Here's to Success in '06
Dec 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
To summarize the automobile business in 2005, the only consistency is the seemingly inconsistency. In spite of all the challenges, when everything is said and done and the last numbers are counted, from an overall industry sales standpoint, 2005 will rank in the top 10 all-time best automotive sales years. And there is some positive economic news as of this writing. Even though interest rates continue

Time for '06 Forecasting
Nov 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
It is time to take a strategic look at our 2006 business plans. Obviously 2005 has seen its share of challenges. In 2006, well, who knows? I foresee cost increases in the form of higher interest rates, a continued upward pricing pressure on health care and other employee benefits, increased business insurance costs and rising wages. Consumers will continue to feel pinched by rising fuel prices as

Keep 'Em as Customers
Oct 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
The average parts and service department represents 40.7% of total dealership gross and 75.2% of total departmental net profit based on our clients' year-to-date performance. Obviously, customer-pay labor and parts (opposed to warranty work) represent a large percentage of this gross and net profit. Yet once a vehicle's warranty expires, many customers (some estimates range up to 70%) defect from

Boost Used-Car Profits
Sep 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
This summer's discount price promotions by domestic auto makers have helped reduce high new-car inventory levels saddling many dealers. But I have some questions: How will the success of this summer sale affect business in September and October? Have sales been pulled from those months? And what has it done to used-vehicle sales? A common topic in my recent conversations with dealers is the impact

Match Your Costs to Sales
Aug 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
How do you react if you find yourself in the situation described below? For years, I've operated a dealership that consistently enjoyed strong new- and used-vehicle sales and grosses. I've pushed the needle on inventory because interest rates were low and we've turned our inventory quickly enough where the manufacturer's wholesale program allowed me to have a credit in the floor plan expense account.

How to Reach Buyers
Jul 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Net advertising and promotion expenses as a percentage of the total new- and used-vehicle gross is 10.1%, representing 6.8% of the total dealership gross. That's according to the most recent NCM All-Dealer Benchmark. I attend several dealer 20 Group meetings each year. Without fail, the subject of advertising is addressed at each meeting. Obviously, the advertising expenditure is a concern because

Get Set for Summer Sell
Jun 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
It's been a challenging year, but March and April results showed promise, and things are looking good for the summer selling season. Certain economic news is encouraging, including the crude-oil price decrease resulting in real savings for consumers at the pump. This may help diminish fears about rising fuel prices. Interest rates, as they relate to the consumer, currently appear to be a non-issue.

Trade-Ins are Shoo-Ins
May 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
As a used-vehicle manager, I was told that to increase sales volumes, I needed to stock vehicles that could retail for half their original manufacturer's suggested retail price. I'm not sure I fully understood the significance of that tip until later in my career. That advice is probably more applicable now than at any point in recent memory. We are all familiar with the vulnerability and volatility

Pay Them Up & Down
Apr 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
I often receive questions from readers and clients concerning my thoughts on management pay plans. While I never specifically suggest what a manager should be paid, I share my thoughts on the components that should be part of all management compensation agreements. It is practically impossible for a dealer or operator to keep watch on all aspects of his or her business, so we must ensure we have managers

Expense Control 101
Mar 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
On the first day of each General Managers Boot Camp course that I run with Jeff Sacks, we ask participants to introduce themselves and tell us what they want to learn more about. Invariably, lots of them point to expense control and expense management. If you can't get the desired profit on the total business sales volume and resulting gross profit you are currently generating, your only choice is

Rising Costs Hit Dealers
Feb 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Looking back at total vehicle deliveries of 16.9 million units, 2004 was a very good automotive sales year. With more new product choices available to consumers, the actual availability and acceptance of new products appear to be the real factors in dealers being able to call 2004 a good year from a unit-sales standpoint. From a profit standpoint, 2004 was not without challenges. Without exception,

Should We Order a Lot?
Jan 01, 2005, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
New-vehicle inventory management became a top challenge of 2004. Record days' supply levels occurred, hitting 78 days of unsold vehicles on Nov. 1, the highest level for that date in 10 years. Japanese auto makers on average had the lowest days' supply, 51, while others had levels in the 80s, 90s and even 100s. One thing we know for sure in the retail world is that a manufacturer's inflated supply


Ways to Control Costs
Dec 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Regardless of your political affiliations or preferences, now that the election is over, let's get back to the business of selling and servicing cars and trucks. This has been a strange year, yet when the dust settles, it will rank in the top five from an all-time volume standpoint. As an eternal optimist, I believe once we're through this holiday season, the prospects for a better year lie ahead.

