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When you want to drive business …

071317 IL When You Want to Drive Business...

The power of the Rehash Tool

A little effort can go a long way.

And what dealer wouldn’t commit a little bit extra to double, triple, even quadruple his/her contract closure rate with Santander Consumer USA?

That “extra” would be using the SC Rehash Tool on the Dealer Extranet.

Some dealers already know that, but there are many more who are missing out on this opportunity to boost their results by finding the “best structure for our customers to fit their needs and ours.”

“Closure rates were much higher for dealers who used the [Rehash Tool], because dealers have the ability to make infinite changes to the deal structure in order to find what combination works best for them and the customer versus taking or leaving our initial approval,” said an SC Regional Sales Manager.

“We are putting the buying power into the hands of those dealers who want to seize the opportunity to make their own approvals,” the RSM added.

The art of tweaking

Credit applications aren’t an exact science – many require a little retooling before getting approved.

But instead of spending the short time you have with your customers on the phone with a buyer, you can update numbers, revise the type of vehicle, add backend, etc. You simply plug the information into the rehash tool and receive a new structure in real time.

And the Rehash Tool is available 24/7, allowing you to work deals on your timetable.

“We love the Rehash Tool because it allows us to maximize profit and capture each deal,” said Elford Nolan, finance director for Jack Miller Kia in North Kansas City, MO. “Within minutes we know how to best structure for our customers to fit their needs and ours.”

‘User-friendly experience’

While the Rehash Tool is a good reason to use the Dealer Extranet, there are others, including tracking your deals in funding to see if you need additional documentation, uploading stips that go directly into the funder’s queue, printing a purchase letter with total funded and applicable fees, and accessing the dealer resources section containing documents important to doing business with SC.

“One of our greatest assets is our Dealer Extranet, especially for high-volume dealers,” said Stephen Rivelli, an ASM in the Bronx, NY. “The ease of use and the multi-functionality of it, from rehashing an application to funding, allows my dealers a fast, user-friendly experience.”

For more on the Rehash Tool, see the video below, ask your ASM or contact SC’s sales department.

 

When you want to boost results …

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How your ASM can help you make more deals with Santander

Santander Consumer USA area and regional sales managers want you to make more money.

It doesn’t take long to see that there are a number of ways they accomplish that, according to some of the company’s top-performing ASMs around the country.

Problem-solving. Demonstrating the Extranet. Explaining products. Building relationships. It’s all part of the job of Santander Consumer USA’s well-trained, knowledgeable ASMs and RSMs, and it’s all aimed at helping dealerships accomplish their business goals.

dealer-matters

“My overall objective is to seek and build strong relationships with all personnel streams within the dealership – sales, finance, accounting and service departments,” said BILLY BURLESON, ASM in North Texas. “This allows me to have multiple contact points, so if any critical issues arise that need special attention I can navigate through these streams to solve the problem.”

“I work diligently to keep the doors of communication open so dealers understand they have a partner they can trust that will be there when they are in need,” added Burleson.

Invaluable partners

“My overall goal is to make doing business with Santander easy, efficient and profitable,” explained ASHLEY QUICK, Senior ASM in East Atlanta, GA, who also cited spending as much time in the management “tower” as possible. “I want to help my dealers sell more cars and make more money.”

And it’s not just the field sales team that takes this approach.

“My mission is to help my area managers’ and inside sales managers’ dealers grow their businesses,” commented YOLANDA AVALOS, a Santander Consumer USA regional sales manager of inside sales. “I want those dealers to see my ASMs and ISMs as an invaluable partners in their dealerships that is a value add, not just another rep.”

Your area and regional sales managers are dynamic resources in putting deals together with Santander.

Boosting results

You also can boost numbers and build business with help from your ASM on things like:

  • Educating your team on any new programs or products offered by Santander.
  • Advising you on current inventory that holds auction value and equates to strong deals.
  • Showing you how to structure the best deals using our Dealer Extranet and Rehash Tool.
  • Answering any questions you have about the SAF platform.

