Photo Gallery
Powered by Squarespace

Entries in Internet (18)


Are You Tired of the Internet?

Perhaps like us you are weary of most folks that are still talking about the Internet as if its a novelty especially for the auto business.

Twenty years ago the Internet was a novelty, e-mail was a strange medium, digital cameras were new and somewhat clunky. Our thoughts from 9 years ago that still resonate

Back in the day when a dial up modem was the only way to access the Internet, everyone was waiting for the advent of "broadband" to enable livelier web sites and video. Broadband has been around for 10 years if not longer.

Lets not even go to social media, which again has been around for over 5 years.

You have to wonder...Why are there still a ton of folks talking about this as if its a novelty that emerged a few days ago.

All the product information is online, no kidding we knew that 20 years ago for the auto business. Most folks do their due diligence online, find used vehicles online, have shifted from PC's to mobile devices.

We could keep on going and surely know what we are conveying,

If you are in the auto business and an individual brings up the Internet, be cautious, that individual is literally behind the times, is trying to sell you something, and is absolutely missing the current and more important future reality.




The Technology We Use 

A couple of days ago we were reading that Microsoft is celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 4. It caught our attention of how quickly time passes, the immense leaps in all sorts of technology.

Then it sort of comes back home, and the thought of how did we get started with all this stuff?


Using transistors to build a capacitive discharge ignition system for a car, mounting it inside the car under the dash to protect the circuitry from the elements. Testing ti on a distributor machine, with worn out ignition points.

Today's ignition system are a quantum leap from a capacitive discharge system.

Cellular Phones:

It all started about 30 years ago, when a portable cell phone was the size of an attache case, with a coiled cord to the handset. They were installed in the trunk of a car, and the dial pad was on the handset.

Limited number of "cells",and calling ability. Today cell towers are all over the place.

The Motorola shoe phone was revolutionary, the Motorola Star Tac was a revelation at the time.

What do we use? A variety of iPhones from 4 to 6.


If you remember the early PC's from 30 years ago with a 5 1/2 inch floppies, and having start up floppies to boot up the PC on MS-DOS. Yes you are of a certain age. Limited software with Lotus 123 being the workhorse of the day.

Laptops were the size of an attache case.

Its come a long way...similar to the usage of computers in cars.

As an aside the concept of digital computers started with Alan Turing.


Dial up modems were the order of the day 20 years ago, with 56K being the fast connection. You probably used Netscape, and downloading IE required several hours. You had an e-mail address with few folks to communicate through e-mail.

Video was out of the question.

Today we run connections that are thousands of times faster, with seamless WiFi compared to the old routers.

Back in the day, broadband was on the horizon somewhere.

We jump from PC, to laptop, to tablet, to phone with a multitude of variations.

We use, a PC with a huge screen, laptops, iPad, and iPhones.

Most folks expect the connectivity of the home transferred to the car.




Social Media Paradox

We have been proponents of the Internet for dealers literally from 20 years ago. Back when a web site was a novelty, e-mail went unanswered, and so on. Obvious we were on the cusp of social media from its early days of idealism (same as the internet) to now where its a rigid structure. 

It took how many years for dealers to have a strong internet presence, and to literally have a digital dealership? 

Yes you can ask the same question for social media.

If you go by the various "digital trends" that float around, come and go, are evangelised by various pundits. The entire retail auto business revolves around digital dealership, social media, smart devices, online chat, SEO, compelling content, BDC, and we can keep on going. 

If you are seeking eyeballs, mention "digital" and anything automotive, and the eyeball count just increased dramatically.

Here is the deal:

After 20 years many dealers rely on a host of 3rd party providers/suppliers for many aspects of their digital presence and activity. The same for their social media presence. In the early days of social media manufacturers took a strong interest in the "social". Like most instances of technology and automotive, a few years later the ROI could not be rationalised. Which led to "Lets go back to the traditional way of doing things".

Are we digressing?

In Canada, we have a record year in auto sales...never been seen before...ever.

How do dealers close deals and move iron? More important how does CMS (Citizen Main Street) close the deal? 

The digital aspect of the automotive intelligentsia would like you to believe that it was done over a smart device...and we could keep on going.