To a Healthy New Year
Nov 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Each year I dedicate my November column to advice on how best to forecast for the upcoming year. A detailed forecast as well as a sound business plan will help you attain desired levels of success. From a process standpoint, I suggest taking your team to an off-site location for the forecasting exercise. By being away from everyday interruptions, they can totally concentrate on the task at hand. With

Hold the Holding Costs
Oct 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Last month, we discussed turn, as it relates to your used-vehicle inventory, and the flexibility a good turn affords you in terms of liquid capital. This month, let's expand on used- vehicle management by discussing holding cost. A reminder: holding cost (a.k.a. carrying cost) and turn are elements that apply to all inventories, not just used vehicles, although used will be our focus here. You will

Shoot for 30-Day Turns
Sep 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Determining the number of times that inventory is sold during the year provides some measure of its liquidity and the ability of the company to convert inventories to cash quickly if that were to become necessary. When turnover is slow, it may indicate that inventories are not a liquid asset and suggest they should be excluded from that category for analytical purposes. On the other hand, when turnover

Our Mid-Year Checkup
Jul 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Half the year is now behind us. Obviously, no one can say this year to date has passed without its challenges. Most dealers I speak with indicate the year thus far has been just okay. It's a good time to look at your year-to-date performance, identify areas that might be out of line, and make corrections. One area I urge you to look at closely is used-vehicle aging and inventory position. July and

High Days' Supply Alert
Jun 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
What was expected to be a robust year has yet to materialize. Through April, only a few franchises are reporting strong results. And for the industry, sales are up fractionally, 3.1%, thanks to trucks. What is happening though, presenting more of a concern, are rising new-vehicle inventory levels and a higher-than-desirable days' supply. This bodes well for the consumer, with incentives averaging

Different Dealers, Different Strategies
May 03, 2004, By Cliff Banks, WardsAuto.com
Jeff Cappo admits his first dealership purchase may not have been the smartest move. He bought a Nissan dealership in February 1997 just when Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s survival was a question mark. And the dealership was in a small Tennessee town. "I didn't know any better," says Cappo. "I just wanted a dealership real bad." It wasn't such a dumb move after all. In Cappo's first month as owner of that

Bring Numbers in Line
May 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
The spring selling season is here. Through March, the light-vehicle industry is up 3.9% over the same period in 2003, thanks to the truck market. The prospects for continued increases appear strong considering current days' supply levels of new vehicles, market share concerns of domestic auto makers, consumer negative equity concerns and last, but certainly not least, the customer's addiction to rebates.

Different Dealers, Different Strategies
May 01, 2004, By Cliff Banks, Ward's Dealer Business
Jeff Cappo admits his first dealership purchase may not have been the smartest move. He bought a Nissan dealership in February 1997 just when Nissan's survival was a question mark. And the dealership was in a small Tennessee town. I didn't know any better, says Cappo. I just wanted a dealership real bad. It wasn't such a dumb move after all. In Cappo's first month as owner of that Nissan store, he

How to Cut Overhead
Apr 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
A respected dealer told me, My dealership overhead is set up to sell so many monthly units. Based on what I'm seeing in my market, this volume may no longer be realistic or attainable. I told him, It's obvious that if you can't attain the vehicle sales and gross required to be profitable with your current overhead, your only choice is to reduce your overhead to a level where you can obtain the desired

Expect F&I Adjustments
Mar 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Obviously I attend the NADA Convention each year in hopes of adding members to our 20 Groups and acquiring additional business for NCM. But as it turns out, that is only a side benefit. The real value I receive is from speaking with dealers and their managers to find out what's on their minds and to renew relationships. I, too, share the positive attitude of most of the convention attendees. Economic

Boost Used-Car Profits
Feb 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Every two years, NCM Associates Inc. studies our dealer clients' retail and wholesale used-vehicle sales trends. The following information is based on thousands of sales. Charts reflect the results of the average dealership participating in this study. With the exception of the initial chart, the information reflects all domestic and import franchise results. We found that on average, excluding high-line,

How to Run a Lean Store
Jan 01, 2004, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
My wife and I attended the Andy Williams Christmas Show, his final season in Branson, MO. He introduced the members of his eight-person orchestra and had two members demonstrate the amazing full sound that a single computerized keyboard can produce. Following the demonstration, Williams noted how that improves the efficiency of the show, not to mention how much less expense it is. In a Wall Street


And You Can Quote Me
Dec 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
One of the reasons I love the car business so much is its competitiveness on so many different fronts. Internal competition exists with our sales personnel, technicians, service advisors and others. Every month presents a new opportunity to perform better internally versus our teammates and externally versus our competition, both same brand and different brand, in terms of volume, net and market share.

