Category Archives: Northgate Lincoln Mercury

Auto sales: Ford and Chrysler Group post a 25% gain from year-ago levels

Ford Motor (FFortune 500) and Chrysler Group both posted a 25% gain from the year-ago levels, although Ford sales fell by 9% from March. Chrysler managed a 3% gain on its March sales total. Toyota Motor sales rose 24% compared to a year ago, but that marked a 16% drop from its March sales total. General Motors reported a more modest gain in April sales compared to a year ago and also fell short of the March sales total.

Results at GM and Ford were roughly in line with forecasts and matched the trend expected across the industry. Forecasts are for total U.S. auto sales to be up between 21% to 23% from a year ago, but down between 5% to 7% from March.

Toyota fell far short of forecasts of a 33% to 39% rise from year-ago sales.

Only Chrysler’s sales were a bit better than forecasts, which had put its year-over-year sales gain in the 11%-19% range.

It wasn’t difficult for automakers to top numbers from last April, when bankruptcies loomed at GM and Chrysler, and the economy and financial markets were also in far worse shape, with job losses over the first four months of last year hitting record levels.

So comparisons to March sales might be more relevant, and somewhat less encouraging.

But George Pipas, director of sales analysis for Ford, said the company was not concerned about the month-to-month drop in industrywide sales expected in April. He said March’s sales were inflated by the storms in February, which pushed back some purchases, and the recall problems at Toyota Motor (TM) earlier in the year.

Ford’s April sales marked the fifth straight month the automaker’s sales gained 20% or more, good enough to move it back ahead of Toyota to be the No. 2 automaker in terms of U.S. sales.

It reported double-digit increases across most of its models and brands except Volvo, which it’s in the process of selling to Chinese automaker Geely. Car sales posted a 10% gain, while sales rose more than 30% for both of its truck and utility lines.

GM sales in April rose 6% from last April, but slipped 2% compared to March. That was slightly better than expert forecasts of a 3% to 4% gain compared to a year ago.

Sales at the four brands GM is in the process of closing or selling — Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab — tumbled 96% from a year ago. GM shed those brands as part of the bankruptcy process it filed in June of last year. There are less than 2,000 of the discontinued brands’ vehicles left in dealer inventories, according to Steve Carlisle, GM’s vice president, U.S. sales operations.

But the automaker posted much better comparisons for the sales of its four remaining brands — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. Sales for those brands rose 20% compared to a year ago, and down only 1% from March levels.

Carlisle said he was pleased by the sales at the core brands and at the fact that GM was able to cut cash incentives offered to buyers in April.

“We continue to earn those sales, not buy them,” he said.

Chrysler sales gains were uneven. Sales of car models nearly doubled, while sales of light truck models other than minivan models fell 12%. Sales were flat at its Jeep brand, while sales at its Ram line of light trucks tumbled 22%. But sales for its Chrysler and Dodge brands both shot up 61%.

Other automakers are due to report results later Monday. To top of page

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Price War: Honda and Toyota Get Down and Dirty, helping to boost March auto sales

Price wars and discounting used to be the province of beleaguered companies from Detroit. Now Honda (HMC) and Toyota (TM) are down in the bargain mud, too — and helping to boost March auto sales.

Forecasts for annual U.S. auto sales for the month are around 12.5 million range for theSeasonally Adjusted Annual Rate. That’s a sharp improvement from a 10.8 million SAAR in January 2010 and 10.4 million in February.

“The shape of the U.S. SAAR over the rest of the year will largely depend on how long the industry’s pricing battle goes on,” saidBrian Johnson, auto industry analyst for Barclays Capital.

Toyota kicked off the discounting this month with offers of zero-percent loans, to boost demand in light of the unintended acceleration disaster. Honda responded with cheap, no-money-down lease deals.

Such steep discounts are unusual for the Japanese carmakers, because their cars have typically been in higher demand than U.S. brands. Last month, before the current round of price-cutting kicked in, Edmunds.com said Honda’s incentives averaged about $1,400, less than half the level of Chrysler, Ford and GM. Toyota incentives averaged about $1,800, according to the shopping and research web site.

Meanwhile, ChryslerFord (F) and General Motors are bending over backwards to cut production and try and reduce the need for deep discounts, especially since Chrysler and GM went bankrupt last year. The results have been mixed.

Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl said in a written statement the Toyota deals are unlikely to last, because Toyota’s inventories of unsold cars aren’t that high. The Toyota deals are set to expire April 5.

“Although this SAAR sounds promising,”Anwyl concluded, “it’s too early to wave the flag and say that the economy has turned the corner.”

