June 2017 Newsletter

Board of
for 2017

Randy Henderson

Sil Gonzales

Joe Chastang


Victor Benitez
Merlton Brandenberg
Stacey Corley
Ray Fregia, Jr.
Eddie Hall III
Steve Rojas

Past Chairman:

Fernando Varela

Ford MDA Staff:

AV Fleming
Executive Director

Osvaldo Garcia, Jr.

Dee Suber
Executive Assistant 

In This Issue:

  • Board of Directors & Staff

  • Message from the Chairman

  • American Financial & Automotive Services

  • CDK Global

  • Ally Bank

  • Dealertrack

  • Ford MDA Dealer Performance Report

  • Ford Motor Credit Benefit

  • Message from the Executive Director

  • Grand Openings

  • eLend Solutions

  • Merchant Lynx Services 

Randy B. Henderson, JR.

Message From The Chairman

Greetings Members, Sponsors and Friends,

We are proud to announce that we had two very successful regional conferences in May. One region- al meeting was held in Atlanta for the East and one regional meeting was held in Las Vegas for the West. One extremely lucky dealer present at the Las Vegas meeting won a contest to receive a Ford Raptor to sell! Our town hall meeting provided us with insight and trends that will affect our dealer body. The panel was very open and frank when it came to speaking on dealer issues. A big vote of confidence was given to our new President & CEO Jim Hatchett!! More to come! Also, all presen- tations from the regional meeting will be sent to you even if you were not able to attend the meeting.

By now you should have received the save the date for our annual conference meeting in Las Vegas August 29th – August 31st. We intend to provide you with a quality conference that will give you rel- evant information for today’s and tomorrow’s retail environment. We anticipate having Ford Senior management with us again at our town hall meeting and throughout the conference. We believe that Ford’s senior management team is looking forward to hearing the concerns and challenges dealers have from our point of view. Our vendors will have an isle of assistance set up for us again this year and we will be able to review the latest technology and services that are being offered. Our work- shops have the content that we know will be of immediate value to your dealership and are created from the feedback obtained from you throughout the year. They promise to be dynamic and add im- mediate value for our dealerships. We will also take time to recognize and honor our members in various categories, showcasing their talent in the retail automotive arena.

As we have mentioned before, our membership meetings are fueled by the input and ideas we re- ceive from you. Therefore, we need and welcome your comments and suggestions on how the asso- ciation can better serve your needs. Our leadership has vowed to keep the channel of communica- tions open even more in the future. We are also pleased with the participation on our National Dealer Council conference call. We know that our voice is heard louder when we all are involved with the issues affecting our dealer body. We know that you are constantly being pulled in various directions and your time is very important. Therefore, we will do everything in our power to add value to the time that you commit to Ford MDA.

Blessings to you and yours, 
Randy B. Henderson, Jr.
Chairman, Ford MDA



American Financial Receives Multiple Honors in the 2017 Dealers’ Choice Awards

American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc. was voted among the leading industry providers in the 2017 Dealers’ Choice Awards. This F&I dealership development company received honors under five different categories by their dealer partners, as well as Auto Dealer Today and F&I Showroom readers. This is an increase from the two awards they received in 2016.

  • –  F&I Training – Diamond Level (Pla num Level in 2016)

  • –  Compliance Training – Diamond Level (Diamond Level in 2016)

  • –  Sales Training – Diamond Level

  • –  Internet Training – Pla num Level

  • –  Special Finance Training – Gold Level

    Arden Hetland, President of American Financial, states, “Our dedicated team continues to raise industry standards. Dealership development is evolving with today’s technology and customer, but our mission remains the same – put our client’s needs first and exceed their expectations. American Financial is thankful for these top recognitions.”

    American Financial has developed a comprehensive portfolio of offerings that include customized in-dealership devel- opment, the Automotive Training Academy (ATA), F&I University (FIU), Compliance Programs, and the MasterTechTM F&I product suite.

    The ATA works with automotive professionals throughout the dealership to give them the knowledge needed to pros- per in today’s retail market. Customized in-dealership training and regional workshops create effective training environ- ments for professionals to gain skills that can be applied as soon as they return to the dealership.

    FIU provides cutting-edge F&I curriculum and online continuing education for today’s business manager. FIU is also at the forefront of digital solutions to streamline the business office by offering training on tablet technology. FIU has also partnered with Automotive Compliance Education (ACE) to include ACE certification with their F&I curriculum. Aligning compliance certification and F&I training creates an even stronger program for F&I professionals to take their career to the next level.

