Company NewsGeneral

Penske Automotive Uses Apple Concept for Product Specialist Program

Penske Automotive Uses Apple Concept for Product Specialist Program

Penske Automotive launched a product specialist program in one of its stores last month to try to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. The name or location of the store is not being revealed. The concept that the company is using closely emulates the “genius” product specialists that Apple uses at its retail stores.

Tony Pordon, the executive vice president of investor relations and corporate development, says that the idea to initiate such a scheme came from the general manager of the test store. She is trying to creatively drive more people to her location and to improve customer satisfaction ratings at the dealership. Pordon would only say that a high-volume foreign brand is sold at the store.

Penske Automotive is not the first company to test out product specialists in its stores. BMW also took inspiration from Apple for its BMW Genius Everywhere program, which was launched in the United Kingdom and has spread throughout Europe. The vehicle manufacturer requires its dealerships to hire young, tech-savvy people to answer inquiries about its vehicles. BMW is expected to bring this program to the United States early next year.

Penske Automotive supports BMW Genius Everywhere, as well as sells the manufacturer’s vehicles, but Pordon says that its product specialist initiative is separate. The company owns 140 dealerships, but has only hired two product specialists. Pordon says that energetic, tech-savvy people who are willing to embrace changes in technology are ideal candidates for future product specialists. The company wants people who understand product details and have robust communication skills.

Pordon explained that Penske Automotive product specialists will greet customers, go on test drives and do vehicle walk-arounds before a salesperson begins to negotiate a price with the customers. The goal is to meet the high expectations of customers and provide a better, faster experience. Emulating the tech-savviness that other businesses have is one way to accomplish this goal, and that is why this program has been initiated.

He also noted that this is a lower-cost way to boost store sales, despite the upfront cost of hiring product specialists, because it will lead to more gross and increase profits. The management team will examine the initiative and make adjustments as necessary, such as having the product specialists do the sales side of the business as well. If the program works, Penske Automotive will consider launching it at other dealerships.


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Getting Your Car Ready for winter

Getting Your Car Ready for winter


With frigid winter weather on the way for a large portion of the country, it pays to make sure your car is ready. The rigors of ice and snow can really take a toll on your vehicle. Here are some maintenance issues to handle before the first flakes fall.

A Tire Inspection

Your tires are what keeps you on the road in bad conditions, so you will want to check their condition and pressure before cold weather comes. You can insert a penny into the tread and see how much remains—make sure it goes in as deep as Lincoln’s head. The pressure can be checked at any gas station with an air machine, and you can add air at the same time, if needed. Should you live in an area that experiences a lot of snow, you may also want to consider getting a set of snow tires for more traction.

Change the Oil

Colder weather causes oil to get thick, so you will need to change out the summer-weight oil for something thinner. Your operator’s manual can advise you as to the proper type and weight to use in colder weather.

Wax the Entire Vehicle

Salt and other compounds used to treat the roads are corrosive, and sand and ash used for traction can create scratches in the paint. By carefully waxing the entire vehicle, you are applying a barrier that will seal and protect the paint and any exposed metal. This will help avoid scratches and rust.

Check or Change Your Antifreeze

Your antifreeze does exactly that in cold weather, but sometimes people top off the reservoir with water in the summer. The mix is supposed to be an even 50/50 split between antifreeze and water. Any additional water in the system can lead to freezing, which will damage your engine and rack up an enormous repair bill.

Check All Belts and Hoses

The rubber used in belts and hoses can become brittle in cold weather, so make sure they are in good condition. Also check the clamps for any sign of corrosion.

Taking the time to prepare your vehicle for winter will make for a safer driving experience and a worry-free holiday season. As always, consult your mechanic if anything doesn’t look right on your car or it isn’t operating properly.

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Company NewsGeneral

Keselowski Wins the Richmond Race


Brad Keselowski, driving the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang, won the race held at Virginia 529 College Savings 250. It was Keselowski’s fifth victory of the season in Hertz colors and 11th win for Ford in 2013. This is the first year of the team’s partnership.

Keselowski started the race, which was held on the night of September 6, 2013, at the fourth position. He worked his way into the bottom line after giving up several spots during the initial laps. This is the preferred line on the Richmond International Raceway, known as the victory lane.