“My goal with all my dealerships is to educate them on all aspects of Santander program and provide as much value to their bottom line as possible,” said DAMIAN CANTU, an ASM in Santander’s South Texas region.  “I also like to provide assistance during those instances when a dealer of mine needs help and is having a tough time finding closure with an issue.”

Something extra

“One of our greatest assets is our dealer Extranet, especially for high-volume dealers,” said STEPHEN RIVELLI, an ASM in the Bronx, NY. “The ease of use and the multi-functionality of it, from rehashing an application to funding, allows my dealers a fast, user-friendly experience from application to funded. I stress the importance and use of the Extranet with all my dealers … [and] they usually see the light.”

“Helping them use the Extranet is crucial to a dealer’s success,” added Quick in East Atlanta.

Building value

“I try to build value with my dealers on every visit,” said BILL SMITH, the ASM in Allentown, PA. “Some of the tactics I implement are showing dealers recent approvals. This shows dealers in black and white exactly what we are doing from a credit standpoint.  The more value we build and the dealer see from Santander, the deeper our business relationship will grow.”

“I look for ways to help my ASMs and the dealerships in Florida continue to grow in their success and partnership with SC,” said NANCY BLOOM, regional sales manager.

“My team and I look for ways to increase applications and contracts, to improve portfolio performance and to be up front with the dealerships, who need to see Santander as a top lender with leading technology and a strong focus on customer service.”

Obviously, Santander’s sales managers know the ropes when it comes to closing deals, so don’t be afraid to use them as a resource to help you reach your goals.

They can make a big difference.

Impact of the CUV may not be ‘sudden,’ but it’s still significant

CUVs.

They are the “sudden impact” at least 28 years in the making.

At the turn of the millennium in 2000, fewer CUVs were sold than minivans or SUVs, according to data from IHS Automotive, and the car still was the most popular vehicle on four wheels – although models like the AMC Eagle already had been around for more than a decade by then.

But the CUV’s time was coming.

The RAV4 and other CUVs have come a long way over two decades.

The RAV4 and other CUVs have come a long way over two decades.

WardsAuto data showed CUVs had grown from 24.5 percent of light-vehicle sales by 2010 and to nearly 34 percent so far this year, while cars have declined from nearly half to under 37 percent.

“This was the harshest move in consumer preference the industry has ever seen,” Bob Carter, executive vice president-sales, Toyota Motor North America, told WardsAuto at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI.

Even if it’s not “sudden,” occurring over the span of two decades, it’s still a tectonic shift since the introduction of vehicles like the RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.

CUV sales for July (452,412) beat all other categories, including pickup trucks, and approached total cars sales (525,020) – small, midsize, large and luxury combined. And it’s growing faster (7.5 percent year to date) over the same period last year than any other category.

The minivan? Miniscule by comparison. And true SUVs? About one-third the sales YTD.

“This year, automakers will offer nearly 80 different CUVs,” WardsAuto reported, with the “vast majority of [vehicle] introductions” coming in the Crossover category.

Some industry watchers think all of this means the writing is on the wall for the midsize sedan.

Headlines for the last several years have wondered “Is the slow death of the sedan happening right before our eyes?” (carbuzz.com) and “Could the family sedan be driven to extinction?” (Forbes) or even proclaimed “The sedan is dead” (Jalopnik) and “The family sedan is dead” (Business Insider).

But predicting the death of the category probably is a bit much.

Even The Truth about Cars “Midsize Sedan Deathwatch” series allows that “the midsize sedan as we know it … isn’t going anywhere any time soon.”

While the midsize sedan category is down 14.5 percent YTD compared to last year, sales still come in second only to crossovers at about 1.65 million. Even if sales declined at the same rate in coming years, it still would take more than a decade for the sedan category to shrink to the size of current luxury sales.

And by that time, we’ll all be car-sharing anyway, right?

