Here at Dealer Marketing Magazine we work hard to keep our readers informed about the latest trends and new products around the industry. With that in mind, we’ve decided to start a new monthly column, called “What’s New,” to bring our readers the latest happenings in the auto dealer business. In this month’s column, you’ll read about DrivingSales.com, a new social media site exclusively for the auto dealer industry, PassTime’s new partnership with the Chip Ganassi Racing Team, DealerPeak’s new online negotiation tool, WideStorm, and some exciting new developments from Edmund.com’s Dealer Ratings and Reviews service.
DrivingSales.com launches an enhanced new technology platform
DrivingSales.com has quickly established itself as the most read, fully-collaborative and participatory automotive trade media property—now boasting thousands of members and hundreds of vendor ratings. And a just-released case study (available at www.drivingsales.com/casestudy) reveals how this neutral, open social platform has been critical in helping dealers, vendors, technology providers, and automakers survive one of the worst years in the industry’s history—including the recent challenges of Cash for Clunkers.
“While the largely negative media attention on the automotive crisis gives the impression that our industry is too stuck in its old ways to innovate and evolve, the rapid adoption of DrivingSales proves that stereotype to be absolutely wrong,” says DrivingSales founder and CEO Jared Hamilton. “Dealers by the thousands are using the most progressive media technologies to band together, collaborate to solve problems, and find success despite the tremendous uphill climb they are facing. The growth of DrivingSales speaks volumes about the resilience of our industry and the unique power of social technologies.”
Because of the site’s rapid adoption, the extensive feedback from the network, and the company’s ongoing investment in R&D, DrivingSales launched an enhanced new technology platform just this month. The only automotive social media solution specifically built to meet the needs of automotive professionals, DrivingSales’ completely redesigned, proprietary architecture was built entirely from the ground up, unlike most social media sites that run on and recycle plug-in apps. Find out more at www.pitch.pe/20650.
PassTime joins Chip Ganassi Racing Team sponsorship lineup
PassTime is proud to announce its newest sponsorship, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Since TelMex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ introduction into the Grand-Am Series in 2004 they have dominated the field, winning three, consecutive times at Rolex 24 At Daytona, three championships, and 23 races during that five-year span. With two wins in 2009, the TelMex team continues to lead the Daytona Prototype point standings with drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
“We are thrilled to attract a new partner like PassTime to our Grand-Am program which is one of the most successful in the series. This will be a great opportunity for both PassTime and our team,” says team president Steve Lauletta.
PassTime will join its sponsorship lineup on the No. 01 TelMex Daytona Prototype for the remainder of the 2009 racing season. In addition, PassTime will have access to use the Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s entire racing portfolio to drive additional business opportunities.
“As a leader in the special finance industry we are pleased to become a partner of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. This opportunity will allow PassTime to expand our corporate partnerships and develop unique relationships with racing fans and through our automotive financing partners,” says PassTime Founder and CEO Stan Schwarz.
For more information log onto www.passtimeusa.com or www.chipganassiracing.com.
DealerPeak unveils WideStorm, their online negotiation system
Earlier this year DealerPeak unveiled a revolutionary product called WideStorm that allows dealers to facilitate the negotiation of a vehicle purchase entirely online. The WideStorm online negotiation system can be hooked up to any dealer website and each dealer using it has had triple digit ROI thus far. The first pilot store, Ron Tonkin Honda, was able to almost double their conversion ratio immediately.
The system is sold on a “pay for performance” model and there are no long term contracts. Angela Martin of Feldman Imports tells us, “We have had a 367 percent ROI on WideStorm leads and we have sold 13 vehicles and [are] closing 42 percent of the valid leads we have gotten!”
The concern that online negotiation deals might lead to lower gross profits has been thoroughly debunked with average grosses being in the $1200 to $3000 range, and even higher than $4000 in some cases. Clearly this is the way consumers want to do business, and dealers ready to meet them online are reaping the rewards.
For more information about how online negotiation is working, please visit www.widestorm.com.
Edmunds.com introduces Dealer Ratings and Reviews
Edmunds.com Dealer Ratings and Reviews is a free service that allows dealers to publicize their sales and service on an objective, third-party site that is visited by 15.4 million serious, in-market car buyers every month. By encouraging satisfied customers to submit positive reviews, dealers can have their dealership stand out and shine compared to their competitors.
When consumers visit Edmunds and want to compare dealerships they have a destination. In addition, when car shoppers search the web for dealer reviews, the Edmunds.com dealer Ratings and Reviews pages are indexed and appear in the results. In July 2009 alone, Dealer Ratings and Reviews received 2.2 million page views.
Consumers can review a dealership in two areas: sales and service. Each review contains an area for the consumer to: write about their experiences, list the pros and cons, state whether they would recommend the dealership to others, and then score the dealership’s sales or service department in five areas on a scale of 1-5 or “not applicable.” The overall rating is then displayed at the highest level dealership page within the local dealership section of Edmunds.com (www.edmunds.com/dealerships/index.html).
Later this month, Edmunds will allow Facebook users to speed dial past the Edmunds registration to post their dealer reviews. Users will be able to use their Facebook password to log into Edmunds. Expect to see an explosion of dealer ratings and reviews once this speed dial goes into effect.
For more information or to sign up visit www.edmunds.com/dealerships/drr/jump.html.