Automotive Advertising Agencies Shift Online Marketing to Social Networking and Individual Vehicles

The market shift from brick and mortar dealerships to virtual online showrooms has been confirmed with 93% of car shoppers turning to the Internet Super Highway vs. their neighborhood auto dealership or local car row to shop for a new or used vehicle. Of equal interest to auto dealers who have shifted their automotive advertising dollars to the Internet to follow their customers there is that automotive advertising agencies have confirmed that online car shoppers are often using the search engines to look for a specific vehicle, not an auto dealership. As a result, automotive advertising agencies have shifted their online messages to match the consumer’s request for information in more of a pull/push marketing strategy to promote their inventory using local search words and meta tags attached to individual videos of their vehicles vs. the old school push/pull methods that focused on delivering an auto dealer marketing message designed to drive customers directly to the dealers’ website.

The role of the real world auto dealership is maturing into an experience center to test drive vehicles, take delivery — for now — and service the vehicles during their life cycle. Newly developed virtual world auto dealerships are also taking on a new role in the retail auto industry with new technologies that are crashing through the glass wall that used to limit what could be accomplished on the World Wide Web.

Marketing tools using SEO and SEM techniques tied to individual vehicle videos linked to micro-sites with specialized information is more transparent and relevant than driving internet shoppers to a home page on an auto dealer’s website that requires further actions by the customer to drill down to what they need — information on a vehicle that they are interested in purchasing. Online shoppers are less often looking for an auto dealer than they are looking for a vehicle so why not cut to the chase and take them there directly? Google and other search engines have recognized the value of video and more targeted vehicle focused search results with index able vehicle videos taking a priority position over conventional postings and websites with similar local search criteria.

Once a shopper has landed on a vehicle why would an auto dealer want to drive them to an email, a phone call or any similar disconnect in the process directing them to their real or virtual showroom when new technology can answer all of the customer’s questions directly from the video player using integrated online transaction tools? Live two way video customer interaction platforms, like Argistics AutoTransaXion, and third party resources like Car Fax reports coupled with the ability to deliver credit applications, payment calculators and even a complete buyers order — real time — with CRM/DMS integration allowing a comprehensive desking tool for the auto dealer to push/pull all related information needed to actually sell the vehicle online and the required forms for the customer to buy it suggest that there is no longer a need to take the customer back up the sales funnel to the auto dealer’s website.

Comprehensive auto dealership websites are no longer the best — or at least the only — place for automotive advertising agencies to drive online customers to. Auto dealers who wish to survive in the growing virtual world on the Internet must be more focused on internet based tools and techniques that allow them to do it the customer’s way. They must provide online car shoppers with all of the information that they need to find and purchase the vehicle they want without having to fit the auto dealers’ selling processes based on an old and dated adversarial negotiation processes in either their real or virtual showroom where customers perceive that auto dealers will try to sell them something that they don’t want for more than they can afford?

Many vendor applications are currently available and being used by automotive advertising agencies to accomplish all of the above. AutoNation, for example, has recently announced their shift to centralized online transactions using Argistics AutoTransaXion’s customer interaction platform with their two way video transaction capabilities and Sonic Automotive has proven out the role of video to enhance conversions using SiSTer Technologies Video CarLot. Similar announcements by OEM and other technology vendors to the auto industry are expected to be released during the upcoming 2010 NADA Convention in Orlando Florida. As a result, the role of the brick and mortar dealership and their online marketing messages promoting the auto dealership vs. satisfying the needs of the to the consumer must change — and they will because they already are.

Similarly, the role of social networking for automotive advertising agencies anxious to monetize this new consumer driven media is also being accelerated by new technologies and automotive advertising vendor applications. Efforts by automotive advertising agencies to market directly to consumers through social media, B2C, have matured to more successful consumer driven marketing messages. New inventory driven third party websites like ronsmap.com apply new technologies that develop word of mouth, W.O.M., and customer to customer recommendations, C2C, which promise to be the preferred method of selling vehicles online in the foreseeable future.

Simply put, automotive advertising agencies must deliver customers the information that they want when, how and where they want it. All of these issues are addressed through the use of the Internet and new technologies that market vehicles over auto dealers, video vs. copy and recommendations from online friends vs. a self serving auto dealer trying to sell themselves vs. serving the needs of their potential customers.

Details of Automotive Property Refinance

Owners conducting an automotive property refinance are often surprised to discover how many new attractive loan programs that have become available within the last 3 years. 30 year amortization periods, stated income and cash out refinance up to 75% LTV are now on the market. However, automotive refinances are still heavily scrutinized by lenders that are concerned with the environmental status of the property. In addition, the special use nature, as well as the high level of seller financing (land contracts) further complicate and make lenders cautious.