Ford F-Series getting the job done despite overall decline in vehicle sales

If vehicle sales were a horserace, 2017 would be a runaway.

Not very different than any other time in the last three-plus decades.

Ford F-Series pickup trucks fell just shy of a half-million in sales through July, nearly 200,000 ahead of the second-place Chevrolet Silverado pickup at 309,000 year to date.

The F-150 for 2018 is the latest in a long line of Ford pickups.

The F-150 for 2018 is the latest in a long line of Ford pickups.

“Ford continues to update and improve its highly capable, tough-yet-luxurious trucks,” said Kelley Blue Book’s review of the F-Series, which also receives a 9.2 consumer rating out of 10.

What a way to celebrate Ford’s 100 years of producing trucks, which started in 1917 with the TT pickup.

“Ford trucks show that new thinking and new technology help get the job done,” said KBB, the car-shopping website. “It’s for these reasons that the F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 40 years and the best-selling vehicle for 35 years and counting.”

The Dodge Ram pickup is a close third in sales this year (290,000), but it also is the fastest-growing vehicle in the top five (14.6 percent), second-fastest-growing in the top 10, behind the Nissan Rogue (25.2 percent), and fourth-fastest in the top 20, trailing the Toyota Highlander (22.5 percent) and Jeep Grand Cherokee (15.7 percent), based on data published online by The Wall Street Journal.

Falling in line behind the trio of pickups are the Nissan Rogue (228,000) and Toyota RAV4 (226,600), while the remainder of the top 10 were to Honda CR-V (219,000), Honda Civic (212,400), Toyota Camry (211,000), Toyota Corolla/Matrix (192,000) and Honda Accord (191,000).

Despite its sales, the Silverado is the only pickup in the top 10 to decline year to date compared to 2016.

All four cars in the top 10 have lost ground, the data showed.

The strength of F-Series, Silverado and Ram pickups sales is reflected in total vehicle sales so far this year with pickups trailing only crossovers in growth year to date, despite a slight sales decline overall.

“Henry Ford had no idea what he’d begun when he had the TT engineered specifically to be a truck at a time when most pickups were modified cars,” reported the Detroit Free Press. “He intended the Model TT for farmers, another tool like the Fordson tractors he built for the rural life he idealized.”

The F-Series pickup line descends directly from the Model TT, according to the Free Press.

“From the Model TT to the 450-hp 2017 F-Series Raptor off-road racer, they’ve taken the truck from humble beginnings to its illogical and wonderful extreme,” one industry insider told the Free Press.

That being said, it doesn’t look like the F-Series track record will change any time soon.

How your dealership can avoid leaving profits on the table

What happens next?

That may depend on your most-profitable department.

As new-vehicle sales appear to be slipping in 2017 for the first time in years – and prospects for more of the same next year – a brighter spotlight than normal shines on the service department.

That department already accounts for about 44 percent of the average dealer’s profit, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) trade group, and yet “when it comes to maintenance and repair services, dealerships are leaving money on the table.”

At stake are thousands of dollars in revenue (and potential profits) over the life of every vehicle if a customer does not return to your dealership for service and parts to maintain his/her vehicle, based on cost-of-ownership calculations by Edmunds.com and Popular Mechanics.

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And in most cases they don’t return.

Only 30 percent of total vehicle-service visits occur at a dealership, NADA reported, with 50 percent going to general repair and service stations, quick lube and tire stores.

That’s a lot of lost revenue and unrealized profit for dealerships when clouds are gathering.

So why does this happen?

The top five reasons service customers don’t go to a dealership are perceptions that:

  1. Total cost will not be reasonable.
  2. Dealerships will overcharge.
  3. Labor charges will be unreasonable.
  4. Parts charges will be unreasonable.
  5. Distance/location are not convenient.

But giving customers fewer reasons to go elsewhere could provide an important advantage to dealerships when times get tougher because of declining new-vehicle sales.

