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Service advisers at 34 Sonic Automotive Inc. stores are utilizing iPads as part of operations and have notice the increase in repair orders. At these stores where service iPads are used, customer-pay business is increasing. For one, grosses per repair order have increased by 8% on average at Lexus dealerships and 11% percent at Toyota stores. Last October, Apple, iPad's manufacturer, even recognized the accomplishments of Sonic during the gadget maker's earning conference call. In April, all Sonic stores will be equipped with service department iPads. Also, sales representatives have already received iPads. Sonic President Scott Smith disclosed that they have made a "huge, huge, huge, multiple-tens-of-millions-of-dollars commitment to go this way," adding that this is just going to get bigger.
He disclosed that they are rolling out the iPads and iPhones to technicians, service writers, salespeople, F&I and porters. "It's not cheap," he admitted. Sonic, the third biggest retailer in the nation, is investing $57 million this year on technology. It is spending much to equip its frontline employees with Apple gadgets that are expected to boost their productivity, persuade clients to spend more and increase loyalty. Unlike other large public dealership groups, Sonic is staying away from acquisitions and instead, it is investing internally.
Other huge retailers are also utilizing tablets in their operations, but Sonic's initiative is on the leading edge. Leaders at AutoNation have disclosed that they will be equipping their service and sales employees with tablet computers in 2012 and 2013. Asbury chief Craig Monaghan foresees a day when most areas of the dealership are using tablets instead of PCs. Asbury has utilized iPads in some store pilots. Group 1 Automotive is utilizing tablets in service departments at some stores. Lithia and Penske are operating service department pilots.Read the entire article Sonic credits iPad use for raising productivity of sales, service employees
In previous reports, Nissan came up with a lifesaving solution that will address the pressing issue of distracted driving in the form of Signal Shield Concept: The vehicle's arm rest compartment will be converted into a Faraday cage-like area where you can place your mobile device and when the lid is closed, the system will immediately set up a silent zone that will block all the phone's incoming and outgoing cellular activities, Bluetooth and even Wi-fi connections. It is really a cool safety concept coming from the Japanese automaker, and now Apple will also contribute to that cause and is now planning to release a safety feature geared towards drivers.
Have you ever gotten the urge to check your text messages, Facebook notifications and Instagram while driving? Apple wants you to stop the dangerous habit with a new feature called "Do Not Disturb While Driving." DNDWD feature was revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and will be launched as part of iOS 11 for the iPad and iPhone this coming fall. The feature will be activated when the cellular phone will notice that the user is in a vehicle, and is not using Apple CarPlay at that time, and will block any incoming notifications.
Furthermore, it can even send automatic text message replies that will indicate that the phone's owner is currently driving. DNDWD utilizes information about Bluetooth connectivity and adjacent Wifi networks to know if the phone is in a moving vehicle, according to Endgadget. The feature will also be immediately allowed to function when the mobile device is situated in a running car, although passengers or the person behind the wheel with no regard for safety can manually override the feature. IOS will provide the feature with no payment required, and it will be available this fall for the iPhone 5s to the newest iPhone.Read the entire article Apple shows 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' mode on the future iOS 11 featured on iPhone and iPad
Sonic Automotive Inc. posted an 8-percent decline in net income in the fourth quarter of 2013 to $28.1 million, this despite posted surges in revenues and gross profits in all business fronts in the period. When adjusted for charges related to the impairment of property, equipment and franchise assets, Sonic's net income for the fourth quarter was $34.1 million, up 12 percent from the same period in 2012.
The company recorded a 6-percent rise in revenues for the quarter to $2.32 billion. In a statement, Sonic executives called 2013 a transition year for the company, saying they were pleased with the performance given all the changes at their stores as it gets ready for a new customer experience initiative launching this summer.
"2014 is going to be another challenging year for our team with all of the changes we plan," Jeff Dyke, Sonic's executive vice president of operations, said in a statement. "But, if history is any indication, our team will succeed in executing these initiatives, and I can't wait to see them go to work. It's going to be fun."Read the entire article Sonic Automotive fourth-quarter income drops to $28.1 million
Sonic Automotive Inc. is planning to launch independent used-vehicle specialty stores in late 2014, taking on CarMax Inc., the largest used-vehicle retailer in the United States. The independent used-vehicle specialty stores will be separate from Sonic’s existing franchise dealerships. Jeff Dyke, executive vice president of operations at Sonic, remarked that the retailer is planning to break ground on the first specialty store in Denver, "less than 5 miles" from one of two CarMax stores in the market.
