Representing South Los Angeles County New Car Dealers Since 1932
Boulevard Buick Celebrates 50 Years
Pictured above left to right are: Ron Charron, Co-Owner/COO; Brian Sweeny, Vice Pres – Buick/GMC; Mark Reuss,
President of GM, Jim Willingham, Co-Owner/CEO; Brad Willingham, Co-Owner/CFO.
oulevard Buick celebrated 50 years of sales a car in Southern California. After the street was
and service in the Long Beach/Signal Hill changed to “Long Beach Boulevard” to really get
area last month. Jim the city on the map, Jim changed
Willingham began selling auto- the name to Boulevard Buick. The
mobiles on American Avenue at photo on the left is the Buick
Ed James Studebaker in 1954. The showroom, circa 1967.
dealership moved in 1961 from Congratulations to all manage-
Anaheim Street to its brand new ment and staff at Boulevard Buick
facility at 1881 American Avenue for 50 successful years!
in Long Beach. At the time, this
was considered “the” place to buy
INSIDE Tire Repair and Liability
Issues, Page 5
Legislation and its Impact on
How to Conquer Social
Customer Service, Page 9
Auto Dealerships, Page 8
The Southlander is an official publication of President’s Message
By Matt Browning,
Browning Auto Group, Cerritos
eason’s Greetings! This is the time of year
we reflect on our good fortunes and are
thankful to be in this industry, which pro-
vides a good quality of life for so many peo-
ple. Regardless of our personal situation or
11111 New Falcon Way
Cerritos, CA 90703 the monthly ups and downs we see in our
Phone: (562) 467-5252 businesses, we don’t have to look too far to
Fax: (562) 653-7876
see that we are fortunate to be living in this
country. Far too many people have it much
worse than we do, and I encourage you to take a moment to be thankful
OFFICERS for our blessings.
PRESIDENT Most of you know that we are no longer partners in the Orange
Browning Auto Group, Cerritos County Auto Show. The joint venture ended this year, which has been
fantastic for both dealer associations. Our association has wisely used the
revenues from this event to do things that have given us national recogni-
John Davis tion and support vital programs that keep our industry strong. Prior to
Glenn E. Thomas Dodge, Signal Hill the 15-year auto show partnership, we had our own show in Long Beach
for many years.
SECRETARY/TREASURER I’m pleased to announce that we are going back to Long Beach! The
Nick Worthington Same Old Auto Show? Not with the SMCDA. For the past six months the
Worthington Ford, Long Beach
Southland dealers have put forth a plan that will revolutionize the tradi-
tional auto show. Next June the SMCDA will launch the “SoCal Test
Ron Charron Drive Expo” at the Long Beach Convention Center. This will be a hybrid
Blvd. Buick/Pontiac/GMC, Signal Hill Auto Show and Test Drive Experience where the test drive will be the
central theme of the show. To find out more about this event, go to www.
Cerritos Infiniti, Cerritos testdriveexpo.com and stay tuned as this event takes shape.
Just when you thought you had all your holiday plans settled, you have
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT one more event to add to the calendar. Don’t forget to RSVP to the annu-
Greg Timmons al installation dinner at the Virginia Country Club on Thursday, January
Timmons Volkswagen/Subaru, 12th and help welcome John Davis as our second third-generation presi-
dent. John’s dad, Bob, was president in 1986 and his grandfather, Monte,
was president in 1963. And for those who are keeping track of such
SMCDA STAFF things, Monte’s mentor, Glenn E. Thomas, was the first president of this
Todd Leutheuser association in 1932. I hope to see you there and celebrate this rich history.
Dianna Docton Happy Holidays,
To advertise in an upcoming issue, please
Todd Leutheuser at
(562) 467-5252 Matt Browning
2 Winter 2012 WWW.smcda.org WWW.smcda.org Winter 2012 3
NADA University’s Featured Training and Resources Tire Repair and Liability Issues By Sam Celly, Celly Services, Inc.
ake action now to enroll in a 2012 class at NADA Overcoming Obsolescence (online course) n August of 2005, Casey Barber brought his Knowing fully well that this judgment will serve
University. Unlocking Frozen Capital (online course) Ford E350 to a Ford dealer in San Diego, Calif. as a baseline for all future wrongful tire repair
Dealer Candidate Academy (DCA): Jan 23, Feb Managing Parts Inventory (convention work- for tire repairs. A year later, on July 31, 2006 lawsuits, dealers may forego tire repairs entirely.
