The Ontario Dealer - Volume 8 Issue 2

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YOUR CONNECTION TO ONTARIO’S USED CAR INDUSTRY

THE ONTARIO UCDA

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO

> INSIDE:

DIGITAL MARKETING IS ABOUT MOBILE /13 PLUS DEALER PROFILE: Aaron Auto /24

NON-PRIME MARKET /39

FALL 2020

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THE ONTARIO UCDA

IN THIS ISSUE

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 1

Fall 2020 USED CAR DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO 230 Norseman Street, Toronto, ON M8Z 2R4 Tel: 416.231.2600 Toll Free: 1.800.268.2598 web@ucda.org

FEATURED STORIES Digital Marketing Is All About Mobile By Angela West

ucda.org

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A Real Slapp In The Face

ONTARIO DEALER

By James Hamilton

is published by Laservision Graphics Ltd. four times a year. Annual Subscription Price: $19.95

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130 Industry Street, Unit 36 North York, ON M6M 5G3

Spotlight Series: OMVIC

EDITOR Gina Monaco Tel: 1.647.344.9300 or 1.289.456.4617 gina@ontariodealer.com

ADVERTISING SALES Terry Coster Direct: 416.360.0797 Office: 647.344.9300

PHOTOGRAPHY photosbypierce.com

by Ronda Payne

30 Non-Prime Market by Connie Motz

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05 07 09 11 18 21 24 28 32 39 43 45

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

Digital Ad Campaigns Angela West

Dealer Profile Ronda Payne

Trends Chris Chase

The Common Lawyer Justin M. Jakublak

Detecting & Avoiding Fraud Joanne Walmsley Old Car Detective Bill Sherk

Recalls, Your Inventory & Your Customers Chris Chase

DESIGN thrillhousestudios.com

CONTRIBUTORS Chris Chase, Ronda Payne, Bill Sherk, Angela West, Connie Motz, Joanne Walmsley If you are interested in having your personal opinion heard, contact the editor at gina@ontariodealer.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 8, ISSUE 2 | 3


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THE DRIVER’S SEAT The Ontario Dealer Is Back! service and repair portions of dealer’s businesses were allowed to continue.

By Warren Barnard, Executive Director, UCDA AFTER THE SPRING AND SUMMER issues

of The Ontario Dealer were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s wonderful to be back! I’m thrilled to be writing my column again for the Fall issue.

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 has been an unprecedented and turbulent year. But I couldn’t find any better words in the English language to describe it! In mid-March, COVID slammed the brakes hard onto what had begun as a promising sales year for the industry. While motor vehicle sales were originally deemed to be an essential service by the Province, dealer sales were removed from the essential list in mid-April, as COVID numbers surged. Sales plunged, by some estimates by as much as 75%. Sales transactions could no longer be made from the dealer’s location. By government mandate, all dealer stores needed to close tight, only

Dealers were able to continue sales on a very limited basis, selling “remotely”. This was widely interpreted as permitting online sales and sales at a purchaser’s residence. However, OMVIC made it clear that test drives were not permitted at “remote” locations … locations away from the dealer’s lot. Not surprisingly, the majority of interested buyers were not willing to buy a used vehicle without a test drive. Some dealers allowed for extended return periods of up to 7 days after purchase, but this did little to bolster sales. In early May, dealers were once again allowed to open up to the public, albeit by appointment only. This seemed to make all the difference. With proper safeguards and PPE, customers were allowed to test drive vehicles they were considering purchasing. Sales increased markedly through May, June and July, so much so that the biggest problem facing the industry soon became stocking the lot! Overflowing inventory in April, quickly transitioned into half empty lots for many dealers by June. Bargain retail prices in May rose quickly, as corresponding wholesale prices shot up. Since April, dealer auctions have been on-line only and look to remain that way for a long time to come. While the ability to put vehicles through these online sales has improved, only so many vehicles can be offered at a live on-line auction at once and inventory is taking a while to work through the supply chain. Add the continuing high demand from American dealers, often paying well

above Canadian retail prices for pickups and SUVs, and many dealers are having trouble filling their inventory needs. So what lies ahead? We are now in a second wave of COVID-19. How bad will it be? Unlike in April, almost all dealer staff and customers are practicing recommended social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing. Hopefully, this will prevent another shutdown which the industry and the economy as a whole can ill afford. What do dealers need to do as we head into a very uncertain fall and winter season? Well, if I knew that, I’d be a wealthy man! One thing is for sure though, dealers, their staff and customers must continue to practice due diligence. Sanitizing vehicles, offices and service bays must continue. It is truly great to be back with The Ontario Dealer! Here are some of the stories I hope you’ll enjoy reading in this issue. 1. Digital Marketing Is All About Mobile 2. Measuring Digital Ad Campaigns 3. Non-Prime Auto Finance Market 4. How To Detect Fraud And Ways To Prevent It 5. Recalls, Your Inventory And Your Customers

You can contact me at any time at w.barnard@ucda.org. Stay Healthy and Safe! ■

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 5


ANOTHER $1.4 MILLION DEALER LOYALTY REBATES GENERATED FOR UCDA MEMBERS IN 2019.


EDITOR’S NOTE Welcome Back! Montreal International Auto Show in 2014 – starting price: $275,000. Bricklin Motorcars Ltd.: Probably one of the more well-known brands, it’s owner Malcolm Bricklin also designed the Subaru 360 and the Yugo GL before creating the Bricklin SV-1 in 1974.

By Gina Monaco, Editor

I THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT what to write for our first issue since COVID restrictions went into effect. I decided not to go into detail about the impact of the pandemic on the used car market because, frankly, you all know the effect it’s had. What I did decide was to keep it light.

The Bricklin Canada assembly plant was located in the Grandview Industrial Park in Saint John, New Brunswick. The New Brunswick government provided financing of $4.5 million for Bricklin’s car, believing that this money was to cover expenses incurred to begin the production of cars, when in fact the money was used for the engineering and development of the car as well as salaries and operations of the Phoenixheadquartered company. It didn’t end well. The quality was pretty terrible. The plastic-and-fiberglass body panels would crack, warp, and delaminate, sometimes before the cars

were even finished, and the gullwing doors would often crack under their own 90-pound weight, or the electrohydraulic system that operated them would fail and trap the car’s occupants. In 1976, with only about 3,000 SV-1s built, the Bricklin operation went bankrupt. Conquest Vehicles: William Maizlin, an executive specializing in the armouredvehicle industry, decided to convert a vehicle based on military designs into a luxury armoured civilian vehicle and in 2008, created the Knight XV. It’s 19.5 feet long and is fully armoured on the outside. The interior has leather and suede upholstery, Wilton wool carpets, and a flat-screen TV. It’s also protected against gas attacks and electromagnetic pulse, in case that’s something you’re looking for, plus a cigar humidor is available. If you order one, you’ll have to wait a bit – it takes 4000 hours to build one. ■

Recently, I came across an interesting article about Canadian cars built by home-grown Canadian automakers that I thought I’d share. We know about Oshawa-based McLaughlin Motor Car Company, but do you know these three automotive brands? Felino: Developed by Canadian racecar driver Antoine Bessette, the first prototype of its whimsical cB7 supercar appeared in 2012. Before its production start, the car was in development for seven years and was unveiled at the

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 7


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MEMBER’S CORNER Change Without Communication Can Have Consequences dealers and salespeople. New disclosure rules, advertising standards and strict penalties for non-compliance followed.

By Bob Pierce Member Services Director

THE LEGISLATION GOVERNING Ontario’s auto industry has only seen three or four major changes since regulation began in 1964. At that time dealers became registered to separate private sellers from dealer sales. Dealers had to have a business premises and salespeople could only sell from that location. This has been the case for over 56 years. In the 1980’s, dealers funded a compensation fund to protect consumers, in the 90’s private sellers were required to obtain the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) to distinguish legitimate sellers from curbsiders and to ensure that private buyers paid their fair share of retail sales tax. Between 2000 and 2010 the industry saw a complete re-do of the laws regulating

have to leave home to shop ... but what about cars and trucks?

ON-LINE CAR SALES Every day I am told by someone that Throughout this period government “today’s buyer” doesn’t want to go to a worked together with industry and dealer’s lot and look at cars, they want to consumer stakeholders to ensure look at pictures, spend their $$$$$, and that change was made fairly for all. have it delivered to them. The UCDA was at the forefront here. Traditionally, industry has always Some buyers might, but I’m not played a significant role in these changes. One of the biggest examples of convinced ... perhaps I am just getting old. this co-operation was the development of industry self-management in 1996. Some in the industry don’t seem to This led to the creation of OMVIC. see it that way. There is a new Honda Store at Kipling Avenue and the QEW in I actually thought that the industry Toronto. It’s about the size of 5 Costco would have had better communication stores stacked one on top of the other, with OMVIC than it had with an Auto Plex in downtown Toronto with Government. I was in government, as 7 different franchises under one roof Registrar of the Motor Vehicle Dealers and a 50 million dollar store at the 401 Act (MVDA) and was part of the selfand 404. Those dealers seem to think management consultations from the buyers will still want to come in and beginning. The industry would have look around (and buy). They have been more to say about future change. Or so car shopping this way for more than 50 I thought. years. Since the new MVDA took effect in 2010 Whether selling on-line or not, the laws the biggest single change to our sales of this province still require dealers to process has come from the internet. It operate from a business location. Dealer started on the wholesale side. Auctions went on-line. You didn’t have to go to the advertising must identify business location and invite customers to that sale ... although many old-timers still location to buy or sell vehicles. did. Dealers now routinely buy and sell cars without having seen anything more Some people seem to think that has than a photo and a description. changed. There is a push to allow wideopen on-line sales. Some dealers are Almost all vehicle advertising went ontesting “at home” car sales. They are line. No more books! advertising “You don’t come to us ... we come to you.”, “You save thousands You can buy anything and have it delivered to your house ... you never

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 9


because we don’t have a big bad dealership”. Well ….. those ads might be violating OMVIC’s Code of Ethics in a number of ways. IT’S TIME TO START TALKING We need to start talking about these issues. There could be unforeseen negative consequences, for the industry and for consumers, if fundamental changes to how cars are sold in this province are made willy-nilly without clearly defining the rules in order to maintain the current level of consumer protection. On-line vehicle sales need to be discussed, the regulations need to be changed so that all dealers are on a level playing field and everyone understands what is allowed and what is not. Throughout the Covid-19 shut down, OMVIC confirmed that contracts could be signed over email and vehicles delivered to consumers at their homes. Sure they could ... but should they? This needs to be discussed, the negative implications considered and regulations re-written if needed. This is a complex issue. It's not at all simple. Right now, not everyone is on the same page. Banks don’t allow on-line sales if they are providing financing.

10 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Every dealer agreement with the major lenders requires that the customer attend at the dealer’s business premises, meet with dealer’s staff, show original documents regarding identity and complete the finance documents at that time. If the dealer does not do this, and the deal goes into default, ALL BANK losses are the responsibility of the dealer.... IT’S TOTAL RECOURSE. The industry has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to scammers taking advantage of lax sales protocols. The Consumer Protection Act provides a ten day cooling off period to consumers that sign purchase documents somewhere other than the seller’s business premises. This “cooling-off period” has never applied to the car industry. Is someone going to decide that it will in the future, if it is an offpremises sale? Credit card companies have recently raised their rates significantly for “card not present" transactions. If a consumer disputes a charge by a dealer for a deposit or a repair the charge will be reversed 100% of the time in the customer’s favour. The customer gets their money back and the dealer will have to PROVE the charge was legit, even if the customer has taken delivery of their newly purchased vehicle or picked up their freshly repaired one.

