Archive for the ‘News’ Category

AutoNation Toyota of Winter Park

225 N. Semoran Blvd.
Winter Park, FL

Dealer principal: Jim Bander

General manager: Nick Oliver

Brands represented: Toyota, Scion

How long in business: Since 2003

Number of employees: 230

Annual unit volume (approximate): 7,400

SC Dealer Relationship Manager: Jeremy Gates

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What makes AutoNation Toyota special:

The culture of my store makes it special. Everyone here contributes to the success of the store from the top to the bottom. We take pride in treating our employees right and taking care of them, because we know they will do the same for our customers.

DRM comment on what makes dealership special:

Everyone at this store is welcoming. They address any issues head on and seek a fair and timely resolution. Everyone is always willing to help in any situation, and has a positive vibe to go along with it.

052218 IL Autonation Toyota of Winter Park_Chafik Amrani

Chafik Amrani, AutoNation Toyota

How long working with Santander Consumer USA:

Since the beginning.

What do you like about doing business with Santander Consumer USA?

I really like the flexibility and ease of use of the Extranet. This allows us to make quick decisions and make the buying process easier for our customers. The quick response to submitting an application is also something we like and appreciate. I also like the people I work with at Santander Consumer USA. Everyone is friendly and willing to assist me with any problems that may arise.

One best practice that contributes to your dealership’s success:

We stay on top of any issue or problem from the get go. This practice keeps everyone happy and informed. We also do a lot of training to keep our employees educated on our products and to keep everyone fresh.

Describe your experience with Santander Consumer USA:

We are a store that does 740 cars a month. Our experience with Santander is a positive one with Santander being one of our most-used lenders, certainly No. 1 in subprime loans. I can see our business growing with the new signing of Santander as a preferred lender for AutoNation.

– Chafik Amrani, General Sales Manager

Are you committed to making the most of your sales opportunities?


It’s what you demonstrate every day at the dealership, whether it’s in your showroom, F&I, service area, the back office or any of the thousand-and-one other aspects of your business.

Because success is all about the commitment you make to taking care of details – and your customers. Far be it from you to miss something that might mean more sales and thousands of dollars in revenue.

Or is that exactly what you’re doing every day?

Road Ahead V1

It is if you’re not exploring all options for financing your customer’s vehicle purchase.

But far be it from Santander Consumer USA (SC) to suggest you give us higher consideration as a preferred, reliable (and valuable) lender for your dealership if we couldn’t back it up.

“I have had the pleasure of dealing with Santander since Teddy Nissan opened the doors,” wrote Julio Batista, general manager of the Bronx, NY, dealership, which began operating nearly a decade ago. “Santander has been a valued partner helping Teddy Nissan grow into one of the most successful Nissan dealerships in the United States.”

Helping your business

There are several reasons SC makes a good partner for dealers such as Teddy Nissan – many of which will be featured in upcoming installments of The Road Ahead in our dealer emails.

But two especially important reasons were highlighted by another dealership sales executive.

“We like the ability to do loans for the full credit spectrum,” wrote Kyle Bacon, general sales manager of Sport Chevrolet in Silver Spring, MD. “[And] the Extranet makes working deals so much faster and more efficient than having to call buyers at other banks. The Extranet also provides the ability to get deals funded faster by uploading any additional information or stips quickly and easily.”

Full-spectrum financing

That’s right, SC isn’t just for subprime deals anymore.

“We are happy and comfortable working with Santander Consumer USA from an approval on almost any customer out there to an easy funding process and access to our rep with the click of a button,” wrote Dave Ivnitsky, finance manager of Kings Nissan in Brooklyn, NY.

“I’ve been taking advantage of Santander Consumer USA’s programs for several years now,” wrote Jack Geier, special finance director for Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford in Lewisville, TX. “I believe SC is a [lender] that I can trust. I’ve watched other lenders come and go, sometimes leaving dealers with contracts hanging, while Santander has remained strong.”

Sweating out the details

Of course, as detail-oriented as you are about your business, SC expects you to have questions. And that’s where our professional, knowledgeable Dealer Relationship Managers come in.

From questions about SC programs to help with your deals, DRMs are part of your SC advantage.

“Our DRM is a great asset,” said Howard Forman, finance director at Sands Chevrolet of Surprise, AZ, “because he has the ability to help us solve some of the more complicated issues that arise – helps to problem-solve and escalate issues to the appropriate party for quick resolution.”

Chances are you won’t have to go looking for your DRM – the DRM probably will find you. But if you don’t hear from us soon, you may contact SC online for quick attention.

How’s that for commitment to your business.

