Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

Auctions meet ‘highest standards’ to win Santander, Chrysler Capital awards


It’s the word used to describe the 17 winners of this year’s Santander Consumer USA (SC) and Chrysler Capital (CCAP) asset remarketing awards recently in Southlake, TX.

The awards recognize SC and CCAP’s most outstanding auction relationships in 2015.

“The award winners operate with the highest standards in the automotive industry, and each brings something special to the relationship with Santander and Chrysler Capital,” said Brent Huisman, executive vice president of asset remarketing for SC and CCAP.

Ellie Johnson, right, GM of Manheim North Carolina, receives her award from Mitch O’Neil, vice president of asset remarketing.

Kristine White of SC and CCAP named auction manager of the year.

The big winner was Manheim North Carolina, which received a total of five awards, including both auction of the year awards, Southeast Region awards and e-commerce award, while Kristine White, Santander assistant vice president of asset remarketing, Midwest Region, and Chrysler Capital auction manager, was named auction manager of the year at the fifth annual event.

The auction of the year award goes to the best overall operation using key performance indicators such as net retentions, control of expenses, auction operations and more.

Mitch O’Neil with Ben Lange, left, Tammy Swafford and John Swafford of Americas Auto Auction.

Americas Auto Auction won both SC and CCAP auction partner of the year awards, while ADESA Atlanta was named Q4 auction partner. The Q4 award goes to the auction or group that best demonstrates SC’s annual charity campaign through acts of kindness and giving (not just money) during the holiday season.

Other multiple award winners were ADESA Long Island, which was recognized in the Northeast Region by both Santander and Chrysler Capital, and Manheim San Antonio for both Central Regions.

Noel Nixon, GM of ADESA Long Island receives Northeast Region auction award.

Remaining SC winners were: ADESA Phoenix, West Region, and Manheim Louisville, Midwest Region. Other Chrysler Capital award recipients were ADESA Golden Gate, West Region, and Manheim Kansas City, Midwest Region. ABC Detroit-Toledo received the operations award.

ADESA Phoenix was last year’s auction of the year award winner, while ADESA Phoenix, Manheim Louisville and Manheim San Antonio repeated as regional winners.

“Santander and Chrysler Capital are pleased to take this opportunity to highlight these award winners, who set the bar in 2015 and gave everyone something to strive for in 2016,” Huisman said.

Jeff Hoyt, left, GM of ADESA Golden Gate celebrates the CCAP West Region award with Mitch O’Neil and Brent Huisman, executive vice president.

Thousands of reasons you don’t want to miss the DFW Auto Show

Don’t miss this, because there’s a good chance your competitors won’t.

About 650,000 square feet of gleaming metal will be a feast for the senses of anyone in the car business, attracting thousands of consumers, many of whom are doing hands-on research for their next vehicles.

The DFW Auto Show, scheduled March 16-20 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, will present more than 700 vehicles from about 40 manufacturers, ranging from Fiat to Aston Martin, Chrysler to Maserati, Toyota to Mercedes-Benz.

The DFW event, which holds a special place on the calendar between the larger Chicago and New York auto shows, serves a purpose for the DFW-North Texas region.

“The DFW Auto Show has always been the best place in the Metroplex for serious car shoppers to look, compare, test drive and dream,” said Don Herring Jr., auto show chairman, providing consumers with “hours of research possibilities, including conversations with manufacturers’ product specialists.”

A previous survey by the event showed that 17 percent of attendees were then in the market for a new vehicle and 13 percent were looking to purchase within six months.

About a quarter said that attending the show strongly influenced their decision on which vehicle they would buy, with 35 percent saying they were somewhat influenced. About 14 percent said they changed their mind on what vehicle they would purchase after attending the show.

This year’s show will include 2017 models and an “impressive lineup” of new or redesigned 2016s.

Visitors also can dream big in the High End area where $100,000-plus vehicles will be on display, including the $300,000 Rezvani Beast X supercar manufactured in California.