We are also seeing changes to how the car industry is being viewed by the insurance industry. Insurance rates are being effected because of claims from theft, accidents and fires at business locations not specified in insurance policies. There has also been an increase in claims arising from accidents involving dealer-owned vehicles being driven by people not named in the insurance policies. How will insurers react to "virtual dealers" when no-one actually knows where the vehicles are kept or who is driving them? Motor vehicle dealers are not like Amazon. Most dealers do not have welldefined return policies or 100% refund policies. You are not Walmart, but if you aren’t careful you could be Sears! The industry as a whole needs to have some say on these issues, not just the squeaky wheels that have the ear of OMVIC ... don’t you think? ■


THE LAW MATTERS Employing Calm this government mandated poster. It summarizes your minimum obligations and lets employees know what they are entitled to expect from you: https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/ pubs/poster.php Pay Equity dictates in place now affect employers with 10 or more employees requiring them to achieve pay equity, and to post those plans:

By Jim Hamilton Legal Services Director

IT HASN’T GOTTEN ANY EASIER to run a business in Ontario. In fact, with recent changes to Employment Standards, Occupational Health and Safety, Harassment and Accessibility legislation, Ontario employers are justifiably feeling battered and bewildered.

Just keeping track of it all is arduous unless you have your own legal department. So here is our attempt to try to help summarize all this in one neat package! The first thing you will need is a bigger bulletin board! Employment Standards Become a “poster child” employer and make sure you display, or at least provide employees with a copy of,

http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/tools/ Pages/default.aspx Speaking of pay, much in the news lately are vast changes to the workplace that affect the pocketbook of employees and … naturally, the employers who pay them! Changes, among many, include: MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES Ontario increased the general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018. The Province was poised to raise that to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019, but the new Doug Ford Conservative government had something to say about that and in October, 2018 announced plans to pull that back. On October 1st, 2020, the minimum wage in Ontario increased to $14.25 and hour. Going forward, it will increase at the rate of inflation on October 1st each year. OVERTIME PAY Employees who hold more than one position with an employer and who are working overtime must be paid at the

rate for the position they are working during the overtime period. PAID VACATION Employees are entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer. PUBLIC HOLIDAY PAY Employees are entitled to their average regular daily wage. Other elements of the public holiday provisions are also simplified. PAID EMERGENCY LEAVE This changed in October 2018. All employees were entitled to 10 PEL days per year, including two paid PEL days. The new Government has removed the two paid days and PEL is given for 8 days (three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities). LEAVE FOR THE DEATH OF A CHILD AND FOR CRIME-RELATED DISAPPEARANCE A new, separate leave for child death from any cause for a period of up to 104 weeks and also establish a separate leave for crime-related child disappearance for a period of up to 104 weeks. FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE Increased Family Medical Leave from up to 8 weeks in a 26-week period to up to 28 weeks in a 52-week period. PHYSICIAN NOTES FOR ABSENCES Previous legislation forbidding employers from requesting a sick note from an employee taking Personal Emergency Leave has also been repealed.

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 11


Workplace Safety Most employers are governed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and they have a poster too! Find a prominent place to post this so your workers can see it. Go to www.wsib. on.ca and enter search for “Form 82”. Since you are papering your office anyway, there is another poster you are required to include, this is for the Occupational Health and Safety Act and it can be found at: https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/

pubs/poster_prevention.php

In addition, employers are expected to provide access to the actual legislation, although you may wish to just print the front page of the Act and a clear link to it at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90o01 which you can post. Every year you are expected to prepare and review a written health and safety policy, which you must also post. Be aware, the size of the workplace matters as well, because a health and safety committee and members may be required. In such cases, post the names and work locations of the members. Where a committee is required, the job must be evenly shared between employer and employees and breaks down like this: 0-5 Workers – no committee or representative required 6-19 Workers – one rep required from pool of employees 20-49 Workers – a committee with 2 members required 50+ Employees – a committee with 4 members required Employers who work with hazardous products know, or should know, they have additional posting and training duties

12 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System details of which can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/workplacehazardous-materials-information-systemwhmis

Safety, harassment and workplace violence

Having said that, at a minimum, all employers are expected to have accessible customer service, and a policy in place to facilitate that. Be prepared to make this available on request. These and other responsibilities, such as training, employment practices and public spaces are set out here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibilityrules-businesses-and-non-profits

All employers must ensure employees and managers are trained in basic safety, and keep a record of such training. Employers can find resources at the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s website https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/ training/ In addition, as of 2010, for employers with six or more workers, this policy must be in writing and posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace. Workplace harassment (expanded in 2016 to include harassment which is sexual in nature) is a big concern of the Ontario government. This carries with it new obligations with respect to prevention, training, investigation and complaint handling. The details of how to establish such a policy and templates can be found in fairly plain language at https://www. ontario.ca/page/understand-law-workplaceviolence-and-harassment

Accessibility Making Ontario more accessible for the disabled impacts businesses in two ways: how they relate to employees, and how they relate to third parties that need to access the business for goods or services. Again, size matters here, as employers with less than 20 employees do not need to file an “accessibility compliance report” every 3 years with the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, or make design modifications and accessible websites as employers with over 50 employees are expected to.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/no-smokingno-vaping-signs-businesses Signs for smoke and vape-free spaces Employers with an enclosed workplace, an enclosed public place or other smoke-free and vape-free place as described in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 or Ontario Regulation 268/18, must post signs at each entrance, exit and washroom. Employees and the public must know that they cannot smoke tobacco or cannabis (medical or recreational) or vape anything there. This might look like a lot, and it is. My intent is not to scare the heck out of you, but rather to make it easier for you to get a handle on some of the expectations placed on Ontario employers … and to do it all in one place, which you rarely see. Hope it helps keep you calm! ■


DIGITAL MARKETING IS ALL ABOUT MOBILE By Angela West

SINCE THE INTRODUCTION OF SMARTPHONES, users have gradually

changed the way they access the internet. While desktops once ruled the landscape, mobile usage now accounts for more than half of all online traffic, with up to 53% of online shopping and 80% of social media browsing taking place on a smartphone. While desktops still continue to be a popular option, it’s clear that mobile devices have taken over and that the trend isn’t going to reverse anytime soon. This rapid switch to mobile has affected many aspects of digital marketing, leading to businesses adopting mobile-first design in order to offer customers a seamless and well-optimized experience no matter what device they’re using. According to Google, 70% of websites were moved to mobile-first indexing by early 2020, with the other 30% being moved by the end of September 2020. Having a mobile-friendly website is now more important than ever before - failure to make the switch is now guaranteed to affect your website’s search ranking, meaning that

your business’s sales, leads, online views, and brand awareness will take a massive hit. If you haven’t yet made the jump to mobile-first design in every aspect of your online presence and digital marketing, now’s the time to start. There’s too much at stake for your business to remain in the past - the transformation will take time and effort, but the rewards are more than worth it. From your dealership’s website to digital ad campaigns, every aspect of your digital marketing strategy needs to be focused on capturing the attention of mobile users. In an increasingly mobile world, your business can benefit from increased conversions, brand awareness, and engagement.

Why mobile-first design is so important for your web presence Before you can make the transition to mobile-first, it’s important to understand exactly what it is, how it benefits mobile users, and why it’s important for your business’s web presence. Mobile-first

design has changed web design forever, designing websites for the smallest screens possible rather than for desktop screens as was previously the norm. Websites designed with mobile screens in mind are far more responsive for mobile users, meaning that limited features and slow load times are no longer an issue for mobile device users. This means that mobile users are far less likely to abandon your website due to loading issues or unresponsiveness, instead improving the chances that mobile users engage with your content. Without a mobile-focused design, your website will rank poorly in search engine results, costing you customers to competitors who have already made the leap to mobile-first design. Not only will your search engine ranking be affected, but users are more likely to be turned off by a less than intuitive experience full of delayed load times and frustrating design choices. When customers are looking for answers online, they want results immediately - even a slight delay can turn them off and make them decide that

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MARKETING BUDGET | ANGELA WEST

NEW REPORT COMING SOON CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Reports are getting a refresh! Be prepared for when they go live, and see what’s changing! Learn more at go.carfax.ca/refresh

they’re not interested. The experience of users is extremely influential on their decision to purchase from your business and their impression of your brand. In this case, first impressions are everything. Frustrated users mean fewer views where it matters, resulting in a hit to your brand and a decrease in engagements. Keeping your mobile audience in mind when designing your website, online content, and digital ad campaigns is critical, especially with mobile conversion rates way up compared to desktop rates. A seamless mobile experience means increased sales, more loyal customers, and higher search engine algorithms - all things that can help you compete both locally and online. Mobile-first design isn’t your only option as a business looking to focus on smartphone users. Other options at your

14 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

disposal include mobile friendly design, which means that users are able to enjoy nearly the same experience on a mobile device as they would have on a desktop with minimal functionality sacrifices, and responsive web design, which generally involves the design of your website with a wide variety of screen sizes in mind, offering an optimal experience for any device. Mobile friendly design is often seen as an add-on to websites, making it less than ideal, whereas responsive design is usually used at the outset of a website overall or redesign. Depending on where your dealership is in its mobile user journey, these options may be a good fit.

How to know if your website is mobile ready Now that you understand what mobilefirst design is and how it benefits your dealerships and its customers, you can officially start your journey to ensure that

your website is optimized for mobile users. Ideally, mobile ready websites will feature simple navigation, keep text-based content limited and focus instead on visual content (without going overboard), and allow users to easily complete common tasks without too many steps or distractions. The first way to know if your website is ready for mobile users is how quickly it loads. If loading takes more than three seconds, it’s taking too long and will begin to turn off new visitors.


MARKETING BUDGET | ANGELA WEST The next important element is whether or not it’s easy to navigate - if users can find what they’re looking for (navigation menus, search bars, etc.) on a small screen, your website is mobile ready. If it’s not easy to navigate, it’s recommended that you simplify your page so that everything can easily fit onto a small screen without users being forced to zoom in to read text and navigate the page. Finally, your website needs to be easy for mobile users to interact with. If mobile users can’t easily search for what they’re looking for, contact your business, or purchase a product, it’s too unintuitive for smartphone users. This is an easily fixable problem, as it simply requires reducing the amount of steps needed to complete common actions like purchases or filling out forms.

"A seamless mobile experience means increased sales, more loyal customers, and higher search engine algorithms.." Gearing your website towards mobile users can quickly help you achieve a variety of different business goals, including increasing your online sales, generating new leads, encouraging more phone calls and emails, increasing the number of visits to your dealership, and increasing general awareness of what your business is and how it can improve the lives of your customers. In order to help you know if your website is mobile ready, Google has created a website found at www.testmysite. thinkwithgoogle.com so you can receive quick fixes on how to improve common problems.

