Kia Motors America Shifts Gears in Radio’s Favor

Kia Motors America wants to cut its hefty dependence on third-party shopping sites for online sales leads and we applaud this strategy 100%. Kia’s goal is to bring more quality leads to their dealers by directing prospects to kia.com and not buy and sell “leads” to their dealers from third party sites such as autotrader.com, cars.com, and autobytel.com, to name just a few.

The problem, which is industry wide, is that these third party sites do not offer the quality leads that dealers need to convert to a sale. The current internet definition of an auto internet lead is anyone breathing who has filled in their contact information. The second issue is one of price expectations. These third party sites boast about lower dealer prices if one registers with them.

So, what is the Kia dealer getting when it buys third party leads from these and other auto aggregating sites?

Unqualified leads and prospects who have an expectation of a lower price since, after all, this is the internet and these sites promote lower dealer prices. Not only are the leads that Kia dealers are buying unqualified, the prospect is expecting low, low prices and begins the discussion with “What deal are you offering me?”  Continue reading

If I Were a Car Dealer…

I would shape my thoughts and actions as someone running multiple dealerships in ways that would be consistent with my product lines, my staff, my locations, and develop a true understanding of today’s car customers and how best to get them to visit my showrooms over my competition.

I would be focused on the enormous investment I have made in my car and truck inventory and understand that we must “move” these products as quickly as possible as I am carrying a hefty note every month in the form of a line of credit from my bank or banks. After all, once all the cars and trucks are sold to me by the manufacturer, I own them. There are no returns in my business.

I would also understand that while I think and plan for the long run, my investment and the time I need to become profitable is short. My business is right now as every day a car remains on my lot is a finance cost I absorb. So you see, time is never on my side and decisions I make directly impact my future and that of my teams at each dealership. Nowadays, I only talk to business people who appreciate that aspect of my profession. I have little use for anyone who does not. Sorry, nothing personal, but this is my business.

I would only deal with people who understood that basic fact of the auto business as they are the ones who will work towards the “right now” of my business. And yes, I can be short, right to the point, and sometimes less than gentle. That’s not who I am, but rather who I have to be to succeed, and indeed, survive in this highly competitive and fast-changing business.  Continue reading

Sunset for TV and Pure plays…and the Introduction of the SCBA Auto Focus Report

As of now, the “great threat to Radio” is at the beginning of a very slow and painful decline to its ultimate place as another niche audio internet playlist, much like Sirius/XM has become. Of course we are talking about Pandora, whose stock just suffered another bone crushing loss of value (-10%) as investors now know its business model is genetically flawed. We are talking about Pandora, whose ominous audience erosion has been continuous for the past 5 months; both in time spent listening and log in occasions. “Active users” fell again from 76.2 million to 73.4 million as their “earnings guidance” to investors plunged for the second time in three months. Stock Scouter, a service of MSN, gives the stock a rating of only 3 out of 10.

A humbling 3 out of 10 rating for the “next great threat to Radio.” All that hype, all that attention, and all it comes down to is an embarrassing rating for its stock and its business model.

Pandora’s ultimate descent will not be pretty for investors or the “media experts,” but descending it surely is.

An inconvenient truth for yet another start-up trying to be Radio…  Continue reading