Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

L.A. Clipper's Donald Sterling Controversy: Dealers End Sponsorships

By DrivingSales News on Apr 28, 2014


The loss of sponsors for the Los Angeles Clippers franchise continues to grow, with prestigious car dealers joining the ranks. Ever since allegations surfaced that Donald Sterling, the owner of the L.A. Clippers made racially inflammatory comments, a public relations firestorm has ensued.

Sterling allegedly spoke out to his girlfriend in terms of her association with African Americans. Since the recording of this conversation has come to light, protests and lost sponsors have been the result. The Clippers staged a silent protest before their playoff game Sunday evening, while teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets wore black socks as a sign of unity amidst the alleged scandal. This situation even caused President Obama to speak out on the topic. However, the President doesn’t support the team financially, where the Clippers publicly lost a lot of support Monday.

Among those sponsors lost were CarMax, which issued the following statement on their corporate website: “Car Max finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable. These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end it’s sponsorship.”

Kia Motors North America also dropped the Clippers. Scott McKee, a spokesman for Kia explained that, “ As fans of the game of basketball, our support of the players and the sport is unwavering. “ The comments that allegedly came from Sterling were found by Kia to be “Offensive and reprehensible,” thus the dropped sponsorship.

Finally, Mercedes-Benz, with it’s grouping of Southern California dealers is ending it’s sponsorship with the Clippers. A spokesman for Mercedes Benz reportedly had the following to say: “Mercedes-Benz is obviously concerned about the alleged comments attributed to the Clippers’ owner.  We find these comments to be deplorable and completely against the values we promote as an organization. Our dealer group shares our concern and has moved to cease its sponsorship of the Clippers effective immediately, despite their affinity for the Clippers and their fans.”


Some people might be all huffy about freedom of speech in cases like this however no law in the land can change the need for responsible speech. It's not something that can be controlled. People will react positively or negatively to things people say in public. And company's will do what they can to protect their image. These moves are of no surprise to me.

May 1, 2014

Comments 1 - 1 of 1

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:


DrivingSales News' Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • SEO Has Changed, So Let’s Change It

    While I normally use this column to discuss ways car dealers can improve their sites' SEO, this week I want to change it up and reach out to automotive digital marketers. Recently I read a blog post on that discussed the changing SEO landscape. The author, Ryan Stewart, was frustrated that most SEO clients simply don't understand that Google is evolving each and every day. He dislikes having to explain that their expectations need to change in order for him to help them.Read post

  • OEM's, Dealer Associations, and Dealers Align in Go-to-Market Planning

    When I introduced this column a few months ago, I deliberately started by taking an outside-in approach to OEM-dealer alignment. I focused first on the importance of independent research sites, followed by the power of enterprise solutions. Today, I’m taking a different tack—one of alignment across OEM’s, dealer associations, and individual dealers themselves—alignment across Tiers 1, 2, and 3 in go-to-market efforts. Aligning media across brand-building to brand-selling tactics and multiple stakeholders can be challenging for any OEM. The greater the number of agencies, dealer associations, and individual dealers involved the more daunting the task. Yet, alignment can - and does - happenRead post

  • The State of Automotive Digital Advising: More Vanilla, Please!

    Anyone who regularly reads out blog knows a few things. One, we tell it like it is. Two, we educate from fact and passion, not from the heart of from the pocketbook. Three, we do and cover what nobody else does across the entire scope of services. Four, we affect a sliver of the industry through the automotive social sphere. While none of these aspects alone are uniquely significant, it becomes more so when you consider what dealers are receiving from “advisors” today. Recently we had a high-line dealer visit that also included a regional sales director from the OEM, which is a rare pleasure. They wanted to review the new digital assessment package from their third-party partner. While we were extremely happy that the digital marketing consulting company that had previously provided in-field services for the OEM and their dealers was no longer doing so, and there was clearly an improvement in the standard deliverables, frustration quickly set in. In reviewing the report, it was ...Read post

  • Auto/Mate Announces Open/Mate Integration with StoneEagle F&I and Service Applications

