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THE GOOD FIGHT: Paul John, executive director of the Georgia Independent Automobile Dealers Association, discusses how the association fought against state legislation that would have raised the taxes on used-car purchases.

Latest News

CU Direct Partners with IMS

CU Direct has announced Inventory Command Center (ICC) as its exclusive vehicle inventory management partner.  
As a result, ICC is integrated into the CU Direct platform, helping to facilitate near-real-time display of more than 2.5 million new and used vehicle listings on CU Direct’s AutoSMART automobile shopping/buying site.  There are 900 credit unions and 12,700 auto dealerships nationwide participating on the AutoSMART platform.
ICC’s Command Center is a service offering that enables its enterprise partners to more easily manage vehicle inventory from their dealer partners.  The Command Center seamlessly brings together different data sets to create inventory records that are normalized and then accessible through an API.  

Infotainment Distracts Drivers 

New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message. Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research. With one in three U.S. adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.
AAA has conducted this new research to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to examine the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles. Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road.
Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. When driving at 25 mph, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation—all while distracted from the important task of driving. Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.
None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while 23 systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers.

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CDK Partners with CarGurus

CDK Global announced a strategic relationship with CarGurus.
Through this collaboration, dealers using CDK websites will gain exposure for their inventory on as well as leads from CarGurus shoppers. In addition, CDK will leverage CarGurus’ anonymized; aggregated data in its suite of automotive digital marketing personalization solutions to enhance CDK’s ability to create personalized shopping experiences and cross-site consumer behavior attribution.
Car dealers with CDK websites will now be able to target personalized content on their own websites to interested shoppers who previously visited CarGurus – even if they never looked at a specific car on the dealer’s site.

Social Media Marketing Takes Constant Attention

The replacement of vehicles lost in the recent hurricanes has started and the increased demand combined with the decrease in supply should drive up used-car prices.

There are three reasons why small businesses use social media, according to digital consultancy Clutch: its cost effectiveness, it’s popular and it allows them to target customers.

Missing from this list is the investment in time small business owners, such as car dealers, have to put into their social media marketing.

And by social media, most people these days are really talking about Facebook. A Clutch survey found Facebook to be the dominant platform for both consumers and small business owners.

Clutch recommends that if small business owners only have the time or resources for one channel, then the best option is likely Facebook.

That is the strategy of Kelly Midgett, owner of Kelly’s Automotive in Manteo, N.C.

“I wouldn’t be on Facebook if I didn’t have a car lot,” Midgett said.

Midgett posts every vehicle in his 40-vehicle inventory both on Facebook and on his website. It’s the only advertising he uses.

Facebook grew in popularity as a marketing tool due to its tremendous return on investment. It allowed businesses access to a massive audience at no cost.

That is now changing. Midgett said he now has to pay for Facebook to “boost” his posts in order for them to be seen.

Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in the interaction.

A post promoting a vehicle for sale does more than inform consumers. It also draws their comments.

Sometime that creates problems. Midgett said everybody can share information on Facebook, much of it wrong.

For example, he recently posted a 2009 Suburban LTZ with 162,000 miles priced $3,000 below the NADA Used Car Guide value. In the comments, a woman tagged her friend, who then said he paid half as much for a truck with fewer miles.

It turns out that truck was an ’01 and not a top-line LTZ package.

“Tagging,” is when somebody on Facebook mentions another person in a post or comment to notify that person. It creates challenges at times in other ways.

Midgett said he has been tagged in posts when somebody in the area says they are looking for a car. A few times, Midgett has already dealt with the person and doesn’t want him as a customer.

For all the hassle, there is a good reason why Midgett uses Facebook – it works. It expands his market and allows him as the only independent in his area to compete with the franchise dealers.

“I recently had a family drive over an hour to buy a 2006 Town and Country minivan because they had seen others on Facebook saying we were the best dealer to deal with,” he said.

Midgett is investing even more in Facebook, bringing on a salesperson full time whose duties will include handling the social media accounts.

Midgett said that while he is under 40, he’s almost too old to really do Facebook properly. This new employee grew up with it.

“If you’re going to be on there, you have to be there and be active,” Midgett said.
 Adds Badges to Measure Pricing Adds Badges to Measure Pricing expanded its suite of pricing tools with the launch of "Badging." New badge icons on the inventory pages help provide more context behind why a...

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