Tag Archive | "AutoTrader"

Autotrader: 48% of Car Buyers Choose In-Vehicle Tech Over Brand, Body Style


ATLANTA — Nearly half of consumers (48%) prioritize in-vehicle technology over brand and body style, according to the 2017 Autotrader Car Tech Impact Study.

Released on Sunday at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the report showed a growing number of consumers believe certain safety technologies, including blind-spot detection and forward collision warning, should come standard on all vehicles in the United States. Convenience and entertainment options also ranked high on consumers’ preferred list of technology features.

“Technology has become the deciding factor for car buyers selecting a vehicle,” said Michelle Krebs, Autotrader senior analyst. “Automakers must deliver innovative features or risk consumers looking elsewhere.”

The study also shows that 56% of car shoppers have done their research and know exactly what in-vehicle technology they are interested in before they visit a dealership. Younger car buyers, 18- to 34-year-olds in particular, are generally more tech savvy and are less willing to compromise on the features they want.

Additionally, 70% of respondents noted they would consider paying more for driver-assist technology such as blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control in their next vehicle purchase. However, 65% still have concerns over system failures with self-driving cars, roughly the same number as in 2016. In general, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe new technology has improved the way they drive.

The study also indicated experience with advanced, self-driving technologies will likely lead to quicker adoption: three out of four drivers who own a vehicle with these advanced technologies (adaptive cruise, collision warning, etc.) say it helps make them a better driver and feel safer.

“And yet, despite the appeal of advanced driver-assist and technology features, the study found that convenience and entertainment features such as voice commands and Wi-Fi are still more desired,” the company stated in its press release. “Connectivity systems such as a General Motors’ OnStar, Ford’s Sync and Toyota’s EnTune; advanced, adaptive navigation systems and technology that provides wireless device charging are all high on consumer’s want list. Regardless of age or comfort with technology, 53% of consumers expect vehicle technology to be every bit as robust as smartphone technology.”

Here are additional findings from the study:

  • Millennials Drive Demand: Millennial drivers are willing to pay more for the technology they want, with 55% of them expecting to spend an additional $2,600 to get desired tech features.
  • Parents Adopt Technology: Parents are twice as likely to purchase advanced safety features than non-parents (51% vs. 22%) and three times more likely to own a vehicle with autonomous features.
  • Trust in Autonomous Vehicle Technology Growing: Compared to 2016, consumers are growing more comfortable with the idea of giving up control to a self-driving vehicle. In fact, 49% of respondents indicated they’d give up control in exchange for some free time not driving or watching the road (up from 35% in 2016); 17% of respondents said they would use the time to catch up on work while 16% said they would play games, both up significantly from last year.
  • Autonomous Technology in Unexpected Situations: Consumers are also becoming more comfortable with how a self-driving vehicle would react in unexpected situations, such as encountering a deer in the road (42% of respondents are not concerned); interacting with non-self-driving vehicles (57%) and interacting with pedestrians or bicycles (56%), all up from 2016.

The study was conducted by KS&R Inc. in partnership with Research Now on behalf of Autotrader. The online survey includes responses from 1,020 U.S. vehicle owners aged 18 or older.

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ADT Names 2016 Dealers’ Choice Award Winners


TORRANCE, Calif. — The publishers of Auto Dealer Today announced the winners of the 12th annual Dealers’ Choice Awards. The awards are based on a comprehensive survey that allowed dealers and dealership personnel to recognize their favorite vendors, suppliers and finance companies in 34 categories.

Voters must write in the name of each provider and score them in a number of areas related to performance, customer service, and the likelihood the voter would recommend each company to another dealer.

“This year’s winners include Dealers’ Choice Awards regulars as well as a number of new companies that have emerged as major players in a variety of categories,” said David Gesualdo, publisher of Auto Dealer Today and F&I and Showroom magazines. “But they all have one thing in common: They have earned the loyalty and praise of dealers, and they deserve our congratulations.”