Time for Yearly Powwow
Nov 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
A detailed forecast and a sound business plan help you attain the highest available level of profit in 2004. So, it's time to gather your management staff, review 2003, discuss possible changes, and begin 2004 forecasting. It's essential to involve your management team and make the forecast theirs. Obviously a full buy-in and a commitment from them enhance your chances for a successful. As I've recommended

Start '04 on the Offense
Oct 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
As we begin the fourth quarter, it's a good time to check certain areas of your operation to ensure a profitable end to 2003. In addition, by properly positioning your operation now, you will be able to begin 2004 in an offensive posture as opposed to a defensive one. The first item to check is your new-vehicle days supply level by individual car and truck model line. If you are high in any area,

A Check List for Success
Sep 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Clients often ask me to look at their operating statement to identify any areas of opportunity or concern that need addressing. First, there are no magic numbers, but I've learned there are fundamentals to dealership success. After quickly glancing at dealership net profit and volume, the first area I always check is the dealership's average month personnel productivity and departmental gross per

Reduce Used-Car Stocks
Aug 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
August is one of the best sales months of the year. It's the month manufacturers push hard with incentives and advertising. August, due to incoming next model-year inventory, is when dealers are self-pressured and willing to maximize their advertising dollars to go for maximum customer traffic, volume and potentially strong net profits. August 2003 has five weekends. It should be a great new-vehicle

Your Next Profit Center?
Jul 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
The used-vehicle business is my favorite part of our industry, as most of you who read my column know. It represents the greatest opportunity for the new-vehicle dealers in total. It's also the department we individually have the most control over. Consider a few facts: In 2002, there were approximately 43 million used vehicles sold compared to 16.86 million new units. New-vehicle franchised dealers

Controlling Those Costs
Jun 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Recently, a client forwarded a copy of Jeffrey J. Mayer's Succeeding In Business newsletter in which he discusses being the low cost producer. Using United Airlines and McDonalds as examples, Mr. Mayer asks, What has happened to these once great companies? Answer: They've failed to remain financially competitive. Their cost structures are so much higher than their competitor's they can't run their

Plan for the Tough Times
May 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
There's good news and bad news out there, but it's the negative news that creates consumer uneasiness of the type we're seeing these days. The recent rash of negative news (gas prices higher, the situation in Iraq continues, quarterly earnings aren't so hot) has affected new-vehicle sales. Comparing March 2003 to March 2002, new vehicle sales are down 4.4% or 174,170 units. If new-vehicle industry

Firmly and Finally on Bandwagon
Apr 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
February's U.S. light-vehicle sales were 7% below the same time last year. Through February 2003, year-to-date sales are down 4.6% compared to the same period in 2002. All this, while many manufacturers were increasing customer incentives. A Reuters story says, Rebates, interest-free loans and other incentives U.S. automakers have used to keep sales robust for much of the past year may be losing their

It's Not That Hard To Do
Mar 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
I've returned from the NADA Convention with a new level of enthusiasm. Why? Because the tone was one of determination. During the past few conventions, with the exception of the year in which dot-coms were supposedly going to replace auto retailers, dealer attitudes have been positive. Why not, since sales and profits have been at or near record levels? Ford Motor Co. CEO William Clay Ford Jr., told

May be an All-Right Year
Feb 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
NCM Associates calculates and produces dealership benchmarks based on the average of the top 50% of our clients by category. It reflects what's happening in the real world. It's not a destination, but a real-time comparison tool. We'd prefer to see a better performance than some current benchmarks indicate, but this is today's actual retail environment. Review the information on the benchmark chart

Everybody Say Cheese
Jan 01, 2003, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
Complacency can be one of our biggest threats and challenges. Keeping ourselves and members of our teams sharp and on the offensive should be on each of out daily must-do lists. In his best-selling book, Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson created four characters, each faced with unexpected changes in their food supply, cheese. In this parable, the storyline is a study of how the characters deal


