On May 13th, Aston Martin of New England held an open house/Cars & Coffee event at their dealership in Waltham, Massachusetts to help kick off the beginning of car season in Massachusetts. While I was there, I spent about an hour filming inside their showroom to create a video that would bring an appreciation to the craftsmanship and design of the cars made by the British automaker, along with the handful of German cars also on display. It was the best and most rewarding hour I’ve spent at a car event in a very long time.
Starting off, I want to say thanks to the people at Aston Martin of New England for allowing me to film in their showroom as the event was coming to a close and everyone started to leave. Being the only person surrounded by Aston Martins, vintage Porsche 911’s, and a new Lotus Evora 400, I was able to take in British automotive heritage. Aston Martins are more than just cars used by James Bond for over 40 years, they’re at the pinnacle of British luxury, design, and performance. These beautiful cars symbolize the very best of the automotive industry, bringing a sense of class, sophistication, and properness that only the British could offer.
The center of attention in the Aston Martin showroom is without a doubt the 1988 Vantage V8 Zagato, a car priced at $795k, and across the room near the window, the all new DB11. Two prime examples of Aston Martin staying true to their heritage. The time spent in that room made me appreciate the automaker even more, as for the first time in a dealership, I was able to film and understand why cars like Aston Martins are at the center of many people’s dreams. Instead of looking at a picture on the internet or watching a YouTube video, I was seeing and experiencing these cars through my own eyes, that can only be truly appreciated if you’re in complete solitude.
So without further ado, here’s the video from the Aston Martin of New England’s showroom. I hope you enjoy!
With YouTube and Instagram being the catalyst for car scenes across the United States in the 21st Century, car culture has always been considered more prominent in California, Texas, and Florida. Due to our inability to have year round events in the Boston area with our harsh winters and very unpredictable spring and fall months, the summer is really the only time of year we can take our cars out with full confidence that rain will not cancel events. With that being said, where does the Boston car scene rank, and is it underestimated and overlooked to some degree in the car world?
As a Bostonian and having seen the transformation this city has gone through over the past decade, car culture and its relevance in the automotive world is directly linked to our local economy. Over the past few years Boston has attracted business leaders and entrepreneurs, which in turn has brought some very rare exotics to the streets of our historical city.
This year a Pagani Zonda S showed up to Tutto Italiano at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, which is the largest event for Italian cars in the Northeast. Also present was a Ferrari Enzo that drew a crowd immediately when it pulled in. Herb Chambers Lamborghini of Boston held a get-together for Lamborghini owners prior to the event, and when all 18 cars including four Aventador SVs showed up, the entire park and the spectators there flocked to see them park on the lawn to meet their Alfa Romeo counterparts.
It’s not just Italian exotics that have become more of a common sight in and around the city. 2016 has been the year of the Porsche GT3 and GT3 RS. At Cars & Coffee, you can fully expect to see at least 2 of each to show up, and on some occasions even more. With the addition of a McLaren dealership 20 miles south of Boston, and the Aston Martin dealership in the western suburbs, the British car market has increased in popularity as well.
Boston’s car scene may never grow to the size of Florida’s, California’s, or Texas’, but it’s one that deserves a lot of respect. Car events have become fun for many who attend, and with the sightings of Aventador SVs, McLaren 650s, newer Ferraris, and even a Pagani Zonda S, the car community has gained a lot of traction, which is now introducing a new generation of car lovers to brands such as Audi, Mercedes Benz, and BMW, which has a very strong and loyal following.
Bigger and better things are sure to come, especially with the growth that the community has experienced over the past year. Hopefully with the growing number of car photographers constantly posting on Instagram, Boston’s car culture will bring further awareness to car lovers in New England who are looking to be a part of something big, that Texas, California, and Florida has monopolized.
