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July U.S. Sales Jump 9% (8/1/14)

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Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

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Bret Michaels for Nissan Commercial

Mötley Crüe isn't the only 1980s hair-metal band getting into the world of auto promotion. Poison frontman and reality show star Bret Michaels is following their lead and doing some advertising of his own. Where the Crüe have been all over the airwaves in recent years with a Super Bowl ad for Kia and music licensing with Dodge, Michaels has taken a very different route by becoming the pitchman for Nissan Commercial Vehicles.

The videos run the gamut to advertise predominantly the NV line of full-size vans, but the NV200 shows up a few times too. The star of this new campaign is Michaels' full-length music video (above) for the song Tough Love. It's basically a parody of all of those '80s rock ballads where the bands would slow the tempo down a little and reveal their softer side. Michaels rocks out at the Nissan proving grounds in Stanfield, AZ, while showing off the evaluation process and strutting around like a proper rock frontman. There are also a bunch of shorter videos (below) with the singer highlighting each part of the vans' torture testing. Although, the dialogue in these come off a bit more stilted. With these '80s metal bands getting into advertising, can it be long before Warrant is shilling for Fiat or Ratt for Mazda?

Continue reading Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GM thinks Colorado and Canyon midsize trucks will lure crossover buyers

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The invitation to come out and sample product at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, MI is rarely dull, and after spending this morning driving preproduction versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon all we can say is... under strict embargo. Sorry, America, we were as excited as many of you are to learn more about GM's new midsize truck range and take note of how they go down the road, but it's going to be September before we're allowed to share that with all of you. Here's to sweet suspense.

While we might not be able to talk about refinement or handling yet, we did find some of the product positioning and marketing statements from GMC and Chevy officials on hand at the program to be pretty interesting.

Of course, we all know that the literal competitive set for Canyon and Colorado is comprised of two comparatively ancient Japanese midsize trucks: the Toyota Tacoma (which currently owns this segment) and the Nissan Frontier. The Frontier's bones are as old as the 2005 model year, with 2009 marking the last time the truck was updated. The Taco was also launched in 2005, though it did see a freshening for 2012. The point remains that, in every facet from powertrain to dash plastics, the GM midsize truck twins are going to look positively space age by comparison when they hit the market for MY 2015.

Interestingly though, The General isn't simply shooting for its aged, small-truck competitors when it comes to the planned conquest of customers. The automaker believes that both Chevy and GMC products will offer an interesting alternative to small-crossover shoppers as well. In fact, the engineering and marketing teams were possessed of this notion enough to bring along a Ford Escape as one of the competitive drives for our test day in Milford.

GM believes that both Chevy and GMC products will offer an interesting proposition to small-CUV shoppers.

Certainly, images of the Canyon and Colorado interiors that we've seen indicate that these two trucks will have cabins worthy of suburban tastemakers; full of the available comfort and convenience amenities that CUV shoppers are so keen on. Just as in their fullsize brothers, we expect these smaller trucks to be comfy places in which to pass your daily commute. We'd argue that the exterior styling of the trucks is a fit with the CUV ethos, as well.

Looking deeper, we can also see that the new trucks will probably offer reasonable tradeoffs in terms of utility, performance, mileage, space and price. Just comparing base models, the Chevy Canyon's 2.5-liter four-cylinder, rated at 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, is slightly stronger than the average output of four-bangers from Ford, Honda and Toyota small crossovers. Now, the Canyon is likely to be somewhat thirstier than the 26 combined miles per gallon that those three offer, but it'll do so will the decided boost in tow/haul utility is the most obvious pickup strong suit.

And, of course, while we don't yet have pricing, sticking around the low $20k starting MSRPs of the best-selling small crossovers seems quite doable. Bare bones Tacoma and Frontier trucks start at $18,125 and $20,510, respectively, leaving a good gap to appropriately price the content-plus new trucks, and still stay in-budget for a typical CUV shopper.