The brick and mortar side of the intelligentsia wants you to believe that its the multi million dollar facility, the special tools, the LED lighting.

Increasingly how does CMS close the deal? How does the dealer move the iron?

The decade old "sales event" / "private sale".

Think about this for a an age of social media, multi million dollar brick and mortar, savvy customers that spend hours online, inspired product, free flowing money.

Increasingly dealers need to hold a "3 day bazaar" to close deals, move iron.

CMS waits for the 3 day bazaar, especially the one near month end to close the deal.

If you are a manufacturer that needs an edge, have some dealers with fatigued facilities, do not have all the consumer financial tools, what do you do to move iron in a competitive environment.

Simple...hold regular 3 day bazaars...observe your Canadian sales go through the roof, month, after month.




Internet Trends 2014

The always thought provoking presentation from Mary Meeker.

You will arrive at your own conclusions...




Canada Digital Future 2014

Informative survey of the Canadian digital landscape... 



Vroom Room

Good Morning!

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room comein make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

A bit of Internet Nostalgia, with websites from back in the day.

You surely read that Bill Ford Sr. passed away last Sunday.

If you have been around hot rods for a few years, you must remember the Stroker McGurk cartoons by Tom Medley, at one time they were a fixture.

This past week there have been enough political events in Canada and Quebec to fire up, fuel up, a gazillion pundits, with a gazillion perspectives of the same thing, with a gazillion twists. Perhaps we should ask The Colonel to chime some point. However not a bad thing to see "disruption" in the Canadian political landscape.

In the meantime its fascinating, and in some ways instructive to see the different perspectives, thought vectors. One gains considerable time. Anything to do with the acceleration of cycle time? What do you think?

Tomorrow is the 12 hours of Sebring, yes we are Corvette Racing fans.

Its also the start of the F1 season with the Australian will be fascinating to see Kimi and Fernando drive for the same team, the interactions, the drama.

What to say about GM's ignition switch recall/problem? Let's wait till all the facts are known, in the meantime its not a pretty picture...especially "if" GM knew all along...and the bankruptcy was to clean out all the skeletons. The folks that kept the car key seperate from their other keys probably never had a problem. Possible that since the model years were all within the "old GM" it remained in the closet. Lets wait for all the facts.

Canadian Sales:

A strong February, although some manufacturers had a stumble, still a strong February. The trend towards various forms of "utility vehicles" endures. Back in the day they would have been station wagons...think about this for a moment. The arrival of certain new models are cannibalising sales from established models, it will be interesting to see how it develops in the coming months.

In case you did not know, the best selling Porsche in Canada is a truck. With the arrival of the Macan it will continue to be a truck, and Porsche will continue to be a strong "money machine".

Our usual old race cars from Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, as well as the Best of Show.




Social Selling > Part 1

Think about how fragmented the showroom process has become. If 20 years ago we knew that eventually the showroom would be disintermediated, the knowledge base would gravitate to the Internet. 

How come its so fragmented? Could it be that everyone is focusing on a specific aspect since they have expertise or technology in the "specific aspect" and in some way obfuscating the big picture. Agreed the picture by now is immense, and fraught with peril...or is it?

The astute dealer...

Lets not go back 20 years, or even 10 year, lets focus on the emergence of "social media" going mainstream in late 2009 and early 2010...lets say 4 years ago.

Imagine that this dealer 4 years ago committed to acquire an advantage in cyberspace, through the Internet, and social media. The dealer made an enduring  commitment to finally have a digital dealership comparable to his brick and mortar business. 

This same astute dealer did not buy a web site from one suppliers, SEO from another supplier, BDC/CRM from again another supplier, and so on. Put aside the technology fatigue, and the rampant digital immaturity. This dealer went out and did it himself, with his people, and acquired "pieces" he needed to control his execution.

Now in 2013 this astute dealer has a compelling digital presence, is proficient in social media, is proficient in generating content for his customer base, is socially involved with his customers and prospect at his brick and mortar dealership, and at his digital dealership. The dealer paid more attention to actually building an enduring digital dealership, than trying to measure ROI on social media, conversation rates on leads. Stopped complaining that it costs too much, feeling nickle and dimed at every turn, needing a ton of suppliers to presumably achieve an online presence. 