Google also recently announced that a new algorithm will be used to determine the page experience of websites based on Core Web Values, which will in turn be used to determine the ranking of your page. This is expected to go live in 2021, meaning that the clock is ticking for businesses. Before you panic, Google has released a new Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console, available to all businesses to help fix issues with your website and avoid being penalized once these rules go into effect. In order to access the report, enable Google Search Console at search. google.com/search-console/welcome. Then, navigate to the Mobile section of the Core Web Vitals report. From there, you’ll be able to determine how your website is performing and tackle any issues identified by the new algorithm. Pay the most attention to this tool as it is Google telling you exactly what you need to do to your website in order to fix issues that it sees - it doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Optimizing digital ad campaigns for mobile You can’t just stop at optimizing your website for mobile users - your digital ad campaigns on platforms like Google Ads also require optimization in order to be truly effective. You can begin to improve digital ad performance by immediately making the transition to expanded text ads, which are specially designed for optimal mobile performance. Using ad extensions like sitelink (linking to specific website pages), location (showing your ad with a map or the distance to your dealership), and call extensions (adding a phone number to your ad) is also highly recommended by Google, allowing your ads to be more prominent to mobile users and increasing the chances that they’re clicked on. Remember to make sure that every single ad you publish leads users to the correct landing page where they’ll be able to find more information about the products they’re interested in, or your dealership as a whole. Using generic landing pages is a bad

idea, especially if users can’t immediately find what they’re looking for. In order to retain the attention of mobile users, you need to put critical information right in front of them with a strong call-to-action that compels them to act immediately. When writing digital ad campaigns, it’s important to continue following best practices. Ads should never be too reliant on text - they need to be short, sweet, and to the point. This means using attention grabbing headlines that focus on appealing keywords, applying a clear call-to-action that compels users to click on your ad or visit your website, and ensuring that key selling features of your business are made perfectly clear in your ad copy. You need to ensure that every single ad makes it clear that your business is different from the competition, and deserves the user’s attention over any other dealership. In most cases, it’s recommended that you use as little text as you possibly can. Mobile ads need to be high on attention-grabbing visuals, and low on text. If you’re trying to sell a vehicle, make sure that the ad is about that vehicle. Showing customers a compelling photo of the car in action will go a lot further than a text description ever could. Remember that other than your company’s logo, mobile ads need to be as clean as possible. Focus on eliminating the clutter and delivering a short but powerful message to your audience. Tools such as SEMrush’s Ad Builder are invaluable for offering real-time feedback on what keywords you should use and how your ad should be structured for maximum impact. Mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, and are how the majority of your customers are going to continue learning about and interacting with your dealership. Taking proactive steps to ensure that your website and digital ad campaigns are as mobile friendly as possible will save your business from suffering a major drop in search rankings and losing potential customers, resulting in improved sales, more engaged users, and giving you an edge over the competition. ■

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ONTARIO'S ANTISLAPP LEGISLATION

ONTARIO’S ANTISLAPP LEGISLATION Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43 https://www.ontario.ca/laws/ statute/90c43 Prevention of Proceedings that Limit Freedom of Expression on Matters of Public Interest (Gag Proceedings)

A REAL SLAPP IN THE FACE By James Hamilton

Dismissal of proceeding that limits debate PURPOSES 137.1 (1) The purposes of this section and sections 137.2 to 137.5 are, (a) to encourage individuals to express themselves on matters of public interest; (b) to promote broad participation in debates on matters of public interest; (c) to discourage the use of litigation as a means of unduly limiting expression on matters of public interest; and (d) to reduce the risk that participation by the public in debates on matters of public interest will be hampered by fear of legal action. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

16 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

LIVE BY SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIE BY SOCIAL MEDIA. What has become

indispensable for dealers can also be the source of their greatest stress. On-line reviews can take a quiet business to great heights on digital “word of mouth”, but it can also harm a business to have bad reviews on Google, Facebook and the like. I often get calls from dealers who feel a review may have “crossed the line”. What they mean by that, usually, is that the customer has ventured beyond simply telling their “truth” to telling tales that are fictional, offensive and / or defamatory. Naturally, in such cases, the dealer would like to take legal action to have that review taken down, or amended, to remove the bad bits.

This is a difficult road to hoe at the best of times, as courts are loathe to interfere with anyone’s freedom of expression. Just because I did not like the hamburger I ate, and post a comment on a review site saying so, does not mean I should expect the restaurant to sue me. And if they do sue me, or a dealer sues a customer for an unflattering review, there may now be another defence in the arsenal - the ‘anti-SLAPP’ defence. This is meant to protect the little guy from big, bad companies that will use their economic might to silence free expression through bruising and costly litigation via teams of lawyers with limitless resources. The law actually refers to such lawsuits as “gag proceedings” that “limits debate”.


ANTI-SLAPP LEGISLATION | JAMES HAMILTON In the leading test case brought before the Ontario Court of Appeal in the summer of 2018 (1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection Association) the court allowed the Defendant in a lawsuit to use this new law as a shield to ward off a lawsuit. The Court dismissed an action initiated by a property developer against a notfor-profit organization, finding it to be a Strategic Lawsuit to Prevent Public Participation (SLAPP) i.e. a lawsuit brought to silence or financially punish one’s critics. The lawsuit was apparently a response to statements the President of the organization had made questioning the environmental impact of a proposed property development. The Court held that the company had not demonstrated that its case had sufficient merit to justify overriding the public interest in allowing the organization to exercise its freedom of expression. In doing so, the Court of Appeal set down rules all lower courts in Ontario will follow in such matters for years to come:

1 The defendant must demonstrate “public interest” in what they have said.

2 If they do, the onus then shifts to the plaintiff, to overcome a “merits-based hurdle” and a “public interest hurdle.” (a) The merits-based hurdle requires the plaintiff to prove that:

• the proceeding has substantial merit and, • the defendant has no valid defence (b) The public interest hurdle requires the plaintiff to prove that: • The harm likely to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s expression is sufficiently serious that the public interest in permitting the proceeding to continue outweighs the public interest in protecting that expression.

3 A failure by the plaintiff to clear both hurdles will lead to a dismissal of its action. As readers may gather, what the Ontario government was going for here is a balancing between one’s right to be heard against another’s right to protect their reputation. It is not the only defence a

dealer might face in an action against a consumer for a harmful review, but it is an important one. I am aware of the use of this section in at least one case before small claims court, and we can expect more in time. I expect the real question will be what is in the “public interest”? On big issues like the environment, politics, crime, education and so on, we can see how this might engage the public at large. But was this new law intended to ward off lawsuits over damaging comments someone makes about a restaurant or a used car they bought? That remains to be seen. ■

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TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE

TECH TALK By Angela West

HERE’S THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AUTOMOTIVE GADGETS AND APPS. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that we could be in for a very long fall and winter - what better way to pass the time than hitting the road with your loved ones and exploring the world around you? Your trips can be made even more memorable with savvy gadgets, apps, and accessories designed to minimize distractions, make your ride safer and more fun for everybody. Here’s the latest on what’s happening in the world of automotive gadgets, apps, and accessories.

Never worry about battery life again with a wireless charger stand

Start and control your vehicle right from your phone

The last thing you need on your road trip is a low battery bringing an end to the music, your directions, or an important conversation. The SoloQi PRO is a wireless charger that can power just about any USB or wireless powered device you own. The PRO can even be used to charge two devices at once, adapting to even the busiest users. The SoloQi PRO features a kickstand that allows users to enjoy a hands-free experience anywhere. Boasting an impressive 7,000mAh capacity and featuring a lightweight design, the SoloQi PRO is bound to become a staple of future roadtrips.

With frigid temperatures on the way, it pays to have a remote start-enabled vehicle, saving you from having to run out into the cold just to warm up the car. The Viper DS4 digital remote start system puts this problem to rest for good, letting you start your vehicle right from the comfort of your phone with a range of up to 150 feet. When paired with the Viper SmartStart Pro, which is touted as the “world’s fastest connected vehicle”, you’ll be able to know about any unauthorized movements made by your vehicle, determine its location, and view battery life through push notifications, texts, or email alerts.

Learn more about the SoloQi PRO at soloqi.com. 18 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST The company has engineered a safety interlock device that keeps young drivers and driving offenders safe while protecting others on and off the road. The device works by detecting the phone of the monitored person and requiring that a clean breath sample is given before the engine can start. The SmartStart Pro installs discreetly right under the dash, giving your vehicle a unique GPS that allows the Viper to deliver information about location, monitoring, and other alerts. The package requires a Viper SmartStart Service Plan, offering unparalleled flexibility with your vehicle.

Find out more about the Viper SmartStart System at viper.com. Dash cams have never been this intelligent If you haven’t installed a dash cam in your vehicle yet, you’re one of the few drivers out there unable to enjoy the comfort and security offered by these essential pieces of vehicle tech. Dash cams have come a long way in a short period of time, now featuring intelligent features that pair with smart home systems and emergency features that can detect when accidents take place and alert authorities when you’re unable to. The Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam is one of the most intelligent dash cams on the market, featuring Alexa compatibility so you can enjoy your music and podcasts, hear about weather and news, or request directions and parking information wherever, whenever. The Nextbase 522GW also features an intelligent Emergency SOS feature that alerts emergency services when you’re unresponsive, letting them know where you are so you can be found by authorities quickly and efficiently.

Add in an Intelligent Parking Mode that records physical movements and bumps when your vehicle is unattended, 1440p resolution, and a 140° viewing angle, and you have a versatile dash cam that will keep you and your vehicle safer and more comfortable than ever before.

Learn more about the Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam at nextbase.com. A breathalyzer that can’t be tricked Drunk driving is an issue that has been tackled for decades, with advances in technology making it more difficult for driving offenders and young drivers to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Unfortunately, many breathalyzers can and have been easily duped by drunk drivers using their sober friends to start the vehicle. Not Your Child Corp. is looking to tackle this problem head-on by making it nearly impossible for drivers to trick their breathalyzer, ensuring that everybody gets to their destination safely every time.

The interlock breathalyzer also uses facial recognition technology that can detect when the monitored person is attempting to use a friend to start the car, with a unique safety feature that allows only professional mechanics to safely remove the device from the vehicle. With these and other intelligent features keeping drivers safe, the device is sure to save lives and prevent intoxicated users from getting behind the wheel ever again.

For more information about preordering the safety interlock device by Not Your Child Corp., visit notyourchild.com. Make sure your pets arrive safe too

®

Your pets deserve to arrive safely, too. While it might seem gimmicky, a seatbelt tether specifically designed for your pet can minimize the risk of distractions while you drive, ensuring that you can drive with full concentration on the road so your fur babies arrive safe and sound. The Kurgo Direct to Seatbelt Tether is designed specifically to attach to your dog’s harness, keeping them safely in the seat of your vehicle. The tether attaches directly to the female end of any seatbelt, extending 15" to 22" and attaching to the dog’s harness to

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TECH TALK | ANGELA WEST

A portable jump starter that keeps all your devices charged Being able to easily jump start your car and charge your devices on the go means peace of mind wherever life takes you. The Mophie Powerstation Go is a fully portable jump starter that has USB ports and wireless charging capabilities that fits right in your glove compartment.

keep them safe and comfortable at all times. The tether is a near-universal fit for the majority of vehicles, but isn’t compatible with Volvo, nor is it recommended for F-Series trucks.

Find out more about the Kurgo Direct to Seatbelt Tether at kurgo.com.

Never get stuck on the road again with the Powerstation Go, featuring a 44,400mWh capacity that can jump start full-sized vehicles, spark-proof jumper cables, two USB-A ports, an LED floodlight, a 65W AC Port, and Qi-enabled wireless contact charging. With the Powerstation Go in your vehicle, you can be sure that every trip will be a great one.

For more information about the Mophie Powerstation Go, visit zagg.com.

Instantly read tire pressure to guarantee a safe ride every time Regularly checking your vehicle’s tire pressure is an all too often overlooked part of vehicle maintenance, yet can mean the difference between a safe trip and a disastrous one. The Tacklife TG01 Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is an easy-to-use digital pressure gauge that provides fast and highly accurate readings so you can maintain consistent and correct tire pressure. The TG01 Gauge is lightweight, features four setting ranges, and fits right in the palm of your hand. Reduce tire wear by ensuring correct pressure, extend the life of your tires, and arrive safely every single time.

