Category: Dealer News

By on December 5, 2018

The California New Car Dealers Association is requesting that Volvo immediately end its Care by Volvo subscription service within the state. According to the group, the automaker is in violation of California’s franchise and consumer protection laws.

It’s been a long time coming, as Care by Volvo is clearly designed to minimize dealer interactions. Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, even said the program claimed as much as 15 percent of the XC40 crossovers intended for dealerships this year.

“It’s really the same concerns from everybody, and it’s just that they don’t feel secure,” Gustafsson of said dealers last month. “They’re afraid we’re going to take something away from them … I would say the biggest question mark around subscriptions is that consumers need to decide that. Our retailers are asking, ‘Please let us be involved, because we can help.'”

It looks like they’re tired of begging.  Read More >

By on November 18, 2018

High-end sports cars are much more likely to endure the onslaught of time that inevitably forces most automobiles into the junkyard. Why such vehicles might not all serve as pampered automotive “investments” for wealthy individuals, most are still well cared for and subject to fewer harsh winters and daily commutes than their mainstream counterparts.

Porsche claims that over 70 percent of all vehicles it has ever manufactured are still in operation today and the majority of those cars reside in the United States, not Europe. As a result, the automaker wants to expand its Porsche Classic operations in the region — helping owners keep their vintage machines in pristine condition while earning dealerships some side cash in the process.  Read More >

By on November 13, 2018

Image: Ford

We’ve told you already that the upcoming Ford Ranger, which hits dealer lots in January, stands to become an endlessly customizable midsize pickup. Reports of options galore cropped up well ahead of the truck’s release.

Now, there’s more news on that front. While the usual factory add-ons will be part of any would-be Ranger owner’s buying decision, Ford doesn’t want those customers to look at another catalogue or website once the vehicle’s sitting in their driveway. The automaker wants buyers to get all of their outdoorsy aftermarket fittings from the dealer. Read More >

By on November 12, 2018

https://www.flickr.com/photos/autohistorian/25516489743/

Dealership advisory firm Presidio Group has painted a very bleak picture for its clients. With analysts predicting a downturn in auto sales, the company recommends dealers establish a robust 20-year plan that will enable them to perform in the new climate or get out of the business entirely.

Brodie Cobb, founder of Presidio Group, cites a glut of studies claiming dealerships will struggle as manufacturers shift into mobility companies and alternative modes of transportation are more broadly encouraged.

“We’re not particularly pleased that the world is changing the way it is. We would rather have it stay the same, because owning dealerships is a very nice return and profitable business that we enjoy very much,” Cobb told Automotive News in an interview. “So when we talk about this, it hurts us, too. We, too, need to understand the future, form a plan and not just put our head in the sand and hope it goes away.” Read More >

By on November 8, 2018

Remember this saga? Earlier this year we told you about All Pro Nissan, yet another entrant into the “Dealers Behaving Badly” file. At the time, the stores – owned by a couple of ex-NFL linebackers and a veteran of the auto industry – were being examined for all kinds of financial chicanery ranging from floorplan irregularities to missing cars.

At the time, it was reported that All Pro Nissan was open but unable to sell or lease vehicles due to “restructuring.” Now, it appears the lights have been turned off for good.

Read More >

By on November 1, 2018

National Automobile Dealers Association chairman Wes Lutz doesn’t have much time for critics who claim traditional car dealers don’t want to sell you an electric vehicle. As EVs boast fewer moving parts and lower running costs, green car advocates often say dealerships view the vehicles as a threat to a business model that relies heavily on service visits for profit.

Not so, says Lutz. The parts that do move are the ones they profit from. Read More >

By on October 28, 2018

Chevrolet Silverado purchase GM dealer - Image: GM

For the most part, the major benefit of brand loyalty is not getting into an argument with your family members at the dinner table. Grandpa worked for General Motors, Dad buys Chevy exclusively, and you decided not to buck the trend. You even bragged about Aunt Beth helping you get a sweet deal on that new Malibu, while everyone nodded in approval between bites of turkey.

However, there are more tangible rewards for sticking with a singular auto brand. Now that the Western market has surpassed peak growth, manufacturers know that it’s going to be a lot harder to reel in new customers. They’ve decided to shift tactics by offering incentives to existing customers in the hopes that they won’t leave them the next time they need a fresh vehicle.  Read More >

By on October 15, 2018

2018 ford expedition fx4, Image: Ford Motor Co.