Underwriting criteria is broken down into a few main categories – Loan to value, debt service coverage ratios, property analysis, tenant evaluation and credit worthiness of the borrower.

LTV – CLTV

Loan to value restrictions on automotive refinances are typically capped at 70% on rate and term and 65% on cash out refinances. However, there are a few lenders that will now allow up to 75% on a cash out basis. Lenders also will permit high leverage with seller held financing (sits in second lien position). The combined loan to value can be as high as 90%. For example, if the current first lien position existing convention loan is at 40% loan to value and the seller held is at 30% loan to value the owner could pull an additional 20% equity out on a cash out refinance (40% + 30% + 20% =90% CLTV).

DSCR

Debt Service Coverage Ratio restrictions are typically conservative at 1:1.3 for this building type. Meaning that for every $1.30 of net income (income after taxes, insurance, repairs, etc) the property/business produces, the mortgage payment will not be allowed to exceed $1.00. Said in another way, after all expenses and the mortgage have been paid, the owner needs to net $.30 to qualify.

Due to the cash nature of this business, stated income loans, (where borrower does not have to provide tax returns) can be a solid option for owners that do not show enough net income to qualify for traditional loans. With this type of loan the DSCR discussed above is not relevant.

Tenant Evaluation

In the case of investment automotive refinances, tenant evaluation is very important. Lenders may request tenant financials as well as borrower financials and scrutinize the time left on the current lease; among other relevant information. In addition, many lending source will only consider owner occupant transactions.

Property Analysis

Great caution will typically be used as market value and market rent is evaluated and compared to the subject property. Environmental status of the property will be examined and buildings constructed before 1997 will be further analyzed. Appearance, location, accessibility, and local market conditions, as well as other factors are considered.

Credit Worthiness

The personal credit worthiness of the borrower will be scrutinized. 680 credit score is normally the minimum for the best finance options. Exceptions can be made (on a limited basis) as some conventional lenders will consider scores as low as 640. The overall strength of the property, tenants, net worth, DSCR, and LTV can offset concerns of low credit scores.

Every potential automotive property refinance is unique and are considered on a case by case basis. However, the above can give you a good idea of what the capital sources look for when considering funding this type of commercial loan.

Automotive and Diesel Online Career Training Opportunities

When looking to pursue a career in automotive and diesel you can enroll in an accredited online school or college to gain the education necessary to enter into the field. Not all courses and training can be completed online in this area, but you can complete the basic coursework and finish hands on training through a vocational learning program. There are a number of specialized areas for you to choose from when pursuing an automotive and diesel career. You have the opportunity to choose from various online certificate and degree programs. Studies can be complete at your own leisure from just about anywhere.

There are a variety of professions in this field, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your interest and career goals. You can choose to obtain a career as an:

  • Auto Mechanic
  • Motorcycle Mechanic
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • …and a number of other professions. Training for these careers will require you to complete an accredited online educational training program. Studies can be completed at the:
  • Certificate
  • Diploma
  • Associate Degree

…levels of education. By choosing to gain an accredited online education in automotive and diesel you will be able to gain the training you need for a successful career.

The coursework and training that must be completed will depend on the level of education and specific career area desired. You can learn a number of skills by enrolling in a career education training program online. Coursework may consist of studying subjects such as:

    • Transmissions
    • Brakes
    • General Maintenance
    • Welding
    • Computerized Testing Equipment

…and other courses. Students will also study coursework that is more specific to their desired degree and career. This may include:

  • Motorcycle Repair
  • Diesel Engines
  • Gasoline Engines
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Jacks and Hoists

…and many other relevant subjects. When you choose to obtain an accredited online certificate or degree in this field you will gain the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a successful career.

Training for a career in automotive and diesel will open a world of opportunities for you.

  • Gaining an accredited online education will allow you to learn what it takes to provide maintenance on various automotives.
  • You will receive the education you need to succeed based on your career goals.
  • Training will allow you to continue current employment while learning a new skill.

Research online programs today to learn more about accredited educational training in this field.

Accreditation is the proof a school or college needs to ensure that you will gain the quality education you deserve. There are numerous agencies like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence  that are approved to fully accredited online career preparation programs. Schools and colleges that offer accredited learning can be found by researching your desired career and level of education. You can request more information by contacting the online automotive and diesel program that fits your individual needs and goals today..

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

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