“While perceived lack of value is a top reason for not using a dealership for maintenance and repair services, actual spend[ing] for services such as an oil change suggest that dealership pricing is competitive with third-party providers,” says the trade association.

And that means “dealers have an opportunity to compete with independent service providers by offering and promoting competitive pricing and price-match guarantees, while focusing on advertising messages about high-quality service, parts and certified technicians.”

While not every business condition is under your control, you still can affect what happens next.

NADA, consumer group fuel CAFE debate citing customer impact

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Someone is wrong.

And we may not know who until 2025.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) thinks that failing to adjust corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards will mean fewer Americans will be able to afford new cars.

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says leaving targets in place will help Americans more.

And both organizations contend they speak for consumers as the federal government re-examines a mandated 54.5 mpg CAFE target for 2025 for all automakers.

Of course, they aren’t the only ones debating fuel-economy standards, just two of the most recent.

What consumers want

“We know something about what consumers want,” Peter Welch, NADA president, said recently during at Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars session in Traverse City, MI. “Affordability is everything; it’s the whole game from the consumers’ perspective.”

Meanwhile, the CFA cited a survey it said shows that 79 percent of Americans support current targets the group says will put $626 back into consumer pocketbooks each year.

“One reason for the widespread support of higher standards is that a large majority of those intending to purchase a motor vehicle in the future think that the vehicle’s fuel economy is important,” said the CFA in a press release announcing results of a July survey of 1,008 American adults.

But that doesn’t make NADA less skeptical about the impact of CAFE standards on new-vehicle costs.

Who’s right, who’s wrong?

“Every day at dealerships, people wonder if they can afford the monthly payments of a car they are considering buying,” said Welch, citing a $34,000 average transaction price of a new vehicle – up 57 percent from 20 years ago. “We need to make it possible for people to afford cars.”

The EPA says the 2025 regulations would cost $875 per vehicle, and that increased costs would be offset by fuel savings of $1,650 over the life of a vehicle, reports WardsAuto, referring to one of the federal agencies that is gathering input for a review of existing CAFE standards.

“But NADA and others predict the figure would run into the thousands of dollars,” WardsAuto reported.

“Customers are smart, do the math and know how to stretch a penny,” said Welch. “Getting it back in four or five years is not how customers think at dealerships.”

‘A guy trying to buy a car’

Meanwhile, a survey by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) indicates that about two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay under $2,500 to meet government fuel-economy standards, “which would likely not cover the cost of updates.”

Based on the survey, “even if adults were given additional money when purchasing a vehicle, more would choose extra safety features over increased fuel efficiency,” the trade group said. The alliance, which represents a dozen large auto manufacturers, has called for a compromise that would “modernize” and ease CAFE targets, suggesting that it would be “the right thing to do.”

“You look at the world of one of [NADA’s] dealerships,” Mitch Bainwol, the alliance’s president and CEO, told WardsAuto, “and there’s just a guy there trying to buy a car.”

The EPA has said it will make a final decision on any changes in the standards by April 1, 2018.

Mainstream vehicles closing the appeal gap with premium models

Mainstream vehicles are getting more appealing.

At least that’s what J.D. Power’s 2017 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL)

purports to show.

The rise is due to rapid improvements in vehicle technology and safety features, making them more comparable to premium products, according to the study.

The Chrysler Pacifica ranked as most-appealing minivan.

The Chrysler Pacifica ranked as most-appealing minivan.

This year’s index showed that 32 brands averaged 810 points on a 1,000-point scale with 19 of 32 making positive gains in their performance, compared with 2016, said the report from J.D. Power (JDP). Mainstream brands averaged 804 points and premium brands averaged 845.

However, that 41-point difference is nine points less than it was in last year’s study, JDP said.

‘Better and better’

“Many automakers are getting better and better at giving consumers what they want in a vehicle,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of the well-known data research company.

