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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Feds Step Up Retail Automotive Financing Inquiries


Most dealers are aware that the federal Justice Department is paying extra-close attention to the ways and means of automotive financing. This week brings more news of the department’s interest in potential racial disparities in retail loans among captive and non-captive lenders, with J.P. Morgan Chase acknowledging it’s also been asked to provide regulators details [...]

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Memories From The Mountain Carry On


I just received more photos from my recent No Barriers ski adventure with Erik Weihenmayer. Their arrival, via e-mail and a Dropbox link, reminded me of how far we’ve come since our family ski trips when I was a kid: You’d drop your film off at a local camera shop or drug store, and wait [...]

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An Insight From Air Traffic Control Automation


  I recently heard a National Public Radio story that sounds kinda crazy. In Sweden, they’re landing airplanes without the benefit of an on-the-ground air traffic controller. The person who informs pilots of local wind/other conditions sits in a tower 100 miles away. But thanks to a sophisticated camera/sensor system, he’s apparently got a reliable [...]

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Rethinking The Problem Of Serving Subprime Customers


Industry analysts estimate that subprime customers account for about 25 percent of used vehicle financing deals in the past year. With this stat as a backdrop, many dealers are eyeing the subprime segment in the current year as they extend their goals for used vehicle market share and sales. To achieve this goal, some dealers [...]

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A Different Kind Of Ski Lesson: A No Barriers Approach To Business


I’m still reliving and re-appreciating last week’s No Barriers ski adventure in Beaver Creek, Colo. Over the weekend, as I was replaying the experience in my mind, I found myself asking questions again and again: Why did the entire experience feel a little like magic? What made this adventure so special, beyond giving me the [...]

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