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Jeremy's DrivingSales Blog

As Beepi.com and others attempt to "revolutionize" used car sales, dealers should expect "some" impact.

At last, Silicon Valley has entered the auto dealer marketplace with a used car startup named Beepi.com. The company, the result of an MIT graduate’s frustration with buying a used car, has raised a whopping $80 million since launching in 2013.[1] After debuting in California, the startup has recently expanded operations to Arizona and Texas, and “is on track to book revenue of $100 million[2].” Beepi’s model is relatively simple. If a car owner wants to sell his or her car, Beepi will handle the entire process – inspecting, photographing, pricing, and listing the car online. They do this by sending a “Beepi inspector” to the car owner’s residence or workplace, and performing a multi-point inspection and onsite photo shoot; the process takes about two hours from start to finish. After listing the vehicle, Beepi guarantees that the car will sell in 30 days, or they’ll buy it. Beepi determines pricing using a “proprietary algorithm” (I’m assuming a formula based ... Read Post

Mr. Buffett: Want more car dealerships? Become a “car person”…

Warren Buffett’s purchase of Van Tuyl Auto Group is an opportunity to raise the bar on workplace diversity in automotive retail…   On March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, a day that recognizes and revels in the achievements of women. In America, our mothers, sisters and daughters have made tremendous strides in equality, ranging from the board room to space exploration. Thus, it’s difficult to imagine that in one of America’s largest and most established industries – automotive retail – women comprise just 17.7 percent[1] of the workforce (in comparison, women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force). Diversity shortcomings in automotive retail aren’t just limited to women. In a recent report card from the Human Rights Campaign, dubbed the Corporate Equality Index[2], four publically-traded automotive retailers were scored on their LGBT “corporate policies and practices.” Out of 100 possible points, the group average among these retailers was ... Read Post

NextGen Group Emerges at NADA Conference

From witnessing inspirational talks to walking the halls of Congress, the National Automobile Dealers Association’s conference in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 8-10 was an enormous success, especially for our industry’s emerging leaders: the “NextGen” contingent. NADA has a legislative conference each year dubbed, appropriately, the “Legislative Conference.” It is represented by a “Who’s Who” of the NADA: the board of directors, state association presidents, influential dealers, and the association’s executive team. But this year came with a twist. For the first time in the conference’s history, NADA changed the event’s format to specifically include the NextGen group – the emerging leaders in automotive retail. Since this was truly a special occasion, and because I was fortunate enough to attend, I want to share my memorable three-day experience with others in the industry. Background… The inaugural NextGen event was named the “House of Cars,” a pun... Read Post

Bernie Brenner of TRUECar publishes book that Chip Perry calls the "quintessential guide to Business Development." CARFAX strategies also revealed..

TRUECAR Co-Founder publishes book: The “quintessential guide to BD” and reveals details on CARFAX’s business practices… What is business development? Ask this question to almost any executive, and you’ll receive varying, ambiguous, and elaborated answers that border complete “gobbledygook.” Even in B-school academia, the definition of “business development” is equally inconsistent and confusing. However, finally, a sensible definition of business development is explained in a new book dubbed The Sumo Advantage by Bernie Brenner(www.linkedin.com/in/berniebrenner), a co-founder of TrueCar, and a well-known automotive marketing veteran. Bernie explains business development(“BD”) as a tool to harness the power of a “Sumo” to springboard another firm’s growth – that is, strategically partnering with an existing industry heavyweight to achieve mutual growth. He explains, in extensive detail, the roa... Read Post

Mercedes-Benz’s Secret Weapon: Lior Arussy

Stephen Cannon, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, believes he needs to further differentiate the Mercedes-Benz brand. He plans to accomplish his lofty goal by elevating the customer experience of his retail customers to a new level. As he explained in Automotive News, "the need to deliver an exceptional, truly differentiating customer experience has never been greater.” But how is Cannon attempting to redefine the luxury experience in the already established luxury market? The answer is a consultant from New Jersey; who is described by many as world’s #1 customer experience expert. Lior Arussy, a former executive of HP, travels the world consulting for some of the world’s largest companies (FedEx, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Caribbean, etc..). In 2011, Lior’s company, Strativity, was hired to lead Mercedes-Benz’s customer experience initiative. After analyzing thousands of employee engagement surveys submitted by Mercedes-Benz dealer employees, Strativit... Read Post