This dealer controls his destiny, and makes his luck.

This same dealer endured a bunch of his peers telling him he was crazy, that he should buy a piece here, a fragment there, that he should wait another 15 years to see how it will develop, just in case.

That this dealer tells his peers how its done, and what they should do, in the meantime he has a 4 year head start, his content makes him the darling of search engines, is engaged with his customers and prospects.

This dealer "fooled around" with the Internet for 15 years, tried a bunch of stuff, endured a myriad of vendors and suppliers, improved his knowledge base, and finally made a commitment after 15 years to finally build his digital dealership from the foundation up.

Imagine for a moment the dealer that made a comitment 10 years ago...

In a group meeting he tells his peers "Guys I finally started building my digital dealership, I have a digital lot boy, I have a digital editor/content generator, I have a digital receptionist/greeter"....his peers look at him and question his sanity.

Someone in the back of the room comments "If I undestand this, you went against the flow, stopped talking about it, have a well executed digital dealership, and are well positioned for the future" 

We will continue...

PS: The first Social Selling




Social Selling

Go back to the early days of the Internet in the mid 1990's (almost 20 years ago), it was clear at the time that at some point, the showroom would be disintermediated (remember that term), the knowledge base that resided in the showroom would be disseminated via the Internet.

The salesperson (the definition of the time) would be disintermediated.

Think about this...20 years later in the auto business its all referred to as the Internet, its divided into bite size portions. Its a battle plan here, social media there, seminar, webinar, symposium, summit, and everyone of these things presumably has most of the answer to all the problems/challenges/obstacles.

If you remember 20 years ago, when we were dealing with dial up modems, and dowload speeds of 28 or 56K, clunky web sites, and product information migrating to the Internet. Watching the evolution from Netscape to Internet Explorer, to Chrome and Firefox. Back them the discussion was "wait till broadband becomes a reality". 

When broadband became a widespread reality in the early 2000's, technology moved even faster, the product knowledge transferred even faster, complemented by videos, and more photos.

Imagine for a moment the folks that were challenged understanding what was going on, and yes persisted in doing business as asual, and yes it still worked. Think for a moment, that an advertised "incentive program" is similar to a "nuclear blast" that immediately crosses all the lines, and blankets the various media platforms. 

If you are a manufacturer what do you do? You continue with aggressive and expensive brick and mortar programs (everyone understands brick and mortar its been around for centuries). Then "nuke" the competition with "incentive programs" to actually move iron. Reflect on this for a moment.

Lets progress to the late 2000's with the advent of social, here's the talk..."you need to be on Facebook, you need to understand Twitter, you need to grasp social media". Obvious that "social media" becomes the buzz word, and there are all sorts of social media illuminati going around. 

Now factor in the various showroom technologies, CRM, BDC, Big Data, to name a few. You know the saying "we are in the people business...."

Reflect on this for a moment, and we will continue.



The Connected Car

Its over 10 years that some vehicles are "connected" usually with a dedicated cellular line, with OnStar immediately coming to mind, and On Star has a very sophisticated operation to assist the millions of subscribers. 

At the same time cars have not been connected to enable WiFi, or to communicate on board diagnostics. Perhaps initial demand was low, the variables were and still are in the gazillion, and "who needs these additional headaches when there are a myriad of pressing priorities. 

Perhaps before we evolve to self driving vehicles, we should at least insist they they be connected. When it comes to being connected vehicles are in the dark ages, where its usually the customer/owner smart and or storage device that does the connecting for the vehicle.

It would be cool to have a connected vehicle with own WiFi spot, can send diagnostic signals to the manufacturer, can receive software updates, and so on. 

Would it encourage multi tasking, probably not any worse then today, would it make it simpler to have a good operating at its optimum, sure it would.

Activating a data package in the business office when a customer acquires a vehicle can be an additional source of revenue for dealers.

Cleansing the electronics of a vehicle when its traded in could be another revenue source. Agreed at one point manufacturers willfully steered clear of all these potential pitfalls.

We agree trains and buses have been connected for some time.




The Cyber Advantage

Yes...another e-book.

Question: Do you need a cyber advantage?  Answer: Sure you do...especially if you care to WIN.