Tag: NADA

New Consolidation Stats from NADA

I chose consolidation for the first of my megatrends series, because it’s the least controversial.  Everyone seems to know it’s happening, and the records and rankings in Automotive News are dominated by big groups.

Ten years down the road, we don’t want to be the 13-point dealership group feeling that pain from the larger groups the way the smaller ones are now

This year, for the first time, NADA Data takes a look at consolidation.  Probably the best single number to look at is the ratio of rooftops to dealers, which represents the average number of stores in a dealer group.  This has grown from 1.8 to 2.2 over the last nine years – not exactly a revolution.  I was a little surprised to see such small numbers, but this is an artifact of how NADA presents the data.

NADA, logically enough, presents the number of dealers owning a group of a given size.  I would have preferred to see the number of stores, not owners, in each category.  This is a better reflection of the market coverage.  To show the distinction, I plotted the total count of both rooftops and owners.  You can see that, while the number of rooftops is recovering since 2010, the number of dealers is not.

Next, I recast the data in terms of rooftops.  The number of rooftops belonging to groups of ten or more has almost doubled over the period, from 12.2% to 21.3%.

Below, I have plotted the number of rooftops in three tiers, by size of the dealer group to which they belong.  The 2 to 10 tier has been remarkably stable, numbering roughly 8,200.  The single points have been in steady decline, losing 2,500 over the period.

Dealers know that single points are vulnerable to market shocks and competitive pressure, if for no other reason than being tied to a single make.  On present trends, we can expect them to vanish entirely within ten or fifteen years.

Dealer Megatrends Part 3 – Process Change

In my previous Megatrends article, I wrote about how advancing technology is changing the role of F&I.  This week, we examine some new business practices.  You already know what I mean.  We’re going to talk about:

  • Hybrid Sales Process
  • No Haggle Pricing
  • Salaried Employees
  • Flat Reserve

High line manufacturers have tried to promote “one face to the customer,” since I was at BMW in the twentieth century.  Lexus Plus is the latest iteration.  Tellingly, BMW called it Retail 2000.  I fondly remember hearing a radio spot for “the last BMW dealer” in San Francisco, because we had styled all the others as retailers.  “If you want to pay retail, go to a retailer,” the ad went, “to get a deal, you need a dealer.”

So, it goes in cycles.  Lexus, or Scion, or AutoNation, will roll out a new process only to be outmaneuvered by the wily dealers.  Then they retrench and, five years later, someone else tries the new process.  They could literally be passing around the same procedure manual.  Look at me.  I have been advocating price transparency since Zag.

One Sonic-One Experience offers no-haggle pricing with one sales rep using an iPad who takes the customer through the entire vehicle sales process, including financing and the F&I product presentation.

A good example of the new process is Jim Deluca’s exposition of the Sonic One Experience.  In their EchoPark process, Sonic also eliminates dealer reserve.  The fight over flats and caps lasted from roughly 2012 to 2014.  See here, and NADA’s endorsement of caps here.  Next, Sonic will leverage their heavy investment in training to roll all of this into an online process called Digital One-Stop.

I suspect that Sonic would soon like to fire all their trained F&I professionals in their self-interest of saving a buck.

Forum comments reveal that old-school practitioners dislike the new process.  It’s funny to hear an F&I manager accuse a dealer of shameless self-interest, but there it is.  On the other side, Sonic’s Jeff Dyke reports good results from hiring people with no prior automotive experience.  Meanwhile, at rival consolidator AutoNation, 70% of the sales staff opted to go on salary.

Well-known F&I trainer Tony Dupaquier is here, advocating the hybrid process at First Texas Honda, and here is Findlay Group’s Las Vegas Subaru.  Savvy dealers everywhere are experimenting with at least two or three of the four new practices (online selling and iPads come up a lot, too).

Smart people have told me that the hybrid process will never produce four-digit PVRs, but many dealers – and certainly the consolidators – reckon that’s a price worth paying for a streamlined process, reduced turnover, and improved customer satisfaction.

Old Friends and New at NADA

Walking through Chinatown, my wife and I gave a dollar to an old man playing Auld Lang Syne on his violin – the Chinese violin, called an erhu.  This year, NADA began with the Chinese New Year, which was especially nice in San Francisco.  The parade was the week after, though.  We missed that.

Walking past the Route One booth, I was hailed by CEO Mike Jurecki and my old friend Pat McPherson.  A dealer was asking them about bi-weekly payment plans.  I ended up demonstrating the sales tool I had designed for U.S. Equity, on a MenuVantage account, in a Route One frame.  “Mark helped us design our system, too,” Pat added.

I read the dealer’s business card and said, “you sell a Resource warranty and you recently stopped using MenuVantage.” He wants Flash in his menu, so I referred him to Impact Group.

My new friends include a number of menu systems – formerly competitors.  We have announced the deal with Impact Group.  Others are in the works.  This is part of my “many to many” strategy, making PEN the single connection between all product providers and all dealer systems.

Greetings from NADA

We made a good showing at NADA.  I met with every F&I provider, and now have a long list of contacts to follow up.  Most are already using PEN, and they were excited to learn that ADP and Reynolds will soon join the network.  To those who could not attend, I will send materials today.  Here is that link again for the press release, and here is the fact sheet.  Anyone I missed, please feel free to contact me directly.

See You at NADA

I am heading up to Orlando to represent Provider Exchange Network.  PEN will soon have direct integration with ADP Drive, ERA, and POWER – in addition to the dealers already using PEN through MenuVantage.  I have spoken with a number of F&I providers, and all agree this is an exciting prospect for the industry.

To learn more about PEN, please contact me.  Click here for the press release. I will be splitting my time between the Reynolds booth and the ADP booth.  You can also check out a brilliant demonstration of web rating and e-contracting by MenuVantage.