Read more about the Tacklife TG01 Digital Tire Pressure Gauge at tacklifetools.com. ■

20 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


HOW TO EFFECTIVELY MEASURE DIGITAL AD CAMPAIGNS By Angela West

MARKETING IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS of running just

about any business. Telling potential customers what makes your business unique and worth visiting and purchasing from helps you stand out from the competition and get noticed by people in and around your area. From social media marketing and original content creation, to search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search engine campaigns, there’s no

shortage of effective ways to promote your company’s brand, products, and services. As with anything you spend money on, it’s natural to expect that you’ll be able to measure your digital marketing efforts. After all, how else can you know that the messaging you’re putting out into the world is effectively reaching customers? Measuring digital ad campaigns is essential to your dealership’s success

in the digital world. Without access to critical metrics about how many people are seeing your content, how many users are taking action based on those views, and how much time users are spending viewing your digital content, you’re left completely in the dark about whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth. If you can’t know what’s working and what isn’t, it’s impossible for your business to pivot and change course, or

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DIGITAL AD CAMPAIGNS | ANGELA WEST know when to stay the course because something is demonstrably working to attract and maintain customers. Essentially, you’re spending your business’s hard-earned money without knowing if it’s actually doing you any good or if you could be spending that money more effectively. If your dealership is getting serious about digital marketing, now’s the time to start getting your money’s worth by effectively measuring your campaigns. What metrics you should be measuring Most businesses understand that they should be measuring the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, but aren’t sure of exactly what they need to be measuring and keeping an eye out for. From individual views and users to Click Through Rate (CTR), session duration, bounce rate, referrals, engagement, and traffic source, there’s a whole lot about a campaign that can be measured - and some metrics are far more useful than others. Knowing what to look for and what each metric means for your content and campaigns will help you understand what’s working about your messaging, and what might require some retooling. The most important metrics will be able to tell you how many people are seeing your content and messaging, how long they’re sticking around for and which (if any) pages on your website they interacted with, where they came from, and most importantly, whether or

not they took a specific action on your website that could lead to them converting into a customer. Some of the metrics you’ll come across when measuring your campaigns and digital marketing effectiveness include: Page Views: The amount of times a page on your website was seen during a predetermined period of time. The more eyes on your content, the higher the chances that conversions are being made. Unique Visitors: How many individual users are visiting your website/page during this period of time and how many times they returned. This helps you know how many individuals you’ve reached, ensuring you that the page views your website has generated aren’t from just a few users. CTR: The amount of users who clicked on a specific link, often used in Google Ads campaigns. Having a low CTR means that your content may not be resonating with users who are seeing it, leading to them selecting competitors over your business. Your Average CTR can actually affect the performance of future Google Ads performances, making it important for your campaigns to make use of the correct keywords to improve your CTR, meaning less wasted money on campaigns.

photosbypierce.com 130 Industry St., Unit 36, North York, ON M6M 5G3 e info@photosbypierce.com www.photosbypierce.com

22 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Session Duration: How long a user stayed on the page being measured. The longer they stayed on the page, the more content they likely absorbed. Bounce Rate: The amount of users who arrive on your page only to leave without viewing another page or taking any sort of action. A high bounce rate means that something about what you’re offering just isn’t working, and is something that needs to be rectified immediately. Conversion Rate: The amount of users who took actionable steps such as signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form for more information, completed a survey, or any number of other important actions. These actions are usually encouraged by a call to action on the page, and brings viewers one step closer to becoming a customer. Traffic Source: Where users were referred from can tell you which social media platforms or advertising campaigns are working, and which ones aren’t working to compel users to visit your website or landing page. Once you understand what to look for, you’ll be able to determine what’s working about your digital ad campaigns, what may need to be modified, and what simply


DIGITAL AD CAMPAIGNS | ANGELA WEST information which is stored in your DMS for more effective selling by your sales team. This information is often gleaned when customers fill out forms on landing pages, which is one of the most important metrics you’ll be looking for when measuring the success of your campaign. The more effective your call-to-action, the more customers who will fill out forms and offer critical information, the more sales your team can make. isn’t working. Having access to important metrics means your advertising dollars will go further than ever before, and that you’ll be able to double down on the strategies, content, and messaging that is connecting with and resonating with users. Beware of vanity metrics - stay focused on actionable metrics When measuring your digital ad campaigns, it’s crucial to remember that not all metrics are equal. Vanity metrics, while not entirely meaningless, can easily distract you from actionable information that tells you whether or not your money is being well spent. Vanity metrics will often look good on paper, but don’t actually reflect how well your content is performing with new and returning users. These metrics include things like impressions, social media likes, shares, and comments, newsletter subscribers, open rates and more. These metrics are useful for determining how your content is performing on social media or in email campaigns, but can’t actually tell you a whole lot about the overall success of your marketing campaigns. For example, just because somebody “liked” an original content post by your page on Facebook, it doesn't mean they actually followed the link to your website or took any sort of action while on your website. Even then, generating clicks alone doesn’t mean that your campaign is performing well. If users are simply getting to your website only to never return again, something about your campaign just isn’t working.

These metrics are good for determining your brand’s success on social channels, but should absolutely not be used for determining whether what you're doing is actually successful or not. When looking to measure the performance of a digital ad campaign, you need to stay focused on actionable metrics that can tell you whether you’re getting a return on your investment and if users are being converted by content produced for a campaign. Tools that dealerships can use to measure their digital ad campaigns With so many metrics to keep an eye on, it’s just too much to ask dealerships to have to log into each individual platform they use to measure their performance - time is money, and you need an all-in-one solution you can count on. Luckily, there are many tools available to help you and your team measure your digital ad campaigns. Some of these are rolled into dealership DMS tools and others are dedicated digital marketing metrics tools that are worth exploring if your DMS doesn’t offer marketing metrics, or if your dealership’s marketing activities take place over many different online channels. Many popular DMS solutions including Dealertrack, Auto Manager, Dominion Dealer Solutions, and DealerSocket make digital marketing a major focus, offering critical metrics about how a dealership’s online content is performing. This is in addition to acting as a specialized CRM solution for dealerships, allowing your team to track sales, leads, inventory, and more. When used effectively, your sales funnel can gather crucial customer

For dealerships looking for a specialized all-in-one solution to track the effectiveness of digital ad campaigns, tools like HubSpot Marketing Hub, Looker, DashThis, and SEMrush can prove invaluable to gaining insight into how your business is faring online. These tools can be used to optimize your online presence on social media and other channels used for digital marketing, giving you insight into what strategies are paying off, what needs to be tailored to improve results, and what your business is doing wrong so you can pivot. These tools are integrated with your business’s social media channels and digital marketing platforms, offering real-time updates on how campaigns are performing so you’re always in the loop. By using tools to measure your digital marketing performance, you can easily fine-tune your targeting, messaging, and content creation to better resonate with users and create lifelong customers. Knowing what you need to be measuring and how to measure it can mean the difference between a highly successful digital marketing campaign and a disastrous waste of your advertising dollars. Measuring key metrics is the only sure way to guarantee that new users are viewing and enjoying your content online, that your brand is growing and becoming more recognizable, and that new customers are created every day to ensure the continued growth of your dealership. Stop spending your money on marketing efforts you aren’t even sure are working and start focusing on actionable data. With access to the right information, your dealership will be able to improve its ad campaigns in a meaningful way and speed past the competition. ■

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 23


DEALER PROFILE Aaron Auto By Ronda Payne Take Care Of People –The Rest Will Take Care Of Itself MIKE BROWN IS ONE OF THOSE LUCKY GUYS who

found himself a great mentor in his first auto-sales boss. It was back in 1988 when Mike met the fellow who owned and ran the local Toyota dealership in Belleville.

“He offered me a job, I said ‘yes’ and I haven’t looked back,” Mike says. His boss had a number of powerful sayings he imparted to Mike and they stuck. “He told me to just take care of people and the rest will take care of itself,” he says. “I still use that line often.” And that’s how he runs his business at Belleville-based Aaron Auto. He takes care of people. Like most people in the auto sales industry, Mike didn’t just go from point A to point B in simple steps. There were other stops along the way. After about 10 years as a salesperson at the local Toyota dealership, he and a partner opened an operation in Trenton, which they ran for a number of years.

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VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 25


Aaron Auto I encourage them to use the phone or the internet to buy from us. We deliver to people,” he says. “We have customers who have bought a number of vehicles from us and they’ve never been to the lot.” Of course, cleaning measures were ramped up due to COVID-19. The team, which includes Mike, his General Manager Mike Hinch, a receptionist, a bookkeeper and two cleanup people, did their homework to ensure they were doing the right things to keep themselves and their customers safe. It falls in line with another mantra Mike gained from his mentor.

“The partnership was successful, but it was just time for a change,” Mike explains. “It was time to move forward with one owner. The business was growing fairly quickly and it was the opportune time to move ahead.” Mike forged ahead, operating the location in Trenton, until eventually purchasing property in Belleville about 16 years ago. This Belleville location opened as Aaron Auto, named after his son Aaron. Mike and his wife Michelle liked the prominence of the new location which is at a busy

intersection about a block off the 401. Now, Aaron Auto keeps about 40 to 50 vehicles in stock at a time, the lot always looks sharp and Mike follows another of his mentor’s mantras. “Do your best every day. Do what you think is right,” he says. “We truly do try to do the right thing every day.” When asked why he didn’t step away from the industry when life presented other choices, Mike says, “That wasn’t an option. I was really good at what I did. I liked automobiles and had a lot of energy.” Aaron Auto is focused on used car sales. There is also a clean up shop and a car wash on site. “It was all part of the building that was here originally and that was what I wanted,” he explains. “We have chosen not to do mechanical work. We have partners with operations that manage that end of the business.” COVID-19 hasn’t changed things for Aaron Auto too much. For the last two decades, Mike has been working with customers to facilitate sales primarily over the phone (and in time using the internet), so the pandemic has, in a sense, helped encourage customers to embrace a moreefficient limited-contact sales process. “We’ve been working to make things easier for our customers for more than 20 years.

26 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

“Just try to make good decisions that are best for both sides,” he says. “We’re very fortunate that our repeat and referral rate is very strong within the industry. Our goal is to sell multiple vehicles to our customer businesses and families.” Mike appreciates the relationships that have formed over the years through Aaron Auto. “I really can’t wrap my head around the cell phone industry,” he says. “Someone’s been a loyal customer for years and years, but a new cell phone customer would get a better deal. We find it’s easier to make someone happy when they’ve done business with us a number of times, than it is to try to win over a new customer. We try to do the right thing with existing customers.” Aaron Auto has kept customers happy


DEALER PROFILE | RONDA PAYNE and comfortable, through COVID-19 by following the generally-accepted protocols of disinfecting the car upon delivery, wearing masks, limiting the number of people in contact with a car and also doing what the customer is most comfortable with. Mike has continued to sell cars off the lot as well as vehicles sourced based on specific customer requests. “Then we do the delivery to their home or office,” Mike says.

price. Sometimes price is the most important thing, but we have found that the cheapest price isn’t always best.” Both Mike and his General Manager approach sales from the customer’s perspective. It’s clear from the way they work together as well. “I often call him my partner,” Mike says of Mike Hinch. “He’s a great friend and he’s always looking out for us and our customers.”

Mike also believes in looking out for people in the community. Supporting foundations as well as targeting sports teams, including hockey in particular, have been an important part of Aaron Auto’s involvement in Belleville. Mike Brown at Aaron Auto is proof that having a great mentor leads to positive lessons that stick and customer care that makes a difference. ■

New customers may be referrals, but they may also find Aaron Auto through the company’s website and through Auto Trader. With commercial vehicles as part of the lineup, Mike has established longterm relationships with customers within the material handling industry which keeps the commercial vehicles moving.