Those tradeoffs won't work for a lot of CUV buyers, but the argument on paper is quite a bit more compelling than we would have initially thought. GM apparently believes it, as it's jumping with two feet into a segment that most automakers have abandoned or at least let wither on the vine. What say you? Would a more livable, frugal pickup make sense to you as a cross-shop with a smaller crossover? Let us know in Comments.

GM thinks Colorado and Canyon midsize trucks will lure crossover buyers originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota's Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan's bizarre ad crown

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Screencap from Toyota's Japanese

A new Japanese Toyota ad featuring crisply suited businessmen driving into the jungle only to segue into a Psy-style music-video dance-off with a gorilla and natives is the latest car commercial to go viral. Jungle Wakudoki is the newest installment in a grand tradition of bizarre ads from the island nation that are by turns hilarious, head-scratching and occasionally even frightening.

Let's face it: My people are weird.

I'm half-Japanese and take suitable pride in my Asian roots, but even I can't figure out what's been slipped into the water coolers of the country's ad agencies much of the time - or the nation at large, for that matter. From Japan's ubiquitous obsession with all things adorable (kawaii) to its offbeat sense of humor and its bizarrely perverse and violent tentacle porn, it's clear there's a lot going on in the culture, and only some of it bubbles up to the surface in its marketing efforts. Much of the strangest and most amazing ads are for non-transportation products (e.g. laundry soap, snacks, energy drinks), but the automotive space has its fair share. This latest Toyota ad had me trawling YouTube for a common theme, trying to make sense of why these spots are the way they are. Scroll down to watch the Toyota ad in question as well as a bunch of other examples of Japan's most bizarre car-related ads and see if you can't find the thread that runs between them. Is it just that something's being lost in translation? Have your say in Comments.

Continue reading Toyota's Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan's bizarre ad crown

Toyota's Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan's bizarre ad crown originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Can we still be friends?

So you won the customer and you made the sale, but now what? For most businesses, this is where the relationship falls apart. There is more you need to be doing after the customer drives off of your lot. On this week's Hard Facts, Samantha discusses how you can turn your past customers into a lead source for drawing in potential buyers.See More
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DEALER MARKETING - hot car graphic for your blog or social media

Dealers - this is a great graphic from the TODAY SHOW for your newsletter, Facebook, blog, or other social media.See the FULL ARTICLE about Tennessee legalizing breaking windows to save a baby from a hot car. …See More
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"These are great sources Ralph. Thanks for sharing them along with the layman's explanation of how to find a reader. I agree with Alex that Hoot Suite is cheap. If anyone is looking for a free reader I recommend they check out Feedly.com One…"
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University VW Mazda in Albuquerque, NM strives to make car buying fun!

Randy Price owner of University Volkswagen Mazda For some time, Randy Price was reluctant to follow in his father’s footsteps as a car dealer, even though he grew up at University Volkswagen and…See More
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Dealers: Don't Ignore Online Reviews

Posted by Timothy Martell on July 31, 2014 at 12:38pm 1 Comment

Trust is your business's biggest asset today. With the ability to easily publish reviews of businesses, products, and services, customer satisfaction is more important than ever before. Because one of the first things a potential customer does before visiting you in person is search for reviews online.

Let's take a look at how they're being influenced by those reviews and what you can do to improve your business's online reputation.

The Effect of Online Reviews on Customer Perception…

Continue

Customer-Dealership Relationships Should Not End at the Sale

Posted by Mark Frost on July 31, 2014 at 12:30pm 0 Comments

When it comes to selling cars, dealerships do all they can to get the most out of leads. But when someone comes in and is ready to buy, once they’ve completed that process, the relationship tends to end. The customer moves on with their new car and salespeople focus on the next sell.