Ford on Track to Be #1 U.S. Carmaker

NOTE: WE’VE SEEN THIS COMING FOR AWHILE. GREAT NEW PRODUCT, SAAVY MARKETING AND NOT TAKING THE GOVERNMENT BAILOUT HAVE MADE FORD THE NUMBER ONE CHOICE AMONG U.S. CONSUMERS THAT WANT TO BUY AMERICAN.=DP

September 2, 2009

Ford on Track to Be #1 U.S. Carmaker

 Things are looking up for the one American automaker that didn’t go for a government bailout, and it’s not just because of “cash-for-clunkers.” 

 Ford’s recent navigation of financial shoals is paying off big-time. The Detroit automaker took a different tack than its rivals, which sought aid from the federal government and shelter in bankruptcy court. It’s on course to grab the brass ring in 2010, becoming No. 1 in U.S. auto sales. An $18-billion low interest loan in 2006 — when the company mortgaged itself, including its iconic blue oval insignia — is allowing Ford to remake operations. It’s slashing costs and developing common bodies, braking and wiring systems for its vehicles worldwide and putting in place new flexible assembly lines that let plants shift rapidly from making one model to another. Plus, Ford is committed to new model development — pledging to revamp its entire fleet by early 2011, and then repeating the feat in a few years. As a result, by year-end 2010, Ford’s U.S. sales will likely edge out both General Motors’ and Toyota’s, but it’ll be a photo finish. The best bet: Toyota will come in second and GM will slip to third. Already, Ford’s share of U.S. auto sales is climbing. It’s likely to top 16% this year and be a hair over 17% next, mainly at the expense of GM and Chrysler. A market share gain of one percentage point reverses a slide that had plagued the firm for more than a decade. GM’s share of new-vehicle sales will be about 19.5% this year, nearly one percentage point lower than in 2008, and come in at barely 17% in 2010. Chrysler’s share will continue to plunge. Its slice of vehicles sold by new-car dealers will slip and slide to as low as 8.5% this year and around 8% in 2010, down from 11% in 2008. Foreign brands will largely hold their own through 2010, with Honda and Toyota posting small gains next year. Ford is getting a boost from a new cycle of models whose popularity seems to be hitting its stride. “There is a perception that Ford has its fingers on the pulse of what consumers want to buy, whether this be a raft of hybrids, such as the Fusion, Escape and Mariner, or the new Taurus,” says Howard Kuperman, president of Phil’s Ford Lincoln Mercury in Port Jervis, N.Y., and chairman of the New York State Automobile Dealers Association. It’s not just curbside appeal that’s giving Ford’s sales a lift. “Consumers are making a decision to buy a Ford product because it did not accept federal bailout money, as did GM and Chrysler, and it didn’t go through bankruptcy as did the other two,” says Aaron Bragman, an auto analyst with IHS Global Insight, a business consultancy. Such consumer anger may fade over time, but Ford’s sales should keep gaining as it builds on strong sales through next year with the introduction of all-new Focus and Fiesta small cars and an ultraefficient commercial van, the Transit Connect, says Bragman.

Dealer Marketing Magazine’s Advice to Auto Dealers

AT POWERHOUSE WE SPECIALIZE IN VERTICALLY INTEGRATED MEDIA SOLUTIONS– WE MAKE SURE YOUR INTERNET MARKETING MESSAGE IS CONSISTENT WITH TRADITIONAL MEDIA ADVERTISING BY FOLLOWING A CONSISTENT EFFORT TO REINFORCE YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE TO YOUR CORE AUDIENCE. SEE BELOW DEALER MARKETING ADVICE TO AUTO DEALERS.

Marketing your dealership used to be so much simpler. There was television, Radio, newspaper, and direct mail — and that was it. Those were the days weren’t they? Today, however, with the advent of the Internet, things have changed. Now every dealership, big and small, has to have a Website in order to survive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small dealer in rural Alaska selling trucks and 4x4s or a luxury dealership in Los Angeles selling Porsches, without a Website, you might as well not exist.


Websites are only one aspect of Internet marketing, however. In order to really take advantage of the changes brought on by the Internet, you need to have a marketing strategy that takes advantage of all the Internet has to offer in order to help you grow your business and succeed, in good times and bad.

Internet marketing has many different facets, from Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to promoting your online presence with your offline marketing efforts, website building, and everything in between.

In order to help you negotiate the maze of different strategies and technologies that are out there, we spoke to several Internet experts and convinced them to share some of their secrets with you.

Combining traditional marketing and Internet marketing
Ten years ago, a Website was just a marketing add-on; today it is the first view most of your customers have of your dealership, because the Internet is the first place most customers start their vehicle search. Conversely, however, most customers still hear about your dealership through your offline advertising.

