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December to Remember – End Of The Year!

The time to buy a Christmas present — for yourself or someone else — is almost over. We’re counting the hours now.

But if you want to go big with your gift giving, you could consider an automobile.

Many auto dealerships are loaded with sedans, trucks and SUV’s. There are deals to be had, experts and dealers say.

And many of those deals will last through the end of the month as dealers push to make year-end sales goals.

The industry’s optimism has led to increased inventories, which has led to more deals, said George E. Hoffer, a transportation economic professor at the University of Richmond who follows the auto industry.

“All the second half of this year, car sales have been high,” Hoffer said. “But at the same time, car production has been even faster. That’s the problem. For the first time in almost a decade, there is an oversupply of cars on the lot.”

The average dealer had 77 days worth of new unsold vehicles as of Dec. 1, Hoffer said, citing a report by industry publication Automotive News. That’s about 30 percent higher than what is considered the ideal inventory.

A year ago, Hoffer said, the average inventory was 69 days.

“And that means the factories are offering better deals,” he said.

So most dealers have abundant supplies of 2013 models, and 2014s are arriving as automakers keep factories humming. Since dealers pay interest on money borrowed to buy the cars, they’re probably eager to sell them soon.

Some end-of-the-year sales started last month as automakers tried to get a piece of Black Friday sales with ad campaigns targeted for the day after Thanksgiving.

Normally, customers can get a deal for 5 percent to 6 percent off the sticker price, but this month a buyer of a new car, truck or SUV can look for a discount as deep as 10 percent, said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

For example, a 2014 Chevy Malibu 1LT with a sticker price of $23,510 could be sold for as much as $2,351 off.

Hoffer pointed to a culture change in the way manufacturers and dealers approach the end of the year.

“Used to be, car dealers would pretty nearly shut down after the second week of November,” he said. “Dealerships were as dead as could be, and purposely so.

“You had Thanksgiving and Christmas coming,” Hoffer said. “Your sales staff took vacations and spent time with the family.”

Then Lexus tried something different.

“They started their ‘December to Remember’ commercials,” he said. “Buying a car became a Christmas event. And they were successful. The other manufacturers were forced to follow their lead.”

Tom Flood, general manager for Lexus of Richmond at 9703 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County, was part of that new advertising tactic in 1998.

He was working for Lexus’ advertising agency, Los Angeles-based Team One Advertising, a division of Saatchi & Saatchi.

“Toyota had its ‘Toyotathon,’ ” he said, “but it didn’t even look like winter. Lexus had been having a big August event and we decided to have another one for the holidays. We came up with ‘December to Remember’ and started with the big red bows. And it worked.

“Now everybody does it,” Flood said.

George Whitlow, president of Lexus of Richmond, said that before the marketing change, dealers would write off the first three weeks of December. “The week after Christmas was what some of us called our ‘13th month.’ That was when we did all our December business.”

Flood said Lexus’ inventory isn’t as high as the industry average. “There are a couple of models that are sold out,” he said, “but there are others that we have plenty of. We have incentives from Lexus — good APR (on loans), good prices, good leasing terms.”

Some manufacturers’ ad campaigns poke fun at the Lexus approach, using over-the-top versions of the holiday-themed commercial.

This year, Honda’s “Happy Honda Days” ads feature balladeer Michael Bolton, who doesn’t mind a little humor at his own expense, delivering heartfelt lyrics. Snowflakes swirl around him and the sedans he’s selling as customers look on, some taken aback by the extravagant production.

U.S. sales are expected to reach 15.6 million vehicles this year, compared with just 10.4 million in 2009. And the latest retail sales figures from the government show that steady hiring and rising household wealth are encouraging more big-ticket purchases.

The bargains, dealers say, depend a lot on which car, SUV or truck you want to buy. The best deals now are in small and midsize cars.

Ford dealers nationwide have about a 90-day supply of Fusion midsize cars, Kelley Blue Book’s Gutierrez said, while other manufacturers’ dealers have 75-80 days of midsize car inventory.

There also are some good deals on pickup trucks.

Ford, which has the oldest big truck in the market, offers discounts and forces other automakers to follow, Gutierrez said. Ford is offering up to $8,500 off a 2013 Ford F-150 XLT Super Cab with a sticker price of around $30,000.

Gutierrez said some of the hotter segments, such as small crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, also offer good deals. But some SUVs, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, aren’t selling at much of a discount.

In addition to the high inventory, there are other factors in consumers’ favor: Interest rates are low and used-car values are still close to record highs, making trade-ins worth more money.

Also, automakers still are offering sweet lease deals, with leases running at about 25 percent of sales, near a record high, Gutierrez said.

Electric car lease deals are especially good, he said. Some dealers are offering the electric Nissan Leaf for $199 per month for 36 months with $2,000 down.

If you wait until next year you run some risks. Interest rates may rise and trade-in values are likely to drop a bit, Gutierrez said.

Barry Moore, general manager at Haley Buick GMC at 9831 Midlothian Turnpike, said pent-up demand also is driving the market.