When Car Sales Soften
Dec 01, 2002, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
My December, 2001 column addressed Life After 0% Financing. Oh well, so much for my prediction that such incentives would likely be ending sooner than later. July and August 2002 saw an industry sales rate of approximately 18.7 million and then came October's rate of less than 16 million. Straight 2001-to-2002 comparisons are invalid due to the introduction of 0% in September of 2001. So, what is

Guide to '03 Forecasting
Nov 01, 2002, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
In volve your management staff as you plan for 2003. Not only have they a vested interest in preparing the forecast, but you will also get them on board with your new-year strategy. Accomplishing the forecast will become more to them than just words on paper. Your success potential will expand proportionally. Take the team off-site where distractions are limited. It is essential that you look at your

Believe in Magic?
Oct 01, 2002, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
During most 20 Group sessions or training meetings, the subject of salespersons' productivity, turnover and compensation comes up. I mean no disrespect when I note the goal of these conversations is to find the elusive magical formula that will allow the salespersons to be highly productive in terms of gross profit and volume, be fairly compensated and remain with the dealership for an extended period

Making Service Sell
Sep 01, 2002, TONY NOLAND, Ward's Dealer Business
I don't recall a 20 Group meeting where the subject of employee productivity didn't enter into the conversation at some point. During the last two meetings I've conducted, that subject moved into a specific area service advisors. Why service advisors? For various reasons including the fact that most dealerships want to increase their fixed coverage and are looking at technician costs and technician

Now Is The Time To Get Inventory Right
Aug 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
The model year-ending close out incentives are now in full swing and dealers everywhere are scrambling to sell the balance of their 2002 models to make way for new inventory. In our quest to take advantage of each potential sale, we sometimes are forced to put more money into a used vehicle than its wholesale value or lose the deal to our competition. This situation is the beginning of potentially

How To Control Floor-plan Costs
Jul 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
I watch the monthly performance of our client dealers, looking for trends in floor-plan costs. Some dealers can consistently manage their inventory with respect to floor plan expenses. Yet other dealers with the same franchise, consistent volume and many times in the same market don't? When like conditions exist, why does one dealer have a net credit balance and another an expense? The only answer

Benchmark Your Expense Controls
Jun 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Thanks to automakers' incentives programs, new vehicle sales continue at a rapid pace as we hit the mid-year point. We're on pace for a 17.5 million-unit sales year. Question? In your dealership operation, what is your year-to-date sales and profit trend? Is it consistent or better than your forecast? Is your pace consistent with the industry? The NCM Client database 2002 shows an increase in sales

Dealer Takes It To The Next Level
May 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
One of the pleasures I receive from writing this column and speaking with readers is sharing personal experiences of best practices I've seen. I want to share one such experience this month. I'm in Las Vegas meeting and celebrating with a group of managers from a single dealership. The managers earned this trip based on established performance criteria during 2001. Is a managers' incentive trip unique?

Why Good Bbusiness Plans Fall Flat
Apr 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
How often do we see a favored team lose an important game? Fairly often. It happened as recently as the Super Bowl and we see it each year during the NCAA basketball championship series. Is there anyone who believes the favored team wasn't capable of winning these big games or that they didn't have a sound game plan? What then was their reason for losing? Think about golf; if Tiger is the number one

Know Your Used-vehicle Market, Too
Mar 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
While 2002 new-vehicle sales estimate consensus are down approximately 10% from the 17.2 million sales level in 2001, used-vehicle sales are expected to increase in total. Depending on which report you read, franchised dealer used-vehicle sales in 2001 totaled between 12.9 million (NADA) and 15.9 million (ADESA). Total used vehicle sales, all sources, for 2002 are predicted to be in the 43 million-unit

How To Turn Mirrors Into Windows
Feb 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Here are two quotes on the benefits of training, and the potential results: Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know. Daniel J. Boorstin. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows Sydney J. Harris. These are more insightful when you consider what is being said. Think of the personnel in your organization that have the potential to step up to the next level,

Opportunities For Used-car Sales Growth
Jan 01, 2002, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
October was probably the best new-vehicle sales and profit month in the history of the franchised automobile business. But as you know, used vehicle sales failed to keep pace with that month's new vehicle sales rate which, for many dealers, has resulted in increased dollar inventory levels, days' supply and maybe most importantly, a decreased rate of dollar turn. I have spoken with many dealers who


