going to be spending a significant amount of time in the waiting room of your service department, and many of them are going to be taking a few hours out of their day to be there. If they’re met with a cold and uncomfortable atmosphere, they’re going to remember it. Your dealership’s waiting room should be
In order to revolutionize your dealership’s service department, you’re going to need to thoroughly evaluate every aspect of the customer experience. You need to make sure that every step in the service process
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SUPER SERVICE | CHRIS CHASE return in the future and to recommend your services to others. Performing quality assurance tests before vehicles are given back to their owners will help to ensure that the work is done properly. Convenience is key
well-maintained, with comfortable furniture and reading material at the ready. If your waiting room isn’t comfortable or accommodating, then it’s time for a redesign. You should also take into account the fact that children are regularly going to be in the waiting room, and strongly consider adding a play area of some sort, or making toys, books, and activities available to them. Parents are much more likely to have a positive impression of your dealership and brand if their children also have a positive experience while on site. Many of your clients will be coming directly from work or will have their children with them, making it a good idea to cater to these groups if you aren’t already. Offering reliable Wi-Fi access is highly recommended, as it allows customers to get work done or check in with family members while they’re waiting for their vehicle to be ready. Consider adding comfortable desks that can serve as a workspace too. It’ll give your clients an area where they can get work done while they wait, and shows them that you value and respect their professional time. Be transparent and ensure that best practices are enforced Another effective way of improving your service experience is simply being transparent throughout every step of the process. Explain to them what’s going to be done to their
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vehicle, how much it’s going to cost, how long it’s going to take, and any other information they might need to know. Give your customers an accurate project timeline, be honest with them when there’s a delay or if there are complications during the project, and keep them informed and up-to-date throughout. Once the work has been completed, remember to follow up with your customers to ensure that they’re satisfied, and that everything is operating as it should. Every project should be handled seriously and given the same careful attention to detail, no matter how large or small it may seem. Ensure that best practices are being enforced with every employee, and that they’re doing all they can to make it a positive experience for customers. When customers see that they can come to your service department for a wide variety of reasons and have them taken seriously, they’re much more likely to
The 2018 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study showed that 56% of respondents would consider one dealership over a competitor if they were able to schedule service department appointments online. Having the ability to book online lets people do so on-the-go and at their own leisure, and drawing them to your social media channels and websites in order to do so. Many respondents also stated that they would like to use a dealer website as a touch point in many different ways including recall notices, service history, and maintenance schedules, opening up a major opportunity for you to improve your website, optimize your presence and ultimately book more service appointments. Treating your dealership’s service department as just another way to generate income can be a mistake that costs you leads, customers, and sales. It’s important that every aspect of the customer experience be as positive as possible to encourage positive reviews and increase customer loyalty. By taking action to ensure that your waiting area is comfortable and accommodating, being transparent throughout the project lifespan, and ensuring that the process is as convenient as possible, your dealership is far more likely to be viewed as superior to competitors. Positive client interactions go a long way in shaping the overall opinions of prospective customers, allowing you to shape a much stronger brand reputation that will continue to pay off through more satisfied clients, stronger sales, and repeat customers. ■
ANOTHER $1.5 MILLION DEALER LOYALTY REBATES GENERATED FOR UCDA MEMBERS IN 2018.
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