    American Financial has created a program to help navigate dealerships through industry regulations and policies. The web-based Compliance Management Program is customized to complement the procedures and functions utilized in the dealership. In addition, American Financial has developed a Compliance Officer Certification course that arms your dealership with the resources, tools, and expertise your compliance officer needs.

    For more information on American Financial, please visit www.AFASinc.com


Improve Customer Satisfaction With A Flexible Payment Approach

Fixed operations is the backbone of a dealership. Whether car sales are hitting record highs or frightening lows, repairs and maintenance will always be required. While a dealership’s new car sales only compete with other dealers, the service cen- ter has to compete with other dealers plus national service chains and independent service providers. Just how much of a concern is the competition? A recent CDK Global dealer survey revealed that, on average, dealers lose over 40 percent of service customers after warranty and more than 80 percent of dealers are concerned about losing customers to independ- ent service providers.

Most dealers think that price is the main reason customers are defecting, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In a 2016 repair satisfaction study by AAA, two-thirds of U.S. drivers said that they don’t trust auto repair shops. With mistrust so high, digital impressions become especially important. The internet is one of the first places customers turn to when searching for a provider. According to Google Think, 70 percent of people visit a retailer website when they have a want-to-buy moment. An effective web site can have a significant influence on where that customer chooses to go for service.

In order to understand how customer questions are being addressed online, CDK conducted a study comparing the web site features of 776 independent service providers and national service chains to 750 dealerships. Every major volume and luxury brand was represented, along with 203 designated market areas (DMAs) from each U.S. state. The CDK Retail In- sights team evaluated service pages from a list of criteria under three main customer satisfaction categories: cost, confi- dence, and convenience.


In today’s world convenience is king. Few people have the patience to be slowed down by inefficient processes and a lack of amenities. This is where dealers should have a particular advantage over independent service providers. Most dealers are much better equipped to provide benefits that independents can’t, but it was shocking to see how few dealers show- cased them. Here are the results of three important convenience features from our study:

1. Alternate transportation (dealers 42 percent, independents 22 percent)

Getting auto service can be a particularly stressful, since a vehicle is often essential. Offering alternate transportation, like shuttle service and loaner vehicles, allows customers to continue their day with less disruption. The old saying “time is mon- ey” means that waiting around at a service shop can cancel out any savings from a cheaper repair price. Yet over half of dealers fail to showcase this on their service pages.

2. Automated Scheduling (dealers 76 percent, independents 4 percent)

The benefits of automated scheduling shouldn’t need explaining. Setting up a confirmed service appointment from your phone while waiting in line for a coffee is a huge convenience. It’s a simple digital tool that one in four dealers aren’t taking advantage of.

3. No-appointment service (dealers 23 percent, independents 4 percent)

Many customers want the option to show up unannounced. According to our dealer survey, nearly all dealers offer some kind of no-appointment service –even if it’s just for basic service like oil changes. However, a large majority of dealers are not properly featuring this sort of offering online, causing a large perception gap among their potential customers.


It’s important that dealers promote confidence in their service center on their service pages. This is where independents are doing the best at meeting or beating dealers online. In particular, customer trust can be earned through three distinct elements:

1. Genuine OEM parts (dealers 79 percent, independents 11 percent)

Using genuine parts reassures a customer that they will get exactly what is needed to get their vehicle running right. De- spite the fact that dealers trounced independents in this important confidence category, we often found it buried in a wall of text that most customers won’t read. It’s much better to call it out separately where it will get the customer’s attention.

2. Customer reviews (dealers 53 percent, independents 49 percent)

Reviews are increasingly important in the consumer decision making process – especially to younger shoppers. Featur- ing your positive reviews helps people understand what to anticipate at your service center and why they should choose you.

3. Service staff bios (dealers 4 percent, independents 12 percent)

Staff bios are all about showing off their expertise. Customers want to know the job will get done right the first time. List- ing years of experience, training and certifications creates customer confidence in your service technicians.


Dealers aren’t wrong that cost is a major customer concern. Nearly three in four shoppers said they were wary of repair shops overcharging. It’s important to remember that cost isn’t just the dollar sign attached to the repair but includes the value provided by the dealer. There are two main features we used to measure this digitally:

1. Service specials (dealers 79 percent, independents 41 percent)

Offering specials is a good way to appeal to the cost-conscious customer. It’s important to use things like click to print or an email button so customers can easily access and use special offers. Pictures of specials placed in physical ads are difficult for customers to use and hard to read on mobile.

2. Value of service (dealers 72 percent, independents 56 percent)

Value of service is your chance to remind customers about the unique benefits they get from going to your service shop. Do you have a decked-out customer lounge where customers can use the free Wi-Fi to work and sit in comfortable chairs with snacks? Most independents don’t. Highlight the value customers get from spending their time and money with you.

