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Bridging the Gap


Hi All,


My team at Edmunds put together this survey, sent it to dealers, and I wanted to share it with the ADM community. It was my contention that ADM members will provide the most robust content. Here it is:

At, we pride ourselves on innovation, and we are always looking for ways to make improvements.


As part of our quest for constant improvement, we want to understand how we can further develop our Dealer products. To ensure that we have a full understanding of the automotive landscape and make the best product decisions, we want to know what you want to see in the marketplace.


If you can take 5 minutes out of your busy day to take this survey, you will be helping us to help you. To sweeten the pot, by completing the survey you will be automatically entered into our Dealer Survey Sweepstakes for a chance to win $500 Cash.


No purchase necessary. Odds of winning, based on the number of eligible entries received.


To be eligible for the sweepstakes,we must received your completed survey by 11:59 p.m. PT on February 12th, 2010, you must work at a new car franchise dealership in a sales, marketing, or general management capacity, and you must meet the other eligibility requirements in the Official Rules


Only one entry per person is allowed, but feel free to forward this email to your colleagues.


All applicable federal, state and local laws apply.  Void where prohibited.  See the Official Rules for all restrictions and requirements.


Take this Survey

Forward this issue

Thank you for your participation. Your feedback is very valuable to us.  



John Giamalvo
The Dealer Insight Team



Tags: Dealer,, Survey

Views: 137

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

Hi John,

My compliments on having the wisdom to listen and learn from your clients and friends on ADM. Is this inquiry for current dealers only or can/should old car guys and current support services providers like me enter? I will donate the $500 to our next dinner together if I win so my question is meant to clarify the form which asks for the brands that I represent and frankly -- I represent them all. (Note, well not technically since I don't presently have any dealer clients with Rolls Royce and most of the exotics!)

In any case, see you in Orlando! Hopefully on Friday night at The Ritz Carlton Lobby Lounge since that tab is already covered by Ad Agency Online and ronsmap -- even if I can't enter your contest! LOL!
Thanks Phil,
Certainly we would like to hear from all on ADM, regardless of whether they're a dealership employee and/or consultants. You can be sure the Edmunds Data crew will breakout the results to get the clearest picture.
See you in Orlando & thanks again for supporting this effort.
Johnny G
Thanks much for supporting this. Edmunds is VERY serious about hearing from folks who work in our world and I was very convincing that ADM should be where post it.
Thanks again. See you in Orlando!
Johnny G
Ya know John, speaking for myself, and not my employer, I find it ironic the Edmunds would ask dealers their opinion on almost anything.

If my memory serves me (and it does), Edmunds had been the anti-dealer in their postings for years. Your advise to consumers goes over the edge from a fairness point of view. Why a company with Edmunds reputation would do things like:

"Confessions of a car salesman"

"What really goes on in the back rooms of car dealerships across America?

What does the car salesman do when he leaves you sitting in a sales office and goes to talk with his boss?

What are the tricks salespeople use to increase their profit and how can consumers protect themselves from overpaying?

These were the questions we, the editors at, wanted to answer for our readers. But how could they really know that our information was accurate and up-to-date? Finally, we came up with the idea of hiring an investigative reporter to work in the industry and experience, firsthand, the life of a car salesman."


"Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager"
"In the Back Rooms of America's Car Dealerships"

"Congratulations, you're getting a great deal!" the car salesman says, pumping your hand. "Let's sign the paperwork and you'll be on your way in your new car!"

"At first you're relieved — the negotiating is over. But then the salesman walks you down a back hallway to a stark, cramped office with "Finance and Insurance" on the door. Inside, a man in a suit sits behind the desk. He greets you with a faint smile on his face. An hour later you walk out in a daze: The whole deal was reworked, your monthly payment soared and you bought products you didn't really want."

"What happened to your great deal?"

"You just got hit by the "F&I Man," also called the finance officer. He waits in the back of every dealership for unsuspecting customers so he can increase the profit for the dealership and boost his commission."

"In this four-part series, written by veteran auto finance manager Nick James, you will learn the F&I man's tricks and how to avoid them."


"Cash for Clunkers Results Finally In: Taxpayers Paid $24,000 per Vehicle Sold, Reports" published on 10.24.09 and strongly disputed by the Feds and other media.