However, with social media keeping businesses connected with customers, there’s no reason your dealership’s Facebook page can’t see a huge boost from offline customers. Here’s why its important to promote your Facebook and other social media profiles, and a few things you can do to connect your offline customers with your online business:

Why Social Media is Important for Customer…

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Your Sales Team & Live Chat Associates Are Not That Different

Posted by Lisandra Ramos on July 31, 2014 at 11:30am 0 Comments

The conversations your sales team has with your customers often dictate whether they’ll purchase or not. That’s why having a sales team trained in customer service is so important. 

Your standards should be exactly the same for your live chatting team. But how are their conversations even remotely similar?

The Greeting

As the saying goes, you only have ONE chance to make a good first impression. You have to make it count! Your sales floor associates are trained to greet the customers as soon as they walk through your doors. You would probably fire an employee if they gave shoppers the cold shoulder or ignored them when they walked onto your lot. If you only have …

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Responsive Websites are NOT a Fad

Posted by Paul Accinno on July 31, 2014 at 10:10am 0 Comments

2014 has been the year when a lot of dealers and a handful of vendors have embraced responsive website design. We've heard a handful of rebuttals and seen some blog posts from industry experts explaining why they haven't invested into RWD, but the most absurd excuse came to us the other day when a dealer told one of our partners what their website provider said about responsive design.

"It's just a fad. It will pass."

Really? At first, I thought that maybe they had misspoke. Maybe they meant to say that it was the current trend. With companies like Google promoting the concept that websites in an ideal internet would be responsive, one could definitely say that it's trending and will soon be the accepted norm, but to say that it's a fad that will pass is…

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10 Stats Your BDC Should Live By

Posted by Larry Bruce on July 31, 2014 at 9:00am 0 Comments

For inbound marketing, leads determine success. The assumption is that the higher the lead volume and percentage, the higher the sales and service volume. All too often, these do not go in step with each other. Below we identify ten statistics that are the main cause of increased lead quantity not equating to increases in appointment shows and sales.

1. Setting an appointment at the time the lead is converted will increase show rate 37 percent. – This seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it? If the customer commits to the appointment at the time they submit the lead, there is a very powerful psychological affect.

 

 …

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A Simple Solution to Showrooming

Posted by Misti Miller on July 31, 2014 at 7:34am 0 Comments

Bob is on his lunch break. Lately, he has been drooling over the latest high-tech camera so he decides to make a quick trip to Best Buy to check it out. He walks into Best Buy and heads to the camera department. Once there, he finds the camera on display, but no employees are in sight to explain it to him. He picks it up, plays with it for a while and decides to buy one. With limited time, Bob rushes back to his office. As he settles back at his desk, Bob surfs over to Amazon and finds the camera to read some reviews. The glowing reviews, combined with the fact that it’s a few dollars cheaper, make him pull the trigger and order one from Amazon.

CNBC ran an article recently on the results of a new study by Gallup, “The State of…

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Fixed Ops: The Scramble for Technicians Begins

Posted by Richard Holland on July 31, 2014 at 7:00am 2 Comments

In May I wrote a blog article explaining how employee retention in service will become increasingly important due to many factors. Apparently, that’s becoming true faster than even I thought. Auto Remarketing published an article last week reporting that AutoNation and the Asbury Automotive Group are indeed discovering that skilled technicians are becoming harder to find. “In…

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Things to Look Out for While Buying an Antique Car

Posted by Tim Kaye on July 31, 2014 at 5:00am 0 Comments

Are you an automobile enthusiast? A person who loves to buy cars? The automobile industry is a dynamic one. It’s always in motion. Every year quite a few new cars are introduced. This has been the trend for a long time now. So, new cars become the talk of the town. Sometimes the old ones passes into oblivion and the companies stop manufacturing them. However, some of them can still be priced possessions of the owners. The concept of owning antique cars have gained ground over the years. If you are looking to invest in such vehicles, you need to do it prudently. There can be pitfalls, which you need to avoid. Here are a few tips that can help you choose the best antique cars.