What this means for dealers is that it is time to stop separating Internet marketing and traditional marketing. All of your offline advertising needs to lead to your Website and your Website needs to reflect what you say in your offline advertising, thus creating synergy in your marketing. Synergy is an overused word, but what it literally means is two or more things that when combined create more than when they act separately, which is what happens when you combine your offline and online marketing.

“Based on the data, there is no better way to promote your Website than through traditional marketing an online placement. In other words, advertising your Website address in every ad medium you use generates the best results,” confirms Jason Ezell, national sales director, director of industry relations, and one of the original founders for DealerSkins.

One of the reasons that many dealers’ online and offline marketing do not work in sync is because their advertising agency and their Website provider do not work together.

“Your Website provider should give you the most powerful Website with the most effective backend tools, and your ad agency should give you the most cutting-edge creative and marketing strategy,” offers Dean Evans of Dealer.com. “They should work together as a team and share information; work in partnership with the Website developer and the agency to maximize the investment for dealers.”

Measuring your success
John Wanamaker, whom many consider the father of modern advertising, once said, “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.” That, however, was the nineteenth century and things have changed. Today, with the marketing metrics made possible with the Internet and other new technologies, you should be able to calculate your return on investment so that none of your budget is wasted. This is one area where the vast majority of marketing experts agree.

“The statistical information we gain from shoppers’ ‘tire-clicking’ is vital to running all aspects of the dealership,” says Jason Ezell. “These stats can tell us exactly where a dealer’s marketing dollars are best spent, which cars are most and least popular, and what other cars a shopper is considering before sending a lead. In the ‘new economy,’ this data will be invaluable.”

Remember, however, when you measure your marketing efforts to compare your online and offline efforts, you may be surprised which forms of advertising deliver the best return on investment. As Dillon McDonald, chief operating officer for Jumpstart Automotive Media, reminds us, “Measure traditional media and digital media against the same scorecard, which is a mix of car sales, audience engagement, and leads generated — not solely lead count.”

A GREAT WHY BUY MESSAGE FROM LINCOLN MERCURY

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Why Lincoln Why Now

If you’ve been considering trading up to the luxury and technology available in a new Lincoln, now would be a great time to act. If you have already purchased from us, we appreciate your business. Please pass this offer to family and friends.

Why Lincoln.
Lincoln has the luxury you deserve and the technology you expect.

Why Now.
The government’s CARS program, better known as “Cash for Clunkers,” is offering a $3,500 or $4,500 incentive when you trade in a qualifying vehicle at our dealership.1 We are your Cash for Clunkers Specialist, and no one makes it easier to recycle your ride.

Please contact us immediately; you may also be eligible for THOUSANDS of dollars in private offers this month that are compatible with all rebates and incentives.

1This is a government program, and rules are subject to change. Vouchers are available at participating dealers and are limited. Rebate varies based on vehicle age, ownership length and old/new vehicle fuel economy. Not all vehicles qualify. Offer good while voucher supplies last or until 11/1/09. See cars.gov or ford.com for complete details.

// posted by Ford BDC @ 7:01 PM 0 comments links to this post

Why Mercury Why Now

If you’ve been considering a new-vehicle purchase or lease, now would be a great time to consider Mercury. If you have already purchased from us, we appreciate your business. Please pass this offer to family and friends.

Why Mercury.
Because we have the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America1 — Mercury Milan and the most fuel-efficient SUV2 on the planet — Mercury Mariner Hybrid.

Why Now.
The government’s CARS program, better known as “Cash for Clunkers,” is offering a $3,500 or $4,500 incentive when you trade in a qualifying vehicle at our dealership.3 We are your Cash for Clunkers Specialist, and no one makes it easier to recycle your ride.

Please contact us immediately; you may also be eligible for THOUSANDS of dollars in private offers this month that are compatible with all rebates and incentives.

1EPA-estimated 23 city/34 hwy/27 combined mpg, Milan I-4 automatic with Rapid Spec 101A. Midsize class per R. L. Polk & Co. Non-hybrid. 22009 EPA-estimated 34 city/31 hwy mpg, Mariner Hybrid FWD. Actual mileage will vary. Excludes vehicles built for Mazda. 3This is a government program, and rules are subject to change. Vouchers are available at participating dealers and are limited. Rebate varies based on vehicle age, ownership length and old/new vehicle fuel economy. Not all vehicles qualify. Offer good while voucher supplies last or until 11/1/09. See cars.gov or ford.com for complete details

Lead generation to vehicle purchase: What’s The Weakest Link?

