One of the benefits of being in the auto business is, well, being in the auto business. Let’s face it: while most other industries spend their days fixing and selling widgets, we get cars, chrome, horsepower and Auto Shows.

What could be better? Granted, some shows are all about the mainstream. Cars that debut at, say, the Detroit or Chicago Auto Shows are usually meant to sell – and in massive quantities. A big part of the reason why shows are so popular is because it give car shoppers a chance to take a closer look at their next prospective purchase. SUVs, hybrids, trucks or sedans – with each refreshed model year, there’s an Auto Show debut coming soon.

That’s not what the Geneva Motor Show is all about – at least for those of us on this side of the pond. While the European show has its fair share of practical debuts, every year there also seems to be a large contingent of wild, crazy and plain awesome special editions. Here are a few stand outs from the just-completed Geneva Motor Show press days:

Golden Sahara II

The weirdest debut at Geneva had to be the Golden Sahara II — a legendary 1950s custom car with translucent tires. No one’s buying thing – unless you’ve got over $300k. Revealed by Klairmont Kollections and Goodyear, in addition to the tires, the car also boasts early autonomous technologies, an aircraft-inspired grille, tailfins, canopy glass and control stick.

 Audi R8 V10 Decennium

The intent is to “pay homage” to the Audi V10 engine, and this R8 certainly does that – and more. The 620 horsepower V10 engine with bronze-colored highlights is pretty unforgettable. That’s a good thing because with only 222 editions available, your memory – and these images — will have to be enough.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 1941

It’s not all sports cars and Speed Racer at Geneva. Case in point: The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 1941, designed by Mopar with Jeep Performance Parts. Everything here is authentic – and meant for where the pavement ain’t.  

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet Exclusive Edition

On the more practical side, Mercedes-Benz trimmed out the S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet as two stunning special edition vehicles, debuted at Geneva for the 2019 model year. Features include an LED Intelligent Light System with Swarovski crystals, as well as “Exclusive Edition” lettering on the cup holder cover in the center console.

Click here for more 2019 Geneva Motor Show coverage.

What’s Next?

Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX ONE Platform. At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge marketing services that help to deliver the right message at the right time — via the right digital channel. How can we help you?

If the recent automotive news tells us anything, it’s that sales are slow – and change is fast. Automakers and dealerships are navigating declining demand, while at the same time managing shifts in consumer expectations. They’re also searching for ways to speed the sales process and streamline service department functions. Recently, in fact, new events are taking shape that may create additional revenue and customer service opportunities across the dealership.

So, while the story of sales may not be great news, the industry’s movement toward more efficient operations is exciting and promising. On the service side, new marketing opportunities and additional revenue streams are emerging, all directly or indirectly related to technology innovations now coming to the fore. Here are a few service-related headlines:  

Vehicle Subscription Plans Might Become a Boon for Fixed Ops

What: You’ve undoubtedly heard the news about vehicle subscription programs. From all-makes platforms like Fair, to automaker-specific test programs operated by Ford, Cadillac and Volvo, it’s an idea that is gaining popularity – especially at the dealerships. Indeed, there are already a few dealers who are operating their own subscription program to further monetize their inventory. According to Automotive News, that includes service revenue, as well.   

Takeaway: The article outlines ideas that dealers can try in order to create a revenue stream from a subscription program. One such idea for dealers is to base a service drive subscription program on reconditioning best practices. The value is due to the dealer’s access to historic vehicle data.  Additional ideas include adding fees for repairs and warranty work.

Go here: Vehicle subscription plans create fixed ops opportunities for dealerships

Top Global Sellers: Can You Guess the Top Ten?

What: Okay, so most people already know that the Ford F-Series truck is the best-selling vehicle. And many would probably guess that the Toyota Corolla is also on the top five list of the global popularity. But did you know the popular Nissan Rogue is in the top five? It’s true. And here’s another surprise: The Toyota Camry didn’t crack the top ten. The list is published at MSN and is based on 2018 global registrations from JATO.

Takeaway: Counting vehicle sales around the globe shows trends in terms of consumer preferences, and in how automakers are responding to an array of market pressures. At the dealership level, it can also provide a signal as to which vehicles consumers will be most interested in buying, and what service managers might see more of when it comes to maintenance and repair.

Go here: The world’s best-selling cars of 2018

Your Friendly Lyft Driver Might Be a Great New Source of Income

What: According to Automotive News, there are currently around 4 million rideshare drivers bopping around cities and suburbs. That’s a lot of Lyft and Uber business, to be sure – and it’s also a great opportunity for dealerships. Consider, for example, that while most vehicles are active just four percent of the time, rideshare vehicles ring the bell at a robust 26 percent. The Automotive News post figures that this type of use equals six times the required maintenance.

Takeaway: If you’re not already marketing to ride-share drivers, seriously consider doing so. Obviously, their income requires consistent maintenance and repair on an accelerated schedule – and that makes them an ideal customer. If you build a solid service relationship based on complete, fast and affordable service, chances are they will return many times.