Dyke remarked during the Sonic’s third-quarter conference call that the retailer is planning around a hundred used-car stores, but the figure is only “the tip of the iceberg." He remarked that "it's time for a new player." CarMax is No. 1 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 dealership groups in the US -- based on used vehicle sales -- disposing 408,080 units in its fiscal year ended Feb. 29, 2012. Sonic is fourth on the list with used-vehicle sales of 105,615 in 2012.
On the other hand, CarMax is 107th on the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups in the US – based on retail new-vehicle unit sales – selling 7,679 new units in its fiscal year ended Feb. 29, 2012. Sonic sold 132,136 vehicles in the period, good enough to be named third in the list. According to Dyke, Sonic has been considering the independent used-car store concept since 2005.Read the entire article Sonic plans to open stand-alone used-car stores in 2014, take on CarMax
Sonic Automotive Inc. posted a third-quarter operating profit that remains essentially unchanged year-on-year at $57.8 million, despite a 5-percent surge in revenues to $2.24 billion. The company did not yet publish its third-quarter net income in the report, saying that it was waiting to calculate a newly identified tax gain, related to the extinguishment of certain convertible notes.
Sonic – the third-largest dealership group in the United States -- posted a 68-percent drop in net income in the second quarter of 2013, no thanks to charges associated with retiring debt along with some issues in rolling out True Price.
The program – which sets vehicle prices within $300 of the lowest acceptable transaction price -- was rolled out to all Sonic dealerships in the first quarter of 2013. Sonic said that around 15 percent of its 105 stores were still struggling with the True Price model in the third quarter, compared to around a third in the second quarter.Read the entire article Sonic has $57.8 million operating profit in third quarter 2013
Starting 2014, Sonic Automotive Inc.’s stores across the United States will carry the Sonic name. The branding move will go along Sonic's introduction of a new sales approach in which staffers will use iPads to handle vehicle transactions from start to finish – a method linked to the company’s True Price strategy that limits price negotiations.
Sonic launched True Price to stores early this year but the strategy met some issues. Sonic intends to introduce the iPad process starting July 2014, with the Sonic rebranding to roll out at the same time, according to Jeff Dyke, executive vice president of operations at the dealership group.
Dyke remarked to Automotive News that although “putting the name up on the building is important,” the most important thing to differentiate themselves with the process. Dyke disclosed that Sonic, which is the third-largest dealership group in the US, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars over several years to implement the changes in its customer service approach.Read the entire article Sonic Automotive will rename stores with Sonic tag in 2014
Sonic Automotive Inc. attributed its lower average new-vehicle gross profits in the third quarter of 2012 to lower supplies of BMW vehicles. Sonic, however, said that inventory levels are returning to normal. Jeff Dyke, Sonic executive vice president of operations for the third-largest retailer in the Unites States, said that its BMW dealerships in the South were short of vehicles since early 2012 as a result of the German carmaker’s regional allocation system.
He noted that supplies were almost non-existent by the end of July. Sonic's BMW supplies were 34 days in total at that time, but were in the 20s at the Southern stores. Dyke disclosed that there were months that he had no BMW 3 series on his inventory. This came as Sonic Sonic posted an 11-percent drop in net income for the third quarter of 2012. Sonic's adjusted income from continuing operations hiked 15% on record new-vehicle volume of 35,062 units.
With 15 stores, BMW accounts for 17% of Sonic's volume but up to 30% of its new-car gross profit, according to Dyke. He told Automotive News that if one’s business is “dropping off that much,” it is hard to make up with any brand. For the third quarter of 2012, Sonic posted average new-car gross profit of $1,987 per vehicle across all brands, which is $442 less than the figure a year ago.Read the entire article Sonic posts lower average new-car gross profits in 3rd quarter due to low supplies of BMWs
About 140 of Ford’s 3,300 dealerships have signed up for the six-month Ford Motor Co. pilot program to test an Apple iPad application dubbed the Showcase App in dealership sales departments, according to Michelle Moody, Ford technology communications manager. One of those dealers is New Jersey-based Rich Savino who plans to remove all 20 personal computers on the tables of his sales consultants by Oct. 1.
Savino has ordered one iPad for every manager and sales consultant at All American Ford of Old Bridge, N.J. Savino said that the PC’s era is over. He said that the PC is a “wall” between the dealer and the customer. During the pilot, the 20 sales consultants of the store, shared six iPads.
