Factory Pricing Decision Will Test Dealership Efficiencies


Here we go again. Another factory messing with dealer margins. This time it’s Fiat Chrysler, according to an Automotive News article. The upshot: The factory is raising invoice prices by 1 percent, while leaving its Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) unchanged. The end result, of course, is less available front-end margin for dealers. Such is [...]

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3 Ways To Confront The Boogeyman In Used Vehicles


A dealer recently took issue with my assertion that the used vehicle business has been suffering from margin compression. “Dale, we’re averaging $1,400 per vehicle in front-end gross,” the dealer says. “That’s a little less than we made seven to 10 years ago, but it’s not a lot less.” The dealer’s comment underscores what I’d [...]

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Used Vehicle Recall Regulation: A Future Part Of Life For Dealers?


A recent Detroit News article suggests dealers may have to worry more about recalls than they do today. The article discusses the Obama administration efforts to extend recall responsibility to used vehicles, and require dealers to fix any open recalls before they retail a unit. Currently, federal law requires dealers to address recalls for new [...]

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How Factories Make New Vehicle Pricing Challenges Even Worse


Most dealers would agree that today’s typical customer is far more price-aware than those of previous generations. This awareness stands to reason: A vehicle purchase is a big-ticket item. No one wants to pay too much. And, the Internet makes it easier than ever for buyers to get a sense of what a fair deal could [...]

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3 Ways Dealers Work To Minimize Inventory Age In Used Vehicles


It wasn’t all that long ago when most dealers really only worried about one or two things in their used vehicle departments—the average front-end gross profit, and the number of cars they’d sold to date in a given month. As a result, the used vehicle manager would also focus on the same things. On occasion, [...]

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A “Connection Commerce” Challenge For Dealers


Most dealers understand that today’s car business is an Internet business. They know that new and used vehicles aren’t really for sale unless they’re posted online. The best dealers also recognize that they see more customers when online vehicle listings offer competitive, market-based pricing, and their merchandising (e.g., descriptions, photos, videos) tells a compelling story [...]

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Three Pointers To Right-Size Your Springtime Inventory


Earlier this morning, I heard a robin singing outside our house. I listened a bit and smiled. The robin’s basically making his play for the summer. Hopefully, his song will attract a suitable mate. They’ll start a family and we’ll have a few more birds around here. But it also occurred to me that the [...]

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3 Ways Efficiency-Focused Dealers Will Gain Advantage In New Vehicles


It’d be safe to bet that 2015 will be a good year for dealers. The forecasts are rosy: The consensus among analysts is that dealers will likely retail around 17 million new vehicles this year, a tally the industry hasn’t seen since 2006. Generally speaking, you could say that all boats will rise for dealers [...]

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Nagging Doubts About Net Neutrality


Several dealers have asked me for my take on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote last week to treat broadband Internet providers like utilities. First, I’ll note that I’m not the most impartial observer. My employer, Cox Automotive, is owned by Cox Enterprises, which provides broadband services through its Cox Communications division. I’m not involved [...]

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A Unique and Wise Industry Voice Goes Silent


I heard the news last week about the sudden passing of Art Spinella, head of CNW Marketing Research, from congestive heart failure at the age of 68. Spinella had a unique view of the industry, and his monthly reports about vehicle buyer preferences and market supply/demand dynamics in new and used vehicles were must-reads for [...]

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