    Albany, N.Y. – October 12th, 2015 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems announced today that StoneEagle has completed integration with Auto/Mate's Dealership Management System (DMS). Auto dealership groups using Auto/Mate's DMS and StoneEagle's web-based applications will benefit from seamless and real-time data updates in both systems.   "Auto/Mate believes that the more technology vendors we integrate with, the more choices our dealers have, allowing them to lower costs and increase efficiencies," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate. "Our Open/Mate program offers vendors an affordable and easy way to integrate their applications with Auto/Mate's Automotive Management Productivity Suite (AMPS)."   StoneEagle offers a range of web-based applications to help dealers manage performance, accountability and production across their F&I and service departments. StoneEagle solutions are designed to automate manual tasks, deliver accurate information, increase profitabil...Read post

  • Get Creative with Halloween

    You may have noticed Halloween and fall decorations adorning your favorite retail stores or maybe you’ve seen the random Halloween outlet stores popping up in shopping centers near you. With the excitement building around this much anticipated holiday, you may want to get in on the fun. Halloween is the time of year for goblins and ghouls, but it’s also a time to get creative. Demonstrate your creative side to customers and prospects with one of these Halloween marketing ideas. Host a Costume Contest People who spend money and time on their Halloween costumes want to show them off, that’s why hosting a Halloween costume contest is a great way to bring top-of-mind awareness to your dealership. You could run a traditional contest and incentivize people to dress up and come to your dealership, or you could take a simpler approach and host the costume contest on your social media channels. Leveraging social media for your contest improves your dealership’s online reputation, reac...Read post

  • Navigating SEO: The 4 Most Important Factors to Dealership SEO Success

    Navigating SEO is a exclusive series by Timothy Martell, CEO of Wikimotive. In this series, Tim breaks down ways dealers can improve their SEO and offers insight into how it will benefit business.   While there are thousands of articles that talk about search ranking factors, the majority of your site's success will come down to a few core factors. Ensuring you've got those boxes checked is what ultimately allows you to have the best search presence in your market.   In this post, I'll go over four of the most important factors that determine SEO success for car dealers, while offering tips and tricks to help you improve your site, grow organic traffic consistently, and sell more cars as a result.   Website Architecture   By now, you all know how important it is to actually have a website. There's just no contesting this in 2015. But beyond simply having a website, it's important that your site is developed and designed to allow it to comply with curren...Read post

  • Second Chance Money

    How many of us out there are losing out on a second chance to sell the job? You would be surprised what a Thank You letter with a coupon can do for your business 10 to 20 days after the customer has visited your store. I have been using these declined services letters for quite some time now. Currently we are averaging over $250 per RO with the system we have in place. I have used many vendors to send the letters. I also have tried it internally, but not with much success. Recently we have expanded the process using an email and a letter. I would imagine it will all be email in no time. My first question to all of you is, what works best for you? Are you using key words, labor ops or do you just have someone sorting through your ROs and pulling the clients out manually? Also, what are your road blocks? My personal one is getting my advisors to input the correct key words on a regular basis. Yes, we all know that is how they get paid, but you know what I’m talking about. Another key...Read post

  • Why Dealers Should Say "NO" to Manufacturer Reward and Pre-Paid Maintenance Programs

    On the surface, manufacturer reward and pre-paid maintenance   programs seem like a great idea to many dealers. They’re intended to increase customer loyalty and visits to the service department, thereby providing repeat business and driving revenue. Take a closer look at OEM programs and you’ll find that not only do theynot provide much in the way of benefits – but they really don’t benefit the dealer at all. Here’s why you should be saying “NO” to OEM reward and PPM programs and “YES” to developing dealer-centric plans of your own.   Manufacturer’s reward and PPM plans are not seamless and they are generic.   Obviously, manufacturers are casting a wide net when developing reward and maintenance plans: They have to appeal to a huge existing and potential customer base. It’s all about the numbers with OEM programs to attract new prospects and encourage repeat purchases. It’s not possible for them to develop robust, effective programs based on specific ...Read post