“Do your best every day. Do what you think is right..” Whether it’s commercial vehicles or retail customers, it’s clear that Mike stands by being fair at all times. “Our whole premise here is being on the customer’s side,” he says. “We don’t put pressure on. It’s not how I’m built and it’s not how I’m going to do it. Probably about 12 years ago, when the internet really fired up about car buying that way, the consumer was fixated on the cheapest

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 | 27


TRENDS By Chris Chase

SOME SURPRISING TRENDS ARE EMERGING AS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC wears on

and Ontario’s auto industry adapts to meet the needs of consumers, some surprising trends are emerging in the types of vehicles people are buying. For the past few years, we’ve seen a marked shift toward crossover and sport utility vehicles, which has prompted automakers to flood the marketplace with new models,

28 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

especially at the entry level of the segment.

were well above average in winning back wholesale value.

It’s no surprise that wholesale values for compact utilities have rebounded nicely from the losses they experienced earlier in the year. What is a surprise, however, is that values for two other segments thought to be past their prime in Canada – minivans and subcompact cars – have fared even better so far in 2020.

This trend indicates that, in this period of economic uncertainty, many buyers are either looking to spend less on their next used vehicle or buy one that gets them the most practicality for their money. In the case of subcompact cars, the uptick in wholesale values could also be linked to the fact that some high-profile models have been discontinued recently and may be in short supply in dealers’ new-vehicle inventories.

According to Canadian Black Book, those two segments held onto their wholesale values much better than the industry average through the first half of the year. And once the marketplace came back to life in the summer months, minivans and subcompacts

With that in mind, we think it’s a good time to look at what models in those segments might be most likely to attract buyers to your dealership.


TRENDS | CHRIS CHASE Minivans

Hyundai Accent/ Kia Rio

Dodge Grand Caravan Toyota Sienna

The Dodge Grand Caravan dominates in the minivan segment thanks to its affordable price and sensible, straightforward design. It’s also the only minivan offering second-row seats that fold into the floor, letting buyers turn the Grand Caravan into a capable cargo hauler without having to remove heavy seats. The Grand Caravan’s most recent design is more than a decade old at this point, but its relatively low resale values make it a popular choice among buyers looking for a practical family vehicle on a budget.

Honda Odyssey Honda’s minivan is the driver’s choice in the segment, with handling and body control that easily outpace the rest of the segment. It also boasts one of the segment’s best engines, a strong and smooth V6 that provides driving satisfaction and fuel economy thanks to a sophisticated variable valve timing system and cylinder deactivation. Honda most recently redesigned the Odyssey in 2018, when it made a nine-speed automatic standard and a 10-speed optional.

The Toyota Sienna might be the ideal family vehicle for buyers listing reliability as their main criterion, since it regularly tops owner satisfaction surveys for its excellent durability. The Sienna benefits from a powerful V6 engine and an easy driving nature that makes it equally well-suited to city driving and family road trips. It also stands out for an AWD option that helps it bridge the gap between the minivan and mid-size SUV segments. Subcompact cars

Honda Fit When Honda introduced the Fit to Canada in 2007, it shot to the front of the class for its interior volume that challenged some SUVs. But the end of an era is near, as Honda will discontinue the Fit – now in its third generation – after this year. The Fit shines in city driving, where it’s great at scooting into gaps in traffic while returning impressive real-world fuel economy. A 2018 update made Honda’s active driving assist features standard in all models with the automatic transmission.

We’ve lumped these two South Korean models together because, despite their well-differentiated styling, they share many of the mechanical components that make them tick. These cars made

their first serious move upmarket with a 2012 redesign that brought a major boost in refinement. Another welldone redesign came in 2018. Hyundai discontinued the Accent sedan in 2019 and announced that the car will disappear altogether after 2020. As of this writing, the Kia Rio will live on at least through 2021.

Nissan Versa Since the Versa’s introduction in 2007, this small car has won praise for its class-above interior space. Even better was the second-generation model, sold as a sedan in 2013 and 2014 and from 2014 through 2019 as the Versa Note hatchback. Both versions boast good visibility and interior space to rival a mid-sized car, but at budgetfriendly subcompact prices. The Versa’s performance is nothing special, but its fuel economy is good, making this an attractive choice as an affordable family vehicle. ■

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Vic

OMVIC KEEPS CONSUMER PROTECTION TOP OF MIND SO THE CAR SALES INDUSTRY CAN THRIVE By Ronda Payne

OF ALL THE INDUSTRIES where consumer confidence is necessary, car sales takes a spot near the top. While the fears of the past of shady used car salesmen are mostly long gone, there is still a need for consumers to have proof that they are being treated fairly and nothing ensures that like a third party protection arrangement.

In this province, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council ensures that consumers who buy from a dealership are getting a fair deal and provides a place to turn if there are concerns. This third-party mandatory standard elevates the perception of the industry throughout Ontario and ensures protection for both sides of a sale. John Carmichael, OMVIC's CEO and Registrar says that OMVIC administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers

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Act, its regulations, code of ethics and relevant sections of the Consumer Protection Act on behalf of Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. “OMVIC maintains a fair and informed marketplace by protecting consumers and enhancing industry professionalism,” he says. “All dealers, new or used, and their salespersons must be registered with OMVIC and abide by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. It’s a good thing for everyone involved in the process – dealers, salespeople and consumers. It sets standards to help create a level playing field ensuring fair, honest and open competition for dealers and salespeople. That, in turn, helps build consumer trust and confidence. It is a win-win.” While the act itself can hardly qualify as


SPOTLIGHT SERIES | RONDA PAYNE

ENHANCING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE. light reading, the basics of it fall under the Golden Rule of do unto others as you would have them do to you. This means that officers and directors of dealerships or salespeople who provide false information can be charged. These individuals must also follow a Code of Ethics and ensure that they provide clear and truthful disclosure in all information including advertising. The regulations also ensure harsh penalties for “curbsiders” who may have tampered with a car and don’t have a registered title for it.

lease finance dealers pay a one-time Compensation Fund fee of $300; and salespeople pay $250 for their initial application and $175 every two years thereafter. Fees support the process of inspections and investigations as well as educational communications to assist dealers and salespeople and inform consumers. Considering the number of cars sold through dealerships in Ontario in a year, the number of consumer complaints is relatively low. In 2019, 2,363 inspections were conducted with $1,769,754 being returned to consumers as a result.

In 2019, OMVIC had 8,188 dealers and 30,693 salespeople registered. Of these, “If problems arise after a consumer there were 802 new dealer applications and 4,665 new salesperson applications. makes a purchase, OMVIC’s complaints Well over 80 per cent of the registrations and inquiries team offers consumers were conducted through OMVIC’s online information about consumer protection system. Dealers and Salespeople may legislation,” Carmichael says. not all understand the benefits of having such a system in place. Being part of a In the case of a consumer concern that province-wide program that protects can’t be settled without assistance, the consumers gives customers far greater process facilitated by OMVIC is quite confidence in their purchasing options beneficial because it is a third party and from a dealer than through a private sale. completely neutral in looking at the facts. If a dealer uses OMVIC’s online services, Dealers pay $500 for their initial they will receive an alert through the application fee and $250 each year system that a complaint has been filed thereafter; general, broker and against them. “An OMVIC complaints and inquiries representative may try to provide conciliation to the parties,” he explains. “This may require asking the dealer to provide information and documents. Dealers are legally required to respond to these requests.” This often ensures that consumers don’t need to take the dealer to court, saving everyone time and money, although OMVIC doesn’t provide legal advice to either side of the purchase in question.

Dealers and salespeople can’t be forced into a settlement, so if what is mediated doesn’t satisfy both parties, there is still the chance of a court process. The application process through OMVIC requires completion of an Automotive Certification course which is offered through the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College in Barrie and taught by UCDA instructors. This mandatory course outlines the acts, regulations and requirements a salesperson and dealer must abide by. Additionally, OMVIC offers other education such as the MVDA Key Elements course, online courses in record keeping and sales language and seminars and webinars. Ongoing information is provided through the Dealer Standard (OMVIC’s newsletter) and dealer bulletins. These information sources explain activities OMVIC is involved in, dealers who have failed to comply with regulations and general advice about the state of the industry. Dealers can also receive assistance through OMVIC’s Help for Dealers campaign which includes an informational toolkit and a handful of videos to help dealers understand certain elements of the industry better. Dealers and salespeople can find these resources as well as bulletins and the Dealer Standard at omvic.on.ca. OMVIC is in place to assist dealers, salespeople and consumers as they come together to buy and sell vehicles and ensure transactions are fair to everyone involved. ■

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THE COMMON LAWYER Lessons from a Pandemic dealerships and business leaders. I have continually been inspired by the resilience and adaptability of the automotive community throughout Canada, but especially in Ontario. Change was thrust upon the industry without significant warning, and most dealers (and even OMVIC) successfully pivoted to online sales and other adaptations needed to survive.

By Justin M. Jakubiak AND WE ARE BACK!

I am very grateful that slowly, little things, like this article and the Ontario Dealer magazine are coming back into our lives. I will take small pieces of normal whenever and however I can get them. COVID-19 life is unruly and presents many challenges. Each of us are faced with personal and professional problems none of us has ever dealt with before – or even imagined. More often than not, it’s difficult to appreciate the positive things that are also happening around us. In my capacity as a lawyer, it is my privilege to be surrounded by incredibly resilient and dynamic salespersons,

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For this article, and given the times we are living in, I thought I would take the opportunity to review some of the things that have come across my desk over the last few months, and share some thoughts and tidbits of information. At the outset of the pandemic, I was regularly fielding calls from a variety of dealers asking for help with layoffs, reduction in work hours and salary reductions, never easy topics, and emotionally tough for dealers, and their management teams, to implement. Fortunately, many dealers have seen their sales slowly increase month over month from June onwards, and as a result have been able to resume somewhat normal operations, and even hire some new staff. Employment Agreements One thing that set dealers apart from one another was the existence of enforceable employment agreements. While it is difficult for any agreement to

capture every possibility and eventuality, most quality employment agreements serve to protect both the employer and the employee in the event of a variety of circumstances. In my experience, dealerships with solid employment agreements had a much easier time, overall, dealing with their employees during the initial business interruptions caused by COVID-19, and working through the difficult decisions and processes necessitated as a result. Independent Contractors Are Better than Employees …. Or Are They? A lot of dealers believe they are immune from some employment law considerations because they engage much of their sales team on an independent contractor basis. By classifying workers as independent contractors, an employer can avoid paying certain benefits that would otherwise be owed to an employee under the Employment Standards Act ("ESA"), such as overtime, vacation and


public holiday pay, as well as avoid making certain pay deductions and remittances to the government on an employee's behalf. That said, dealers should beware of the potential risks of having staff set-up as independent contractors, given some recent class action cases that are in process. This is especially true if these sales staff are not truly independent. In other words, if someone looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, they are usually a duck. Same thing for salespersons – if they look like an employee of your dealership, and only work for you, then there is a very good chance they may to be deemed your employee. The class actions on behalf of individuals hired as independent contractors are arguing that such individuals are in fact employees, and therefore entitled to the benefits provided under the ESA; which means, if true, a dealership could be on the hook to pay very large payments to existing and past salespersons improperly classified as independent contractors. Government Response to the Pandemic IDEL is the Ontario government's Infection Disease Emergency Leave program, which was added to the ESA in March in response to the pandemic. IDEL is an unpaid job-protected leave of absence under the ESA, which means that employees cannot be terminated,

penalized or reprised against for requesting, or taking, an IDEL. IDEL continues to be available to all employees for certain prescribed reasons, including: (i) employees who need to stay home to care for children and/or other prescribed family members, (ii) employees who are under medical care and/or investigation for COVID-19, and (iii) employees who are under an obligation to quarantine or self-isolate. On May 29, 2020 further relief measures were passed by the Ontario government in an effort to assist employers with the economic hardship caused by the pandemic. Ontario legislated that if an employer had to change an employee's hours of work and/or wages in response to the pandemic, this would not constitute a constructive dismissal under the ESA. It also legislated that employees whose hours of work and/or wages were eliminated or reduced, or who were temporarily laid off, would be deemed an IDEL. This deemed IDEL was set to expire on July 24, 2020, but was subsequently extended to January 2, 2021. On January 3, 2021 the regular rules and time limits under the ESA will resume with respect to constructive dismissal and temporary lay-offs. As a refresher, under the ESA rules in normal times, a temporary layoff may not exceed 13 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks, or 35 weeks in any period of 52 consecutive weeks, where certain conditions are met. Once the applicable periods expire, temporary layoffs become terminations of employment under the ESA, which gives rise to an employer's obligation to provide the affected employee(s) with their termination entitlements. Under the ESA, a constructive dismissal may occur when an employer makes a significant change to a fundamental term or condition of an employee's employment without the employee's actual or implied consent.