The 2016 Dealer’s Choice Awards winners are:

New-Vehicle Lead

Used-Vehicle Lead

  • Diamond: Autotrader
  • Platinum: Cars.com
  • Gold: CarsDirect

Special Finance Lead

  • Diamond: CarsDirect
  • Platinum: DealerLink
  • Gold: Auto Credit Express

Digital Marketing

  • Diamond: Digital Air Strike
  • Platinum: ELEAD1ONE
  • Gold: eBizAutos

Website Provider

  • Diamond: eBizAutos
  • Platinum: VinSolutions
  • Gold: Dealer.com

Chat Provider

  • Diamond: ActivEngage
  • Platinum: Client~ConneXion
  • Gold: Contact At Once!

Mobile Media

  • Diamond: Dealer.com
  • Platinum: eBizAutos
  • Gold: Dealer Synergy

Social Media Management

  • Diamond: Ally
  • Platinum: Naked Lime
  • Gold: DealerClickz

Reputation Management

  • Diamond: Dominion Dealer Solutions
  • Platinum: CDK Global
  • Gold (tie): DealerRefresh
  • Gold (tie): DMEautomotive

Direct Mail

  • Diamond: ProMax Unlimited
  • Platinum: Action Integrated
  • Gold: Strategic Marketing

Virtual BDC

  • Diamond: ELEAD1ONE
  • Platinum: DealerStrong

Online Inventory Listing Management

  • Diamond: Dominion Dealer Solutions
  • Platinum: eBizAutos
  • Gold: Auction123

Inventory Management

  • Diamond: Dealertrack
  • Platinum: vAuto
  • Gold: FirstLook Systems

Hiring and Recruitment

  • Diamond: GSFSGroup
  • Platinum: Hireology

Sales Training

  • Diamond: Ziegler SuperSystems
  • Platinum: Ally
  • Gold: Joe Verde Group

Internet Training

  • Diamond: Dealer.com
  • Platinum: Dealer Synergy
  • Gold: Ally

Compliance Training

  • Diamond: American Financial & Automotive Services (AFAS)
  • Platinum: United Development Systems Inc. (UDS)
  • Gold: Mosaic Compliance Services

F&I Training

  • Diamond: United Development Systems Inc. (UDS)
  • Platinum: American Financial & Automotive Services (AFAS)
  • Gold: Reahard & Associates

Special Finance Training

  • Diamond: DealerStrong
  • Platinum: NCM Associates
  • Gold: Ally

Fixed Ops Training

  • Diamond: DealerPro Service Solutions
  • Platinum: CDK Global
  • Gold: The Cardone Group

F&I Products

  • Diamond: IAS
  • Platinum: RoadVantage
  • Gold: National Auto Care

Service Contract

  • Diamond: CNA National
  • Platinum: Protective Asset Protection
  • Gold: AUL Corp.

Service Contract Reinsurance

  • Diamond: Portfolio
  • Platinum: GSFSGroup
  • Gold: CNA National

F&I Desking Software

  • Diamond: ProMax Unlimited
  • Platinum: Reynolds and Reynolds
  • Gold: Dealertrack

F&I Technology

  • Diamond: F&I Express
  • Platinum: MaximTrak
  • Gold: StoneEagle

CRM 

  • Diamond: ProMax Unlimited
  • Platinum: ELEAD1ONE
  • Gold: Reynolds and Reynolds

DMS 

  • Diamond: Dealertrack
  • Platinum: Reynolds and Reynolds
  • Gold: Auto/Mate

Data Mining

  • Diamond: ELEAD1ONE
  • Platinum: Dominion Dealer Solutions
  • Gold: AutoAlert

Online Auction for Purchasing Inventory

  • Diamond: Manheim
  • Platinum: SmartAuction
  • Gold: ADESA

Traditional Auction

  • Diamond: Manheim
  • Platinum: ADESA

Prime Captive Finance Company

  • Diamond: GM Financial
  • Platinum: Honda Financial Services
  • Gold: Toyota Financial Services

Prime Non-Captive Finance Company

  • Diamond: Ally
  • Platinum: Chase
  • Gold: Wells Fargo

Subprime Finance Company

  • Diamond: Wells Fargo
  • Platinum: Regional Acceptance
  • Gold: Capital One

Biweekly Payments

  • Diamond: U.S. Equity Advantage
  • Platinum: SMART Payment Plan
  • Gold: Economic Advantages Corp. (EAC)

More detail about this year’s awards will appear in a Special Awards Section in the July issue of Auto Dealer Today. The winners will be honored in a special ceremony in August at Industry Summit in Las Vegas.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact David Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at (727) 947-4027.