"So, how do you get out of the clutches of the salesperson? Generally, Internet salespeople are pretty mellow and won't pressure you to buy on the spot. Besides, you can say you still have other cars to drive and you can't make a decision yet. Most good salespeople will respect that. If they don't, you won't want to deal with them anyway."

Clutches of the salesperson? Just got hit by the F&I man? Tricks salespeople use? Hiring an investagative reporter?

Please. Spare me.

This business is hard enough without having a so called consumer site play the ever so popular sport of downing car people. My experience is that a vast majority of car people are fair minded, and very honest. They are a rare bread who deserve better from folks who give "advise" by degrading an honorable industry.

Being a consumer site does not mean being the anti-dealer. There is a balance, and Edmunds is famous for crossing that line. So, while you are asking our dealer's opinion about what product to sell them, it would be a great idea for your site to soften their stance on the people who are paying your bills.

Again, this is my personal opinion, and has nothing to do with my employer. Having sold my first car almost 33 years ago, I understand the "tricks" of the business. I also understand that this has deminished tremendously. Seems to me Edmunds should recognize this, too.

Hi Ralph,

Your sentiments are not the first time I've heard them. Needless to say, this can be a very long post, so I'll keep it short and refer you to a recent post:

The fact of the matter is, the vacuum of information available to shoppers, lasting longer than you've been selling cars, has not shined too well on car dealers and created the negative consumer sentiment toward dealers. Not us.

Real quick, the very editorials you point out and the pricing & procedure clarity we offer is the very reason 15 Million In-Market shoppers come to The internet has lifted the veil over the information that was not forthcoming at the dealership. Consumers don't rely on MSRP and don't trust advertised prices. THEY tell us that. Read what CONSUMERS say about dealers, Ralph, on Edmunds and others, it's not pretty in most cases. WE didn't create that.

Ralph, look at the Cash for Clunkers numbers. We are right on. We also do similar analysis for OEMs. The C4C folks calculated their Cost per Car sold as if NO CARS would have been sold during the period. I'm sure if it was your advertising dollars you look at the LIFT in sales you get for your money over a selected period. Right?

If providing consumers with information, reviews, & editorials to empower a consumer is your problem, sorry, that's what we do. I will also submit to you, and the data is there, engaging with educated customers is better! Trying to pull the veil back down will only send them somewhere else.

Bottom line: We are NOT anti dealer by providing customers what we do. It's up to you if you want to engage with them.

I hope you participate in the survey as we want to hear from as many angles as possible.

Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to chat directly.

Enjoy the Super Bowl!

Best Regards,
Johnny G
Johnny G--

It's not what you do, it's how you do it. There are better ways to send the same message without jumping on the disparaging dealers bandwagon. It just seems that there more than a fine line in the tone of "advise" that is on the site. I have always had respect for Edmunds reviews on vehicles as well as your TMV. The issue is not what the consumers say, it is what your site says about dealers that is the issue here.

"Pulling the vail down" will never happen, nor should it. Doing this in a way that respects the ten's of thousands of people in the retail business would be appreciated. It wreaks of sensational journalism, and I for one am tired of it.

If you are hiding behind "the consumers demand this," sorry. It's not the message, it's the tone of the message I object to. The articles on Edmunds put all car people in the same light. Reviews, information and editorials are one thing, but having undercover "journalists" and disparaging remarks about car people is another. There is a better way to do this. If you are listening to consumers, maybe it's time to listen to the dealers as well.

You are correct. You are not anti-dealer by providing consumers with what you do. It's how you do it that is. There is a better way.

Hey Ralph, Steve and any other ADM friends who might pick up on the past actions of Edmunds to challenge their intentions in creating this post.

I do not have an NDA or any professional relationship with Edmunds so I am confident that my comments regarding a very personal conversation with John during the 7th Digital Dealer Conference regarding his role at Edmunds will not step over any lines. Simply put, John confided that Edmunds planned on increasing their focus on Tier III advertising and their dealer facing efforts and I accepted John's post as his first steps to accomplish his goal.