Action Steps

A strong online service presence that shows how you respond to customer needs and concerns is a key element in at- tracting customers. And don’t forget that independents and chains don’t have to share valuable digital real estate with a sales department. Here is a summary of our recommendations for how you can improve your digital service strategies:

  • –  Provide a homepage link to automated online scheduling. Scheduling service online should be as easy as reserving a hotel room online.

  • –  Show the value of your dealership’s service: Highlight factory training, genuine OEM parts and exper se in the brand. Independents service everything; you specialize in your customers’ cars.

  • –  Promote your dealership’s service: Feature ameni es like shu le service, business centers and no- appointment service. Time is money, and these conveniences can make up the di erence in service costs.

  • –  Include posi ve service reviews from customers on your website. Make them easy to nd and separate them from sales reviews.

  • –  Target service customers by adver sing the bene ts of your dealership’s service center. 



5 Ways to Prepare Your Dealership Team for Digital Retailing

Written by: Patrick Wyld

It’s where the auto industry is headed: the ability to buy a car online. More importantly, it’s what the vast majority of your customers want.

Your dealership knows this, which is why you have subscribed to Digital Retailing.

With this technology in place, your customers’ ability to complete a car purchase almost en rely online is prac cally here. But before things can get rolling, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to ensure a seamless adop on of online transac ng prac ces.

Here are ve steps to prepare your en re dealership team for the strategic and opera onal changes that should result from Digital Retailing, as well as the posi ve outcomes your business can expect.

1. Embrace deeper customer engagement.

There’s no doubt that Digital Retailing gives you nance and trade ready buyers. In addi on to star ng deals, shoppers spend more me on your vehicle display pages (VDPs) if you’re using Digital Retailing.

But don’t wait for Digital Retailing to go live at your dealership to maximize engagement opportuni es on your website. Here’s how:

– Hold VDP ac vity review mee ngs with your sales, BDC, and management teams. If they constantly know the inventory that get the most VDP ac vity, they will be best prepared to e ec vely connect with the callers, walk -ins, and leads that are generated by those key cars.

– Workshop and share your merchandising strategy. Once you have Digital Retailing on your website, your in- ventory will have payments and calls-to-ac on for shoppers to start their deal online and save me in the deal- ership. This is a whole new layer of inventory merchandising. Document your en re merchandising strategy, share with your teams and ensure that you are opera ng e ciently.

– Recommit to focusing on your broader website performance with analy cs. Once Digital Retailing is up and running, your en re website solu on will perform in new ways. Get a head start on the conversa ons you will have by reviewing your performance based on your website, adver sing, and inventory. These three are key because once you have Digital Retailing live, it’s going to create improvements and opportuni es for keen in- sights in each of those three categories.

2. Meet with your team.

Digital Retailing is technology that can impact your whole team. Make it a posi ve impact by keeping your team members informed. Create awareness of the upcoming change, and even share some of the bene ts that made you a Digital Retailing believer. When you share your mo va ons, your team will have a much clearer picture of what has driven decisions, and what your path forward looks like. Even your service team can bene t from knowing that, for example, customers can begin the appraisal process on your website.

And don’t just meet once. Make communica ng about Digital Retailing a part of your regular mee ng cadence.

3. Build and market your Digital Retailing brand.

It’s a red cliché, but simply building a be er mousetrap won’t drive tra c to your door. You will need to mes- sage, promote, and help shoppers create tangible emo onal connec ons to Digital Retailing’s me savings and convenience bene ts.

Remember these four key points:

– Brand your experience.
– Promote. Promote.
– Build upon successes with subsequent promo on. – Consider in-store point of purchase.

4. Refrain from thinking of shoppers as leads.

Remember, shoppers who provide you with their trade-in and their credit applica on are far more close to pur- chase than a lead. Please don’t tread them like one. Make it clear who owns the contact, that it should be con-

forma onal and focused on ensuring that the dots are connected for shoppers so they don’t feel like they are duplica ng any e orts, or not ge ng the full bene t of star ng their deal online.

5. Include your en re leadership team in the Digital Retailing setup process.

Digital Retailing should e use “all hands on deck” a en on, especially for your leadership team during the set- up process. If one of your managers doesn’t have the opportunity to see behind the scenes and get excited, then he or she is at risk of being less on board than the rest of the team.

Know that dealership business may go on. Let your team know where you are and what you’re doing. And if there is an interrup on, pause the conversa on and address your dealership ques on before con nuing the setup mee ng. Team members distracted during the setup call can spell Digital Retailing doom.