He made his first pit stop at lap 69, where Jeremy Bullins, the chief crew, adjusted the air pressure and track bar. Keselowski had earlier radioed Jeremy that the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang was tight in the center but loose on the exit and corner entry. By the time he made another pit stop at lap 135, he had worked his way into the top five cars.

Brian Scott was in the lead for most of the race in his No. 2 racer, but Keselowski eventually passed him at lap 240 during a late-race restart. He again held Scott at lap 245 and cruised to the win.

When Scott was asked about the race, he said Keselowski was involved in a questionable restart. However, Keselowski responded that the restart box was a zone, and they had gone right at the start without giving Scott a second to catch up.

Asked what it meant to win the 1,000th nationwide series race, Keselowski said he was still too close to the race to understand it well. He said the question could only be answered well with the benefit of hindsight.

Explaining that it was a great honor to win such a distinguishing race, Keselowski appreciated every member of the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang team. He gave Jeremy more credit than himself for positioning them where they had a very fast car, particularly during the last few runs. He said that whether he was making passes or restarts, he was simply making executions as everything came together for the team.


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The Dangers of Drowsy Driving


Everyday, there are motorists on the roads operating on too little sleep. When a driver is drowsy, they put themselves and all other drivers in danger. Falling asleep at the wheel causes a car to drift into other lanes, onto shoulders or even into buildings. Besides falling asleep, drowsy drivers pose many other risks. These drivers are not as aware of what is going on around them, have a slower reaction time than normal, and tend to be more aggressive towards other drivers.

When a driver is unaware of their surroundings, their guard is down and they cannot prevent an accident as readily. Alert drivers are trained to keep an eye out in all directions for potential dangers. A sleepy driver is not as likely to notice these dangers and therefore may not be able to avoid them before an accident happens.

Having a quick reaction time is a key component to safe driving. When a driver is drowsy, this reaction time is much slower than usual. This makes it nearly impossible to avoid certain dangers in the road. If a car cuts in front of a driver, being able to apply the breaks quickly is necessary to avoid a collision. A driver operating on too little sleep may not have the ability to react quickly enough.

Nearly everyone’s temper is shorter when they have not had enough sleep. A quick temper and aggressive driving could cause an accident. Aggression can cause a driver to cut people off, chase a driver who cut them off, or take other unnecessary risks.

If possible, two drivers should travel together on a long trip. That way they can take turns driving if one or the other is too drowsy to drive. A driver traveling alone who has had too little sleep should not be on the road at all. If a sleepy driver thinks they will be okay to drive, but then finds that they are nodding off, they need to find a place to pull over. Stopping at a hotel for the night and starting over in the morning may cost some money and time, but it may very well save someone’s life.


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The Actual Cost of Filling Up Your Tank


For anyone who drives a vehicle every day, visiting the gas station to fill up is almost second nature. Going up to the pump, swiping your card or paying the cashier, inserting the nozzle, and squeezing the trigger is so commonplace to us that most of us don’t even bother to look at how much we spent that day. In fact, we definitely don’t take the time to see how much we’ve spent over the course of a month, much less a whole year.

In a recent post on the Quicken Loans Zing Blog, author Anthony Fontana took a look at how much we’re actually spending at the gas pump, breaking it down by cars, trucks and motorcycles. In the post, Fontana calculates how much an average person spends for each type of vehicle based on an estimated price of $3.85 per gallon.

For example, someone driving a vehicle with a 15-gallon tank is spending $57.75 every time they fill up. If that person has a commute that forces them to fill up once per week, then he or she is spending nearly $3,000 per year at the gas station – not including snacks, of course. Even more revealing was the annual fuel costs for a 25-gallon tank truck – over $5,000.

Obviously, these are just a couple of examples with specific parameters and each person or family’s fuel cost will be different due to various factors – vehicle size, vehicle fuel rating, commute distance and the current price of gasoline, among others.