And then there are the two ride-and-drive activities, one outdoors that will comprise more than 60 vehicles from over a dozen manufacturers available for test drives in downtown Dallas.

The show is produced by the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan New Car Dealers Association, the trade association comprising about 200 franchised new-car dealerships in 11 North Texas counties that represent more than $10 billion in new and used car sales annually.

But if you can’t make it to the Dallas show, at least 17 others are scheduled around the country between Chicago and New York shows, including events in New Orleans, Atlanta, Cleveland and Denver.

Here’s a comprehensive schedule at ASNA | Auto Shows of North America.

How to make the most of sales opportunities with women customers

Getting a woman’s perspective on buying from your dealership is useful only if you want to sell more vehicles …

Oh. Right. Almost ALL dealerships want to sell more vehicles.

Anne Fleming of

Anne Fleming of

It’s an important subject because there are more women drivers than men – 105.7 million to 104.3 million, according to a recent University of University of Michigan study cited by – and plenty of evidence that women shop differently than men, says the website.

That’s in an industry in which four out of five employees are men, says

But the numbers are scary only if your dealership is not prepared to work with female customers.

With that in mind, we began publishing on Santander Consumer USA’s Inside Lane blog a guest column by Anne Fleming, president, CEO and “car-buying advocate” of

The end of the year seemed like a good time to pull together those three months’ worth of blog posts in case your dealership wants to include any of these ideas into its New Year’s resolutions:

“Women are becoming extraordinarily important to dealerships’ bottom line,” said Fleming, whose experience includes more than 20 years in brand development and strategic product development. “Dealerships with outdated behaviors and attitudes are losing traction.”

And losing sales traction is about the last thing most vehicle dealerships want to do.

For more on Fleming, see the blog post How a male-dominated business can do a better job selling to women introducing her column to Inside Lane or visit

Millennials love their vehicles, after all, ‘Love Index’ shows

Love is a many-splendored thing.

Especially if you’re talking about the love millennials have for their vehicles. That’s right. After hearing for years that millennials just aren’t into cars, along comes Strategic Vision and its Customer Love Index.

“CLI research shows … a staggering difference between millennials and the rest of the industry,” the consulting company said in a press release. “Not only are their scores higher, but millennials are much more likely to be buying mass-market vehicles designed to maximize value.”

Fiat’s 500 Hatchback scored well above average on the “Love Index” at 449.

“Essentially, they love their compact hatchbacks so much that they rate them similarly as owners of luxury convertibles,” said Strategic Vision, which identified overall most-loved vehicles in 28 categories. Millennials beat the average love index score, 470-400, according to Strategic Vision, which characterized “love” as the “holy grail of the customer experience.”

“As new, younger buyers enter any market, they essentially crush hard on their choices, believing that their first love will always be their only,” said Christopher Chaney of Strategic Vision. “Of course, this isn’t new to millennials. Every generation in their youth can remember their first love and the deep emotional impact it had on their lives, and future decisions in life.”

Strategic Vision didn’t identify millennial favorites specifically, but did provide overall results.

“Many of the winners from this year bring something unique and exciting to the table that may not appeal to everyone but is certainly loved by those who buy them,” the company said of the overall list.

Multiple category winners by brand were Chevrolet, three, and BMW, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru, with two each. Nine other brands won a single category based on Strategic Vision’s study of more than 44,000 owners of new vehicles.

The manufacturer with the lineup of vehicles receiving the highest CLI scores?

Volkswagen Group of America – although Strategic Vision noted that results are based on feedback from people who bought their new vehicle before September 2015, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first reported that the company had fudged emissions tests.

“The good news for [Volkswagen] is that they will be working from a position where customers have initially loved their experience,” said Strategic Vision.

It’s not too early to start thinking about your sales in 2016

If you thought 2015 was a good year to be in the automobile business, you’ll love prospects for 2016. And December is a good time to start gearing up.