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December Auto Sales Soar 9% in Record Year


Automakers posted a solid 9% sales gain in December, an exclamation point that sealed 2015 as the biggest sales year ever for the industry, reported USA Today.

All told, automakers sold 17.47 million new vehicles for the year, Autodata reported, besting the previous record set in 2000 by 68,138 vehicles. Low gas prices, cheap credit, low unemployment, soaring consumer confidence and warm weather fueled a rush into showrooms in December.

“The U.S. economy continues to expand, and the most important factors that drive demand for new vehicles are in place, so we expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist, in a statement.

Still, sales success for individual automakers presented a mixed bag. Detroit’s Big 3 fared well for December and the year. General Motors had a 5.7% sales increase in December, Ford Motor saw an 8.3% boost and Fiat Chrysler sales rose 12.6%, according to Autodata. Tesla Motors doubled sales during the month and sold 23,650 of its luxury electric cars in the U.S. for the year, but came in at the low end of its delivery guidance on worldwide deliveries.

Among Asian makers, Toyota saw a 10.3% increase for the month, Honda was at 9.9% and Nissan at 8.7%. But for the full year, they came in lower, with Toyota posting a 5.3% increase compared to the industry average of 5.7%

One laggard was German automaker Volkswagen Group, which still cannot sell diesel vehicles amid an emissions scandal, down 3.4% overall. The automaker’s Volkswagen brand sales fell 9.1% in December and 4.8% for the year. The company’s Audi luxury brand, which has felt a smaller impact from the scandal, achieved a 6% gain in December and 11.1% for the year. Another loser for the month was Hyundai, saddled with a car-heavy lineup during the SUV surge, down 1.5%.

Consumers continued their exodus from less-lucrative cars into crossovers, sport-utility vehicles and pickups amid low gasoline prices.

At 13.9% market share, the small SUV segment is now the largest category of vehicles in the U.S., trailed by small cars and midsize cars at 13.7% apiece, according to Kelley Blue Book.

“There’s no end in sight to those trends,” AutoTrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs said. “You’re going to hear the same broken record next year.”

Crossovers like the Toyota RAV4, the Nissan Rogue and the Jeep Renegade delivered a robust showing in December.

“The segment is in demand with Baby Boomers and Millennials both looking for increased utility. We think this is a long-term trend,” Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said on a conference call.

Unlike 2000, when automakers were piling on discounts to sell vehicles despite a strong economy, the industry is financially fit and has spurned steep incentives. Average incentives rose 3.9% in December, compared with a year earlier, to $3,063 per vehicle, according to TrueCar.

Toyota division general manager Bill Fay told reporters it was a “standout year,” though he projects sales to “start to level off a bit” in 2016.

Even as crossovers gain, the industry’s stalwart full-size pickup trucks have also flourished, in addition to new midsize pickups.

The Ford F-Series pickup, the most popular vehicle in the U.S., rose 14.6% to 85,211 units in December. Sales were up 3.5% for the year to 780,354.

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KBB, Autotrader Report Strong November Unit Sales


IRVINE, Calif., and ATLANTA — Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book reported stronger-than-expected auto sales during the month of November. The overall industry health is looking strong; however, there are a few risk factors that are worth paying attention to heading into 2016, analysts said.

The stronger-than-expected unit sales during November were driven by higher employment rates, a recovering economy, cheap gas prices, cheap credit, and successful year-end promotions, analysts noted.

“I think the holiday and Black Friday promotions generally resonated with consumers and we’ll see that trend continue through December,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader. “A notable exception that didn’t’ really resonate with consumers so much was the Ford Friends and Neighbors campaign.”

