Effectively Marketing a Used Car Dealership

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Effectively Marketing a Used Car Dealership: Positioning Valley Motors for Continued Success A Marketing Plan for Valley Motors Company

Marci LaRue Fisher University of Denver University College Capstone Project for Master of Professional Studies in Applied Communication, Public Relations and Marketing March 14, 2008

_____________________ Jerry Call, Ph.D. Capstone Advisor

_____________________ Amy E. Kelsall, Ph.D. Academic Director

Upon the Recommendation of the Department

_____________________ James R. Davis, Ph.D. Dean

Fisher-ii Abstract With a slowing economy and growing demand for more sales, the need to reevaluate the business of selling high-priced ticket items, such as automobiles, is the top priority for Valley Motors. An analysis of the present market conditions affecting car sales, specifically focusing on the used car industry, including a survey of past customers, defined the current business status of Valley Motors. Three key components were identified: 1) further promote the credibility of Valley Motors in its community and defy the stigma of used car sales, 2) evaluate and target the new leader (women) in consumer spending and 3) implement and commit to the marketing plan created for Valley Motors that will guide them to effectively market Valley Motors in an increasingly competitive market.

Fisher-iii Table of Contents Abstract…..…………………………………………………………………………………………………ii Abbreviations……………………………………………………………………………………………. v Introduction…….……………………………………………………………………………………….. 1 Problem Statement………………………………………………………………………….1 Goals and Objectives……………………………………………………………………… 6 Benefits…………………………………………………………………………………………… 7 Literature Review…………………………………………………………………………………….. 7 Economic Concerns………………………………………………………………………… 8 Consumer Behavior………………………………………………………………………… 13 Customer Service…………………………………………………………………………….18 Used Car Sales Reputation…………………………………………………………….. 21 Online Car Buying…………………………………………………………………………… 24 Methods and Procedures……….…………………………………………………………………. 26 Results….…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28 Situational Analysis………………………………………………………………………… 32 Target Audience……………………………………………………………………………… 36 Strategies/Tactics…………………………………………………………………………… 38 Implementation Timeline and Budget……………………………………………. 45 Plan Evaluation and Measurement………………………………………………….46 The Need for a Marketing Plan……………………………………………… ………. 47 Marketing Plan for Valley Motors…………………………………………………… 48

Fisher-iv Next Steps………………………………………………………………………………………. 49 Discussion….…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 49 The Future of Valley Motors…………………………………………………………… 50 References……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 51

Fisher-v Abbreviations BBB CDMV CFA FTC MB NACAA NADA NIADA PGA SUV VIN Better Business Bureau Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles Consumer Federation of America Federal Trade Commission Mercedes-Benz National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators National Automobile Dealers Association National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Professional Golf Association Sport Utility Vehicle Vehicle Identification Number

Fisher-1 Introduction Problem Statement Positioning one’s company, or its products, above the competition is the main driver for success in any capitalistic environment. Valley Motors, a small, independent car dealership located in Englewood, Colorado wants to increase its customer base and find out how it can adjust its marketing approach to meet the changing times. What is affecting their sales? Is it the economy, more competition, dealership reputation or their sales strategy? Perhaps, it is a combination of all of them. Or, are there other factors involved like location? I anticipate that Valley Motors is doing a good job overall and is most likely feeling the effects of the economy, but needs to refocus its marketing strategies differently to address its customers effectively in a changing climate. There is the trend within local dealerships to move...
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