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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.




Published in Tech News

New-vehicle sales are expected to rise 1.5 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.53 million units in August, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book
After a record year of sales in 2016 and seven consecutive annual increases, Kelley Blue Book's forecast for 2017 calls for sales in the range of 16.8 and 17.3 million units, which represents a 1 to 4 percent decrease from last year.
In August, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,530,000 units, up 1.5 percent compared to August 2016 and up 8.5 percent from July.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate for August is estimated to be 16.6 million, down from 16.7 million in August 2016 and down from 17.1 million in July.
Retail sales are expected to account for 86.1 percent of volume in August, up from 85.3 percent in August 2016.
There are 27 sales days in August compared to 26 sales days in August 2016.

Published in Dealers
Thursday, 24 August 2017 17:16

Current Events Create Challenges

Houston has a problem. Actually, it has two, one for new car sales and one for used.

The problem for new cars is the low price of oil.

Jobs in the oil industry have also paid well and good benefits, said Ken Shilson, founder of the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers and a long-time Houston accountant.

The oil industry also created a stable economy in Houston, with few ups and downs. This attracted many of the largest dealer groups to the city.

Now the industry faces turmoil and the groups face falling sales.

Group One Automotive Inc., which is headquartered in the city, has been hit especially hard.

"Our single largest market of Houston was extremely volatile in the second quarter with Houston total industry auto sales dropping 24 percent in June after an increase in May. Group 1's Houston sales only decreased 12 percent in June, but this is indicative of the headwinds we continue to face in much of Texas and Oklahoma,” said Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1's CEO.

It’s another current-events issue that is hurting used-car sales – immigration.

Gary Page, president of Small Dealers Assistance, said a lack of Hispanic buyers caused as many problems for dealers across the country at the start of the year. These buyers were hesitant about any transaction that might raise questions about their legal status.

Some of that concern has died down, Page said, but problems linger.

John Freeman, owner of Galena Park Motors and chairman of the Houston Independent Automobile Dealers Association, said business in the area varies by business model.

“It’s kind of hit and miss all over town,” Freeman said.



Published in Dealers
Monday, 21 August 2017 21:38

Auction Hosts Collector Car Sale

Greensboro Auto Auction ran a special collector car sale July 27-29 at the Automobile Palace in Greensboro, N.C.
 Some notable vehicles included a 1967Chevrolet Corvette convertible that was billed as “the Skunk”. With black exterior, white stinger and white interior this Corvette certainly stood out, as it went for $195,000. The big seller of the weekend, a red 2005 Ford GT, went for $257,500. The third highest selling vehicle of the sale was an immaculate 1958 Cadillac Series 62 that rang the bell at $154,000.
The auction will host another classic car sale Nov. 2-4. On the block Nov. 3 will be the 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra concept car – the only one in existence. Proceeds from the sale of this vehicle will go to Fair Lane, a non-profit that supports the massive restoration and reinterpretation of Fair Lane, the historic home of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford and his wife, Clara, in Dearborn, Mich.

Published in Auctions
Friday, 18 August 2017 02:05

Manheim Upgrades MMR

Manheim introduced a sweeping set of enhancements to its Manheim Market Report (MMR).
Adjusted MMR is a more specific valuation because it includes a vehicle's specific AutoGrade condition and exterior color, in addition to vehicle mileage and region. With this enhancement, clients can manually input a vehicle's specific condition, color, mileage, and region to get the Adjusted MMR.
In a September update, the mileage, color, and condition will automatically display and clients can manually select region (based on preference) to get the Adjusted MMR. Adjusted MMR delivers a more accurate vehicle valuation to both buyers and sellers, which drives greater confidence to transact online.
Available across desktop, tablet and mobile devices, the new MMR experience provides insight into how each vehicle-specific adjustment affects its MMR value, and facilitates more transparent pricing using data visualizations that allow clients to quickly compare their vehicle's Adjusted MMR value to the Base MMR value at-a-glance.
The all-new API provides on-demand access to the more-accurate Adjusted MMR values, and also takes advantage of OEM Build Data in the VIN-decoding process, providing convenience and strategic insights to clients with high volumes.

Published in Auctions
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 21:22

J.D. Power Unveils Used Vehicle Index

J.D. Power has launched its own Used Vehicle Price Index Service. The monthly index tracks current and estimated future movement of wholesale used vehicle prices at both the industry and segment level. Index data is underpinned by AuctionNet data, representing more than 80 percent of the nation's auction transactions from Manheim, ADESA, ServNet, ABC and key independents.  The index can forecast data for the current year and two years ahead. There are also industry- and segment-level indices.
Published in Dealers
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 21:21

Copart Improves Email Service

Copart Inc. has updated its Member Preference Center. Through the latest version of the Preference Center, Copart Members can manage their email subscriptions and choose the language in which they receive their emails - either English, Spanish or French Canadian. There is also an option to select up to 10 Copart locations for location-specific auction reminder emails and special event emails. Users can also define preferred vehicles, price ranges and intended purposes for customized vehicle promotion emails, and self-identify buying needs for more personalized emails.
Published in buy here
Monday, 14 August 2017 21:58 Sees More Listings is slowing the decline in visitors to its website.
The company reported a 1 percent year-over-year decline in website traffic, down to 104.1 million in the second quarter. That’s an improvement over the firs quarter’s 7 percent year-over-year decline.
Dealer customers were down slightly to 21,465, from 21,552 in the first quarter.
Average vehicle listings were 5 million, up 6 percent from the prior-year period.
Mobile traffic was up 9 percent from the prior-year period.

Published in Tech News
Friday, 11 August 2017 17:46

AFC Improves Dashboard

Automotive Finance Corp. announced the release of its new Inventory Dashboard for the company’s floor plan financing customers.
The Inventory Dashboard, available on the AFCDealer website and AFC On the Go mobile app, provides dealers with instant access to current and historical account information with detailed insights into vehicles floored with AFC.
The enhanced Inventory Dashboard offers new functionality to provide dealers with greater transparency, insights, and account information. Through the new total account balance chart, dealers can view their AFC investment portfolio, including account balance, credit limit, principal, interest, and fees.
Dealers can also view deep, vehicle-specific investment information for each vehicle floored with AFC. Through the Inventory Dashboard tool’s innovative turn time table, dealers can view their 18-month vehicle purchase history to identify which vehicles moved most quickly from their dealership.

Published in Tech News
Tuesday, 08 August 2017 22:04

Edmunds Earns Workplace Honors

The Los Angeles Business Journal honored Edmunds, the leading car information and shopping platform, as one of the Best Places to Work in Los Angeles.
The Santa Monica-based company officially placed 14th in the large company category (250+ employees), and the honor marks the eighth year in a row that Edmunds has been recognized by LABJ as a top workplace in Southern California.        
Edmunds recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of its corporate offices in Santa Monica, a 143,000-square-foot space located two miles from the beach. Employees enjoy amenities including free breakfasts and lunches, a frozen yogurt bar, a game room, on-site yoga and meditation, and bright, colorful, open workspaces and informal meeting places that encourage collaboration.

Published in Tech News
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