It’s not even the first day of summer and we haven’t reached the height of the 2016 car season, but car enthusiasts from across New England have come out in droves to enjoy the very best the automotive world has to offer. Maybe it’s that for 5-6 months out of the year our cars are stored in garages and we can’t drive them due to the harsh winters, or the likelihood that more people are beginning to appreciate cars that’s bringing out record breaking crowds. In the past two months alone, the monthly Herb Chambers Cars & Coffee and Boston Cars & Coffee has experienced a significant increase in attendees.
It was estimated that close to 1,000 people attended Cars & Coffee at Herb Chambers Audi/Porsche of Burlington in May. That’s a staggering number considering that these events are held early in the morning. It’s not just the spectator numbers that have increased, but also car owners. There have been an assortment of sports cars, muscle cars, antiques, imports, and exotics that have filled the parking lot, attracting people of all ages to these monthly events.
Boston Cars & Coffee which is also held once a month at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA, had it’s biggest turnout to date on June 12th. The wide variety of cars, and even old military vehicles from Austria, makes Cars & Coffee not only a very fun experience, but also offers opportunities to learn about automotive history, both on the lawn and inside the museum.
Inside, you’ll find an exhibit that changes annually, with this year’s theme being the history of Porsche and BMW. Downstairs you’ll find the biggest collection of antique cars dating back to the very early 1900’s. At Larz Anderson, the atmosphere is ripe for creating car enthusiasts and lasting memories.
Car culture is very much alive in Boston and New England. Growing monthly, the car community is becoming much more diverse, and with that better cars and more history. With warmer weather on the horizon, there’s a very good chance we can continue breaking attendance records at Cars & Coffee for the rest of the car season. It’s a great time to be a member of the local car community, and it’s exciting to see what lies ahead down the road.
In the previous article of this mini-series where we take a look at Youtube marketing by car manufacturers, Hyundai was the center of attention, as their 15 second adverts gave no reason to consumers as to why they should buy a vehicle from the Korean automaker. Toyota now finds themselves in the BostonAutoBlog spotlight, magnifying Hyundai’s bland marketing campaign, by going one step further in advertising technology or features that all or most car manufacturers offer in today’s market. Toyota has always had a loyal following, but if their goal is to increase sales, they’re missing big in their recent onslaught of 15 second videos.
Before we analyze the video above; is this the state the automotive market is in right now, marketing pre-existing features that any car company offers? In this 15 second clip, LED headlights are the main focus, with the spokesman saying, “How do you make Camry’s headlights stand out even more? Skip ahead a few hours”. It sounds like a punchline to a corny joke, one which won’t break the ice if you’re at a table surrounded by strangers.
Most cars come with LED headlights or you can order them to modify the current car you own. Toyota’s LED’s can’t even hold a candle to three year old used Audis or BMWs which would be in the same price range as a new Camry. Worst of all, as a consumer, why would I be attracted to a Camry after watching this quick ad? Yes, by now we should all know Toyota’s reliability record, but there’s no need to start marketing features that buyers wouldn’t find relevant.
The corny jokes don’t end there, it continues with yet another quick ad. At this point, you have to wonder if the same marketing firm that worked with Hyundai, moved onto Toyota a few months later. Toyota’s are not known for their handling, and as someone who has driven a Rav4 in the past, you don’t feel very connected to the road. If great handling is the focus of the commercial, there needs to be actual footage, and not a guy playing with a toy car who then places it in the driveway.
While 15 second clips on Youtube are the norm for automakers now, less information about the vehicle being marketed is presented. Even though there’s a risk of viewers pressing the skip ad button, it would be better to extend these ads to 30 seconds to offer potential buyers selling points as to why they should buy a Rav4 or a Toyota Camry.
The last video worth highlighting, might just be the worst of them all. People who buy a Toyota Prius purchase them for one reason, it’s environmentally friendly. Toyota has been marketing the Prius like a race car, or during the Super Bowl, a getaway car. It’s time to go back to their roots and advertise the Prius for what it is. It’s not “agile”, it’s not “fun”, and it certainly doesn’t need racing decals as the car doesn’t deserve racing credentials.
