By on August 18, 2017

Karen Radley Acura screenshot - Image: Karen Radley Acura websiteIt made perfect sense. In 2009, when Hyundai wanted customers to view its new Genesis luxury sedan as a premium bit of kit, Hyundai did not compare the Genesis to the Sonata. In an early marketing campaign, Hyundai’s voiceover said the Genesis is “as spacious as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, yet priced like a C-Class.”

When the time came to market the Genesis R-Spec, Hyundai reached way upmarket to compare 0-60 mph times with the Porsche Panamera. Hyundai wasn’t under the mistaken impression that the Genesis would steal thousands of sales from $100,000 Benzes and Porsches. But Hyundai was crafting an image. Hyundai didn’t require you to believe that the Genesis was a viable S-Class alternative — the company just wanted you to understand that this is premium-oriented S-Class-sized sedan at a C-Class-like price.

Long before the Hyundai Genesis tried to cultivate a premium persona, Acura was failing to keep up with Lexus in the quest to be viewed as a true luxury rival for the German establishment. It’s still a problem. So Acura dealers are now just trying to make sure you understand that the Acura TLX is better than the Audi A4 Lexus ES Infiniti Q50 2018 Honda Accord. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2017

Round Rock Genesis dealer - Image: Genesis Motors

“We do in fact have to expedite our process of separating our brands.”
– Genesis Motors General Manager Erwin Raphael

From the start, Hyundai Motor America’s plans to launch its upmarket Genesis brand inside Hyundai showrooms was easy to question. Do consumers want the link between a $68,100 Genesis G90 and a $14,745 Hyundai Accent to be so obvious?

Of course not. But affording Genesis a mere corner of certain Hyundai showrooms wasn’t the only problem — Genesis general manager Erwin Raphael also had issues early on with the number of Hyundai dealers signed up to sell the Genesis brand.

“We may see that (350) figure go down,” Raphael said in November 2016, only a few months after the brand began selling cars in America. “I think it is too high.”

Fast forward to August 2017 and Hyundai’s plan to eventually separate the Genesis brand with standalone showrooms, perhaps in 2020, is about to be pulled way forward. “For this brand to really survive and thrive,” Raphael tells Automotive News, “and for us to develop the culture within ourselves and within our dealer network to support and take care of these customers, we do in fact have to expedite our process of separating our brands.”

So what happens to all of those Hyundai dealers who recently spent thousands renovating showrooms to include Genesis studios? (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2017

JM Lexus Margate Florida - Image: Lexus.com

Half an hour from Fort Lauderdale, in Margate, Florida, sits JM Lexus, the highest-volume Lexus dealership in the United States.

Even by Lexus standards, where throughput is the best of any premium automaker operating in America, JM Lexus’ 8,000-unit new vehicle sales tally in 2016 was striking. That’s more than 150 new luxury cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold each week. That’s roughly six times the volume achieved by the typical Lexus dealer.

And JM Lexus, perennially the top Lexus dealer in America, does so as part of the Lexus Plus strategy: no negotiating, a single representative per customer, fixed prices for new and used cars as well as service fees and accessories.

Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned by Lexus’ other dealers. For the time being, according to Automotive News, only 5 percent of Toyota’s premium brand stores operate under the Lexus Plus model. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

Walmart

With the exception of funeral services and stylish clothing, practically anything can be purchased at your local Walmart. Well, that list now includes automobiles. North America’s largest retailer is edging is way into automotive sales with the help of the nation’s largest new-car dealership franchise, AutoNation.

Launching in April, Walmart’s CarSaver program will make it the perfect middleman for impulse car buyers and local dealerships. CarSaver is designed to allow shoppers to browse, select, finance, and insure a vehicle through its website or at kiosks positioned in outside of the nail salons and vision centers of twenty-five Walmart Supercenters. (Read More…)

By on December 22, 2016

Truro Nissan storefront

There are certain inescapable truths in this world: bacon is delicious, man buns should be outlawed, and car dealerships endure a reputation of being a refuge for the ethically bankrupt.

I — like many others around here — am no stranger to witnessing the unscrupulous debauchery occurring on some showroom floors. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and a fledgling dealer in small-market rural Canada puts the lie to the claim that backwards thinking is a trait of all car dealerships. There are bright spots out there, as proven by the team at Truro Nissan.

(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2016

FCA - Auburn Hills

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is in hot water with federal authorities over the way it reports its sales.

Late yesterday, it was revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission both launched investigations into the automaker, following months of accusations of inflated sales figures. (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2016

Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. want to be compensated for financial losses stemming from the diesel emissions scandal, and if the results of a recent meeting with company brass is any indication, the demands will soon grow louder.

Alan Brown, chairman of Volkswagen’s U.S. dealer council, led a small delegation of dealers to Germany last week to talk reparations and get a firm grip on the company’s strategy, Automotive News reports.

The size of the settlement they were seeking is unknown, but the meeting with global brand chief Herbert Diess and new Volkswagen Group of America head Hinrich Woebcken didn’t yield any plan to compensate dealers.

(Read More…)

By on March 12, 2016

 Volkswagen Golf family

Volkswagen has been on the ropes for months as regulators, governments and the buying public rain blows in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, but its newest foe might come from the inside — its U.S. dealer network.

American dealers are feeling abandoned by their distracted German parent and could be on the verge of open revolt, Automotive News reports.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2015

vwcc

Update: We finally heard back from Volkswagen Canada (though, as you can imagine, their media relations department is probably a tad bit busier than usual).

The $2,000 amount is being offered as a “loyalty discount” for current TDI owners, regardless of size or type of diesel engine, for any new Volkswagen, regardless of engine and fuel type (except for stop-sale models, obviously). TDI owners do not need to trade-in their EA 189-equipped cars to qualify.

We attempted as best we could to confirm the ‘discount-on-trade-in’ story and we were given evidence to support the original story in La Presse. However, the truth was to the contrary. We apologize for the error.

The article now reflects the update.

Volkswagen Canada is offering a $2,000 incentive for current TDI owners, regardless of the age of the car or type of TDI engine, toward any other new Volkswagen model.

La Presse spoke to a dealer in Montreal who stated that they are taking affected TDI models in on trade and offering the discount. However, the discount is being offered as a “loyalty discount” to all TDI owners, and a trade-in is not required.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2013

Fraud Rule Number One: no matter how cute your girlfriend may be, do not include her in the picture on your fake ID.

Welcome to Part Two of our exclusive series on the rollicking world of Los Angeles luxury car buyers defrauding automakers, banks and dealers. In Part One we looked at Lemon Law scofflaws and odometer clockers. Today we will examine the crooked schemes that can be used to obtain the vehicle of your dreams. We will begin with the case of robber Baron Haghighi, who last month tried to con a few cars out of several Southern California high-line dealerships. (Read More…)

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