“The industry is doing a very good job of creating vehicles customers like across every segment, and the APEAL study identifies why this is. One clear reason is that non-premium vehicles are increasingly offering technology and safety features found in premium vehicles.”

Top mainstream brands

Seven mainstream brands – MINI (838), Honda (820), Ford (819), Chrysler (815), Ram (815), Nissan (811) and Chevrolet (810) – scored at or above the industry average. And five more brands – Volkswagen (809), GMC (808), Kia (808), Buick (805) and Subaru (805) all scored above the mainstream average. Seven non-premium brands scored below the segment average in the study.

Top premium brands

Among premium brands, Porsche (884), Genesis (869), BMW (855), Audi (854), Mercedes-Benz (851) and Lincoln (849) all scored above the premium average, the JDP study reported. Another seven premium brands – Cadillac (843), Lexus (842), Jaguar (838), Land Rover (837), Volvo (836), Infiniti (832) and Acura (812) – scored above the overall industry average. Despite the APEAL gains by non-premium brands, 12 of the top 13 still were premium brands, the study showed.

Model-level winners

At the model level, Volkswagen AG came up big on the strength of its premium Audi and Porsche brands, despite finishing just under industry average overall. The six VW winners were Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A7, Porsche 911, Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Macan.

Brands that won multiple awards, along with their winning models, were:

  • BMW AG (4) – BMW 2 Series, BMW X1, MINI Clubman and MINI Cooper
  • Ford Motor Co. (3) – Ford F-150, Ford Super Duty and Lincoln Continental
  • General Motors Co. (3) – Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Bolt and Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Hyundai Motor Co. (3) – Kia Cadenza, Kia Niro and Kia Soul
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (2) – Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Challenger
  • Honda Motor Co. (2) – Honda CR-V and Honda Ridgeline
  • Nissan Motor Co. (2) – Nissan Altima and Nissan Murano

Based on responses from almost 70,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2017 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership, the APEAL study measures owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement across 77 attributes, ranging from “the power they feel when they step on the gas to the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat,” said JDP.

The latest results of the survey reflect the vehicle-manufacturing equivalent of walking a tightrope.

“Manufacturers are making ever-higher quality vehicles,” Sargent said, “but this is not coming at the expense of performance, styling, utility or features.”

Visit the J.D. Power website for more details of the 2017 APEAL study.

Another swing for the fences before closing the summer scorebook

Almost time to close the scorebook.

But not before your post-season push and a wrap-up of a Sizzlin’ Summer that hasn’t been, well, quite as sizzlin’ as some hoped it might be after record-setting sales last year.

“The comparison with 2016 … causes 2017 to appear worse than it really is,” wrote analyst Timothy Cain in The Truth about Cars, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a struggle. Through June, total light vehicle sales had slipped 2.1 percent for the first half of the year, and July continued that trend.

IL-BLOG_70404-12 (Sizzlin' Summer III Logo)_300x300And even that level of sales came with a cost for the industry in the form of incentives.

“Auto sales are presently being propped up by average incentives equal to roughly 10 percent of the average transaction price,” wrote Cain. That average transaction price is pegged at around $33,000 by Bankrate.com and more than $34,500 by Edmunds.com.

Of course, this means that dealerships must make the most of the opportunities they get, whether they’re selling new or used vehicles.

Our baseball-themed Sizzlin’ Summer III email series aimed to help:

The First Pitch proposed adding Santander Consumer USA to your team as a “smart roster move.”

Game On showed dealerships how to come out consistent winners with the Dealer Extranet.

Homerun Ball was about hitting deals out of the park more often with the Rehash Tool.

League Leader sent up Direct Mail as a designated hitter to achieve high-average results.

All-Star Team suggested your ASM should be a major player in your sales lineup.

In the Zone featured the new Lead Exchange Program from RoadLoans.

Clutch Hit told how the SC Dealer Advocacy group aims to drive home win-win solutions.

These tools, products, programs and people empower dealers to swing for the fences through the end of summer, the fall and beyond.

We’re (world) serious.