What’s lacking in this commercial? Fuel efficiency. Isn’t that why people buy a Prius? What YouTube marketing has done is take common sense and a well thought out commercial out of the equation. There’s no selling points, no facts about what the car can do, no demonstration as to why it’s “agile”, and there are no legitimate reasons as to why I, or anyone else should buy one.
Hyundai and Toyota have made the ads that popup before watching a video cringe-worthy. These two manufacturers can offer better in terms of marketing to the masses, as their cars speak for themselves. Both their reliability ratings and customer satisfaction should be the main focal points of these ads, not the technology or features within the cars.
If Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, GM, Mazda, Kia, and Honda are watching, they should take notes. Hyundai and Toyota have left the door open for better YouTube advertising that grabs consumers’ attention, thoroughly goes over what their cars offer in terms of reliability, safety, and performance, and not worry about the technology within the vehicles. What is truly lacking in the automotive market is passion, emotion, and excitement.
We should get excited when we see your commercials. There should be a desire to want to drive and buy your vehicles. Every time your vehicle passes us by on the street, our first thought should be that great commercial you marketed that created an emotional connection. It’s time to start marketing your cars as if you love them as much as the consumer. Without passion, you become a Toyota who is trying to crack corny jokes, or Hyundai who is in an identity crisis as they’re not sure whether to brand themselves as a company that offers luxury vehicles, or a company that has reasonably priced cars for the middle class.
Just over 10 years ago, a website by the name of YouTube was created, forever changing the Internet and the digital world as we know it today. Fast forward to 2016 and we now have live streaming apps: Facebook Live, Periscope, and Meerkat which all achieve the same goal; reaching followers and customers in realtime. While used by individuals and media for the most part, businesses in any sector can see results by going live, as they can answer questions and go in-depth on their products by showcasing and testing them for their followers to see. One industry that up to now refuses to take part in going live or using any native video content of their own, the automotive industry, could see massive growth in sales by posting videos to their social media platforms.
Car dealerships as a whole are very hesitant towards experimental marketing. Anything that strays from traditional marketing is often looked down upon as it’s immediately perceived to not work or could have a negative impact on the dealership’s reputation. Live streaming or video content that is created and further promoted on Facebook will be anything but negative, and in fact will yield positive results, more overall reach, and more engagement. Most importantly, by going live, you now show the audience that you’re in fact human instead of a company web bot.
Back in the 1990’s, car dealerships would have time slots on local television stations, usually 30 minutes. They’d have a salesman in front of cars discussing the price, performance specifications, and options that came with the model. Today in the 21st century, when video content can reach thousands of people without great expense, there’s dealerships who shy away from live streaming or recorded video altogether, with very few companies posting videos on YouTube at the very least.
While YouTube has the ability of going viral, your videos will not be targeted directly to consumers in your dealership’s area. With Facebook, you can promote to and target people within your region, state, and even city your dealership is located in. Whether you record live or not, your chances of going viral are much higher as your followers and customers can easily share, like, and comment.
In terms of specifics, you could do a weekly video discussing certain models, trim levels, and varying prices. Since cars have different features, engine types, and drivetrains, your content can help customers choose the car that fits their specific needs. Consumers who aren’t quite sure which car brand they should go with, would benefit greatly by your videos, especially if the model you’re reviewing is a rival to one of the brands they’re looking at. For example, you’re the General Manager of a Hyundai dealership and you want to increase sales of the Elantra GT. With a video taking an in-depth look at the Elantra GT, you could pry consumers away from buying a Honda Fit or Volkswagen Golf.
The possibilities are endless. There’s no need to hop on the YouTube train when you could go in a completely different direction and reach potential customers within minutes. With Facebook promotions, your videos are seen on people’s news feeds, rather than hoping an intrigued potential buyer searches on YouTube, with the possibility the video they watch isn’t from your dealership. Live streaming and videos is what the market responds to, and by not advertising and marketing in the year we live in, you’re setting yourself up for shrinking sales year after year.
Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you’re a franchise or a privately owned car dealership, social media has to take precedence in your marketing strategy. Clearly, with the very existence of your social media pages, reaching out to followers, informing customers, or even selling cars on these platforms, has some importance to you. So why aren’t you taking social media marketing seriously, or if you are, why are you hiring people who have no sense of what it means to be an effective marketer? In any other industry, including the car selling business, no sales means an immediate firing or layoff, yet you still keep your social media manager, despite the low engagement rates.
Time and time again, I witness car dealerships’ Facebook pages being managed incorrectly. There’s no effort, no experimental marketing, no engagement, and very boring content that will be overlooked by the people who you’re trying to reach. The content that is shared is irrelevant to their dealership, the cars on their lot, and the audience they’re marketing to. Hard selling keeps potential customers away, and instead of informing people on the specials the dealership is offering that month, they infuse the status and post with “SALE SALE SALE!”. That’s not going to get people in your doors.
If you’re posting on a consistent basis and still not seeing results, the answer to your problems can be simple, as you’re not promoting your Facebook posts. How are people going to see your statuses if you’re not using the promotion tools Facebook has? There’s a chance that your existing followers will not be drawn into your content because they either recently purchased a vehicle from your dealership, or are currently not in the market just yet for a new car.
Now is the time to revamp your social media marketing strategy. With Facebook Live, you’re able to have live streaming events. Take an in-depth look at a particular model in your showroom, go through the features, tech and performance specifications, why the customer should buy that vehicle, and give the viewers alternatives in terms of trim level and prices. Maybe do a virtual tour of your dealership, to make a customer’s first time entering your dealership’s doors a comfortable experience. Since these videos stay on your timeline, there’s no need to create multiple videos of the same car, unless the content and information is different. By promoting these videos correctly, you’ll reach potential customers who are in the market for that specific vehicle or brand, and engagement should increase if you post videos regularly.
Instagram is another great social media marketing tool that is often misused. I’ve followed, and have been followed by dealerships who post nothing but non-native content. Photoshopped pictures that the brand provides is all that’s being posted, which then raises the following question; you’re a car dealership, don’t you have cars that you can take professional pictures of and then post on Instagram to get the maximum amount of likes possible? Even if you’re not willing to pay a photographer, isn’t there a current employee who is capable of taking pictures that, even if they’re not perfect, look better than fake photos of cars that aren’t even on your lot?
It all comes down to effort. Ho much time and energy are you willing to put forth to see results from social media marketing? You’re not going to see results overnight, which is why you need to be persistent in the content you provide. Some of you have over 100 cars on your lot and multiple models depending on the brand you’re selling, which means you have endless amounts of content to post and create. The automotive industry is probably the best and easiest business sector to create content for, especially if you have a passionate social media marketer behind the scenes.
The real issue at the end of the day is that the automotive industry as a whole is outdated and old. There’s not enough young people getting involved in the marketing and advertising department of dealerships, and as a result, car dealerships might just be the worst users of social media platforms. By not hiring young social media marketers, you’re going to miss out on an entire generation of consumers. Even older generations are hopping on the social media train, so by not effectively communicating to potential customers in your area, you’re missing out on sales and the ROI that you put into social media marketing.
Social media isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s a platform that you have to be committed to, similar to friendships and relationships, it’s a two-way street. By not posting consistently, your followers and or potential customers will not take you seriously and move on to another dealership. How bad do you want sales, and are you willing market tirelessly to see the results you’re looking for? The decision is yours, but realize that there are dealerships who are effectively marketing on social media, and they’re ready to take your business from you.
Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at email@example.com.
I know what you’re thinking, Boston Auto Blog the Jaguar F-Type is already priced near $100,000, which can buy you a Lamborghini Gallardo. Yes, while the new Jaguar F-Type R already exceeds six figures, the argument can be made that this Jaguar could be considered an exotic. However the 2014 models are beginning to hit the used market, and great deals are out there for the taking. Your wait for the British performance car to depreciate in value might be shortened as you can get behind the wheel of this amazing car right now if you’re in the financial position to do so.