Go here: Drivers for ride-hailing services can be a prime source of fixed ops profits

Winter Blues Expected to Creep Into February Car Sales

What: Edmunds is forecasting a gloomy February for new vehicle sales, thanks to a 2.2 percent decrease compared to February 2018, and an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 16.7 million.  On the bright side, sales improved over January 2019 by over 12 percent. Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo sees it as a subtle drop and a “good barometer of the gradual sales decline we expect through 2019.” He cites the growing cost of purchase, such as interest rates, as a main reason for the slump.

Takeaway: After almost a decade of record-breaking growth, the auto market seems to have settled into a gradual sales decline, driven by higher cost and perhaps the availability of late model used vehicles. Regardless of the reason, service managers are becoming bigger VIPs inside the dealership, with a mandate to streamline service operations, and improve efficiency throughout the department.

Go Here: February Foretells Slower New Vehicle Sales in 2019

Most dealership managers know that the service department is their best source of steady, consistent revenue. Yet too often it seems that maximizing the amount of that revenue — and lowering the cost of the operation — just aren’t priorities.

That’s a problem — especially in an unsteady market where customer expectations around convenience and efficiency continue to grow. Every opportunity to increase ROs and improve customer loyalty is vital to sustaining a vibrant and competition-proof service business over the long term. Doing that requires a technology footprint that helps to ensure all steps of the customer lifecycle are met in a timely and efficient manner.

As simple as that seems, it’s not. Technology is complicated, and it’s hard to know exactly what the benefits are and how they help the bottom line. To that end, it’s important to be prepared by understanding the basics of the technology — and having a few tough questions at the ready. That way you can truly see whether the technology fits your service department’s unique set of challenges. Here’s a simple summary of ONE Platform:  

Seven Digital Solutions of the Dealer-FX ONE Platform

ONE Platform manages the complete service customer lifecycle. It connects seven digital service solutions across the entire experience, integrates with vehicle data, OEM systems and most DMS providers. It’s designed to enhance the customer’s service experience and drive the digital transformation of dealerships:

  • Connect: DMS, OEM, and customer service data for targeted messaging
  • Schedule: An online scheduler on your dealership website
  • Check-In: VIN-specific customer information directly on the tablet for an efficient write-up process
  • Inspect: Multiple layers of customer data so techs have all the information they need
  • Engage: Real-time vehicle status updates, OEM recall notifications, service reminders
  • Check-Out: Customer check-out integrated with EasyPay, a mobile payment solution
  • Retain: Post-service messages, personalized invitations and reminders

ONE Platform provides visibility into virtually all service operations — which can improve customer promise times, increase ROs and elevate scores on customer surveys.

ONE Platform by the Numbers
51% Increase in Customer Pay Sales
12% Increase in CSI Scores
$134 Increase per RO From Appointment To Final RO

Stump the Rep: Ten Questions about ONE Platform

The best way to get the most out of your appointment is to engage the rep’s knowledge about the technology. Do that by asking questions and pulling the experience toward a conversation. Here are ten tough questions that should help you get a pretty good idea about the Dealer-FX ONE Platform:

  1. Will ONE Platform make or save my dealership money, or is it just another technology expense?  
  2. How can I improve cycle time and staff efficiencies, including technicians?
  3. How is the customer service journey tracked, and how can it be leveraged to generate additional business?
  4. How does ONE Platform help me interact with customers in the way they expect?
  5. Can you show me how ONE Platform can manage the “digital service department – from almost anywhere?”
  6. How can this technology provide a Group instant access to performance and return on investment?
  7. Can you show me how to text recommendations to a customer?
  8. Explain why or how ONE Platform creates greater efficiencies.
  9. How does the consolidation of products within the platform actually help with support and training?
  10. Walk me through how ONE Platform delivers greater throughput in the service department.

What’s Next?

Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX ONE Platform. At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge marketing services that help to deliver the right message at the right time — via the right digital channel. How can we help you?

Something special always happens at NADA. For starters, there are always new friends to meet, and old colleagues to catch up with on the show floor and at events.

There’s the chance to learn more about new technologies, and be entertained by some of the best and brightest stars around. After all, with more than 600,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space at Moscone Center in San Francisco, there’s plenty of room to do many things great things — and meet many great people. This year was no exception. In fact, in some ways it raised the bar on what was possible, and pushed the limits on convention entertainment. From laughs with Dana Carvey on Saturday to sincerity with Major Dan Rooney on Sunday, NADA 2019 also focused on charities, the #womeninautomotive video contest and much more.

Dealer-FX: On a Mission for Success

Over at the Dealer-FX booth, we celebrated a very upbeat and successful NADA 2019, thanks to the popularity of ONE Platform, and debuts like our Sales2Service mobile solution. In addition, our very own Greg Dryden, vice-president of client optimization, held a successful education session on Service Department Effectiveness in the 21st Century. It was a great week of learning new things, and of finding ways to improve service business. Maybe the only thing better would be to add an autograph from Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young.  

Here’s a look back at our NADA 2019 experience:  

Founder, President & CEO Gary Kalk kicks off an autograph session with Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young.

The Dealer-FX booth was buzzing throughout the show.