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Dealer Insights - March-April 2015 - Dealer Digest

Feb 24, 2015

Use SEO to get e-head

Savvy dealerships have begun using search engine optimization (SEO) to boost their search engine rankings, generate more online leads and increase sales. Here are four tips for optimizing your dealership’s website:

  1. Concentrate on your local presence. Register your dealership with the major search engines’ local services, such as Yahoo Local and Google Places. Also claim your listing on area-focused websites like Citysearch and Yelp.

  2. Update your site regularly with keyword-rich, high-quality content. Do some research to determine the best keywords and keyword phrases for your dealership. Then consistently post quality content such as blogs, research articles and vehicle reviews.

  3. Optimize all your website assets. All the images, videos, inventory and other assets on your website should be “crawlable” for the major search engines.

  4. Actively participate in social media. Building social networks on Facebook and Twitter is key to raising SEO. Take the time to interact regularly with these online communities by sharing valuable content with your followers.

Is CFPB methodology flawed?

Two years ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began regulating the automobile finance industry. At that time, it stated that finance companies offering auto loans through dealerships would be held responsible for interest rate markups based on a borrower’s race or ethnicity.

Since auto finance companies can’t collect race and ethnicity data from borrowers, the CFPB relies on a proxy method to determine finance companies’ compliance with fair lending laws. Recently, the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) conducted a study of this proxy method and concluded that it contains significant bias and high error rates.

Based on its study results, AFSA has called on the CFPB to create a new tool for examining disparities in dealership interest rate markups. “The use of race and ethnicity proxies creates significant measurement errors, overestimates the population counts and results in overstated disparities,” AFSA stated.

Dealership M&A activity remains strong

Warren Buffett made a big splash among auto dealerships recently when his Berkshire Hathaway Investment company announced plans to buy the Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s fifth-largest dealership group, for an estimated $4 billion. Buffet said he anticipates that Van Tuyl will receive offers from the owners of “hundreds of dealerships” this year who are interested in selling.

This would continue the recent trend of strong dealership M&A activity. According to data compiled by The Presidio Group, an advisor to buyers and sellers of auto dealerships, 74 public and 243 private dealership franchises were bought or sold in 2014, up about 60% from 2013.

Dealer Insights - March/April 2015

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