Ford has since canceled the campaign and plans to replace it with a more conventional year-end incentive. Krebs explained that while the campaign increased showroom traffic, not enough of that traffic translated into sales. Dealers told Autotrader that many customers who were aware of Ford’s Friends and Neighbors campaign thought they could do better looking elsewhere.

Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book’s original forecast predicted a SAAR of 17.8 million units after November. Most major manufacturers that have reported November sales put the SAAR at 18 million units, with the possibility of the SAAR reaching 18.2 million. That depends on the performance of manufacturers that had yet to report November sales, they told the two firms.

“Usual suspects continue to do very well,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “As far as the industry is concerned, month over month, very similar trends in terms of what segments are doing well: trucks and SUVs.”

Nissan was up 4% from last year, while GM and Ford came in under their forecasts. The two domestics did report solid truck and SUV sales, however. An increase in incentives was responsible for the 20% sales increase realized by the Jeep brand, according to analysts.

While great for moving vehicles, the trend of rising incentives outpacing rising transaction prices was one of the risk factors identified by KBB’s Guiterrez. “In fact, while we did see a year-over-year increase in terms of what consumers are paying for new cars at the dealership, we have seen that growth start to slow,” Gutierrez noted. “Typically, we see 2-3% growth in transaction prices, but in November, that growth was coming in at less than 1%, so some stabilization happening there.”

While transaction price growth seems to be halting, incentives seem to be increasing. For the past four months, industry-wide incentives have averaged around $3,100, Krebs said.

“That’s the highest we’ve seen since prerecession,” said Krebs. “More importantly, the incentives are taking a bigger share of the average transaction price … the average transaction prices are increasing, but not at the torrid pace they were.”

Krebs also pointed to rising interest rates as another risk factor, saying the firm expects the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates later this week. While the increase will likely add only a couple of extra dollars to the typical car loan, it could have a major impact on other household loans. And that could push potential car buyers out of the market, she said.

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Manheim, AutoTrader Parent Forms Cox Automotive


Last week, Cox Enterprises announced the formation of Cox Automotive, an entity that includes more than 20 wholesale and retail auto brands — among them Manheim, AutoTrader.com and Kelley Blue Book, reported Auto Remarketing.

Forming Cox Automotive, officials said, “further strengthens the company’s investment in the automotive industry and provides end-to-end global solutions for customers throughout the vehicle lifecycle.”

Sandy Schwartz, who had held separate roles as both president of Manheim and as president of the AutoTrader Group, is now president of Cox Automotive.

“Cox is the industry leader in marketing and remarketing vehicles, and this move reinforces our company’s confidence in the global automotive industry,” said Cox Enterprises’ president and chief executive officer John Dyer. “Over the past several years, we have invested in different segments of our auto business, from dealer services to our top-rated consumer brands.

“Under Sandy’s leadership, our wholesale and retail automotive brands have thrived and we are committed to leveraging opportunities to better serve and add value to our customers,” Dyer added.

Cox Automotive will serve as the banner company for the various international and domestic auto entities; however, the individual brand of each business remains intact.

They will be organized into five core areas, as follows:

  • Auto Auctions and Wholesale Services: Manheim, ExportTrader.com, DealShield, Go Auto Exchange, Ready Auto Transport
  • Financial Services: NextGear Capital, Go Financial
  • Media: AutoTrader.com, Kelley Blue Book
  • Software: HomeNet Automotive, Haystak Digital Marketing, vAuto, VinSolutions
  • International: www.Dealer-Auction.com, BitAuto, Motors.co.uk, Jingzhengu, Manheim Retail Services, RMS Automotive, Modix

“Over the past few years, I’ve been excited to be a part of an industry that is taking a leading role in driving economic growth, innovation and greater efficiencies,” said Schwartz. “We formed Cox Automotive because we know that the automotive space is not one where any of us can go it alone. Our goal is to pave the way for our customers by offering them unique perspectives, industry insights and end-to-end solutions that deliver greater business value.”

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