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



References: Bailey, Maria T., and Bonnie W. Ulman. 2005. Trillion-Dollar Moms: Marketing to a New Generation of Mothers. Chicago, Illinois: Dearborn Trade Publishing. Bangs, Jr. David H. 1998. The Market Planning Guide: Creating a Plan to Successfully Market Your Business, Product, or Service. 5d ed. Chicago, Illinois: Upstart Publishing Company. Barletta, Martha. 2003. Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market Segment. Chicago, Illinois: Dearborn Trade Publishing. Bellant, Jeffrey. 2007. Independents Missing Out on Business Opportunities. Used Car News, July 2. http://www.usedcarnews.com. Bellant, Jeffrey. 2007. Satisfied Customers Keep Coming Back to Lots. Used Car News, July 16. http://www.usedcarnews.com. Better Business Bureau. 2008. Reliability Report for Valley Motors Company. http://denver.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=33&bbb=0885&fir m=15406. Blackwell, Roger D. 1997. From Mind to Market: Reinventing the Retail Supply Chain. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Blackwell, Roger D., and Kristina Stephan. 2001. Customers Rule!: Why the E-Commerce Honeymoon Is Over. New York: Crown Business. Brown, Mary, and Carol Orsborn, Ph.D. 2006. Boom: Marketing to the Fisher-52 Ultimate Power Consumer—The Baby-Boomer Woman. New York: Amacom Books. Chandler, Michael. 2003. Dreamweaving: The Secret to Overwhelming Your Business Competition. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company. Clow, Kenneth E., and Donald Baack. 2004. Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Consumer Federation of America. 2005. Thirteenth Annual NACAA/CFA Consumer Complaint Survey Report, February 10. http://www.consumerfed.org. Craig, Ted. 2007. Climate Changes Quickly for Independents. Used Car News, June 18. http://www.usedcarnews.com. Craig, Ted. 2008. Credit Crunch Threatens to Linger. Used Car News Online. http://www.usedcarnews.com/Story/_WEB_Credit_Forecast_1_7. Gallup Poll. 2006. Honesty/Ethics in Professions. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1654/Honesty-Ethics Professions.aspx. Hartley, Robert F. 1998. Marketing Mistakes and Successes. 7d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Houston, Julie E. 2002. Women’s Survival Guide to Buying a Car. http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/19990830b.asp. Johnson, Lisa. 2006. Mind Your X’s and Y’s: Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers. New York: Free Press. Fisher-53 Keiningham, Timothy L., Terry G. Vavra, Lerzan Aksoy, and Henri Wallard. 2005. Loyalty Myths: Hyped Strategies That Will Put You Out of Business—and Proven Tactics That Really Work. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Lempert, Phil. 2002. Being the Shopper: Understanding the Buyer’s Choice. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Mercedes-Benz USA. 2008. Mercedes-Benz USA Home Page. Our Company: Corporate History. http://www.mbusa.com/cda/aboutus/jsp/index.jsp?page=our_compan y#history. Miller, Steve. 2007. Auto Marketers Exhibit Some Auto-Flagellation. Brandweek, January 15. Piestrzynski, David. 2007. Housing Slump Has Little Effect on Sales. Used Car News, June 18. http://www.usedcarnews.com. Raghunathan, Anuradha. 2003. Used-car sales slump puts dent in industry, changes bank practices. Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, July 4. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_02866962762_ITM. Schulz, Eric. 1999. The Marketing Game: How the World’s Best Companies Play to Win. Holbrook, Massachusetts: Adams Media Corporation. Strickford, Jim. 2003. Consumers Give Dealers Business with Complaints. Used Car News, December 15. (Accessed January 2004.) Fisher-54 http://www.usedcarnews.com/news/2003/12/15/headlines.html. Voeltz, Greg. 2008. Owner of Valley Motors. Telephone Interview conducted February 7. Ward’s Dealer Business. 2006. Well, Car Salesmen Beat Out Telemarketers. http://wardsdealer.com/ar/auto_car_salesmen_beat/index.html. Willey, Dale. 2007. “Auto Sales in a Changing Market: Transforming Problems into Opportunities.” Remarks by NADA Chairman to the Automotive Press Association. Detroit, MI. October 9. http://www.nada.org/. Willingham, Ron. 1992. Hey, I’m the Customer: Front Line Tips for Providing Superior Customer Service. Paramus, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. United States Census Bureau. 2005. Age and Sex Distribution in 2005. http://www.census.gov/population/pop-profile/dynamic/AgeSex.pdf.

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