Motor Spy

Motor Spy welcomes the announcement in the New Year’s Honours of an
MBE awarded to Martin Hall who retired as Finance & Leasing
Association (FLA) director general in July 2007. During his tenure
at the FLA, Hall fought many lobbying actions on behalf of the
motor finance sector and was a staunch supporter of the industry.
He leaves as a legacy the formation and implementation of the
Specialist Automotive Finance campaign which has served to unite
motor lenders and dealers towards a goal of professional excellence
that has not occurred before. Hall is also chair of the Joint Money
Laundering Steering Group, which aims to fight fraud and combat
money laundering in financial circles, with its members drawn from
a range of industry associations and organisations.
Marketing to the Facebook generation

It has been said that half of all advertising is wasted – the
problem is that nobody knows which half. In order to try and find
out, BMW is trying something new with the 1-series 135i coupé: it
is focusing its advertising spend on websites such as Facebook,
MySpace and YouTube, according to the Guardian, which quotes head
of marketing innovation Jörg Reimann: “We have to see which channel
creates the most value.” BMW is going for “dynamic” 29-40 year olds
and thinks web marketing with a strong ‘viral’, personalised
element is the way to go. Will it pay off? And should car finance
companies think more seriously about following the German brand
online, and possibly getting to a valuable demographic?

“Turn overs” and “grinders”

Motor Spy was fascinated by a recent first-hand
account by an Edmunds.com journo of the travails of being a car
salesman in the high-pressure US market (see http://tinyurl.com/xh39 for the full
account). Perhaps the best part was the language the sales staff
used – for which a glossary was required. A “grinder”, for example,
is “a customer who negotiates for hours over a small amount of
money (‘We were only $500 apart but the guy wouldn’t sign. Man,
what a grinder’)“, while a “turn over” is “the practice of passing
a customer from one salesman to another … The theory is that the
customer might just have bad chemistry with the first salesman and
he might like the next salesman.” The relentless focus on selling
comes across very strongly, as does US dealers’ strong commitment
to F&I which they realise is absolutely crucial to their profit
margins. A lesson there for the UK?