Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

Our new hire is on board – now what? Four keys to an engaged employee

There’s more to onboarding a new hire at your dealership than what happens between the hire date and start date.

If you read Swim, don’t sink: Best practices for onboarding new hires at your dealership you now know how to get started down the right road, but the challenge will be to keep up that momentum.

“Beyond reviewing the employee handbook and clarifying the new hire’s job role and expectations, the onboarding process should engage employees early on and keep them interested in staying for the long haul,” wrote Adam Robinson, Hireology CEO, for Dealer Solutions Magazine. “Engagement builds company culture and rapport among new staff, in addition to directly driving your dealership’s growth.”

070617 IL Our new hire is on board – now what Four keys to an engaged employee


These are important with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing turnover among automotive sales consultants annually at about 67 percent – and as high as 72 percent for non-luxury sales people, or about 1.5 times the 46 percent total turnover for the private sector overall.

Here are Robinson’s four keys to engaging employees early and making them more productive:

  • Encourage open communication
  • Build strong connections at all levels
  • Assimilate your employees
  • Offer opportunities for future growth

Hireology’s recruiting and hiring model has been adopted by 700 automotive dealerships in the United States and Canada and by more than 2,500 other companies worldwide.

Key No. 1

“New employees may often feel scared or intimidated to share concerns or feedback about their new role and surroundings,” wrote Robinson. “Newer employees may not feel comfortable asking questions or expressing their opinions, and that could negatively impact their work as well as motivation to stay.”

Robinson suggests providing a communications structure that helps new hires get answers to their questions about their new workplace without pressure.

Encouraging new hires to be honest “can do wonders” for making them feel like part of the team.

But that’s just the beginning.

Key No. 2

“With an average employee count at automotive [dealerships] of 70 employees, it’s easy for new hires to lose track of who their key points of contact will be once they get settled into their role,” writes Robinson. “Develop processes that help new employees foster interpersonal relationships with their new supervisors and understand what role their co-workers play in your dealership.”

Key No. 3

Assimilating new employees is more than just giving them a desk and turning them loose to sell cars and learn about the culture of the dealership by doing something wrong.

“A defined approach can serve to assimilate new staff members and provide them with clarity regarding their roles, responsibilities and team goals,” Robinson wrote. “This will help a new team member effectively work with other departments to help them all reach the same page and best work together.”

Key No. 4

And while you’re at it, make sure your new hire knows there’s room to grow.

“Their career path should be clearly mapped out, with skillsets or requirements needed to be promoted to the next level,” wrote Robinson. “There should also be a clear review timeline in place. The more systemized your processes for promotions are, the better the response will be from staff.”

Combined, these actions just may help you win the “uphill battle” for retention most dealerships face.

Edmunds sees strong new-car sales if infrastructure program happens

Sales of more than 1.8 million cars.

That’s what a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure commitment would generate in its first year in the most optimistic scenario suggested by’s chief economist.

The program, which would “give a face-lift” to the nation’s road and bridges and fund projects such as water systems, veterans hospitals and low-income housing could generate 15 million jobs over 10 years – 125,000 jobs per month on average – wrote Larry Plache of

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“Based on Edmunds’ analysis, new-car sales could increase at a rate ranging from 1 percent to 3.75 percent in the first year of the program alone,” wrote Plache.

“These estimates do not take into account the multiplier effects of the new jobs throughout the economy … that could generate even more new-car sales. For example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has estimated that 1.8 jobs are created for each job added in the construction industry.”

Based on last year’s new-car sales of 17.5 million, the highest percentage growth rate, and the BEA estimate on the jobs multiplier, sales would increase about 1,837,500 the first year.

“The high-growth endpoint takes into account the strong likelihood, based on survey evidence, that new job holders will purchase a car,” the economist wrote. “Adding fleet purchases by businesses to accommodate additional employees from job creation would further increase growth in new-car sales.”

A lot still has to happen before an infrastructure program could move forward, including agreement on who will pay for it, although both major political parties agree that something needs to be done. The Edmunds economist rates the chances of implementation as “reasonably high,” although the impact likely won’t happen soon enough for what has been a lackluster year so far.

“Assuming the parties can come to an agreement over funding,” Plache wrote, “we expect to see a plan approved later this year and projects (and jobs and increased car buying) beginning in 2018.”

Until then, Plache wrote, “growing new-car sales poses a challenge for a market that appears to be at equilibrium.”

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.