To read the entire post from Fontana, including the estimated annual fuel cost of driving a motorcycle, check it out at the Quicken Loans Zing! blog:

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Keeping Your Tires Up To Speed


It goes without saying that it is important to properly maintain a vehicle. Not only does it increase the overall life of the vehicle, it fills the owner with confidence knowing that the vehicle is well-kept. With that said, one of the most crucial parts of a vehicle is its tires. The four tips below will help keep your tires in good shape and ensure that they last until its advertised lifespan.

1. Tire Pressure

One of the most overlooked vehicle care tests is checking the tire pressure. When tires aren’t properly or evenly inflated it can affect multiple aspects of the driving experience. Dipping gas mileage, poor handling and uneven tire wear can occur if you don’t check your tire pressure often – at least every two weeks. Buy a tire pressure gauge and consult your vehicle’s manual for you tires’ proper inflation rate, and make sure your tires stay there.

2. Balance and Rotation

It is vital to balance and rotate the tires, yet many drivers go without doing this either. Tires suffer from damage when they gain exposure to several road conditions, and one side of the tire may change. Rotating the tires on a frequent basis – every 12,000 miles – will allow the tires to wear equally, increasing the longevity of the tires. Maintaining tire balance will keep your vehicle running smoothly at highway speeds.

3. Visual Inspection

Many drivers do not take the time to inspect their vehicles. We sometimes get so busy that months go by before we notice a scratch on the rear passenger-side door. A quick visual inspection every couple of weeks can keep you up-to-date on the condition of your vehicle’s tires. The last thing anyone wants to do is drive on a bald tire. Not only is it unsightly, it’s also unsafe.

 4. Talk to a Professional

As with any issue you experience with your vehicle, if there is something you are unsure of or need help with, you can always go to a professional. When it comes to your tires, no issue is too small to seek help. Tires play a crucial role in the overall performance of a vehicle. Something that goes overlooked not only could decrease the longevity of your tires, but it could also be a safety hazard.

The four tips above will help drivers stay smart and stay safe in the heavy driving season of summer.

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How to Clean Your Vehicle


Regular washing is the best way to protect a car’s finish and to ward off rust. Air pollutants, road salt, bird droppings and other contaminants can break down a vehicle’s protective coating, leaving a dull surface that is vulnerable to corrosion. With a few basic supplies, and a little effort, a car owner can keep a vehicle’s new shine for years to come.

To wash your vehicle, select a day with no rain in the forecast and work in a location out of direct sunlight. Throughout the process, the car must remain wet to avoid spotting. Select a detergent specifically designed for auto surfaces. Dish soap, which is designed to cut through grease, can strip away car wax and damage rubber trims. Use microfiber or chamois cloth, or a microfiber cleaning mitt, as regular terry cloth towels do not pick up dirt, instead they just push the dirt around.

Pre-treat baked-on grime, bugs, and tar with undiluted car wash soap. A spray bottle works well for this step. The wheels tend to gather the most dirt and dust. They will need to soak for about 15 minutes. An accumulation of brake dust, which is normal with semi-metallic brakes, may require a special product designed for cleaning wheels. Give the vehicle a preliminary rinse to remove loose dirt particles that could scratch the surface. Open the truck and hood to remove dirt and leaves that may have lodged in the seams, and clear any debris from the windshield gutter beneath the wipers.

Fill a bucket with water and add the recommended amount of car wash soap. Fill a second bucket with water to use for rinsing the cleaning cloth or mitt. Having this second bucket prevents the soapy wash water from becoming contaminated with dirt.

With the soapy water, wash a small section of the car; rinse out the cleaning cloth with the clear water, then load the cloth up with soapy water to wash the next section. Start from the top of the car and work down to the rocker panels and bumpers. Do not scrub hard, as this will grind any loose dirt into the car’s finish and create scratches.

After the entire car has been soaped, give it a final rinse with a gentle stream of water from the hose, beginning at the top of the car and working down. To prevent water spots, dry the car with an absorbent chamois or microfiber cloth. Drag the cloth over the vehicle surface to absorb the water, then dry crevices with a microfiber towel. Be sure to dry doorjambs and the areas under the hood and truck lid.

Ideally, a car driven daily should be washed once a week. This simple process will help a vehicle retain value, protecting the car owner’s investment.

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