20, May 7, Jun 25, Sep 10, Oct 22 shop) while Mr. Barber and his wife were driving to Risks associated with tire repair are high and
General Dealership Management Academy (GDM): Performing a Monthly Parts Reconciliation Arizona on Highway 98, their Ford vehicle over- keeping in mind the liability Ford/Firestone
Jan 9, Feb 13, May 21, Sep 17, Oct 8 (webinar on demand) turned and killed them both. The cause of the
ATD Truck Dealer Academy: June 11 NADA U Partner training from Jeff Sacks accident as reported by the Arizona Highway
Department managers may attend a ONLINE RESOURCES at NADAuniversity.com: Patrol was tread separation of the rear left tire.
class week even if they don’t have a Driven Management Guides-Parts: They left behind three sons who sued the Ford
student in the Academy program. Call A Dealer Guide to Parts Management and dealer and others for the wrongful death of their
800.557.6232, and visit www.NADA. Profitability (no charge to NADA and ATD mem- parents.
org/nadauniversity/academy to down- bers) Prior to trial in San Diego County, other
load schedule and applications. Top 5 Ideas for Managing the Parts Department defendants who had worked on the vehicle set-
WEBINARS & SEMINARS: NADA inventory (no charge to NADA and ATD mem- tled for $8.3 million. The names of these other
U provides two types of webinars,each bers) defendants are not public. The jury, in a trial
conducted at 1:00 PM ET: Also in Resource Toolbox, find these tools in the which ended on January 11, 2011, found the
1.) MarketINSIGHT - open to all at no charge; NADAPerks library, no charge to NADA and ATD dealership negligent in repair of the tire and
view them live or on demand in NADA U’s members: awarded the plaintiffs $14.5 million. Without
Resource Toolbox Parts Turn Calculator commenting on the merits of the case or the size
2.) Learning Hub – available for purchase ($199); First Time Fill Rate of the award, we can certainly say that tire repair incurred from installing defectively manufac-
view them live and on demand for 2 years Visit www.NADAuniversity.com or call 800-557-6232 is serious business and now has the fingerprints tured tires, the complete tire repair business
ONLINE TRAINING at NADAuniversity.com: for assistance. of a $22.7 million judgment. As part of the post- requires some serious thinking on behalf of the
verdict settlement, the Ford dealer has agreed to dealer community.
implement a comprehensive training program to Business Concerns: Some dealers are sublet-
train its technicians on safe tire practices to ting tire repair work to a vendor down the street
improve consumer safety. thinking that this will protect them as they are
Chilling Effect: When a judgment this size is not conducting tire repair themselves. Not so.
handed to an auto dealer, it has a chilling effect Actually, they will increase liability as they have
on the tire repair business of every dealer. no quality control over the process. Any wrong
done by a vendor makes the dealer-
ship liable for damages. The vendor
is liable but the dealership is on the
hook too. Deep pockets at the deal-
ership make them an attractive tar-
get. Secondly, the dealership may
decline all tire work and this would
be the least risky alternative.
However, once the customer goes to
the tire repair facility down the
street, that facility will repair the
tire and take other business like
brakes, shocks and flush, etc. The
customer and their revenue stream
disappear. Some dealerships have
reported that since the $22.7 mil
Continued on page 6
Winter 2012 5
4 Winter 2012
Continued from page 5
lion judgement, their tire sales have gone up. Once incorrectly. The days of a $5 tire patch are over. Due on the poster. A DVD reviewing the tire repair pro- the dealer decides to mail the cards after the con-
the safety concerns and conditions under which to the inherent obligation of the dealership to pro- cedures is also available from the tire distributors. sumer information has been filled in. Changes to
many tires cannot be repaired are explained to the vide training to technicians performing tire repair RMA guidelines or other industry guidelines do not federal law in 2009 allows dealers to complete tire
customer, the customers have opted for new tires. In work, the dealership should allow only trained and have weight of the law but they are considered per- registration online as well. This process is more
any case, do not repair tires that may result in safety competent employees to work on tires. In essence, suasive in trials. Also, California B.A.R. reportedly accurate, trustworthy and the level of compliance is
concerns later. Follow all vehicle manufacturers, tire monitor who repairs tires carefully so that no judges tire repair work in line with RMA standards. certainly more.
manufacturers, and tire repair industry standards In summary, in the absence of a better or higher In summary, tire registration at the time of tire
threshold on tire repair, follow RMA standards. sale, whether through a sublet or in-house, is a
related to tire repair.