I recognize your frustrtation over the articles that you referenced and the sensational nature of their headlines, however, as a "car guy" turned "ad guy" I understand that it is a common practice to agree with your customers to open a dialogue. I often opened a "negotiation" with a customer by agreeing with them and assuring them that I understood their position so that they would be receptive to offering me a similar level of understanding when I tried to explain mine. Any good advertising message must be heard to be followed and I saw Edmund's efforts as a means to be heard so they could then presume to talk.

Today's pull/push environment on the WWW has taken that logic to a new level with customers taking control of the online shopping process by turning to their peers vs. an auto dealer for information and Edmunds took a leading role in positioning themselves within that consumer-centric online marketing channel. I believe that Edmunds was very perceptive when they got on the consumers side of this issue and I respect their acknowledgement of the need to solicit the opinion of dealers and their friends and clients on ADM -- past, present and pending -- to better understand how they can now direct their earned online following to represent auto dealers more directly.

Frankly, their success in the marketplace suggests that they were on the right track with their past actions to prioritise the customer to open an online dialogue leading towards a sale. More relevantly, John's post evidences that they plan to continue being ahead of the curve as the social engines on the Internet drive the future for auto dealers traveling with their customers on the Internet Super Highway. I advise us all to help them stay in the lane by contributing our insights to this post without looking in the rear view mirror.

After all, what are friends for!
@RalphE - As you so eloquently pointed out with the direct quotes from, there is a lot to be said for "How" information is presented being as important as "What" that information boils down to. I certainly agree with your perspective... But, there is this nagging little fact of history that is driving me to the point of needing to confess... To seek the soul cleansing that drive most confessions:

I have used as a prop to sell more cars!

Aaarrrggghhhh... I had to confess to this transgression because there are several ADM members who I have trained to do the same thing... Yes, dancing with the devil just to sell another piece of iron... I feel so dirty.

So, without going into too many gory details of my transgressions, let me just say that when people are shown what you pointed out, they clearly identify with the good guys in the war on car sales.

And, that's where my crime against humanity originates... I would use their religious like trust in Edmunds to point out the statements published by about "Dealer Holdback" and "Advertising Association Fees", then include other such information to create the perception of a fair deal. I remember using the True Market Value on Corvettes over and over and over again to generate big grosses and then spoon the deal to my favorites sales people....

I have to admit that I have done the same with Edmunds information. I believe that the more information the consumer has, the better it is for everyone. If Edmunds wants to get a better insight to the market, I can only see that as a good thing.
Thanks Ed,
I write many of the Edmunds' Dealer Insight Newsletters. The headline, as you can see on the survey, is "Bridging the Gap". Hopefully the survey and the information gleaned from it will help serve that purpose. With everything that has gone on in our industry for the last year and a half, needless to say, it's been difficult for people who earn a living by selling cars. Credit, Economy, Bankruptcy, Recalls, you name it, have also scared away consumers. We are trying to be proactive and get clarity for all in the rapidly changing digital arena (is there really any other) going forward.
Thanks for participating.
Johnny G
John - All of us in the auto industry, and especially those of use in the digital marketing end of it should be both appreciative and supportive of what you are trying to accomplish. I wanted to make special mention of the classy and professional way you handle the criticism thrown at Edmunds... They are fortunate to have you on board because I an not very optimistic about anyone else :Bridging the Gap without getting frustrated with the existing gap between dealers and Edmunds... Building bridges is a good analogy, because it seems to be what you have been tasked with.
Thanks for the kind words. I respect what you do a lot, so they mean a lot. I hope we do get some time to chat in Orlando about the task as a whole, because it can seem daunting. Edmunds seems to increasingly be the haven for information for shoppers, especially when news breaks like C4C or the Toyota recalls, and when factory ads spark interest (Hyundai consideration spiked 590% on Edmunds after the Brett Farve and Sonata launch Super Bowl ads!). We NEED to bridge this gap. When I sold cars online there existed a similar divide that I know ADM members are still struggling with today; how do I "bridge the gap" of what I know needs to be done in terms of digital marketing & information available to sell cars and what the existing business model of the dealer seeks and its' sales process. Not easy, but we'll get it done.
Thanks Again,
See you this weekend!
Johnny G


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