Marvelous Marva

Marva Laws well remembers lobbying her general manager to move from retail automotive sales to finance. She was a top car salesperson at Don White’s Car Center in Dundalk, Md., for more than two years at that point — starting the month she took the job — but hungered for a new challenge. Behind the scenes, she secretly learned the ropes of finance even as she repeatedly grabbed top sales numbers. She was enthusiastic, she was knowledgeable, and she was ready to delve in. And finally, after three requests the dealership’s general manager agreed to move her from showroom sales to finance —but with a caveat. She’d have to take a pay cut.

Dealers urged to keep eyes open for fraud

Dealers, have your stores ever let enthusiasm for a sale outweigh their desire to complete due diligence on a credit application or follow up on a nagging feeling that "something is not right" about a seemingly perfect deal? If you were lucky, the loan application was approved and payment satisfied. But what about the times the buyer almost immediately defaulted, despite having some of the best income and FICO scores the dealership had seen in weeks, if not months? That may well have been a cas

Hail-Damaged New Cars: Deal or Not?

That big hailstorm hit the new-car lot, too. While your local dealer may offer you a major discount on a hail-damaged car, check with your car insurance agent before shaking hands on the deal. Cosmetic hail damage gives dealers the opportunity to discount prices of those cars and let customers drive away with bargains, says Wayne Phillips, vice president of operations at Alan Jay Automotive Network in Sebring, Fla. "If there was a hailstorm last night, I would already have my dent removal con

20 Driving Tips for a Happy-Holiday Ride

Pop quiz: Do you know more about driving than Indy race car driver Johnny Unser of the Unser Racing Family? It’s a safe bet that most drivers don’t have Unser’s knowledge or skill but still drive in ways he wouldn’t consider. “One of the biggest problems people have is how to control their cars and how to manage their distractions,” says Unser, who is now a technical advisor for Cooper Tire and race director for Pro Mazda. “Obviously the more focused you are, the better your driving. When you’

Working with Gen Y Auto Buyers

F&I manager Stephanie Cooper tells the story of how a pump bottle of hand sanitizer helped her sell an extended warranty to a millennial couple. Cooper looked at the bottle while copying the couple's hand cleaning, remarking how the cleaner destroyed 99.9 percent of germs and wondering aloud about the other 0.1 percent. Within minutes, she had moved the conversation from hand cleaner to parts of the couple's new car not covered under a warranty. The couple bought the extended warranty. "It worke

Finding Your Best Used Car Bargain

It’s still a golden time to buy a used car thanks in large part to the number of late-model cars, trucks and SUVs that have poured into dealerships due to the end of a large number of lease agreements, according to an analysis by NADA Used Car Guide, a division of J.D. Power. The good news for shoppers is that the glut of gently used cars provides you with an unusually large selection of vehicles from which to choose. Plus many prices are lower than they have been since 2010. But that doesn’t m

Why Used Cars Aren't As Bad As You Think

Do you typically head straight to the new cars when it’s time to buy? You could be spending more money than you need to. Old wives’ tales abound about used cars—that they’re lemons, they don’t have much life left in them, and they’re likely ready for the junkyard—are many times not true. Yes, there are potential downsides to used cars. But there are ways to guard against them. We spoke to experts and compiled a list of the safest ways to shop for used cars as well as some common pitfalls to avo

5 Keys to Commanding the Best Price When Selling Your Car

The glut of used cars on the market doesn't mean you can't get top dollar for yours. But you'll need these tips from auto dealers and other insiders. The number of off-lease cars on the market has been growing, contributing to what Edmunds recently described as “one of the strongest buyer’s markets in recent memory.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good price when selling your used car. In fact, the average used-car price reached an all-time high in the first quarter of this year — $19,2

Driving The Best Deal For Your Wallet

Shop for a car like a pro with these insider tips A great way to navigate the car-buying process and snag a deal is to think like a car salesman. We’ve gathered some of the best tips that auto insiders give their family and friends. But heed this caveat offered by Keith McKinzie, Chevy dealer at Sonju Two Harbors, Minnesota: “The public has a lot of information when they buy cars, but buying a car is an emotional purchase. Don’t let emotions dictate your purchase.” With that piece of advice in m

The Road Less Traveled: Country Driving Vs. City Driving

Your driver’s license and years of behind-the-wheel experience have prepared you to face the difficulties of any road—in theory. But, driving on city roads offers very different challenges compared to driving on country roads, as urban and rural areas differ on a number of factors. For example, city roads may be well-maintained, but are often congested with vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and other obstacles, whereas country roads may be poorly maintained and very isolated. And the difference

Automakers adopt start-stop systems | Mobil™ Motor Oils

Automakers hope start-stop systems will satisfy consumers’ love for large, high-powered cars while also meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy standards mandating car fleets average 54.5 mpg by 2025. This technology has gained popularity in the past few years as automakers inch toward the 2025 fuel economy deadline. In fact, some experts predict start-stop systems will be in all new cars within a decade. Here are a few things you should consider about start-stops and how they

Keeping track of F&I chargebacks

Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor , and we may publish it in print. As dealers work to bolster F&I profits, it's vital they keep a close watch on chargebacks. Dealerships can be charged back, or asked to repay, commissions received for performing two F&I functions: negotiating car loans that end prematurely, such as through refinancing or default; and selling F&I products that customers later cancel. While dealers can't prevent all chargebacks, they

Buying a Car Online: What You Need to Know

The traditional car buying process deflates even the most enthusiastic buyer. Spending hours walking around a dealers' lot, negotiating with the salesperson, and then reviewing all the facts and figures with the Finance and Insurance (F&I) manager generally takes hours of time and stressful conversation. No wonder that a report by Accenture found that 53 percent of car buyers would consider buying a car online. There are secrets to all auto transactions, of course. But online auto buying rules a

Should You Rent a Car for Your Road Trip?

Road trips are a great way to see the sights, but do you really want to see them from your family car? For some of us, the answer is no. You might not want to up the number on your odometer and there can be bigger issues related to comfort and reliability, especially if you’re traveling with family or friends. Is your car up to the challenge? Are you? Katherine and Tom Temple, Australian-based world travel experts known as The Travelators, say there are solid reasons to rent a car for a road tr

Why It’s Time to Snap Up a Good Used Car

If you dream of finding a nice used — but not abused — car at a reasonable price, it is just about time for you to shop. Auto dealers expect a flood of used cars­ – about 800,000 – to come into dealerships this year as a record number of leases mature, according to NADA Used Car Guide, a Division of J.D. Power. The influx of such “pre-owned” cars – adding about 33 percent to what is currently available — is expected to continue through 2018. That influx is expected to drive down used-car price