Opinion: As R.L. Polk considers a sale, CARFAX still faces major challenges.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMER: This article is based on the opinions of the author and nothing contained herein should be construed as a matter of fact. At least from my perspective, it seems 2013 is proving to be a difficult year for the folks at CARFAX. After years of being the nation’s top VHR provider, the company is facing serious challenges. Since I began blogging about CAFAX, there have been major developments. These developments include a controversial Automotive News story, a potential anti-trust lawsuit seeking treble damages, and a 20/20 investigative report that nationally portrayed CARFAX’s reports as misleading. But wait! There’s more! CARFAX’s parent, RL Polk, announced the company is for sale!   Last year, I published near 10 pages of material outlining what I felt was wrong with CARFAX’s business model. However, I’m going to keep this post short by just providing my opinions and insights of some of the more recent developments: 20/2... Read Post

Doom & Gloom? Self-Driving Cars and Dealership Valuations…



Dealers should consider the effects of self-driving technology in their 10 to 15 year plans.

Five years ago, the self-driving car seemed like something limited to an episode of the Jetsons. But then Google changed history, and built an autonomous car that proved safer and more reliable than its human controlled counterpart. Then in 2011, Google began convincing legislatures in Nevada, Florida, and California to allow Google’s autonomous cars to roam without a driver.

Depending on regulations, analysts predict the self-driving car will populate US roads within the next 12 to 20 years. While the self-driving car will bring society innumerable benefits, dealers may find that self-driving technology will disrupt the entire retail automotive sector.

But what about America’s passion to drive?
It seems the passion is fading among the next wave of buyers. According to Time Magazine*, in the next 10 years, 40% of new cars sold will be sold to Gen Y consumers. Gen Y consumers al Read Post

UPDATED (1/2/13): OPINION: CARFAX’s Policies are Bad for the Dealer, OEM, Consumer, and Competition: 8 Recommendations to Fix It

 Note: If you would like AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, or your Franchise’s Manufacturer to end their CARFAX exclusivity agreements and allow dealer’s the right to choose a VHR provider, then please sign a petition for change: www.FreeTheDealer.org REQUIRED DISCLAIMER: This article is based on the opinions of the author and nothing contained herein should be construed as a matter of fact. Consumers and OEMs have made VHRs mandatory…. In today’s transparent shopping environment, the “best practice” of providing a car shopper with a vehicle history report has become a mandatory requirement in most dealerships. While Vehicle History Reports (aka “VHRs”) are subject to material omissions and cannot replace the assurance of a thorough physical inspection, the reports serve as a relevant selling tool in the retail dealership environment - and as a buying tool in the wholesale market. Nearly ... Read Post

OPINION: CARFAX is extorting my dealership...

Last month, after an extensive comparison of nearly 6,000 VINs, BMW of North America concluded that AutoCheck’s Vehicle History Reports were just as reliable as CARFAX reports. Finally, after years of only supporting CARFAX, BMW’s mandate for Dealers to use CarFax for Certified BMWs was over.  This meant, that as a BMW Dealer, I could now choose either CarFax or Experian’s Service (AutoCheck) as my vehicle history report provider. So why would I want to change? The answer is simple. Last month, I paid CARFAX $2,575.49 to provide unlimited Vehicle History Reports for my dealership. In comparison, as part of a discount agreement with BMW, AutoCheck offers their version of the same service for $1098/month – a savings of over 50% per month - and at a price that was guaranteed for at least 1 year. Suffice it to say, I was delighted by the potential savings! So, I immediately contacted my CARFAX rep with an ultimatum – I demanded that CARFAX either ... Read Post