Life After Zero Percent Financing
Dec 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
October vehicle sales set a record for a single month. Sales for the month were up 29.2% over October 2000, and the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for October was on pace for 21 million new vehicles. But if 0% financing offers expire in late November, the seasonally adjusted annual rate for November could be around 15.7 million light vehicles and as low as 14.7 million light vehicles in December,

Forecasting Is More Essential Now
Nov 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Helping good dealers become better has been NCM Associates' mission for more than 54 years. We want to assist you in planning and operating your business in a most proficient manner. With the following information, you should have a point of reference in constructing your 2002 plan. When a tragedy such as the Sept. 11 terrorists' attacks occurs, it creates certain reluctance on the part of the consumer

Cash Management Is A Team Effort
Oct 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Jeff Sacks, with whom I conduct our general managers' Boot Camp training, tells of a 20 Group session he spoke at. When he entered the meeting for his presentation, he noted an anchor sitting in front of one participant and an ice chest in front of another. He asked the chairperson why. The answer: Oh, the one with the ice chest is the member with the most frozen capital, and the anchor in front of

F&I, Fixed Ops Are '01 Bright Spots
Sep 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Would you believe the average service advisor out-grosses the average vehicle salesperson by over $10,000 per month? It's true! Year to date 2001, the average NCM client's business profile is as follows: New vehicle volume is down a few units (41), gross per new-vehicle retail is up by $10. Used vehicle volume is equal to the same period in 2000 and the gross per used-vehicle retail is up $30. Are

Now's The Time To Adjust Inventories
Aug 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
The news is that 2001's second-half sales look stronger than originally expected due to high incentives and growing volume for import brands. Question: Other than 60 days and obviously the climate, what's the difference between Aug. 31 and Oct. 31? Maybe, the new and used vehicle sales market is different? Each year, and believe me, I know this from personal experience, August is a fairly robust new-vehicle

It's Time To Get Back To The Basics
Jul 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Tenure is only accomplished through success; that is, the sales personnel making money. Here's a news flash: Some dealers are behind in their year-to-date sales and profit forecast. Obviously, I'm being facetious. As we all know, many, if not most dealerships, are not performing at the level anticipated when we sat down for our 2001 forecasting session in late 2000. Does this mean that we abandon

We Pick Our 1st Dealer of the Year
Jul 01, 2001, by Steve Finlay, Ward's Dealer Business
All the nominees are quality people with great personal and professional life stories to tell. THIS IS A TOUGH ONE, REMARKED TONY NOLAND of NCM Associates as we considered nominees for this issue's Dealer of the Year, our first feature of its kind, and something we plan to do annually. Mr. Noland is right. So says everyone involved in the process of nominating the candidates, narrowing down the finalists

How To Chart Employee Productivity
Jun 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
From Automotive News: April sales fell 10%, the sixth straight month that sales fell below the year-ago total. From the Associated Press: Americans' productivity, a key measure of rising living standards, fell at a 0.1% rate in the first quarter. The decline was the first in six years. The drop in productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, during the January-March (2001) quarter surprised

Learning A Thing Or Two In S. Africa
May 01, 2001, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
One thing I learned quickly, after commenting that the U. S. prime interest rate increases this past year were impacting dealer profits, was that the South African prime rate is 14.25%. Acknowledging that luck and good fortune are byproducts of hard work, I'm one of the luckier persons around. Please don't misunderstand. It's not necessarily from my hard work that I consider myself lucky, but rather

Proven Ways To Get Expenses In Line
Apr 01, 2001, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Last month, I noted that dealers at the NADA Convention sounded a common refrain of I have to get my expenses in line. I also noted that doing that doesn't happen overnight, but it can happen in short order if you take a few right steps. Dedicate one morning for an expense management meeting with all departmental managers. Review each individual expense. First, determine if it is essential. Second,

How To Profit In A Sales Downturn
Mar 01, 2001, By Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
I'm not suggesting that you write the franchise a termination letter, but rather take as much control as possible of your individual destiny. During this year's NADA Convention in Las Vegas, I visited with many dealers whose optimism fell below last year's convention. This year, there seemed to be a common theme to most of the conversations I had with dealers. The most commonly repeated comments I

Get Positioned For Maximum Profits
Feb 01, 2001, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
The year 2000 was quite a

Good Defense Makes A Good Offense
Jan 01, 2001, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
The deadlines of a monthly publication sometimes prevent totally up-to-date information, but as of this writing, several items are having an impact on our business.The first is the lengthy resolution of the presidential election. Other items of note include newspaper and other media stories noting the weakness of job growth and