“People have been holding off a couple of years,” Moore said. “Now, when they’re looking at the bill to fix a car, customers are thinking of using that money for a down payment on a new car instead.

“This is also a good time for a trade-in,” he said. “There’s a shortage of used cars, and dealers have those customers, too. They want used cars on the lot.”

Moore said the Internet has created knowledgeable customers.

“They come in and they know a lot about the car,” he said. “The main thing is to find a deal that fits their budget. This is a good time for that. A dealer can find a way.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Article taken from Richmond Times Dispatch, End of year shapes up to be prime car-buying time.  Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 9:44 am, Mon Dec 23, 2013.  BY RANDY HALLMAN Richmond Times-Dispatch.

See full article here: http://www.timesdispatch.com/business/end-of-year-shapes-up-to-be-prime-car-buying/article_84bbc6d6-d46d-52c6-99f3-9ba75b269954.html

Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award Nominee Week #12 – Molly Breidenbaugh of Trinity Episcopal!

Congratulations to our 12th Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Award nominee, Molly Breidenbaugh!  Molly has a 4.5 GPA at Trinity Episcopal School where she is in the National Beta Club and has been on the Principal’s List all four years. She has been active as a cross country team Captain, Vice President of the Yoga Club, and a member of Key Club, and Battle of the Brains, among others. Molly is an avid runner, having run on the Hanover High and Trinity Track and Cross Country teams and winning the Runner of the Year/ MVP award. She was the State Champion in the Indoor and Outdoor Track 3200 and Richmond Times-Dispatch Athlete of the Month September 2013. In the community, she has volunteered at Memorial Regional Medical Center during her summer breaks and been a Richmond Forum page.

As a finalist, she has received a Dinner for Two and an opportunity to compete for the $10,000 scholarship.

The Lexus December to Remember Sales Event – All about the Big Red Bows!

“Lexus has been making their bow-on-the-roof Christmas commercials since 1998. For the vast majority of the campaign’s run, these commercials have all been pretty much the same: One spouse hands the other a small present, said spouse finds keys inside, both exit their snow-covered upper-middle-class home to reveal a brand new Lexus with a bright red bow on it sitting in the driveway. They’re simple, effective, and memorable, even if they are a bit unrealistic. (What kind of person makes a $40,000+ purchase without at least giving their significant other a heads up?)

This year’s commercials are a little different. The bows are still there, but now, instead of seeing the people receiving them, we get to see the people who make them.”  (excerpt taken from UPROXX, 50 Questions About The Bow-Making Family In The 2013 Lexus Christmas Commercials, by Danger Guerrero/11.21.2013)

Read more: http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/11/50-questions-bow-making-family-2013-lexus-christmas-commercials/#ixzz2oJjJC3oE

Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award Nominee Week #11 – Jake Weber of Henrico High School!

Congratulations to our 11th Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award nominee, Jake Weber! Jake has a 5.1 GPA at Henrico High School where he is in the Math, Science, History, and National Honors Societies and has been on the All A Honor Roll. He has participated in Model United Nations, the Virginia Junior Academy of Science, and is a head lifeguard. Jake is athletically gifted, having played on the Varsity Tennis & Golf teams & earning the USTA Men’s Richmond 4.5 Singles League Team Champion title. In the community, he has volunteered at the Arthur Ashe Learning Center & festivals and was page and chair of the Model UN.  Watch the Fox Richmond – WRLH video below to learn more about Jake’s great achievements, and check out our Scholarship app on Facebook for more information about each weekly nominee throughout the school year!

As a finalist, he has received a Dinner for Two and an opportunity to compete for the $10,000 scholarship.

Hands Free, Voice Command System: Lexus Technology Tip

A technology tip of the day:

Did you know that unless you speak a contact’s name precisely, exactly, how it is entered in your telephone when using the voice command system in your Lexus, that it will not be able to dial a call to that contact?  That’s right.  If for example, you have your best friend entered as Miranda Smith Cell in the contact name of your phone, you will have to say “Miranda Smith Cell” exactly, since it is entered in your telephone that way. Be sure to say the full contact entry when speaking to the voice command system so you can be hands free while driving, and still connected.

Thanks for keeping watch on the technology tips! Stay tuned and we will bring you more technology tidbits to make your life easier!

 

Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award Nominee Week #10 – Elizabeth Bell of Trinity Episcopal!

Congratulations to our 10th Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award nominee, Elizabeth Bell of Trinity Episcopal!  Elizabeth has a 5.0 GPA at Trinity Episcopal School, where she is Top of her class! She has received awards for Academic Excellence for Highest GPA of her class 9th-11th grades & as a National Merit Semifinalist. Elizabeth is a member of the Math, National Honors, & Spanish Honors Societies. Outside of school, Elizabeth is a gifted pianist, winning the VMTA State Competition twice, working as a summer camp counselor for Westview on the James 9th-12th grades, a Trinity Jazz Ensemble keyboardist, member of the Battle of the Brains TV team, and a Youth and Government Club Officer. She participated in Varsity Cross Country all 4 years, including 2 as co-captain, as well as the Varsity Indoor Track & track teams, co-captain 10th-12th grades. Elizabeth gave back to the community by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, peer tutoring at Trinity, and the Special Olympics with Trinity’s Cross country team.  Watch the Fox Richmond – WRLH video below to learn more about Elizabeth’s great achievements, and check out our Scholarship app on Facebook for more information about each weekly nominee throughout the school year!