Typically one of the best months of the year for selling cars, December is expected to top off a record year after a very strong November and set the table for another possible record next year.

“U.S. auto sales are now clearly on the path to set a record in 2015, with volume we haven’t seen in 15 years,” said Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive, a marketing intelligence firm.



But there’s little time to relax afterward with tax season and the big month of March around the corner.

While 2015 has seen tremendous and consistent growth in new-vehicle sales, new-car and light-truck sales should go even higher in 2016, Steven Szakaly, National Automobile Dealers Association chief economist, said during a recent press conference, according to F&I Showroom.

“New light-vehicle sales will rise to 17.71 million units in 2016, a 2.3 percent increase from our forecast of 17.3 million sales in 2015 … the seventh straight year of increasing new-vehicle sales,” said Szakaly.

Some experts say 2017 will be even better for light-vehicle sales, hitting 18 million before leveling off.

And the positive outlook isn’t limited to new-vehicle sales, according to industry experts.

“We are looking for used-vehicle sales to continue to grow as we move into 2016,” Tim Fleming, Kelley Blue Book analyst, recently told Auto Remarketing. “Prices should continue to ease from record highs seen a few years ago, making the used market even more attractive to consumers.”

Overall, franchise dealers sell nearly as many used cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans as new vehicles – more than one-third of all used vehicles sold – based on data from CNW Marketing Research. The remainder is sold by independent dealerships and in private-party transactions.

Santander Consumer USA plans to help franchise dealers make the most of the 2016 opportunity by providing support through our knowledgeable sales-and-marketing team, email content and blog posts. If you have questions about working with Santander Consumer USA and Santander Auto Finance, talk to your sales representative or area sales manager or request a visit from a representative online.

Santander Consumer USA, Chrysler Capital rocking and rolling into 2016

The auction world has been rocking in 2015, and Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Capital* have been rolling right along with it.

Total auction volume is expected to top nine million units this year – about 7 percent higher than 2014 – and even more growth is anticipated next year.

Santander and Chrysler Capital have seen corresponding increases in business as buyer requirements for quality pre-owned vehicles rise to meet consumer demand in a still improving auto-sales environment.



That makes it as important as ever for Santander, as one of the largest remarketers of quality vehicles in the country, and Chrysler Capital to maintain industry-leading standards in quality, price, value, selection, performance, service and buyer satisfaction that enhance product value to our customers.

To ensure that we keep rocking and rolling as auction sales volumes (and business demands) increase, Santander is adding people who will work even closer than we already do with our approximately 50 associated auctions, providing enhanced service and more frequent communication.

And we’re reorganizing some of our efforts over to support the 2016 initiative.

Simply put, more Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Capital associates will be available when and where they are needed to ensure auction sales of our vehicles go smoothly and efficiently.

Of course, the steady rise in off-lease Chrysler vehicles will help provide volume to meet the demand.

This also is a good time to write about Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Capital’s annual holiday season charity effort with our generous partners.

Here’s how the fundraiser will work: Every time your dealership purchases a car at auction, Santander, Chrysler Capital and participating auctions will donate a portion of the proceeds to selected charities**.  We will make a donation for every Santander or Chrysler Capital vehicle purchase, matched by a donation from the auction company, for a total donation of $6 per vehicle through December.

How much easier could it be to show holiday spirit than to do what you do anyway – purchase vehicles? See Santander’s annual charity effort from the heart, for the children for more details.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for buyer, promotional and technology initiatives as Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Capital continue to work hard to earn your business in 2016.

Brent Huisman

EVP, Asset Remarketing

Santander Consumer USA Inc.


*Chrysler Capital is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC and licensed to Santander Consumer USA Inc.

**Charities are not affiliated in any way with Santander Consumer USA Inc., its affiliates or subsidiaries.


What shoppers’ large-screen smartphones have to do with sales

Large-screen mobile devices, or phablets, are changing the way users find and consume information when vehicle shopping.