Ford launched the nationwide iPad program on Aug. 1. Moody said that the optional application is linked to Ford's ordering and sales reporting systems, aiding the sales consultants in making the process easier.Read the entire article Ford dealerships sign up to use Showcase App and Apple iPad
The latest B-Class iPad Brochure app from Mercedes-Benz is a first for the showroom environment. It features the newest in augmented reality with full-scale experience layers information directly on the vehicle itself. The interactive app utilizes iPad's ability to inform and to entertain. With this app, the B-Class can come to life for prospective B-Class buyer to explore.
Those who are looking for a visual kick, the model lines section enables a convenient and fast way to compare the SE trim with the Sport 'slide by slide' from three exterior angles. One can see thousands of personalization choices by using the configurator. There are many customer-specific interior and exterior color choices, design specification additions, wheel options and trim line options.
App users can save and share their ideal B-Class. A handy Retailer Locator tool will direct them to the nearest retailer if they wish to learn more or explore further into the augmented reality in the comfort of their local showroom. The app has every feature which a potential B-Class buyer could wish to learn about the new model such as price list as well as all the information seen in a conventional paper brochure.Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz’s latest B-Class iPad Brochure app is a first for showrooms
The dismissal of Ernst Lieb last fall as the Mercedes-Benz USA chief has cleared the way for the settlement of a legal dispute between the automaker and Sonic Automotive Inc. with regard to dealership design standards. Sonic President Scott Smith said in an interview with Automotive News last week that his company is now happy to do Autohaus renovations for its seven Mercedes shops.
He also related that the departure of Lieb was key to the resolution of the legal battle. Mercedes and Sonic, which is the third biggest automotive retailer in the U.S., jointly publicized on February 24 that they had entered into a settlement over the dispute surrounding Sonic's 2008 lawsuit against the automaker.
Smith commented that they had "a very good relationship" with the automaker prior to its former leadership. He does not believe that they would have been able to reach a settlement with the former leadership. On the contrary, Smith shared that the new leadership is "fantastic." He added that they were "thrilled" to have this matter behind them. Additionally, Smith said that they are looking forward to growing with the automaker.Read the entire article Ernst Lieb’s exit paves way for settlement of Mercedes-Sonic legal dispute
The profits of Sonic Automotive Inc. in the fourth quarter had increased as the demand for the new and used vehicles did better than the industry. When adjusted for one-time gains and losses, the net income of the No. 3 auto dealer group in the U.S. was $25.9 million compared with $16.5 million for the same quarterly period last year.
Its revenue increased by 12% from last year to $2.07 billion, slightly higher than the $2.06 billion that analysts had forecasted. The company said that its new-vehicle retail sales revenue rose by16% in the quarter to $1.1 billion. In a statement, Jeff Dyke, Sonic's executive vice president of operations, said that its new and used volume growth still surpasses industry averages as its team uses its “operating playbook strategy.”
He added that the team is focused on used car processes and this has led to double-digit volume growth for the past 11 straight quarters. Sonic then posted a 15% compound annual growth rate over the past 4 years. When one-time items are excluded, Sonic posted earnings of 43 cents a share, exceeding what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had predicted by five cents.Read the entire article Sonic Automotive posted a $25.9 million net income in fourth quarter of 2011
Mercedes-Benz UK has launched its first iPad Brochure App, which promises to provide customers a more engaging way to experience the C-Class Coupé’s design, performance and technology. The company’s iPad Brochure App contains all the information about the C-Class Coupé, including specs, images and body details as well as its price list.
The Brochure App’s interactive section makes use of the iPad’s capabilities, allowing users to be informed and entertained at the same time. “We live in a culture that’s almost always on-line, and is used to rich media experiences, and our new iPad Brochure app really brings the C-Class Coupé to life,“ David George, Marketing Director Mercedes-Benz Cars said, adding that the new app allows customer to read about the C-Class Coupé’s features and functions without having to wait for a brochure to be delivered, or read a pdf of a paper product.
The carmaker’s new iPad Brochure App has a model lines section that presents C-Class Coupé images and allows readers to compare all engine and trim combinations, from the Sport to the C 63 AMG.Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz UK unveils first iPad Brochure App
The Apple iPad won’t be offered anymore as the owners’ manual for the Hyundai Equus luxury car, according to a report from Drive On. Starting with the 2012 model year, there won’t be a free iPad that would be placed in its glove compartment.