Bringing the heat: Three months that could help your 2018 results shine

Are you ready?

June, July and August typically are three hot months for car sales.

And we’re not just talking temperatures.

Road Ahead V1


Over the last three years of strong sales, June, July and August failed only once to land among the top six sales months of the year.

And three of the last nine years August has been either the best or second-best month of the year. Only December (6), March (5) and May (3) have equaled or surpassed that performance, based on statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

If you include Memorial Day and Labor Day holiday weekends in the mix with the July Fourth holiday, the significance of the summer sales season is even clearer.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re ready?

Our upcoming email series, The Road Ahead, will look at the ways in which Santander Consumer USA’s commitment to its dealers can make the difference between a warm and a hot summer.

Along the way, we’ll show you a lender that is:

  • Committed to helping your dealership succeed this summer and beyond.
  • Confident that our updated program will enable you to make more money.
  • Compelled to do what is best for our dealer-partners’ businesses.
  • Commended by dealerships who already work with us – some of them for many years.

Sales during the first four months of this year were second only to the record-setting year 2016, and dealer optimism is high right now based on a recent Cox Automotive dealer survey.

So now is not the time to leave money on the table by limiting your customer-financing options.

Chances are you won’t have to look very hard for an SC Dealer Relationship Manager (formerly Area Sales Manager). But if you don’t hear from us soon, you may contact SC online for quick attention.

Summer only lasts three months.

Teddy Nissan

3660 Boston Road

Bronx, NY

Dealer principal: Ted Bessen

General manager: Julio Batista

Brands represented: Nissan

How long in business: Nine years

Number of employees: 105

Annual unit volume (approximate): 2,400 new and 1,400 used

SC Dealer Relationship Manager: Stephen Rivelli

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What makes Teddy Nissan special:

Our core values of being positive, friendly, helpful, respectful, professional, enthusiastic and treating our customers as if they are guests in our home. We continually strive to provide every customer with the best customer experience ever.

DRM Stephen Rivelli’s comment on what makes dealership special:

I have been working closely with Julio and his team for the past five years. During that time I have seen his finance managers really embrace our Dealer Extranet. This is a very busy dealership and they find many uses for the Extranet.

One special event the dealership runs every few months is a “midnight madness sale.” Of course, we do not have buyers actively working at those hours, but that does not stop the dealership from rehashing deals and delivering cars.

The finance team there also will use the rehash tool on deals that they might not have been able to put together during the day by going into the Extranet after hours and reworking applications with different units. They will capture a few deals a month by doing this.

They also are big fans of uploading docs to satisfy open stips on deals in funding through our Funding tab, also located on the Extranet. They are able to fund their deals much faster than relying on faxing and emailing stips to our funding department.

How long working with Santander Consumer USA:

Nine years.

What you like about doing business with Santander Consumer USA:

Ease of use. Programs complement our dealership. Professional and helpful demeanor. Extranet availability and usage. Timely funding.

One best practice that contributes to your dealership’s success:

Providing best-in-class service and exceeding customer’s expectations.

Describe your experience with Santander Consumer USA:

I have had the pleasure of dealing with Santander since Teddy Nissan opened the doors. Santander has been a valued partner helping Teddy Nissan grow into one of the most successful Nissan dealerships in the United States, number seven in the nation for January 2018. We owe part of that success to Santander.

Teddy Nissan is able to offer the best customer experience due to Santander Extranet. This technological marvel allows the Teddy Nissan finance department to work deals obtaining instant decisions, also giving us the ability to restructure deals during and after business hours to find the best option for our clients. Teddy Nissan would not be able to offer the best customer experience without Santander as our partner.

– Julio Batista, General Manager

Julio Batista is general manager at Teddy Nissan.

Julio Batista is general manager at Teddy Nissan.

‘Car Buyer Journey’ may offer a route to better store results

050118 IL ‘Car Buyer Journey’ may offer a route to better store results

How well do you know your prospective customers?

Your answer to that question can help determine how successful your business is.

A recent survey, Car Buyer Journey 2018, conducted by IHS Markit and commissioned by Cox Automotive should help steer you in the right direction.

The detailed survey of 2,050 consumers who purchased or leased a vehicle during a recent 12-month period includes findings about:

  • Shopper’s body and mind when beginning the journey.
  • Shopping behavior before visiting a dealership.
  • Point of first contact and buying behavior.
  • How the journey ends for buyers and dealerships.

Each step in the journey provides dealerships with opportunities to boost their business.

State of mind matters

Shoppers overall are spending less time in-market.

But it still takes them almost four months – 108 days to be precise – to make a decision. And that’s about the same amount of time whether they’re buying used or new.

