Wardsauto e-dealer 100 list reflects power of internet dealer content from wardsauto 1 unit electricity cost in tamilnadu

This figure doesn’t come close to 2017’s record 17.1 million new vehicle sales and 39.2 million used car sales (according to Edmunds’ 2017 Used Vehicle Market Report), but it’s more than triple the 81,705 Internet sales reported on the WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 in 2002.

Ford’s Ready.Shop.Go, which offers many of the same features as the GM plan, allows customers to lock in a deal for 48 hours and assigns customers a single point of contact at the dealership. Ford’s goal: less time for impatient customers to stew at the dealership. Ready.Shop.Go rolled out in the Midwest in March and Ford says it will be available nationwide by the end of 2018.

In December, Ford and China’s Alibaba Group signed a letter of intent to “jointly explore areas of cooperation in connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobility services and digital marketing.” In March, Alibaba launched a Super Test-Drive Center in Guangzhou.

“Dealers should not be afraid to go first,” says Cory Mosley, company principal and chief strategist at consulting firm Mosley Automotive. “If you see a product or service or hear a strategy that could create a competitive advantage, don’t be afraid of go for it.”

At the NADA convention, Cox Automotive debuted Accelerate, a new digital retail platform that allows prospects to locate a car at a specific dealership, determine taxes and fees based upon their market, offer a price, apply incentives and specials, calculate a trade in value, consider F&I options and schedule a test drive, all online.

“The negotiation is the longest, most-frustrating part of a car purchase, and car shoppers have raised their expectations,” says Cox President Sandy Schwartz. “This year I believe we will see the very clear transition into the next phase of the Internet, where we will be buying a car, or at least negotiating for a car online – a fully connected retail experience that makes car buying better for both the consumer and the dealer. Our research shows people are ready for this. It’s the next phase.”

“I don’t think there’s a magic wand,” says Tom Greene, general manager of Larry H. Miller Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Boise, ID. “As we’ve learned at every digital seminar, you just try to do the little things right. Have a good response time and have good quality responses back. We always collaborate on new ideas to improve the Internet department. You have to have an Internet director who’s engaged, looks at the responses and coaches the team.”

The store ranks 49 th on this year’s WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 list with 1,065 new- and 542 used-vehicle Internet sales last year. Green says in some months 50% of sales originate from the web and his six-month average closing ratio is 16%. The store had 3,328 total unit sales in 2017.

“We get our salespeople from our competitors, people who want to be part of the Larry Miller group,” Greene says of the 64-store Utah-based dealership chain. “Our guys lobby to get on the Internet team because they see the level of success and they know there’s a good opportunity.”

Internet salespeople stay with their customers throughout the process. “We don’t want to turn them over to someone else,” Greene says. “People want to work with the guy they’ve been corresponding with. If we’ve done our job right, if they’ve established a good relationship by phone or by Internet correspondence, when the customer comes in and they meet that person, part of that wall is already taken down.”

“If a guy has a customer on the lot, he’s not watching his time. Sometimes they just get busy. Now with a dedicated team they have one function – to get good quality responses and have that sense of urgency just as if you had a customer on the lot or walking into your showroom.”