How old is the car?

This is probably one of the most important questions to ask when you are buying an antique…

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Four Interesting Data Points About Car Dealers' Mobile Landing Pages

Posted by Tyson Madliger on July 30, 2014 at 7:54pm 0 Comments

As mobile continues to emerge as the most important strategy component in digital marketing for savvy dealers, it's more than just driving mobile traffic and having a good mobile website solution. There's a psychology to it all that applies to the different way visitors engage with your web pages through mobile devices.

This is why the appropriate landing page is so important. In this infographic by String Automotive, they point to four key bits of information that can help a dealer or marketing company maximize the way that people interact with their website through mobile devices.…

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7 Steps to Overcome Shopper Distrust

Posted by Rebecca Kon on July 30, 2014 at 9:55am 0 Comments

There’s an on-going struggle in the dealership community for winning a shopper’s trust. 

Why?

Because shoppers have a pre-conceived idea about what they will expect when arriving at a dealership. They expect to be the prey. They expect your sales team’s hawks to swoop down and engulf them in persuasive techniques. They expect that they will have to haggle their way to a better price. All of these expectations are bottled into a stereotype, which is fueled by the stories from parents, friends, and coworkers…and the media.

So how do dealerships overcome this stereotype? How do you get shoppers more comfortable with the experience of buying a car from YOUR dealership?

Step…

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Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

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Bret Michaels for Nissan Commercial

Mötley Crüe isn't the only 1980s hair-metal band getting into the world of auto promotion. Poison frontman and reality show star Bret Michaels is following their lead and doing some advertising of his own. Where the Crüe have been all over the airwaves in recent years with a Super Bowl ad for Kia and music licensing with Dodge, Michaels has taken a very different route by becoming the pitchman for Nissan Commercial Vehicles.

The videos run the gamut to advertise predominantly the NV line of full-size vans, but the NV200 shows up a few times too. The star of this new campaign is Michaels' full-length music video (above) for the song Tough Love. It's basically a parody of all of those '80s rock ballads where the bands would slow the tempo down a little and reveal their softer side. Michaels rocks out at the Nissan proving grounds in Stanfield, AZ, while showing off the evaluation process and strutting around like a proper rock frontman. There are also a bunch of shorter videos (below) with the singer highlighting each part of the vans' torture testing. Although, the dialogue in these come off a bit more stilted. With these '80s metal bands getting into advertising, can it be long before Warrant is shilling for Fiat or Ratt for Mazda?

Continue reading Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Through the Google lens: search trends July 18-24

Based on search, it seems like a lot of you spent the last seven days slurping ice cream cones, jamming to pop parodies and starting the countdown to a certain February flick. Could be worse. Here’s a look at what people were searching for last week:

Fifty shades of search
Searchers were “Crazy in Love” with the new trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, set to a special Beyonce recording of her 2003 hit. There were more than a million searches this week for the ….ahem… hotly anticipated movie, which comes out next Valentine’s Day. In addition to the trailer, people were also looking for information on stars [jamie dornan] and [dakota johnson]. Beyonce was in the spotlight for other reasons too, following rumors that her marriage to Jay-Z was on the rocks.
“Mandatory” and musical marriages
After three decades in the biz, Weird Al has finally made his way into the Billboard No. 1 spot with his latest album, “Mandatory Fun.” Though his shtick hasn’t changed, when it comes to promoting his parodies, the artist has adapted to the Internet era, releasing eight new videos in as many days to generate buzz—and more search volume than at any other point in the past five years. As an editor, of course, I’m partial to “Word Crimes” (which has more than 10 million views on YouTube), but it’s just one of the many “breakout” titles searchers are looking for, along with [tacky], [foil] and [first world problems].

In other musical news, Adam Levine’s bride [behati prinsloo] was trending this week after the two got married in Cabo San Lucas. And another Mexico wedding had people searching for information on [ryan dorsey], the new husband (after a surprise ceremony) of Glee star Naya Rivera.