The Weakest Link

The path leading from ‘searching for a vehicle’ to ‘purchasing a vehicle’ involves many information transactions. The buyer often starts by searching online, looks at vehicle detail pages, initiates contact with some sellers (by phone or email), corresponds a few times to narrow down the field, schedules appointments with some subset of the sellers with whom they corresponded, and finally purchases one of the vehicles.

Links in the chain
From an industry standpoint, the path that follows is like a chain: The generator, the lead itself, the dealership, and the staff member working the lead are all links in that chain. There are strong and weak lead providers who produce strong and weak leads; there are strong and weak dealerships that employ strong and weak staff. By the time leads have run the gauntlet of links from lead generation to vehicle purchase, they have had several opportunities to hit a weak link. As long as the links in the chain stay strong, the lead progresses toward a sale; as soon as there is a bad link, the lead is most likely dead. If it goes really poorly with the staff member link, you not only lose this sale but probably also lose the opportunity for service business or future vehicle sales with this lead. The point is that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link and your success with each lead hinges on having a strong chain.

Taking control
As a dealer, you have little control over how a lead is generated; however, you do have some control over how your existing and potential customers are treated by your staff, which determines, in the minds of consumers, whether or not you are a good or bad dealership. You also have control over the staff you employ and their training. This is link in the chain that you must focus on, if you want to get more out of your leads.

The dilemma
The salespeople working the leads have made no investment and are therefore less inclined to really work every lead. Often, the staff will take only a single pass or not work leads at all and just blame the lack of success on lead quality. I suggest a new model for your consideration: Let your staff invest in the leads! Have them buy the leads themselves or share in the cost with you and provide a performance-based way for them to earn their investment back. If your staff is invested in the leads they work, they will be much more likely to work those leads until they buy or die, which will produce an immediate, profound change in your lead closing ratio.

Keep making sales
Yes, sales are down, way down. However, people are still searching for cars, buying cars, and selling cars. Traffic, searches, and private party listings have held relatively steady throughout the economic downturn. Of course, there wass a slight drop in all three areas, it was not nearly proportional to the drop in sales at dealerships. Sales are out there but in the current economic climate staff must work harder to get them: Don’t let a staff member be the weakest link in your chain.

NOTE: POWERHOUSE USA HELPS CLIENTS GENERATE QUALIFIED LEADS THROUGH VARIOUS SOURCES INCLUDING THE INTERNET. BY USING DEALER WEBSITES, THIRD PARTY WEBSITES, CUSTOM LANDING PAGES, MICROSITES, GOOGLE ADWORDS, YAHOO!, MICROSOFT BING!,VARIOUS OTHER SEARCH ENGINES, SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, VIDEO ADS, TEXT ADS, YOU TUBE AND THE LIKE. POWERHOUSE USA IS A FULL SERVICE MARKETING ADVERTISING, PROMOTIONS, SPECIAL EVENTS AND INTERNET ADVERTISING COMPANY LOCATED IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA THAT PROVIDES CREATIVE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS TO COMPANIES OF ALL TYPES. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.POWERHOUSEUS.COM

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT : Ford Could Surpass GM

Ford Could Surpass GM
Posted: Jul. 10, 2009 10:07 a.m.

GM may be shedding its bad assets, but if Ford has its way, GM will shed something else: its title as the top-selling brand in America.

Bloomberg reports, “Ford Motor Co., gaining ground on its distressed domestic competitors, may surpass General Motors Corp. this year to become the top-selling automaker in the U.S. for the first time since 1931.”

The Street says June sales left Ford in a good position for an attack. “Ford reported its smallest sales decline in 11 months, making it the country’s No. 2 automaker in June and raising the possibility that it could move to the top spot.” According to the Street, Ford sales “fell by 11%, while Toyota sales fell 33% and sales at General Motors fell 34%.”

As the only domestic automaker that has not undergone bankruptcy, Ford is in a stronger position than Chrysler or GM. Ford has also had some successes with recent models, including the Ford Fusion hybrid, which some reviewers says is a better all-around car than the Toyota Prius. The 2010 Fusion hybrid sits at the top of our affordable midsize car rankings.

The good sales news and strong market position has caused Ford to increase production. The Associated Press reports, “Citing better-than-expected sales and traffic at dealerships, Ford Motor Co. said Monday it plans to increase third-quarter production by 25,000 units – marking the automaker’s second production hike in recent weeks.”

According to a Ford spokesman, “We had pretty well lowered production in recent quarters to meet demand,” Truby said. “Now as we’re seeing market share increases and showroom activity, we’re ramping up production to meet that demand.”

Some analysts say that demand is likely to rise in the coming weeks as consumers seek to take advantage of the government’s Cash for Clunkers program.

If you’re in the market for a new car — even if it’s not a Ford — check out the U.S. News rankings of this year’s best cars as well as this month’s best car deals.