These new cars will begin arriving in September. What owners can rely on when they need to look up information about their car is the paper version of the manual, according to spokesman Jim Trainor.
He explained that the iPads were part of a one-year promotion. The Equus started selling in the U.S. around one year ago.Read the entire article Hyundai Equus buyers will not receive free iPads anymore
A free Rolls-Royce Phantom App is available for fans of the brand who are users of the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This enables users to construct highly bespoke virtual models using various color and interior trim combinations. The Rolls-Royce Phantom App features an image gallery that displays bespoke features like seat piping, veneer inserts, humidor and picnic sets.
Rolls-Royce said that it offers a palette of 44,000 colors for the Phantom and the app allows users to make individual exterior finishes. It has a feature called the Bespoke Colour Match that could be used to create unlimited and exclusive single and two-tone paint designs.
Users of an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch camera could capture the color of any favorite item and apply it directly to a virtual Phantom’s exterior. In a company statement,Read the entire article Rolls-Royce announces Phantom App on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
The smart iPad app is now available for download at the iTunes store. Considered as smart’s first app for the iPad, it displays "Ideas in motion," which is an interactive history of the great visionaries and their visions. As the name implies, the app is always in motion.
iPad allows their owners to be able to contribute and continue to write the story with smart. As a result, the eBook will not only continue growing but will receive updates added by users. The world has long been moved forward by innovators who always think out of the box.
These are the opinion makers who not only talk but also act. These are also the idealists who uphold their ideals and fight against all resistance. With this app, smart will be showcasing a few of these individuals.Read the entire article Smart launches ‘Ideas In Motion’ iPad app
This January, Acura will start offering an iPad application that that will help dealerships hasten the selling process. This application will be a stripped-down version of its consumer Web site.
Dave Heath, Acura senior manager of sales communications, said that the application will distill talking points and have quick videos available to help make the sale.
Heath said that the iPad will provide “short little bits of communications." Acura had been trying to develop a smart-phone application for salespeople but it realized that it wouldn’t be effective because of the small screen and the fact that there has to be some personal space between the salesperson and customer.Read the entire article Acura developing iPad app for car dealerships to speed up the selling process
The iPad is silently becoming a fundamental tool for automakers! After Hyundai decided to offer it for the Equus flagship sedan in order to replace the classic owner’s manual, Bmw announced today that the popular tablet will replace the traditional panel used to display vehicle information and pricing.
In addition, Bmw will also display technical specification and pricing using the iPad. What is really interesting is that the iPad will offer visitors the opportunity to design their own Bmw using the digital configurator. How cool is that?
This means that the consumers will now be able to the dynamic features of the displayed models with the iPad's multimedia features, such as video content and photographs.Read the entire article Bmw replacing auto shows specification panels with interactive iPads
Prior to the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Bmw revealed the Original Bmw Accessories range specially developed for the use of internet-enabled smartphones, laptop computers and the Apple iPad.
The most interesting feature is the new Bmw holder developed especially for the Apple iPad, which will make its debut in the 2011 Bmw X3. The new holder allows rear passengers to make optimum use of both the office and entertainment functions of their iPad.
For example, tuning the holder by 90 degrees allows users to adapt the iPad for their desired usage. Keeping the iPad horizontal is perfect for viewing photos or videos, while keeping it vertical is the best choice for office applications.Read the entire article Bmw introduces iPad holder and WiFi hotspot
Ford released today the Fiesta app for the Apple iPad, which means the small hatchback became the first vehicle from FoMoCo to use an app to deliver a one-of-a-kind interactive brochure experience.
With more than 3 million Apple iPads sold, this became the perfect platform for Ford in order to reach out to customers. As a result, Ford created an interactive sales brochure that shows all the information you need and can’t find in a typical dealer brochure.
Users can check out Fiesta’s features (such as keyless entry and push-button start) but also details regarding the available tattoos and graphics.Read the entire article Ford launches the Fiesta app for the Apple iPad
Mercedes-Benz Financial now provides dealers with mobile access to its point-of-sale dealer system -- the first automotive finance company to do so.
The Apple iPad has been made available to the company's US dealer network. This move makes Mercedes-Benz Financial as one of the first companies to use the consumer-oriented iPad as a mobile business tool.
Dealership employees are anticipating the benefits of having the iPad as a tool, giving instant access to marketing programs for specific models, quicker turn time on the credit application process, and increased speed and efficiency on the return of lease vehicles.Read the entire article Apple iPad goes to Mercedes-Benz dealers
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