Shopping is driven by buyer need versus want.

Nearly two-thirds of used-vehicle buyers (64 percent) and more than half of new-vehicle buyers (54 percent) are in the market because they need a vehicle. Overall, 61 percent of buyers are shopping out of need while 39 percent are shopping simply out of a desire to purchase another vehicle.

Most car buyers are undecided at the start of the shopping process.

More than six in 10 new-vehicle shoppers don’t know exactly the vehicle they want to purchase, while more than seven in 10 used-vehicle shoppers fit that description.

Many buyers are open to both new and used vehicles.

There is a big difference, though, between new- and used-vehicle buyers, with only 40 percent of the former having considered used vehicles and 55 percent of the latter having thought about new.

COX ADVICE: “Many buyers are open to both new and used vehicles … (and) while car shoppers can be influenced about what to buy and who to buy from, the time to influence and convert them is online, where they spend the majority of their shopping time making decisions.”

Before dealership visit

Buyers want to know the total price of the vehicle.

Transparency matters, including online. About 82 percent of buyers want to know the total price of the vehicle they are considering or the total price along with monthly payments.

Car buyers spend 60 percent of their time online.

Out of 14.5 hours of vehicle shopping, consumers overall spend nearly nine hours online compared to only three hours in the dealership where they ultimately make their purchase. That total is almost 10 hours for used-vehicle shoppers, who spend nearly 15.5 hours shopping.

Third-party websites are the most-used resource for online car shopping.

Nearly eight in 10 shoppers overall (78 percent) use third-party sites, such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and CarGurus, while just over half (53 percent) use dealership sites.

Buyers most often start at third-party websites.

New-vehicle buyers most often start their search at a third-party website and end at a dealer website, while used-vehicle buyers often start and end at third-party sites.

COX ADVICE: “Dealers should focus on unique ways to deliver a consistent overall message across all sites. It is also critical that dealership websites are user-friendly, compelling, easy to search across all devices and accurately reflect the pricing, incentives, services and amenities that are offered.”

Clues to buying behavior

“Walking in” remains the most-common initial point of contact with dealers.

Despite all the conversation around online chat, texting capability and social media, only about 7 percent of shoppers make their initial contact with a dealership through those channels. The rest make initial contact by other means: walk in (49 percent), phone (26 percent) and email (17 percent).

Buyers going to dealerships where they have previous experience?

Only about three in 10 shoppers buy or lease from dealerships where they have previous experience, although that figure is higher for new-car buyers (40 percent) than used buyers (27 percent).

Buyers did not purchase from the first dealership visited.

Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of shoppers purchased or leased from the first dealer they visited. But that’s not all bad news for first dealerships as you’ll see below.

COX ADVICE: “Dealers should focus on creating a positive in-store experience for shoppers and use stocking and acquisition tools to get the right inventory for their stores.” Shortfalls in those two areas account for more than half of shoppers not purchasing from the first dealership they visit.

How the journey ends

Buyers are shopping around less and are less satisfied with price.

An increasing percentage of shoppers are visiting one dealership before making their vehicle purchase. The downside is that an increasing percentage also is dissatisfied with the price they pay.

Buyers are least satisfied with long purchase process.

Although overall satisfaction with the dealership experience was 71 percent, less than half of shoppers (46 percent) were OK with how long the process takes, with financing and paperwork the main culprits.

Prior awareness is critical to F&I sales.

Purchase of F&I products is much higher among consumers aware of them before a dealer visit, so dealers should offer educational resources on their websites and provide opportunities for consumers to learn more about F&I on their own during the sales process.


“A simple, pressure-free shopping experience, transparent pricing and a set price or non-negotiable price model can help build customer satisfaction … Dealers should strive to shorten the deal-making purchase process – particularly through streamlining F&I paperwork and negotiations – in order to enhance customer satisfaction and improve loyalty and retention rates.”

Of course, these results are generalizations based on consumer responses to the Cox survey, so your dealership’s results and/or experience may be different.

But the results still provide some useful benchmarks against which you can measure your store.

‘Conventional wisdom’ mostly wrong on vehicle ownership, NADA finds

Personal vehicle ownership – and, by extension, automotive dealerships – may go the way of the dinosaurs one day.

But not anytime soon, according to a large-scale research study commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

The association wanted to find out “what people really think about [autonomous vehicles], ride-hailing, car-sharing and personal ownership.” The study included consumer focus groups and a national survey about the future of personal transportation.

042618 IL ‘Conventional wisdom’ mostly wrong on vehicle ownership, NADA finds - Copy

“What we found cuts against much of the ‘conventional wisdom,’” reported Peter Welch, NADA president and CEO writing recently on the NADA blog.