That’s significant because it could affect the amount of shopper traffic coming to your dealership.

The more satisfied a shopper is with the usefulness of an automotive manufacturer’s website or third-party research-and-shopping site, the more likely he/she is to visit a dealership associated with the site, according to the 2015 Automotive Mobile Site Study by J.D. Power.

Ram’s mobile website ranks among the best.

“Among vehicle shoppers who indicate they are delighted with their experience on a manufacturer brand website … 66 percent indicate they are more likely to test drive a vehicle after visiting the site, compared with only 16 percent of those who are disappointed,” said a J.D. Power summary.

The study shows that some automotive manufacturers and third-party automotive websites are better positioned than others to take advantage of the shift toward larger mobile devices.

Based on the study involving more than 12,000 shoppers, the top 10 manufacturer brand websites are Acura, Infiniti, FIAT, Nissan, Ram, Cadillac, Dodge, Ford, Jeep and GMC, all of which finished with at least 794 points on a 1,000-point scale. Others finishing above the manufacturer mobile site average of 783 points were Porsche, MINI, Hyundai, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Chrysler.

The top third-party sites in the J.D. Power study are TrueCar, CarGurus, Yahoo! Autos, U.S. News Best Cars and, all of which finished above the site average of 734 on the 1,000-point scale.

The study did not address dealership websites directly, but the same lessons would seem to apply.

“Automotive manufacturer and third-party website designers should be mindful of growing phablet usage and take advantage of the larger screen by displaying more content and adding detail to maximize shopper satisfaction and drive more traffic to dealer showrooms,” said Arianne Walker of J.D. Power.

“The time spent on mobile devices for automotive shopping is increasing, and this trend of buying and using phablets is expected to continue,” according to Walker.

Popular phablets – large smartphones with screens 5.5 inches and greater – include the iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Google Nexus 6 and Microsoft Lumia 640 XL.

J.D. Power’s study was based on results of 12,416 evaluations of automotive mobile websites by vehicle shoppers who intend to purchase or lease a vehicle within the next two years.

Details of the Automotive Mobile Site Study results are available online at

Something extra: Rehash Tool helps you make timely deals

092515 IL The secret to fast funding with SantanderWe know that credit applications aren’t an exact science. They may require tweaking before they can be approved.  Instead of spending the valuable and short time you have with your customers on the phone with your buyer, why not try the Rehash Tool on the Dealer Extranet.

If you need to update the numbers on your customer’s application or revise the type of vehicle being purchased, there is no better, faster way than the Rehash Tool.

You can plug your new information into the Rehash Tool and receive a new structure in real time.

Even if deal negotiations run late, the Rehash Tool allows you to work deals at any time, day or night.  This gives you the flexibility to close more deals despite the time of day or the time zone you’re in.

Learn more about what the Rehash Tool can bring to the table when working deals with Santander Auto Finance.

The future is now for improving car-buying process – and here’s how

Selling cars is not just about, well, sales.

Many dealerships know this, but an Autotrader study released earlier this year provides more clarity: Only 17 of 4,002 car shoppers and buyers surveyed prefer the current car-buying process.

That’s less than one-half of one percent – a percentage which dealers might find scary.

“While there is good work going on right now to adapt decades-old sales processes, consumers are telling us that we as an industry are not moving fast enough,” said Jared Rowe, president of Autotrader, an online automotive research tool and marketplace based in Atlanta.

090215 IL The future is now for improving car-buying process – and here’s how

Among other results, the Car Buyer of the Future study describes four areas in which major change is needed in the buying process, according to car shoppers and buyers surveyed. Those areas comprise test drives, deal structuring, financing paperwork and vehicle service.