Foodie ups and downs
A national fruit recall at stores like Costco and Whole Foods led people to the web to learn more about [listeria]. For many, the possible contamination may have been an extra incentive to celebrate several less than healthful food holidays: Last Sunday (or should we say sundae?) marked National Ice Cream Day, and people were searching for their favorite flavor. National Hot Dog Day took place just a few days later, though sausage searches paled in comparison. And just in case all that junk food made you thirsty, yesterday’s National Tequila Day had searchers looking for the perfect margarita recipe.
Tip of the week
Overindulged on ice cream last weekend? It’s easy to get back on the healthy eating train with a quick search. Just ask Google “how many calories in hummus?” or “compare coleslaw and potato salad” to get nutrition info on your favorite summer foods.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [coming of age in samoa] and [how old is weird al]

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Automotive Marketing News

Millennials top Gen X in new-car buying for first time

Millennials during the first half of the year surpassed Gen X in new-car purchases for the first time, signaling a growing transition in consumer preferences of affordability and sustainability over utility.

Future car colors inspired by Midwest homes, landscape, BASF says

Future cars and light trucks will sport more sparkling oranges and browns, soft blues and greens, and pearly whites and grays -- all inspired by the clear skies, lush lawns and warm homes found in the nation's heartland -- according to trend...

GM, too, removes parts to weigh pickups, boost payload ratings

GM says it deletes heavy items such as the rear bumper from certain pickups when it weighs them in order to boost the vehicles' maximum payload ratings.

Another hole-in-one gives California dealer a second chance

For eight years, Folsom Lake Kia and Folsom Lake Ford near Sacramento have sponsored charity golf tournaments without anyone ever hitting a hole-in-one. Yet for the second time this year, a golfer has put it in the cup, winning a new car.

Tesla's Musk to portray himself on 'The Simpsons'

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk will be providing the voice for himself in an episode in the 26th season of 'The Simpsons,' the show's executive producer, Al Jean, said at a recent Comic-Con panel.

J. D. Power Online Automotive Review Articles on Internet Sales and Management Research and Insights for Car Dealers, Internet Sales Managers and OEM Executives

Even used-vehicle buyers are going online

This past year we saw a massive increase used automotive Internet usage (AIU) rate, as 68% of all used-vehicle buyers went online during the vehicle shopping process versus 63% in 2009.  The dramatic rise has narrowed the gap between used- and new- AIU rates. There are many fac tors at work.  One is the poor […]

Automotive iPad apps

This week I decided to check out automotive iPad apps.  These first-generation entries are at times engaging, but ultimately I often found than frustrating and rather limited. Let’s start with one of my favorite usability rants: hot spots.  They’re quick, which is probably why three OEM iPad apps incorporate them.  They’re also dirty – pretty […]

Some reliability perceptions are changing (and that’s not a good thing for Toyota)

It’s no secret that auto manufacturers are creating better vehicles than ever before – safer, more feature-rich, higher quality, and more reliable.  Data from our Vehicle Dependability Study, which surveys owners of three-year-old vehicles regarding the number of problems experienced in the prior twelve months, backs the assertion of improved reliability.  As illustrated below, these […]

The Future of Satellite Radio

As more in-vehicle audio and entertainment options become available to consumers, the question of satellite radio’s relevance has become more prominent. Most vehicle sold today have satellite radio at least as an option, if not standard, and most new car buyers are given a trial subscription, usually anywhere from one to six months. This gives […]

Bringing in younger buyers

The average age of new-vehicle buyers increased dramatically from 46.5 in 2008 to 53.4 in 2010 (Source: 2010 Auto Offline Media Report – Summer) as lower income buyers – who are often younger – were forced out of the market due to the poor economic environment.  This shift has impacted almost every automotive brand, including […]

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