Conclusion In conclusion, the world remains uncertain and only time will tell how much longer the pandemic, and its lingering effects, will endure. In the meantime, there are many things that dealers and their management teams can do in an effort to bring certainty to at least some parts of their business. Reviewing employment agreements (or implementing them if need be) is a great place to start. I have also strongly encouraged my dealer clients to implement compliance officers, or teams in the case of larger dealers and dealer groups, to be responsible for ensuring compliance with the MVDA especially in terms of advertising and sales process compliance. It is also very important to maintain strong training, and have in place clear policies, so that everyone is aware of their respective roles and obligations. Now is not the time to cut corners or reduce vigilance in terms of meeting or exceeding your obligations under the MVDA. Cutting corners only leads to mistakes and bad practices, which more often than not can lead to OMVIC concerns. I wish you the very best in the months ahead. ■

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DETECTING AND AVOIDING FRAUD IN THE USED CARS SALES INDUSTRY By Joanne Walmsley

SCAMMED, BAMBOOZLED, DUPED, SWINDLED; no matter which word is

used, all fraudulent schemes are acts of deceit and inevitably result in a loss for the victim. Con artists once relied on one-to-one contact to charm people and put their scheme into action. While these types of scams still exist, modern day con artists often work remotely behind computers. Ex-con man Frank Abagnale, made famous in the movie ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ says technology may have changed the ways scammers operate, but it has not changed how scams work.” Whether a scam targets an individual or a business, Abagnale says there are one or two red flags in almost every scam.

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He recommends to always be skeptical about unsolicited phone calls, texts, or emails in which a request is made for: • Private, personal or company information. Be aware that Fraudsters are masters at obtaining credit card security codes and banking information and they know how to use every trick in the book to wheedle this information out of you. Abagnale advises, to not let your guard down, be vigilant in not giving out any private information. • Money that is needed urgently. Furthermore, should the communication state that cash is not necessary but pre-paid gift cards or credit cards will do, you should be on immediate alert. Again remember,


DETECTING & AVOIDING FRAUD | JOANNE WALMSLEY fraudsters are good at what they do and will be unyielding in their quest to get you to agree to their demands. Abagnale suggests you try not to feel pressured into immediate agreement and action to satisfy the fraudster. Instead, stall or hang up and do some investigating to determine if the request is legitimate. It is unfortunate but true that fraud schemes targeting businesses including those involved in used car sales are on the rise and more and more people in the industry are losing money by becoming victims. Clearly this must change. Those in the used car sales industry must be more vigilant and do better at protecting themselves against fraudulent actions. Numerous organizations and several departments in the Canadian government have identified some common scams and tips to use to fight back.

BUSINESS GRANTS & LOANS SCAM Scenario While searching online for sources of financing for small and medium sized business you come across a website that looks like it might be a governmental department designed to help businesses access loans and grants. The page design, text font and layout including the inclusion of the Canadian flag is convincing. But, if you read the content carefully you discover the site promises special access to government funding programs … for a fee. It is not a department of the government at all.

Do Not Waste Your Money! Services and information about government grants and loans are offered at no cost via departments or agencies of the government. Nor can anybody guarantee your business would receive such funding.

Tips • Be skeptical and exercise vigilance by carefully examining the company’s website and any ads. • Research the company before subscribing to any newsletter, sending money, or providing credit card or bank account details. • Seek legitimate information about small and medium-sized business start-up and financing options at the Canada Business Network (https://www.canada. ca/en/services/business.html.) • Call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) for general information on Government of Canada programs and services.

DIRECTORY SCAM Scenario You answer the phone to hear a pitch from a business directory supplier. They likely mention that the company has purchased a directory listing in the past and are just ensuring the information in the listing is accurate and up to date. The voice on the other end of the line sounds sincere and you believe the caller is telling the truth about the company previously purchasing a listing. You readily provide the company’s address and contact information. Later you receive a confirmation call in which you agree to purchase the directory listing. A few weeks pass and you receive an invoice for several hundred dollars for online advertising. Apparently, you agreed to this listing. But you disagree. After all, an online directory is of little commercial value, is not searchable, and offers nothing better than a standard online search engine. When you call to dispute the charge, you are told they have a recording of you agreeing to the services. They have, of course, changed the wording in the

DEFINITIONS SPEAR PHISHING is when fraudsters have a specific target in mind: they are looking for one specific piece of information. WHALING occurs when fraudsters try to catch big targets like organization leaders. VISHING refers to phishing by voice or over the phone. SMISHING refers to SMS texts phishing.

services description, and they threaten to send your file to a collection agency. Truly disgruntled you do not pay the invoice. This results in you receiving aggressive collections calls claiming that your credit rating will be affected. However, as the invoice was not from a legitimate source or your usual supplier, they have no right to report you to a credit bureau.

Tips Be skeptical and do not provide any information until you have had a chance to investigate the legitimacy of the company. For instance, you can: • Hang up and call your usual contact to confirm if a request is real. • Ask for the company contact information so you can investigate if they are an actual supplier. • Ask to see a written contract and thoroughly inspect it, along with any invoices, before making a payment. • Check with colleagues to find out if a listing had been purchased in the past. • Check the Better Business Bureau's website to help determine if you should do business with the company.

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DETECTING & AVOIDING FRAUD | JOANNE WALMSLEY • If the caller claims that they will report you to a credit bureau, ask which one they belong to and then check on them.

to report you to credit bureaus and local business associations to damage your reputation.

revealing sensitive business information like passwords, credit card numbers or banking information.

• If you are threatened verbally or in writing, call your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (https:// antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/ index-eng.htm.)

Tips

Phishing scams can occur via email, social media, telephone, or text. The scammer will pretend to represent a financial institution, service provider, client, supplier, prospective business partner, or even a government organization.

OFFICE SUPPLY SCAM Scenario Picture this. You or your buyers receive an email or call from someone who is supposedly your business's regular supplier of photocopy toner, light bulbs, or some other office supply. The scammer might add to their supposed legitimacy by inferring there is a government requirement to replace 'expired' products, such as a first aid kit for example. They might also add they are contracted by government to be a supplier and if you do not comply by replacing the product you could be fined. Office supply fraudsters will ask you to verify contact information, banking details, the person to be invoiced or other information associated with ordering supplies. In the case of emails, they could provide you with new banking details and request that future payments for supplies be made to this "new" account. Sophisticated fraudsters will later place a second or third phone call to gather even more information or try to mislead your colleagues into believing that you or a manager agreed to placing an order and that everything is already settled; they only need payment. Whether reached by phone or email these fraudsters are very convincing. A week or so later you receive an invoice, with or without the supplies. You refuse to pay, which results in your receiving aggressive collections calls threatening

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As in the directory scam above, be skeptical and do not provide any information until you investigate the legitimacy of the company. For example, you can: • Hang up and call your usual supplier contact to confirm that the request is legitimate. • Confirm that the caller represents an actual supplier – ask for their business contact information. • Verify information about a lawyer or law office with the provincial law society if you receive threatening collection calls or letters supposedly originating from a lawyer. • Before making any payment, inspect invoices thoroughly. Ensure, for example, the invoice layout and supplier company name and logo are what you are accustomed to seeing without any variation in font style size or colour. If the invoice is noticeably different than what you are used to seeing, contact your regular supplier to ask if they have revised their invoice. • Ensure that employees in your business are trained to recognize, reject, and report scams.

PHISHING, SPEAR PHISHING, WHALING, VISHING, SMISHING… Scenario There are many fraudulent phishing schemes. They all refer to the practice of connecting with an individual or business in order to lure the person contacted into

Tips Be wary of unsolicited emails, text messages or phone calls from individuals or organizations. Especially those prompting you to click on an attachment or link as they could lead to a facsimile of a page you are familiar with - your email login page for example. It may look legitimate, but it is in fact an extremely convincing imitation designed to steal your information. • Do check embedded links in emails by hovering your mouse over them to verify the address. • Do not assume that all links starting with "https:" – where "s" used to mean "secure" – are in fact safe. Scammers have learned and are now using those websites to lure you. • Do not click on any attachments as they could contain malware.


DETECTING & AVOIDING FRAUD | JOANNE WALMSLEY • Do not share attachments unless you created them or know the sender and know they are safe. • Do not reply to suspicious emails, as this only confirms to spammers that your email address is functional, making it a potential target. • Do flag unsolicited or suspicious emails as "spam," then delete them. Most email service providers can use this to refine their spam filter. If the sender emails you again it will go directly to your trash.

FAKE CEO SCAM (AKA THE BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE) Scenario This scam is a type of spear phishing in which fraudsters impersonate your company's CEO or another senior employee using a legitimate-looking email. To create an email that appears legitimate they could have lifted information from your company’s website or hacked into your company’s email system to get information about key employees, clients, suppliers, and other information. No matter the method used, the fraudster must possess and use knowledge of software engineering and psychology to bypass the normal safety controls and

procedures a company has put in place. There are many different variations of this scam. For instance, a fraudster might pose as: • CEO and target financial employees to enact money transfers. • CEO and convince you that a supplier contract is in danger if an electronic payment to a specific person or business is not made immediately.

• Have an expert examine your business computer systems to make sure they are secure with up-to-date antivirus software and strong employee passwords. This will protect email accounts from hackers. • Learn more about the various "spear phishing" scams that have been in use recently and ensure your employees are also made aware of them. In this way everyone will be able spot them and refuse to engage with the scammer.

• an important supplier who has not been paid and is threatening to escalate the issue.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SCAM

Tips

Scenario

• Stop. Remember this is an unsolicited email, text, or phone call. Take a second look at the email or text or try to recall the phone conversation to assess if anything seems suspicious.

You receive a letter or email that appears to come from a federal agency like the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). It could contain images of patents or trademarks, contact information, registration numbers and other information that is publicly available. All this specific information makes the reminders appear authentic. You read on.

• Scrutinize the sender's email address. It may be similar to the real one, with only one or two different characters so it is important to look very closely. For example, a legitimate email address might be mommy@wallamail.com but a scammer could use rnommy@wallamail. com. • Ensure the email, text or phone request is genuine by checking with the supposed person who made contact. • In situations where a request for a money transfer has been made, ensure the company has a standard process that requires multiple approvals. • If an executive has sent a wire transfer request by email, double check with that individual in person to ensure it is a legitimate request. Do not double check by replying to the email. • Re-visit your company’s web page and social media sites to ensure the amount of employee information available is limited. This will thwart fraudsters who try to find potential victims by searching company web and social media sites.