Industry Standards: Motor vehicle manufacturers
Research from NHTSA and the Some tires cannot be repaired. Do not repair them, requirement under law. Federal law aside, failure to
have certain specifications for the size and type of Rubber Manufacturer Association no matter how much customer wrath you may have register can bring liability when a tire is recalled, the
to take. consumer gets no information on the recall, and is
tire installed on each vehicle. If the incorrect tire
installed by the dealers causes an accident, liability
has indicated that 87.5% of tires Other Considerations Regarding Tires: involved in an accident caused by tire failure. If the
accrues. Secondly, every major tire manufacturer repaired in the country are Tire Registration: The purpose of tire registration is accident could have been avoided by notification to
to document the identity of the retail purchaser of consumer and subsequent tire replacement, liability
provides an Owner’s Manual that covers warranty
and maintenance issues such as tire rotation pressure
repaired incorrectly. every tire so that the purchaser can be informed of a accrues for the dealership! (Authority Cited: 49CFR
monitoring, and inspection for tire damage and wear. tire recall by the tire manufacturer. The National Ch. V 574)
Implement policies and procedures at your dealer- untrained employee gets to work on tires. It is seri- Transport and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 This article was authored by Sam Celly, BChE MChe JD of
ship to hand over information to customers. Lastly, ous business. RMA has published tire repair guid- USC 1381) requires all manufacturers of tires to pro- Celly Services, Inc. a Registered Environmental Assessor and
follow correct tire repair procedures. Provide tools ance. The guide from RMA on tire repair standards, vide tire registration forms to every distributor and Certified Safety Professional in Long Beach, California. The
and training to your technicians according to indus- policies and procedures is available online at http:// dealers of its tires which offer new tires for sale. author is not an expert on tire repair standards and as such urges
try standards or better. www.rma.org/tire_safety/tire_maintenance_and_ Procedure: The customer then fills in their name the reader to confer with professionals in the tire repair industry.
Tire Repair: Research from NHTSA and the safety/tire_repair/. A poster from RMA should be and address and mails the form to the tire manufac- Lastly, this article is in no way, shape or form legal advice to auto
Rubber Manufacturer Association has indicated that posted in the tire repair area and all employees work- turer or to its designee. The law allows smaller deal- dealers to manage liability associated with tire repair. Comments
87.5% of tires repaired in this country are repaired ing on tire repair familiarized with the information ers up to six months or up to 40 tires (whichever regarding this article are welcome. Send them to sam@cellyservic-
comes first) to mail the tire registration information es.com.
to the tire manufacturer or its designee in the event
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6 Winter 2012 WWW.smcda.org WWW.smcda.org
Winter 2012 7
Commission Agreement Legislation and Dealerships
By Lonnie Giamela,
Fisher & Phillips How to Conquer Social Customer Service By Kathi Kruse,
Kruse Control, Inc.
arlier this Fall, the California Legislature passed legisla- an action for penalties of $100 per pay period per aggrieved ne customer service experience can change the waiting for a complaint to come to
tion that puts additional obligations on how SMCDA employee under the Private Attorneys General Act. entire perception of your organization. you, you must be an active listener.
members document compensation agreements with com- Assembly Bill 1396 provides SMCDA members approxi- How much attention do you pay to your cus- Your attention on what matters most–the customer–
mission-based employees. Assembly Bill 1396 requires mately one year to come into compliance with the statute. The tomer base? With technology and automation making has its rewards:
employers, effective January 1, 2013, to put all agreements statute applies to salespeople, service advisors, departmental certain jobs obsolete, you may have eliminated the 1. Reaching out and engaging the customer prior
involving the payment of commissions in writing. The statute heads and any individual who is paid on a commission basis. position of customer service manager. Maybe you’ve to sale makes you top-of-mind when they’re
also requires written agreements to specifically set forth the The written agreements should contain four parts, including a been lulled into a false sense of security about how far ready to buy.
method by which the commissions shall be calculated and discussion of the commission calculation, explanation of how technology has come but customer expectations have 2. Supporting them as they decide to purchase
paid. Many expect that this statute will serve as a new conduit figures used in the commission calculation (e.g. commission- never been higher. In fact, your potential customers’ establishes trust and strengthens the relationship.
for class action wage-hour lawsuits against non-compliant able gross profit) are calculated, description that commissions 3. Continued engagement with them after the
employers. are subject to adjustment and chargebacks and, if applicable, Social networks allow us to purchase shows you care. They feel comfortable
referring to you their network.
“Commissions” are defined as compensation paid to any
person in connection with the sale of the employer’s property
an identification of any draw or guarantee that shall be pro-
vided to the employee. Compensation plans should be
communicate bigger, farther and 4. Effective listening and undivided attention dif-
or services and based proportionately upon the amount or descript and comprehensive to avoid complaints not just wider than ever before. fuses conflicts. Resolving their problem makes
value thereof. “Commissions” do not include short-term pro- under this new statute, but under general wage/hour and con- you a hero.