Here are the major findings of the study:

  • Car owners have little, if any, interest in giving up their car keys.
  • Cars still are convenient to own, not an “unnecessary purchase.”
  • Millennials aren’t much different than other consumers in their desire to own.
  • People aren’t willing to pay less if they will lose convenience.

“Only 11 percent of car owners in our survey were interested in giving up their personal vehicles to move exclusively toward a ride-hailing service,” Welch said, “even under the assumption that the service was widely accessible, safer and more affordable than human-operated vehicles.”

This was true among all age groups, geographic regions, education and income levels, he added.

“Fully 90 percent of car owners surveyed said that … their car provides them the freedom and flexibility to go where they want, when they want,” wrote Welch.

Survey respondents cited a number of benefits of personal vehicle ownership, including the ability to:

  • Make multiple trips on an errand run.
  • Take an impromptu trip to another city or state.
  • Drive unexpectedly to an emergency room.
  • Leave an event earlier or later than planned.

“If real consumers have anything to say about it, the future of transportation will be built upon the foundation of personally owned vehicles, whether human operated or autonomous,” according to the NADA executive. “Consumers will continue to purchase their own vehicles and use ride-hailing services as a supplement whenever it’s more convenient.”

For more details, see Welch’s report, The future of personal vehicle ownership, on the NADA blog.

Sport Chevrolet

3101 Automobile Blvd.

Silver Spring, MD


Dealer principal: Robert Fogarty

General manager: Gibbs Fogarty

Brands represented: Chevrolet

How long in business: 50 years

No. of employees: 108

Annual unit volume (approximate): 2,200

SC Dealer Relationship Manager: Lauren Gallart Bacon

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What makes Sport Chevrolet special:

The family atmosphere, the tenure of our employees, and the owners can always be found here.

DRM Lauren Gallart Bacon’s comment on what makes dealership special:

This dealership is family run and owned. If a customer emails a concern, the owner or GM contacts them almost immediately. The customer service and atmosphere is amazing when you walk into the dealership. They support Santander with all of our programs. They are a current RL dealership, they also did a Direct Mail drop last year and they send 100% of their applications to Santander.

How long has the dealership worked with Santander Consumer USA:

We have been a Santander dealer partner since before it was Santander!

What do you like about doing business with Santander Consumer USA:

We like the ability to do loans for the full credit spectrum. The Extranet makes working deals so much faster and more efficient than having to call buyers at other banks. The Extranet also provides the ability to get deals funded faster by uploading any additional information or stips quickly and easily.

One best practice that contributes to your dealership’s success:

Using the Extranet to structure and maximize every Santander deals profit potential.

Please describe your experience with SC:

We just signed up for RoadLoans and in the first three days set three out of five appointments. We delivered the second lead we received with a $4,279 profit. Every lead we’ve received has responded to our initial contact and wants to buy. Our rep was persistent since I arrived here six months ago, telling us how good the RoadLoans leads are and how she believed the program would benefit our store. She was correct, and we couldn’t be happier that we finally took her advice.

– Kyle Bacon, General Sales Manager


GSM Kyle Bacon and Sport Chevrolet are sold on Santander Consumer USA.

GSM Kyle Bacon and Sport Chevrolet are sold on Santander Consumer USA.

6 more of best ways to boost your dealership’s used-car results

How does your used-car operation measure up?

The six key performance indicators (KPI) we shared last week should begin to give you an idea compared to thousands of others, including high performers.

Cox Automotive addressed KPIs in “Metrics That Matter for Best Dealership Performance” in its 2018 Used Car Market Report & Outlook, compiling a list of 12 KPI and best-in-class benchmarks from “vast amounts of data” it collected for the report.

110717 IL Personal touch important, even though car shoppers want digital optionsHere are the six more indicators, according to the Cox research:

Immediate wholesale volume

The best used-car departments “separate the measurements of immediate wholesale, that is, a vehicle never offered for retail from aged wholesale. They look for ways to keep trades … [and] typically have discounted recon rates for older vehicles and few to no packs.” This should be “under 33 percent.”

Immediate wholesale profit/loss per vehicle

“The goal is a small profit/loss per vehicle [about $150], an indication that appraisers are accurately assessing valuations and assumes no inventory adjustments or pack adjustments.”

Aged wholesale loss per vehicle

“Vehicles that were reconditioned and offered for retail but did not sell are likely to lose money.” Top performers separate these “from the ones that were wholesaled immediately and set a KPI for the average wholesale loss on these units. A benchmark of 5 percent wholesale loss allowance is common.”