A major product shift and looming job cuts have some Ford dealers nervous about the future. Many would like to know what to expect under their showroom lights in the coming years, and this week brings an opportunity for the automaker to ease those worries.

Under Hackett’s leadership, communication often seems to take a backseat to vision, so the annual Ford dealer meet-up in Las Vegas brings with it high expectations of a great game of show and tell. Read More >

By on October 8, 2018

You may recall news from earlier this year of All Pro Nissan and its associated dealers, most of whom starred in Episode #4391 of the seemingly never-ending series titled “Dealers Behaving Badly.”

At the time, the entities – owned in part by a consortium of former NFL players – were being taken to task by the captive finance arms of Nissan and Hyundai over allegations that parts of the dealer group sold hundreds of vehicles, worth more than $10 million, out of trust and also failed to repay floorplan loans.

So what’s the punishment for these alleged misdeeds? Why, another brand new dealership, of course!

Read More >

By on September 29, 2018

Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2

We told you about the bargain performance coming out of Ohio’s Lebanon Ford back in 2016. At the time, the dealer offered a base Mustang GT manual fitted with a Roush supercharger, good for a (then) Challenger Hellcat-beating 727 horsepower. Drive it away for $39,995, Ford and Roush warranty in hand, the dealer said. And many did.

The fun hasn’t stopped at Lebanon Ford in the ensuing years. There’s still an available Roush package owners can drop into their existing GTs, and buyers can still tell the dealer to hand over a Roush-ified ‘Stang at new car time. Power now stands at 700 hp. If that’s not enough grunt, a recent addition to the LFP (Lebanon Ford Performance) family is the Hellion —  a Mustang GT that eschews the supercharged lifestyle in favor of a twin-turbo setup capable of generating 800 hp at the crank.

Should owners feel like swapping out the wastegate spring, power levels in the four-figure range become possible. Price? Again, starting at $39,995. Read More >

By on September 27, 2018

Image: Audi

Marketing materials aside, visitors to Audi dealers in the near future won’t see much of the new E-Tron crossover. They’ll have to ask about it first, and, if they’re in luck, there’ll be a demonstrator on hand.

Audi’s proceeding cautiously with its mass-market EV. For now, it’s only taking refundable reservations from customers, hoping that keeping the E-Tron out of the normal vehicle flow will help it turn a profit — a problem facing most EVs. Read More >

By on September 17, 2018

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

Hyundai has a problem to solve. Interest rates are on the rise, car buying is on the decline, and it has a newish luxury division forced to share showrooms with its regular models — most of which are moving out of the bargain bin.

However, rather than continue incentivizing the crap out of its vehicles, the automaker has decided to improve its dealership experience. There’s no official word on the amount of hugs Hyundai plans to dole out to prospective buyers, but the automaker does claim it wants to instill a warm fuzzy feeling in its clientele.* Read More >

By on September 10, 2018

The financial chicanery of a few automotive dealerships continues apace, with a group of Nissan and Hyundai stores finding themselves in several million dollars’ worth of hot water.

Reps for the captive finance arms of those two brands allege that five dealerships owned by auto retail veteran Michael Saporito and former NFL linebackers Jessie Armstead and Antonio Pierce sold nearly $10.5 million worth of vehicles out of trust. Nearly a hundred machines are allegedly missing, as well.

Read More >

By on September 8, 2018

If you noticed your neighbor adding a glistening new Genesis model (the midsized one or the bigger one) to their driveway in the past month, you’re a member of a very small group.

Genesis, the luxury marque born of Hyundai, didn’t sell many vehicles in August, but that’s all part of the plan. The brand’s executive director claims there’s less than a month’s worth of vehicles currently in the U.S., but once those ships arrive, look out. Actually, a better way of phrasing that is: “prepare yourself for things to occur in a gradual and measured fashion.” Read More >

By on September 4, 2018

Spring might be a time of renewal, but fall is generally when old gives way to new on dealer lots. Not necessarily, though. If the “new” 2017 Fiat 124 Spider I recently spotted against a backdrop of 2018 Ram 1500s on my local FCA lot is any indicator, some brands have a tough time turning over a new leaf, so to speak. (Fiat’s problem is especially grim compared to other brands.)

Bloated inventories, scattered new model introductions, and a fickle buying public have made “new car season” less apparent than ever, and the problem seems to be growing worse. Read More >

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