ductivity bonuses or bonus and profit-sharing plans, unless tract legal principles. expectations have never been higher. There’s never
based on an employer’s promise to pay a fixed percentage of Notwithstanding the new requirement that compensation been a more apropos time to dig your well before A dealership Social Media manager IS a customer
sales or profits as compensation. Based on the new statute, for commission-based employees be in writing, the risk of you’re thirsty. service manager. They manage your online commu-
written agreements must be prepared not just for traditional increased wage/hour litigation emphasizes the need for all A few years ago, customer service managers would nity: they solve conflicts and they engage fans and
commission agreements, but also for one-time spiffs that are compensation agreements to be in writing. Dealers should do their follow up with sales and service customers followers in meaningful conversations that ultimately
tied to the sale of an automobile or bonuses paid for meeting devote time in 2012 to working with HR professionals and and merrily going about their business, waiting by the generate leads. You and your management team can
year-to-date sales goals. respective departments to prepare written pay plans for hour- phone for problems to come to them. Today, dealers no longer afford to do this in your spare time. There
Starting in 2013, SMCDA members must also give an exe- ly, salary, commission and flat rate compensation plans. and brands must meet the customer where they are: are too many customer service nightmares waiting to
cuted copy of the commission agreement to every employee Having these plans are useful tools both in resolving internal listen and monitor the jungle tom toms to tell you happen. It’s time to make sure the real-life experience
and must obtain a signed receipt for each contract. The con- disputes regarding compensation and in defense of litigation, when trouble is brewing. Business has always been your customer receives at your store gets communi-
tract terms are presumed to remain in full force and effect should such arise. built on relationships and Social networks allow us to cated to your online community. Provide your net-
until the contract is superseded or employment is terminated Lonnie Giamela is a partner at labor and employment firm communicate bigger, farther and wider than ever work with a liaison and make that one customer
by either party. Failure to comply will subject an employer to Fisher & Phillips in Los Angeles. before. experience that changes perceptions a fantastic one!
It’s time to reinstate the position of customer ser- Kathi Kruse is an automotive Social Media expert.
vice manager only this time they have a much more Visit her online at www.krusecontrolinc.com.
comprehensive list of job duties. They must
attend to all the standard functions they did
For the Holidays
before with the added duty of listening,
Reserve Your Date by October 31st &
we will include FREE Holiday Cookies
reaching out and engaging with your custom- Catering
For the Day after Thanksgiving
er through Social Media. Think about when
you call or interact with a company now, Special Luncheon Packages
especially if you’re having an issue with them. Begin at $12.95 per person
Do you wait patiently for them to respond?
No, you want to be heard immediately. Social
platforms have made it possible to attend to
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Customers know that, they know YOU know
that, so their expectations are set.
Your store must create awareness and fos- Breakfast ~ Lunch ~ Dinner Menus Available
ter a relationship with the customer before,
Call Café n’ Stuff 888-888-9292 today
during and after the purchase. Instead of
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8 Winter 2012 Winter 2012 9
Banquet invite 2012 12/14/11 12:15 PM Page 1
SMCDA Presents Scholarships to Auto Technology Students
Financial awards honor high-achieving students
MCDA awarded three automotive
scholarships to six promising students
at its board meeting Thursday,
The Jeannie M.T. Yang Scholarship, a
$500 award was presented to Emerson
Hemedes of Whittier and Joseph Park of
Victorville. 80th Annual SMCDA Sponsors
The SMCDA Automotive Technology
Scholarship, a $500 tool voucher toward
the purchase of MATCO tools was
The Los Angeles Times
received by Yosias Alfaro of Bellflower, Enterprise Rent A Car
Zane Mortensen of Fullerton, and Eddie Zurich
Ornelas of South Gate. This scholarship
was designed to assist the college’s automo- Asbury Environmental Services
tive apprentice program students in pur- Bank of America Dealer Services
chasing tools to use in their classes. The
tool voucher, combined with the 50% tool BPM Windes Accountants & Consultants
discount program which MATCO also Comerica Bank
provides for Cerritos College automotive
students, is actually worth $1,000.
SMCDA also presented the $750 Parke Guptill & Company LLP
SMCDA Northwood 3rd Year Scholarship
to Richard Salazar of Santa Fe Springs.
This award assists Cerritos College stu- Burkhalter, Kessler Clement & George
dents who have completed their first two California New Car Dealers Association
years in automotive technology training
and are pursuing their bachelor’s degree Celly Services, Inc.
through Northwood University. Dealer Track
KSPN Los Angeles 710 am
Lance, Soll, Lunghard LLP
Powerful Advertising Solutions Maize Tuebner Maize
One call can deliver to an audience that spends MOC Products
over 3.93 billion dollars* annually on vehicles. Reynolds & Reynolds
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Call 562-499-1301 or 310-543-6695 SMCDA.ORG
Southland Motor Car Dealers Association
www.presstelegram.com | www.dailybreeze.com 11111 New Falcon Way, Cerritos, California 90703
10 Winter 2012 Winter 2012 11