Appraisal-to-trade ratio

“[This] is the ratio of all vehicles appraised to how many were traded … It is a key indicator of the support the used-car department provides to the new-car department.” It should exceed 50 percent.

Gross return on investment

“GROI is the product of the gross as percentage of the sale multiplied by turn rate. … For a vehicle to make financial sense, the goal is a minimum GROI of 120.” This can be applied to an entire inventory.

Cost to market

“The highest achievers monitor cost to market, which compares the retail value of a vehicle to the total investment in a vehicle, including acquisition cost, reconditioning, transportation, pack, etc. … Minimize costs to enable aggressive acquisition of inventory and deliver maximum ROI.”

For more details, download the 2018 report.

6 of the best ways to boost your dealership’s used-car results

Key performance indicators (KPI).

They are the benchmarks that tell you whether your dealership is on track with used-car sales – or if you have more work to do to get the best possible results.

But which indicators rise to the level of being “key” to your dealership’s sales performance?

Cox Automotive addressed KPIs in “Metrics That Matter for Best Dealership Performance” in its 2018 Used Car Market Report & Outlook.

110717 IL Personal touch important, even though car shoppers want digital optionsBased on “vast amounts of data from thousands of dealers, including the highest performers,” Cox came up with 12 KPIs and best-in-class benchmarks “against which dealers can measure their own performance.”

Here are the first six indicators, according to the Cox research:

Used-to-new ratio

“Used retail unit volume equaling or surpassing new retail volume is a foundational correlation of highly successful used-vehicle departments, assuming the dealership is meeting new-vehicle volume goals.”

A great result is 1.25 used vehicle sales to every one new-vehicle sale.

Inventory turn rate

“The highest performers turn inventory every 20 days … Fast inventory turns maximize high-gross opportunities associated with fresh inventory and drive profits in other dealership departments.”

Price to market/market days supply

“Top performers embrace the balance between a vehicle’s desirability and its price. They use data to dictate when it is appropriate to ‘go for the gross’ and when the window for profit is short … The data is also a foundational element in inventory acquisition and appraisal processes.”

Mechanical and cosmetic reconditioning time

“Top performers solve reconditioning delays … Speed is paramount.”

Reduced reconditioning markup for older vehicles

“Retail reconditioning hinders vehicle acquisition, especially on older vehicles that tend to be some of the most desirable but also have the highest reconditioning costs.”


“High performers understand the drag that packs place on their used car operations. They slow down acquisition, including reducing new car appraisals.” The Internet has changed this dynamic.

Visit the Inside Lane blog next week for six more KPIs from top-performing dealerships.

For more details, download the 2018 report.

Del Toyota

2945 E. Lincoln Highway

Thorndale, PA


Dealer principal: Jack Del

General manager: Jim Lopez

Brands represented: Toyota

How long in business: 38 years

No. of employees: 97

Annual unit volume (approximate): 3,100

SC Dealer Relationship Manager: Brittany Beatty

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What makes Del Toyota special:

We cater to the customer’s individual needs. We focus on creating a seamless, transparent car buying experience. Customer service is our number one priority. We have been serving the area for over 35 years and pride ourselves on repeat business!

DRM Brittany Beatty’s comment on what makes dealership special:

This dealership is special because of their staff, especially the management team. You can tell that they work together and communicate with one another, which helps make their smooth machine work every day! Their success starts from the top down, and with their approachable and down-to-earth personalities, and make-it-work attitude, I can see why they not only made an impression on me, but make great impressions on their customers, which keeps them coming back.

How long working with Santander Consumer USA:

More than 10 years.

What do you like about doing business with Santander Consumer USA:

Santander provides an opportunity for our less-than-perfect-credit-score customers to still receive an awesome car buying experience.

One best practice that contributes to your dealership’s success:

Fast funding and good approvals

Please describe your experience with SC:

  • Fast response time on our submitted applications. Knowing we have a quick approval from Santander helps us make deals with our customers faster, and we don’t have to keep them waiting.
  • Dealer Extranet – We are big fans of the rehash tool. It gives us the flexibility to rehash multiple vehicles in minutes without having to pick up the phone.
  • Funding – We have had great experiences with the funding department. It is fast and painless, which keeps us wanting to work with Santander.
  • Our relationship with our Santander rep, Brittany Beatty, adds the perfect personal touch. In a time where instantaneous accessibility is vital, she is always a phone call away.

– Jim Lopez, General Manager


Patrick Donlen, general sales manager, left, and Jim Lopez, general manager, of Del Toyota.

Patrick Donlen, general sales manager, left, and Jim Lopez, general manager, of Del Toyota.