Let's Review Some Helpful Highlights
Dec 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Throughout this year I have tried to present ideas and best practices to help you improve your profitability. I would like to present you with a reminder and a brief overview of selected subjects presented this year. This reminder covers what I consider to be essential in maximizing your profitability and protecting yourself in the event the market should slow.Watch that aging inventory In January,

Plan and Budget For Success In 2001
Nov 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Planning your work and working your plan is an adage that's just as applicable today, maybe more so. With a month remaining in 2000, it's time to establish your plan and budget for 2001.What is the established procedure for forecasting in your operation? Whom do you involve? What materials do you utilize to help ensure accuracy? How do you then monitor your progress versus your forecast? I offer the

Get Positioned To Maximize Profits
Oct 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
It's time to position yourself for a profitable year-end close. November and December historically are not the best sales months. That leaves October to clean up your new- and used-vehicle inventories.Most dealers have instituted a used-vehicle aging policy. The most common policy is 60 days and out. This is good, but let me remind you of a couple of things by asking a question. What happens each

Report From Dealership Boot Camp
Oct 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
I could buy more deals if I had someone ready to run them.

Great Ideas To Reduce 2000 Inventory
Sep 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Each year, around this time, I receive calls from dealers asking if I know of any good, effective

It's Time For Our Mid-year Check-up
Jul 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
It's time for our mid-year check-up. Specifically, let's take a look at the

Here's How To Control Days' Supply
Jun 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
As a

Profits Should Come From All Over
May 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
What areas of your dealership produce what percentage of the total gross? The more important question is, which departments generate what percentage of the total departmental net profit, before net additions and deductions?Taking a look at our All-Dealer Benchmark (less Highline) and our average clients, we find the following gross and net profit results by department.To compare yourself in these

Will High Fuel Prices Hurt Dealers?
Apr 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Consider the economic impact of increasing fuel prices on our buyers.If the average vehicle in the U.S. is driven approximately 12,000 miles per year and the average miles per gallon is 15 miles per gallon, the annual cost of fuel, 800 gallons, is $1000 at $1.25 per gallon.At $1.50 per gallon the annual cost increases to $1,200. At $2 per gallon, the annual cost increases to $1,600. So, the difference

Tips For Enhancing Future Profits
Mar 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
Many dealers tell me that 1999 was their best year since they have been in business, and most of those same dealers feel that 2000 will also be a very good year.Most economic indicators and industry forecasters also support the thought that this year, while not being equal to 1999, will be good. Increasing interest rates and fuel prices are two indications that change may be on the horizon.So what

Avoid Used-vehicle Wholesale Goofs
Feb 01, 2000, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
One of the areas where a dealership is the most vulnerable is in used-vehicle wholesale. How can this be when selling cars and trucks is our business, and we are


Managers Should Submit Written Plan
Dec 01, 1999, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
In December, most of you will be completing your budget and fore-cast for the year 2000. How many of you though, will require a detailed written plan from your departmental managers outlining how they intend to accomplish their forecast?When your managers submit their written plans for your consideration and acceptance, require them to include not only their sales and gross forecast, but also their

To-do List Aids General Managers
Nov 01, 1999, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
I often am asked for a to-do list for general managers. For our purpose here, let's assume the general manager is also the operator of a dealership. This is not an all-inclusive list, but an outline that will help you organize and bring some structure to your month.MEETINGS Departmental Financial Statement Analysis Monthly, the day after the financial statement is finalized and published, meet all

Grab This Used-Vehicle Opportunity
Sep 01, 1999, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
It goes without saying that, thus far, 1999 has been a tremendous year for new-vehicle sales. The NCM benchmark dealers have seen increases in both their volume and gross. The 1999 year to date results are noted below:But has this increase in new-vehicle volume created a decrease in used-vehicle retail volume? Definitively not. Even though one would think used-vehicles retail sales are down, the fact

So Far, So Good For All Franchises
Aug 01, 1999, Tony Noland, Ward's Dealer Business
It's hard to believe but half of 1999 is history and all signs point to a new record for dealers and manufacturers alike.I have just acquired the year-to-date NCM Client Franchise Benchmarks and without exception, all franchises are having a good year and some are having a phenomenal year.The Benchmark information published here is based on the performance average of the top 50% of our clients in