Dealer Insights - March/April 2012 - Dealer Digest

High hopes for 2012 

More than 13.9 million new cars and light trucks will be sold or leased in 2012, predicts Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Taylor gives three reasons for the cheery forecast: aging vehicles (the average car or truck on the street is now nearly 11 years old), aggressive incentives and affordable credit.

Some economists, including Taylor, predict that interest rates will remain historically low this year, with consumers finding affordable auto loans from competing lending sources. Greater consumer confidence also is often cited as another reason for the projected upswing in car sales.
With the anticipation of increased sales this year, it may be time to revisit — and possibly increase — your advertising allotment if you’ve cut back heavily on your advertising budget in recent years.

Mobile apps and social media hook dealership attention

Auto dealerships are paying a lot of attention to mobile applications and social media, and they’ll continue to focus on these technologies this year, according to a recent survey.

Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, a provider of dealership management system software, conducted the auto dealership technology survey to determine which technologies are most important to dealerships. Survey respondents (159) included owners and general managers (55%) and other management positions (45%), such as controllers and chief information officers, service and parts managers, and sales managers.

The survey indicated that mobile apps are on the rise: 46% of respondents use mobile apps in their sales department, 31% use mobile apps with their customer relationship management (CRM) system, and 23% use the technology in their service department. Future plans for mobile apps also focus on these areas, with 35% planning to implement apps in the sales department and 32% in the service department in the next year. And 17% plan to implement apps in relation to CRM.

Regarding social media: 81% of respondents personally are on Facebook, 44% are on LinkedIn and 17% are on Twitter. About 70% of the respondents maintain their social media and reputation management programs in-house and 9% outsource to a vendor. Yet, almost one-fourth don’t have a program in place to manage their presence in the social media or their online reputation.

Does your dealership feel overwhelmed by social media and reputation management? New tools, such as SocialMention ( can assist your staff in monitoring online postings or blogs daily.

Dealer Insights - March/April 2012 - Dealer Digest 

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