It will require some searching and traveling depending on your location, but there are 2014 Jaguar F-Type’s on the market for as low as $55,000. Mileage on the tachometer is around 6,000 – 12,000 on the lower end of price range spectrum. These models aren’t just base trims either, you’ll find the S trim within the $55,000 – $60,000 price range, which means you’ll get 40 extra horses under the hood for a total of 380 horsepower and supercharged V6 engine. Since these are 2014’s, you’re limited to the convertible, as the coupes didn’t hit the market until 2015.
If you want to spend more than $60,000 and closer towards a $70,000 price tag, the V8-S trim is available, giving you a whopping 495 hp. Unfortunately, the 2015 F-Type R is still near the six figure mark, and to find a coupe you’ll be looking at spending $80,000. With that being said, the 2014 convertible is still a solid choice at this price range. You’re getting European performance at a relatively low cost, especially if you look at other options in this price range. While the Alfa Romeo 4C, Lotus Evora, older Porsches, and Chevrolet Corvettes on the market could satisfy anyone’s hunger and desire for speed and performance, there is no denying that the F-Type’s roar alone makes it a serious consideration for those looking at sports cars to have fun with in the summer.
Unlike the other cars that I’ve talked about as being a “Poor Man’s Exotic”, Jaguar offers leasing programs for the F-Type. Prices vary, but $699/month appears to be the consensus. Now, I understand that leasing isn’t very popular due to mile limitations and the fact that the car isn’t really yours, but it is an option worth mentioning.
In appearance, the Jaguar F-Type resembles the Ferrari California T, which is why it should be considered a “Poor Man’s Exotic”. While the F-Type’s predecessor, the XK, has some affordable options on the market right now, both cars differ to a certain degree in terms of perception, where figuratively the XK is more of a car you go to the golf course with, and the F-Type is for having fun on the open roads.
“It’s Good To Be Bad” should be taken literally, because this bad cat is very fun to drive.
By no means is the Ferrari F355 a poor man’s car because it’s in fact an actual exotic, but due to depreciation, this beautiful car is within reach for some car enthusiasts. The first Ferrari to be put on the “Poor Man’s Exotic” list, the F355 hits the heart strings for many, also bringing back memories from its cameo in the First Fast & Furious movie. What is probably one of the more under-appreciated and sometimes forgotten Ferrari, the F355 was the predecessor to the 360 Modena and F430, which began the race with Lamborghini to build and create supercars that amaze us every time one passes us by.
Starting off with the prices that you can expect for an F355, you’re looking at a $50,000 starting point, and gradually work your way up to close to $90,000 for one in mint condition. You’ve got the choice between the spider, targa, or hard top, and manual or automatic. Best of all, the F355 was one of the last Ferraris with a pure manual and not the dual clutch transmissions which can now be found on all modern Ferraris. A car that brings you back to the late 90’s which still carried the tradition of driving in the 20th century, this Ferrari is one of the last cars that defines its era.
Most the F355’s that are listed within a 250 mile radius of Boston have very low mileage, even the cars that are priced around $50,000 come with 21,000 – 30,000 miles. These beautiful cars were definitely taken care of, as a car like the F355 would be driven on the weekends or taken to car events. That’s what’s great about Ferraris that are older; they’re more likely to have been treated very carefully as opposed to a 2010 Nissan GTR which, at least from what I’ve seen, is harder to find in great condition.
With performance you will receive 375 hp, and a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds, which even with today’s standards is pretty fast. The F355 comes with the typical exotic MPG of 9 MPG in the city and 14 MPG on the highway, but the excitement, adrenaline, and fun you’ll have supersedes the amount of times you’re going to visit the pump.
In the two previous articles in the series, the Alfa Romeo 4C and Lotus Evora are much younger and newer, with more of that off the assembly line look and appeal. The F355 offers a retro alternative, but still turns heads, even those of younger car enthusiasts. It’s also an opportunity to own a Ferrari for less than $75,000. The 360 and F430 are still priced above $100,000, and until they begin to depreciate in value, the older ancestor of the Ferrari brand is great choice to go with.