Growing beyond your current strengths and comfort zone is a forma ve process. It’s about gradual growth, process improvement, communica on, and reinforcement. Remember that people and teams are naturally change-averse, and with a change that is oriented around the way that many of us have done business for dec- ades, it will take a though ul, planned approach.

Patrick Wyld is a Digital Retailing enterprise performance manager at Dealer.com 


Ford MDA Dealer Performance Report

THIS GREAT TOOL IS AVAILABLE TO ALL MEMBERS: Are you getting this great tool from FMCDealer.com? Send us a note if you are not receiving your DPR!

Ford Motor Company and Ford MDA created the Dealer Performance Report, which is similar to a Cross Sell Report. This report was designed to help you analyze your market and sell more vehicles. This is available to you “Free of Charge.” Please take advantage of this good report.

How to Access the Report: Dealer Principal has access to the reports via FMCDealer.com and you will need to follow the steps listed to download the reports.

1. Dealer should log into FMCDealer from the main URL FMCDealer.com; 2. The user should click the Management Reports navi-gation link under the Sales tab; 3. The user selects Minority Dealer Reports link from the Management Report.

Please contact the Ford MDA Staff if you have questions regarding this valuable tool. Thanks!



Take Advantage of This Ford MDA “Members Only” Offer From Ford Credit Ford Credit is providing funds in 2017 to assist minority dealers with selling vehicles and improv- ing performance through marketing, incentives and training programs. Funds are available to Ford and Lincoln minority dealers who floor plan with Ford Credit. Contact your local Business Development Manager for details, and act quickly as these funds do go fast.

Please contact your Ford MDA Staff if you have any questions!



Gus Machado Ford – Re-Grand Opening was held on March 20, 2017. Members of the community, friends and family attended the ceremony. Gus and his wife along with Victor Benitez and his wife hosted members of Congress, the Catholic Church ad Hialeah City Officials. Ford and Ford Credit representatives were on hand to support Gus and all the employees of Gus Machado Ford. 

Wichita Falls Ford – Re-Grand Opening was held on May 11, 2017. Jose Pozos and his family hosted the Re-Grand Open- ing and was joined by members of the community, Ford and Ford Credit representatives. Kim Capes, Ford’s General Man- ager for the Central Market Area and several of the Regional Office employees were also on hand to join in the celebration, which included delicious southwest food & great music. 


A. V. Fleming

Message From The Executive Director


We want to take this time to personally thank our moderator Mr. Robert (Bob) Schwartz for the many years of service that he has provided to our association’s 20 group. Mr. Schwartz has faithfully served over 40 of our members during his 23-year tenure as the moderator. As a matter of fact, we have members in the 20 group that are 2nd generation dealers, meaning that he has served both members in the family. His dedication to our association is second to none. Bob has visited dealers outside of the traditional 20 group meeting format. For dealers with multi- ple stores and brands in our 20 group; Bob has even set up a 20-group format with the dealer to help maximize the dealer’s productivity and profit in all stores. And for single point stores, Bob has led the team with the 20-group format, where goals and objectives are established and monitored in a timely fashion. Thus, cre- ating accountability and responsibility for the team.

Mr. Richard (Rick) James is our new moderator for our group. He is already on board and has hit the ground running. Mr. James is a former dealer, NCM instruc- tor and current moderator for CDK. Mr. James has over 20 years of retail auto- motive experience. We believe that our 20 group will continue to be a great suc- cess and we still have room for more members to join our group.

If you would like to see what our 20 group is all about. We do offer members a chance to visit our group to see if their dealership is a good fit for the group and vice versa. What we would need from you is a current composite sheet on your dealership at the time of the next meeting, so that when you come to the meeting, we can do a comparison with the members of the group. Our next meeting is scheduled for November 9-10 in Las Vegas. If you are interested in joining our group or want to come to our next 20 group meeting, please call the Ford MDA office so that we can make the necessary arrangements. 

A.V.  Fleming
Executive Director, Ford MDA



Merchant Lynx Services

Dear Members;

I hope this letter finds everyone well and business is good. In an effort to generate interest in our program we are continuing to offer a $200 Visa Gift card to anyone who scans us a merchant statement for analysis, no strings at- tached. We continue to save members money on credit cards processing and will make it as convenient and trouble free as possible to make the change.

I strongly encourage all FMDA members to take advantage of this outstanding program that was put together specifi- cally for you. The time is now to act don’t get caught play- ing catch up find out what we can do for your dealership it’s simple and can change the way you do business, for the better! I will be available to talk anytime at, 404-354-9360 or [email protected] I look forward to working with all of you soon.

Kind Regards,
Jeff Gates 





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