The text states that your business' intellectual property (IP) rights must be renewed. It then asks for payment in exchange for renewing your IP rights. Often, the scammer will threaten that failure to submit payment by a certain date will result in you paying a higher fee to renew your IP rights. The text might also include the fact that the sender is not CIPO. But, as the scammer doesn’t want the recipient to know this, they will not make it easy to see. One trick a scammer might use is to bury this information in small text at the bottom of the letter or email.

Tips • Check the sender’s address. Emails from CIPO come from an address ending in "@canada.ca"; letters originate from 50 Victoria St., Gatineau, QC, K1A 0C9. If the notice comes from elsewhere, it is not from CIPO. • Know what you owe. The fees requested

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DETECTING & AVOIDING FRAUD | JOANNE WALMSLEY in fake solicitations are usually much higher than CIPO’s fees. Check CIPO’s list of fees at https://www.ic.gc. ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/ eng/h_wr00023.html. • Intellectual property rights need to be renewed at varying time intervals. For example: trademarks every 15 years and patent maintenance fees every year. Know when your (IP) rights need to be renewed. For more information consult CIPO’s list of fees and renewal periods at https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_ wr00023.html. • Always read any fine print closely. It may confirm that the solicitation does not come from CIPO. If still unsure, contact CIPO to confirm that the solicitation is legitimate. • If you have received an email or correspondence regarding the renewal of your trademark or patent, verify that it is legitimate by contacting the CIPO Client Service Centre at 1-866-997-1936, or by email at ic.contact-contact.ic@ canada.ca.

MALWARE AND RANSOMWARE Scenario Malware is short for malicious software. It is a computer program that is designed to compromise or damage the normal operation of your computer or network. Malware can infect your computer by downloading email attachments, clicking links in emails, visiting less reputable websites, or downloading music, videos, or programs. It can also infect your computer via pop-up ads. Malware is a security issue and can have devastating results as it can send spam, access your computer, find personal information, disable your security settings, or re-install itself after you remove it.

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Ransomware on the other hand, can block access to your computer by locking your screen or encrypting your information while scammers demand payment to unlock it.

Tips • It is advisable to protect your computer and network with security software and not let this protection lapse. • Backing up data externally is also advised for both personal and business computers. ‘Get Cyber Safe’ (https:// www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/en/home) provides additional information about protecting your computer from malware and ransomware.

CARD NOT PRESENT MERCHANDISE OR SERVICE SALES SCAM Scenario Consumers are making more and more purchases online whether it be groceries, furniture, spa services or a used car. Scammers are using this type of purchase to their advantage. In this type of scam, the scammer orders a product or service by phone, email, fax or through the vendor’s website. Imagine an order for a used vehicle in your inventory has been placed on your website. You review the order. All information has been recorded including credit card information and indication that the credit card can be charged the full sale price of the vehicle ordered. Everything seems on the up and up, so you process the transaction and the vehicle is delivered to the purchaser. What you do not know though is that the scammer has used a compromised or stolen credit card to make the purchase. Fast forward a few weeks and the real cardholder discovers the charge and disputes it. The merchant receives a

chargeback and is responsible for paying back the amount charged on the card. Now your business is short a vehicle AND the purchase price of that vehicle.

Tips • Always be wary of sales where the buyer and the credit card are not present. • Never process a credit card payment and deliver merchandise or services until investigating the card is not compromised or stolen. A thorough investigation to verify the legitimate cardholder’s name and address and proof that the card has not been stolen or compromised may take some time. But, even if the time lag in processing the payment results in a lost sale, your business is further ahead than if you delivered the merchandise. In conclusion, it pays to be wary and vigilant and know that fraudsters are skilled manipulators who prey on human frailties. If a red flag goes up, follow your instincts, and investigate the authenticity of a claim, request, or purchase. Ensure all employees understand the importance of exercising vigilance and are aware of the types of fraudulent schemes circulating that could pose a threat to the business. When considering how damaging falling victim to a fraudulent scheme can be, it is highly recommended that all individuals and businesses adopt the slogan from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:

RECOGNIZE, REJECT, AND REPORT FRAUD. ■


IT’S AN UNPARALLED NON-PRIME MARKET By Connie Motz

WITH CANADA’S COVID-19 CASES

surpassing 200,000 (at the time of writing), we’re officially in the second wave of the pandemic. For many, the financial struggle to stay afloat is more than real. An unparalleled non-prime marketplace has been produced by COVID-19 where those who thought they were financially secure have been faced with extraordinary challenges as current and potential vehicle owners. Automotive defaults have risen consistently in the U.S. in recent months, according to Wilton Wong,

Vertical Market Leader, Automotive and Insurance, Strategy & Innovation of Equifax Canada. What does this fluid COVID-19 scenario mean for your dealership? While the pandemic effects will still be felt in the automotive industry three years down the road according to Canadian Black Book (CBB), there’s also an ongoing opportunity for non-prime sales. CBB projects the used-vehicle supply will increase in the coming months due to a greater number of repossessions and lease returns.

The Non-Prime Sym-Tech Advantage Derek Sloan, President of Sym-Tech Dealer Services, a partner to the retail automotive industry for more than 45 years, says, “Special financing near/ non-prime represents nearly 30% of the Canadian automotive buying market and is a significant business opportunity for dealerships in Canada. Dealers who are seeking to leverage a non-prime strategy for their business will need to be fully committed to executing a non-prime experience for their customers.”

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NON PRIME MARKET | CONNIE MOTZ done correctly, that customer becomes loyal, and the chances of another future sale, with the same customer, increases.”

Sym-Tech’s OMVIC automotive course certified field team trains dealerships by showing, not telling. “We sit in the chair with our dealers, post in-class training, to provide ongoing in-dealership support to ensure their success. We work with dealerships looking to adopt a customercentric approach, which is faster, more efficient, transparent, and puts the customer and their true needs first. At the end of the day, this needs to be motivated by a dealer’s unwavering commitment to ongoing training,” states Sloan. Sloan has noted two common mistakes dealers make when addressing a nonprime customer: • Not identifying a non-prime customer early in the sales process • Dealership personnel aren’t properly trained to handle the needs of a nonprime customer Sym-Tech works with dealerships to implement strategies that support nonprime customer needs. This includes everything from working with sales staff to investing the time in building a customer relationship, to finance and insurance professionals identifying needs and educating customers on their available options. Sloan states, “The number one tip I can offer for dealerships to be successful in non-prime sales is to commit to a nonprime business plan. The plan should involve a credit re-establishing plan for customers that involve a sales process focused on the non-prime customer. A part of the non-prime sales process needs to be embedded into their current sales process to establish a non-prime customer early in the process such as a pre-approval program and using qualifying questions during your sales process. If a non-prime sales process is

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Sym-Tech Dealer Services offers Learning & Development Centres in Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary where extensive curriculums are tailored to support the needs of the dealerships’ F&I, Sales, and Service departments. Aimed at providing dealerships with insight, understanding, and processes that drive improved and consistent performance, Sloan advises, ‘If a dealership could only take one course, I recommend our intensive 5-day Maximizing Performance for Business Managers, Part 1. The course demonstrates a non-confrontational, transparent, and compliant sales process, which increases dealership profitability and improves customer satisfaction. It’s suited for General Managers, Dealer Principals, Business Managers, Sales Managers, and Non-Prime Managers.” Actionable Advice from a Pro Born from the desire to truly help people with less than perfect credit to purchase a vehicle in a fair and ethical way that’s profitable for the dealership, automotive industry veteran Kim MacPherson, Founder and President of Sell it Smart hands-on non-prime training says “Sell it Smart is a response from my personal experience in the automobile retail business as a sales professional and experiencing what it’s like to work with a customer and sell them a vehicle only to find out that that customer isn’t approved. Sell it Smart is a system to teach dealers how to think differently about the way that they retail vehicles. Traditional vehicle retailing only caters to 60% of the population in Canada having a credit score higher than 650.” MacPherson continues, “Dealers today are losing 20% of their business in some cases because of such a high percentage

of less than perfect credit customers visiting their dealerships. The number one thing every dealership needs to implement right now is to make sure that every sales professional, whether they’re on the phone, online, or in-person with their customer, does a full and complete interview with their customer before they move to vehicle selection. The only way to professionally serve less than perfect credit customers is if that customer is caught early in the sales process before vehicle selection by the sales staff and can be redirected to the finance office prior to any conversation around vehicle payments, rates terms, and trade values. If management at a very high level is not only on board but understands the non-prime process then this will become a culture in the dealership.” MacPherson explains the secret of Sell it Smart non-prime training when a customer asks about payments. The initial response goes something like this: “No problem, I will get that information for you right now, let’s pick a vehicle you’d like me to quote. To do the math I’ll need to know what interest rate you qualify for. Do you know?” But the secret sauce is the deep dive that comes next. MacPherson offers this advice in response to dealing with a credit-challenged customer: “A perfect credit customer says ‘What’s the best rate you have to offer me?’”


NON PRIME MARKET | CONNIE MOTZ “A less than perfect credit customer says ‘I’m not sure’ to which you can answer - "why don’t we find out", that way I can give you accurate figures?” “A bad credit customer says ’It’s bad, it’s high, my current rate is 20% plus.’ To which you should answer “That’s no problem, we’re here just like mortgage brokers and my job is to help you find out what you can get approved for in terms of money and the interest rate, then I match that information to some vehicles that meet your needs and any budget I need to be respectful of. How does that sound?” MacPherson concludes, “This is 70% of the non-prime sale right here. With this information, when you structure deals correctly you handle negative equity. You’ve built a relationship. You know if the customer needs cosigners. You know the type of vehicle your customer wants and a payment they will say 'Yes' to. You can then have a conversation with them around protecting their credit with warranties and insurance all prior to vehicle selection.” Sell it Smart works with dealership teams as they interact with less than perfect credit customers by supporting them through online courses and providing one-on-one coaching. “We support our dealers with a proven process of training for their entire team including marketing solutions and inventory management advice, as well as to help them set up their department with the right tools, lenders, and inventory so they can be successful in the non-prime marketplace,” states MacPherson.