Following is a summary of each of the areas in which consumers most want change:


These will still play an important role, with 88 percent of consumers saying they would not purchase a car without test driving it first. But 81 percent of consumers prefer a different test-drive experience than the traditional test drive in which they are accompanied by a sales person. Instead, consumers want more convenience and less pressure, including the ability to test drive multiple vehicles in a single place and taking a test drive with a product specialist instead of a sales person.


Consumers indicate that they would like to see a big change in the way they go about negotiating, structuring deals online before arriving at the dealership. Of those who liked the idea of conducting the process online, 56 percent want the ability to start the negotiation on their own terms and 45 percent would like to remain anonymous until they lock in the deal structure.


Seventy-two percent of customers want to complete their credit applications and financing paperwork online to save time at the dealership – a top frustration among car buyers – and about 71 percent to reduce pressure in filling out paperwork. Moving paperwork online and enabling consumers to complete it on their own time would greatly enhance the in-dealership experience and customer satisfaction, which another study showed begins declining after 90 minutes at the dealership.


When it comes to servicing their vehicles, 83 percent of consumers indicate that they would like to have the ability to access a network of local service centers that honor service agreements. Driven by a desire for convenience, 76 percent of those who prefer local service networks want to go to a service center close by and 63 percent want to be able to service the vehicle anywhere.

“In the future, while the actual components of car shopping and buying will remain the same, the execution will look different,” said the Autotrader report. “Convenience and shared control of the process will be essential to earning a car shopper’s business and loyalty. An important consideration … is that the future is imminent and the evolution of the process should begin today.”

The benefits are clear, according to Autotrader, “Dealers and manufacturers who focus on creating – and ultimately deliver – a better shopping and buying experience can reap significant benefits.”

Consumers want industry to move faster to improve dealer experience

You’re not moving fast enough.

That’s what consumers are telling the auto industry about the pace of change in its “decades-old sales processes,” according to Jared Rowe, president of Autotrader.

The conclusion came out of Autotrader’s annual Car Buyer of the Future study released earlier this year.

The study covered three myths about the future of auto sales, the four main areas in which change is needed and the benefits to dealers and manufacturers who adapt to new consumer demands.

083115 IL Consumers want industry to move faster to improve dealer experience

“By recognizing – and embracing – the need for change, we have a tremendous opportunity to surprise and delight our consumers,” said Rowe in referring to the results of the study, which showed that only 17 of 4,002 car shoppers and buyers surveyed prefer the current car-buying process.

Autotrader identified the following myths about the future of vehicle sales:

Sales people will be less important. Eighty-four percent of consumers in the study indicate that they want to buy a car in person, and 43 percent see the dealership as a place to learn – validating information they found online and finding out about specials, offers, warranty and service.

Consumers don’t want to negotiate. Fifty-six percent of consumers prefer to negotiate, including two of the most influential groups in car buying – millennials and females.

The lowest price will always win. While price is important to consumers, the dealership experience trumps the lowest price, with 54 percent of those surveyed saying they would buy their vehicle from a dealership that offered their preferred experience over the lowest price. And 73 percent said they would be willing to drive further for a great salesperson versus 65 percent willing to drive for the lowest price.

The areas in which change is needed most, according to Autotrader, are test drives, deal structuring, financing paperwork and service – all of which we’ll cover in our next post.

Meanwhile, Autotrader said, the benefits are clear: “Dealers and manufacturers who focus on creating – and ultimately deliver – a better shopping and buying experience can reap significant benefits.”

Of the consumers responding to the Autotrader survey:

  • Seventy-two percent would visit dealerships more often if the buying process improved.
  • Two-thirds would be more likely to buy from a dealership that offers their preferred experience.
  • Fifty-three percent would buy a vehicle more often if the buying process improved.

“The sales environment is expected to remain strong across new, used and CPO cars over the next few years,” Rowe said. “And it is exciting to see that we have several ways to enhance the consumer experience for the benefit of all involved – buyers, manufacturers and retailers.”