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Tuesday
Jul292014

Private Sales

Call it a private sale, a sales event, a special, or a myriad of other names. Its been around for years in the auto retail business.

The "private sales" generate incremental business, attract opportunistic buyers, and yes also provide a competitive advantage. 

In Canada this year one manufacturer and its dealers have deployed the "private sale" strategy to a new level with success. If you don't know which manufacturer...if you are in the auto business you should. 

Yes...the timing of the sales is "strategic" to capture a monthly advantage. In addition to holding these sales across extended geographical regions.

At a time of increased awareness of social media, technology, informed buyer, demanding prospect, punctuated by a general void in showroom selling experience, buyers visiting less than 2 dealers to finalise a decision. Dealers should be doing this, that, adopting this technology, using that platform, be visible on several social fronts. 

The ability to deal with the reality of the auto retail business, yes "horse trading" with trade ins remains an intrinsic and enduring part of the business. The neophites in the showroom are challenged by this unique aspect of the auto business. 

We could keep on going here, there is an intrinsic vacuum in most showrooms on how to close a deal. Accompanied by a lack of management leadership that is attuned to closing deals.

Here comes the private sale.

 

  • Attracts existing customers.
  • Tempts opportunistic buyers.
  • Facilitates closing deals (especially with trade ins).
  • Steals business from the competition.

 

The lingering question: "How long can it last?"

In the meantime: "Its working, its moving iron".

 

 

Monday
Jul282014

Powered by People

If you are in the auto business especially at the retail level in dealerships. Hopefully you have reached the conclusion that the business is powered by people.

After all the technology, the systems, the processes, the pedestrian talk. Its the people that make all the difference. We wonder how often the message is lost in the noise of technology that its the people that make all the difference.

Its mind boggling, to see countless instances of the most important aspect of the business mismanaged by managers that have presumed experience, and should know better.

Its always been the people.

Even with all the technology that deals with a myriad of routine details, its still the people.

Fascinating to see folks get lost in the noise of technology. Agreed there is a ton of "techno noise" reinforced by a ton of "social media noise" to envelop folks in a fog overlooking the relevant point that its the people that make all the difference.

Revealing to see managers hiding behind computer screens, tablets, to presumably manage their business.  

What do you think?


 

Saturday
Jul262014

F-Type V6 S vs SLK55 AMG

Another episode of Head 2 Head...see who wins.

 

Friday
Jul252014

Vroom Room

Good Morning!

 

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment if you wish.

 

The other day we were reading that Boomers are presumably rich, and snapping up luxury cars like its going out of style, one of the reasons MerBimAu sells/leases a ton of cars in Canada. You have to wonder how presumably knowledgeable folks arrive at such conclusions?

The succesful Boomers were driving luxury cars decades ago. Successful Boomers from back in the day, as they become "seniors" have other priorities in their lives, have moved on from the luxury car segment, and yes they might still be driving a luxury car. 

Boomers that had luxury cars from back in the day, are surely not the one's snapping up "entry level" luxury MerBimAu's...today.

Agreed, Boomers are still hanging on to their toys, be it a car, a motorcycle, or anything else with an engine.

The dude that could not afford a luxury car back in the day. Be assured this same dude was "envious" of the Boomers with the luxury cars. Perhaps this dude today is driving an entry level MerBimAu.

Fascinating to see GM, Mary Barra, Michael Millikin get raked over the coals again, at a Congressional hearing in the US. While "doing the right thing" takes on new perspectives, and nuances. At the same time the benefit of the doubt dissapates.

Our habitual old race cars from "Sommet des Legendes" at Circuit Mont-Tremblant. As an aside its the 50th anniversary of Le Circuit.


 

Thursday
Jul242014

Downsizing of Luxury

Agreed during these Dog Days of Summer we are being eclectic, and spending some time with The Colonel (yes...who is this individual).

Lets get The Colonel's thoughts on the downsizing trend in the luxury segment.

Q: Colonel, good morning you look refreshed, and ready for action.

A: Thank You and the "smoke" is not a requirement.

Q: Is there a downsizing trend in the luxury segment,

A: The thought vector is that Millennials have less financial resources than their predecessors, and if vehicles are down sized they will increase their appeal to Millennials (Gen Y).

Q: Is there an element of ambition on the part of manufacturers.

A: Sure there is, on the premise of covering every niche and sub niche of the luxury market.

Q: You mentioned "premium economy" a few months ago when referring to the downsized vehicles in the luxury segment.

A: Yes...I did, at some point they are no longer luxury vehicles, its a luxury brand extending their brand in non luxury sub niches.

Q: This can easily become complicated, and fraught with varying opinions from a variety of pundits.

A: It sure can, any luxury vehicle be it a sedan or utility version needs a serious "f#$k you" factor to command a luxury price. Usually it was bigger engine, bigger size, more technology, and so on.

Q: When you down size you dilute the "F#$k you" factor, dilute the price, and extend the brand into uncharted territory.

A: Precisely, although everyone seems to have all the answers.

Q: Some of these new down sized luxury vehicles are selling very well, which reinforces the folks that have all the answers.

A: Yes, they are, there is always an initial pent up demand, and we are in the initlal phase.

Q: There are some manufacturers exploring the middle of the luxury segment.

A: Yes, there are the Koreans are a good example.

Q: Is it possible that a Millennial will lease a down sized luxury vehicle from an established brand, and subsequently progress to a Korean brand.

A: Who knows, when dealing with "premium economy" there is an element of uncharted landscape for all the stakeholders.

Q: The idea is to start them in "premium economy" and move them upwards with time.

A: That process was initiated by Alfred Sloan 100 years ago, lets start them with a Chevrolet, move them to a Pontiac, then to Oldsmobile, then Buick, and then Cadillac. Or lets start with a Ford, then Mercury, then Lincoln. Or lets start with a Plymouth, then Dodge, then Chrysler, then Imperial.

Q: Fascinating, that thought vector has been around for generations, and we all know that certain makes are no longer part of the automotive landscape.

A: Precisely, there are risks in filling every niche and sub niche. To alleviate some of the risks the premium economy models are assembled in lower wage areas of the planet.

Q: An established luxury brand that has the top of the market covered, and is now delving in "premium economy" has the entire luxury segment, niche, and sub niches covered. 

A: Absolutely, on a spread sheet, power point, presented by MBA's it all looks good, and better yet invincible, its a win, win, win.

Q: We sense some skepticism on your part?

A: The premium economy, entry luxury, and mid luxury will become increasingly competitive, with diluting brand loyalty.