Attention to Detail Wong concurs, “It’s recommended that dealers get to know their customers financial situation as much as possible to understand and empathize with any financial difficulties that have been faced. One way to help achieve this is for a dealer to pull an Equifax credit report (with permissible purpose and consumer consent) to help them evaluate the consumer’s credit profile. This can help a dealer align the consumer with the best lender option(s) available and help them secure a vehicle.” “Equifax Canada can offer both remote and in-person credit bureau training for dealerships, covering topics such as credit bureau operations, credit score and file characteristics, and how to effectively read the credit report itself. In partnership with Dealertrack Canada, Equifax Canada has launched a new business intelligence tool in 2020, called Auto Target Marketing, and was designed specifically for Canadian dealerships. Subscribed dealers will exclusively be able to view both consumer credit (inclusive of non-prime) and vehicle data, at a postal code level. This access can help dealers more effectively target consumers via marketing and is designed to help increase sales conversion,” states Wong. Liliane Dubois, General Manager of Dealertrack at Cox Automotive Canada, says “Our data shows that prime is seeing a year-over-year growth rate of 2% on average versus non-prime with a yearover-year growth rate of 7%. We also can

see that the percentage of non-prime loans in the business has increased since 2015 from 11% to 13%. The ratio of prime to non-prime in 2019 was 7.5 to 1 and, when excluding the subvented rates, the prime to non-prime ratio is approximately 5 to 1. So we typically see approximately 20% of all the booked loans booked at non-prime rates.” Do You Have a Non-prime Finance Team in Place? Establishing a dedicated in-house nonprime finance team will help ensure you’re ready to effectively deal with credit-challenged customers. Designed to help dealers achieve an immediate increase to their gross profit and customer satisfaction, Sym-Tech offers a Special Finance course that according to Sloan teaches: • credit consulting responsibilities during the sales process and the benefits for the customer with special financing needs • how to apply a client-centric sales process to pre-approve clients for special financing • specific steps to follow to receive funding from lenders before delivery of the vehicle • how to determine and source appropriate inventory for the special finance customer • how to use lender-specific guidelines and criteria to build a strong case with lenders to get clients approved • proven lead-generation strategies and ways to measure marketing activities The Sym-Tech Field Team, one of the largest in the industry, “conducts monthly dealer check-ins to provide post-class

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NON PRIME MARKET | CONNIE MOTZ training and support that drives dealership profitability and increases customer satisfaction,” says Sloan. The Need to Change With the Times In this challenging, unprecedented COVID-19 time, it’s important to understand consumer behaviour, while maintaining access to any and all available revenue streams. “The goal is to find the type of vehicle your customer wants and a payment they will say 'Yes' to. Then you can have a conversation with them around protecting their credit with warranties and insurance, all prior to vehicle selection. I can tell you from being an industry trainer in non-prime since 2005, this is the first step everyone chooses to skip. If they want an easier solution, this is the secret,” says MacPherson. “Change is difficult for most people serving a less than perfect credit customer and a dealership today requires not only a finance manager to learn the skill of non-prime, but the nonprime problem dealerships face can only be solved if everyone participates in learning how to serve a less than perfect credit customer. If management at a very high level is not only on board but understands the non-prime process, then this will become a culture in the dealership. However, if management is not willing to learn a different way to lead their team, then it will not be successful,” states MacPherson.

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“Most dealerships, in my opinion, haven’t had enough pain, loss of sales, or bad reviews from clients to really know how important it is that everyone learns a different way to retail vehicles. Traditionally selling vehicles by getting the customer emotional on the vehicle first only works with a perfect credit customer,” concludes MacPherson. Pre-qualifying potential buyers helps to avoid wasting the sales department’s time, a loss of profit, and creating upset customers who can’t get the vehicle they want in the end. Non-prime training is a win-win. ■

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THE OLD CAR DETECTIVE 1959 MONARCH BUILT ONLY IN CANADA

WORLD WAR TWO ENDED IN 1945 with

no new cars built during the previous three years of combat. Ford of Canada looked ahead to the postwar car market and knew a big demand would have to be filled.

To meet this demand, Ford started two new series of dealerships all across the country. Mercury-Lincoln dealerships were given the new Mercury 114, basically a Ford with Mercury trim and named for its 114-inch wheelbase, giving Mercury-Lincoln dealers a car to sell in the low-price field. At the same time, Ford dealers were given the new Monarch, basically a Mercury with special trim, to sell in the

By Bill Sherk

medium-price field. These two distinct dealership lines increased the number of dealers for Ford of Canada by 58% compared to before the war. The Monarch name for the new car was a perfect choice, emphasizing the close relationship between Canada and Britain during wartime. From 1946 to 1948, the Monarch and Mercury made use of the same body shell as Ford, with an extra four inches ahead of the cowl, bringing the wheelbase up to 118 inches. When the 1949 Monarch and Mercury were unveiled in the spring of 1948, they created a styling sensation because

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they no longer shared their body shell with Ford. Now they had moved upscale with the same body shell as Lincoln. No Monarchs were built for 1958 to help the sale of Edsel in its first year of production. But Edsel sales were a disappointment and the Monarch was brought back for 1959 to give Ford dealers a popular car to sell in the medium-price field. The revived Monarch was named Monarch Mark II, proudly displayed on the grille frame with ads describing the revived Monarch as “the Mark of distinction on Canadian roads.”

1959 Monarch featured tailfins in keeping with an industry-wide trend in the late 1950s. Note gold crown on trunk lid.

Three series were available, including the new top-of-the-line Sceptre, the biggest Monarch ever. It was also the most powerful of all Monarchs with a 430 cubic inch V8 producing 345 horsepower. The other two series were Lucerne and Richelieu. The Monarch was built only in Canada. The Monarch outsold the Edsel by two to one in 1959, but Monarch sales were still down compared to pre-Edsel sales. The one-year absence of the Monarch may have prompted potential buyers to wonder how long it would be available.

Wraparound windshield lets in plenty of light to the Monarch interior.

As it turned out, the last Monarch was built in 1961, because the price of the Ford Galaxie was entering the medium-price field and it made no sense to have two cars in the same price range in the same showroom. Joe Romanowski of Windsor, Ontario, found his 1959 Monarch Lucerne 2-door hardtop near Niagara Falls in 1993 and brought it home. It was sold new in Tillsonburg, and has a radio, heater, and rear-seat speaker. It now joins Joe’s 1960 Monarch 2-door hardtop bought new by Joe’s dad from Webster Motors, a Ford-Monarch dealer at that time in downtown Windsor. ■

44 | THE ONTARIO DEALER

Pride of ownership is behind this sign displayed in the rear window of Joe Romanowski’s 1959 Monarch Lucerne 2-door hardtop.


RECALLS, YOUR INVENTORY AND YOUR CUSTOMERS By Chris Chase

VEHICLE SAFETY RECALLS are a key

thread in the fabric of Canada’s auto industry, with thousands issued every year to deal with everything from major manufacturing flaws to information labels displaying incorrect information. Canada’s automakers and the nation’s road safety regulator, Transport Canada, work together to alert drivers when a new recall comes out that applies to their vehicle. But that process doesn’t always work as planned. Car manufacturers send recall notices to the last known owner of a car or truck, which could leave a recent usedvehicle buyer in the dark about a critical safety recall. Although federal and Ontario regulations leave it up to that buyer to seek out recall information, a dealer who sells a vehicle with an open recall could be leaving

themselves open to legal action brought by a buyer who feels their personal safety was compromised because they didn’t know their vehicle had a defect. According to a 2015 dealer bulletin issued by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC), that organization agrees that it is up to dealers to disclose to potential buyers “any material fact about a vehicle’s . . . history or condition to a purchaser,” and that “outstanding recalls related to serious issues of vehicle safety meet this test and, therefore, when possible, should be disclosed in writing on the bill of sale.” In March 2019 OMVIC launched an education campaign to help its member dealers ensure they make those disclosures and avoid running afoul of the Ontario Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and, according

to a press release issued at the time, “build more trust in the industry.” Automakers issue recalls under the authority of the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act, (MVSA). But while the issuance of recalls is a federal matter, Transport Canada says all laws that govern the sale and mechanical fitness of vehicles on the road fall under provincial authority. The agency says it’s the responsibility of a car or truck’s owner to have recall work done on a vehicle. But George Iny, President of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), an auto industry organization that represents the interests of Canadian car owners, believes a more concrete solution is necessary to protect both Ontario’s used car buyers and the dealers who sell them.

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RECALLS, INVENTORY & CUSTOMERS | ANGELA WEST “The possibility of a problem is remote, but it’s not theoretical,” said Iny. “Our concern is that if a vehicle were to experience a recall-related failure – for example, it catches fire while it’s parked and it burns down your garage and the bedroom above the garage – that would probably be a negligence issue on the dealer’s part in particular, as well as the manufacturer.” Iny says Ontario’s UCDA is the only Canadian stakeholder that does anything to protect its member dealers from potential legal action, with a note on its Used Vehicle Bill of Sale encouraging the buyer to register their vehicle with the manufacturer. “It’s something we consider to be rather timid,” said Iny. “(As a buyer), if you read your agreement – and most people don’t – and followed that advice, you would find out once you registered and be told right away about an open recall.” According to the APA, the onus to put in place a more specific requirement regarding the disclosure of recalls rests with organizations like OMVIC and Ontario’s UCDA, but suggests that such a change faces a lot of resistance from within the industry. “The main reason it hasn’t happened is that we’ve always done it this way, and that’s not a good enough answer,” Iny said. “We’d be happy to see a large province like Ontario

(mandate the disclosure of open recalls), because Ontario is a beacon for the rest of Canada when it comes to car legislation.” However, the APA stops short of recommending such a rule be written into legislation, because such a law could be inflexible and heavy-handed, resulting in vehicles with open recalls being taken off the market until they were repaired.

for a year waiting for recall parts,” said Iny. “That would not only be bad for dealers, but it would also mean that consumers wanting to trade those cars would find those cars were unsellable. I’d rather it was just done voluntarily.” ■

“If you were to ban the sale of vehicles with open recalls, there are some situations where your vehicle could be off the market

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46 | THE ONTARIO DEALER


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• keeping booked appointments on time • paperwork that could be signed remotely rather than at a desk • providing more information at time of delivery

WANT TO KNOW WHAT CONSUMERS THINK ABOUT BUYING A CAR DURING THE PANDEMIC? THE SHORT-TERM FUTURE of retail vehicle sales in Ontario may still be unclear, but one thing is clear: consumer confidence is the key driver for Ontario’s economy and to the automotive sector’s success.

Ontario’s dealers and salespeople recently participated in surveys from OMVIC that provided valuable information for the Ontario government as it plans how best to build a lasting economic recovery, but OMVIC thought it would also be prudent to ask consumers for their insights on vehicle purchasing in these difficult times. Surveying consumers In August, OMVIC collaborated with the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a consumer protection organization, to survey Ontario vehicle buyers who’d purchased a vehicle during the pandemic. The survey sought information about car-buyer behaviour and their views on the retail sales environment to better understand their motives and concerns.

It was also interesting to learn that 94 per cent of respondents did observe changes (e.g. plexiglass partitions) inside franchise dealerships and 82 per cent noticed changes at used car stores. Are shopping patterns changing? Eight per cent of the surveyed car buyers reported buying their vehicle remotely, never visiting a dealership - only 20 per cent visited three or more. And 79 per cent said the pandemic did not change their decision about what vehicle to buy while 21 per cent reported their decision was changed due to factors such as vehicle availability and job stability.

And the survey said…

What do these numbers mean?

Consumers are very much wary and worried for their health and safety when buying cars. That was loud and clear. Many chose to bypass traditional car-buying routes, like visiting multiple dealerships or taking a test drive before making a decision.

For starters, Ontario’s automotive sales industry has an uphill task ahead: it needs to help consumers build back confidence. According to the 316 Ontario consumers who responded to the APA survey, that includes ensuring meaningful health/safety protocols are in place and diligently enforcing them, performing sanitization protocols in front of the customer before a test drive, embracing online sales, utilizing video chats as a sales tool (including for the business/finance office), crafting creative promotional ideas and communicating directly to the consumer.

For instance, almost half of the new vehicle shoppers (46 per cent) took a pass on a test drive and more than a third of used vehicle shoppers (38 per cent) also skipped the test drive. As well: • 19 per cent wanted more safety precautions at dealerships (including use of masks, more social distancing, solo test drives) • 13 per cent wanted a “better buying process” that could include: • improved communication before an in-person visit

While the consumer survey was commissioned to assist the Ontario government’s economic recovery planning, OMVIC felt sharing the findings and consumer insights with the dealer community might also help with sales planning. OMVIC remains confident the collective strength and entrepreneurial spirt of all those working in this sector will re-vitalize the industry.

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