As a finalist, she has received a Dinner for Two and an opportunity to compete for the $10,000 scholarship.

Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award Nominee Week #9 – Shannan Ballance of Patrick Henry High School!

Congratulations to our 9th Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award nominee, Shannan Balance!  Shannan has a 4.5 GPA at Patrick Henry High School, where she is in the National Honors, Quill & Scroll, and Beta Club Honors Societies. Her extra-curricular activities include participating in the US Coast Guard Academy’s Introduction Mission 11th grade, serving as NJROTC’s Lieutenant Commander- Battalion Administration Officer, and as a delegate for Girls’ State. Shannan has been very active on the lacrosse field, serving as team captain for the Varsity & JV teams at Patrick Henry and also participating in the Richmond Storm & University of Richmond Fall & Winter Lacrosse seasons and/or camps. In the community, she has been a volunteer with 4-H for a Therapeutic Riding Assocation, with Team Effort Mission Trips, Cheanault Veterinary, and the Environmental and Patriot Pride Clubs.  Watch the Fox Richmond – WRLH video below to learn more about Shannan’s great achievements, and check out our Scholarship app on Facebook for more information about each weekly nominee throughout the school year!

As a finalist, she has received a Dinner for Two and an opportunity to compete for the $10,000 scholarship.

Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award Nominee Week #8 – Ida Farinholt of St. Catherine’s School!

Congratulations to our 8th Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award nominee, Ida Farinholt of St. Catherine’s School! Ida has a 3.6 GPA at St Catherine’s, where she is in Honors classes and is a Geronimo Lacrosse Coach and Peer Advisor. Ida is athletically gifted, having led the lacrosse team in goals and as a Forward on St Catherine’s field hockey team, #1 in the state & in the League. Ida was Junior & Senior Captain of both the Field Hockey & Lacrosse teams, excelled in multiple events in Track & Field, including High Jump & Long Jump, and was a Times-Dispatch Athlete of the Week in 2013, among several records & championships. Outside of school, Ida gave back to the community by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Saturday Academy, and going on a mission trip to Honduras. Watch the Fox Richmond – WRLH video below to learn more about Ida’s great achievements, and check out our Scholarship app on Facebook for more information about each weekly nominee throughout the school year!

As a finalist, she has received a Dinner for Two and an opportunity to compete for the $10,000 scholarship.

Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award Nominee Week #7 – Abimbola Orikogbo of The Math & Science High School at Clover Hill!

Congratulations to our 7th Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award nominee, Bimbola Orikogbo!  Bimbola has a 4.6 GPA at the Math and Science High School of Clover Hill, where she is in the Latin, History, Tri-M, Mu Alpha Theta & National Honor Societies. Bimbola has been Co-Chair of the Honor Council, a Math & Science Lead Ambassador, Lead Up President, and Treasurer & President of the SCA. Athletically, she has placed & won Indoor & Outdoor track relays, the 3200 race, and is a member of the Varsity Cross Country & Field Hockey teams. Bimbola has volunteered her time at the VA Hospital, Little Sisters of the Poor, Relay for Life, school functions, and by tutoring neighborhood children. Watch the Fox Richmond – WRLH video below to learn more about Bimbola’s great achievements, and check out our Scholarship app on Facebook for more information about each weekly nominee throughout the school year!

As a finalist, she has received a Dinner for Two and an opportunity to compete for the $10,000 scholarship.

VCU #HolidayHavoc: Lexus Carol of the Lights II: December to Remember Seasons Greetings

With the crisp, cool, autumn weather comes….that’s right! College basketball! Lexus of Richmond is proud to sponsor the VCU Men’s Basketball Rams again this year!  Be sure to check out Lexus of Richmond’s Carol of the Lights Part II that will air during ESPN‘s college basketball kickoff #Tipoffmarathon opening day!  If you have to miss the games, preview a clip of it below.  Tell us what you think!  #LetsGoVCU!

VCU #HolidayHavoc is Lexus of Richmond’s follow up to the amazing video from 2011 Christmas Season using Lexus RX, LS, IS vehicles flashing their headlights and break lights to the melody of December to Remember music.

In Carol of the Lights II, we use  basketball players to bounce basketballs to music at VCU’s Siegel Center and incorporated the previous commercial to create a festive sports theme to kickoff ESPN’s college basketball season #TipoffMarathon where VCU will play UVA in a commonwealth clash.

Look for upcoming behind the scenes and extended version to come!  Help us spread some #HolidayHavoc by sharing and commenting on the video below!