Automotive

Do You Know What This Symbol Means?

tire-pressure-500Do you know what this symbol means? It has been on some automobiles’ instruments panels in the past, but since 2008, it has become a required standard on all models. This symbol has been described as a “U-shaped pictograph with treads and an exclamation point in the middle”.

Well if you guessed a low tire-pressure warning, you guessed right. If not, you are lucky you are reading this article. It is the new international symbol for low tire pressure. The warning for the TPMS lights up when one or more of your vehicle’s tires is 25% below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. It is to my understanding that at least half of the drivers out there, do not know what this symbol means. It’s ok, if you do not or did not know what this symbol meant prior to reading this. Although the symbol is meant to be a universal warning symbol understandable by a wide variety of cultures and languages, there seems to be an issue with a lack of proper education for the general public. We are guessing that if you haven’t read your owner’s manual or aren’t a “symbologist”, you more than likely had no clue what this symbol meant. I sure had no idea until it was brought to my attention about a year ago. If this is the case, I am glad that our readers will now know and hopefully will be able to pass this information on to your friends and family!

Properly inflated tires are vitally important to your safety. Low pressure will affect your braking, acceleration, stability, cornering and fuel economy. The government instituted the TPMS mandate after the Bridgestone/Firestone tire failures on the Ford Explorer in 2000, a controversy that was partly attributed to inadequately inflated tires.

Toys for Tots at Toyota of Manhattan Was A Great Success! Thank You!

Toys for Tots Jason Schroeck, Social Media & Web Manager, led the way for Toyota of Manhattan to be a collection center this year for Toys for Tots in hope that we can bring smiles to children’s faces that otherwise would be without. What we are also very excited about is, the local businesses that have helped out and have coordinated with us through pick-ups and drop-offs, means that there will be that many more children’s faces with smiles on them this holiday season! We want to thank our customers, employees, fan, friends and local businesses that have helped out and donated toys this year!

Jeanette Casimiro from  The Westin New York at Times Square contacted me in regards to an event they were having in mid-November. All the attendees were asked to bring a small toy to donate to Toys for Tots as part of their admission in to the event. Jeanette and I then coordinated a pick-up date and time and our boxes started filling up that much quicker with The Westin New York at Times Square’s help!

Toyota Holiday LuncheonJuliet Williams in the Philanthropy department at TMA (Toyota Motor North America) contacted me and discussed a Holiday Luncheon they were having in mid-December. We together forged a collaboration, with the Toy Drive in mind, which was quite the success!  Juliet invited me to the Holiday luncheon at TMA where I said a few words about mine and Toyota of Manhattan’s efforts with the Toys for Tots program and how very excited we were to be collaborating with TMA in this effort! We hope that this is the first of many to come! The Holiday Potluck Luncheon was great and I am thankful for the invitation. I met some great people and enjoyed some delicious food! TMA employees filled up a full box on their own in less than a 2 week span!

The Daily Show with John Stewart held a toy drive within their office among their staff and crew, saw that Toyota the-daily-show-toys-for-totsof Manhattan was a Toys for Tots drop off location and BJ Gunts dropped off a large box of toys at our dealership last week!

Marla from The Nestlé Account Team from Ogilvy Worldwide, New York called last week describing a fun way they collected toys for the Toys for Tots program. They held an inter-team “Secret Santa” style exchange, with the rule being to get a toy that you would have liked as a kid. They exchanged, shared their stories with each other and benefited a great cause all at the same time! Marla dropped off several bags into our boxes!

Joseph from Quality Transportation called and asked if we were still accepting the Toys for Tots donations. I said yes, and less than an hour later Joseph walked in to our showroom with several toys from the staff at Quality Transportation!

There will be that many more smiling faces this Holiday season thanks to everyone that donated and participated!

Jason Schroeck, Social Media & Web Manager at Toyota of Manhattan, pictured here with U.S. Marines Sergeant Ceasar and Corporal Hamilton when they picked up our Toys for Tots boxes on Wednesday. — at Toyota of Manhattan.

Jason Schroeck, Social Media & Web Manager at Toyota of Manhattan, pictured here with U.S. Marines Sergeant Ceasar and Corporal Hamilton when they picked up our Toys for Tots boxes on Wednesday. — at Toyota of Manhattan.

Dov Hikind with Bay Ridge Toyota & Toyota of Manhattan Bring Holiday Joy To Wheelchair Bound Boy

(L-R) Mekimi Chairman of the Board Chesky Kauftheil; Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn); Mike Ianelli, General Manager, Bay Ridge Toyota; Joe Ciaccia, Social Media & Web Manager, Bay Ridge Toyota; Steve Kritikos, General Manager, Toyota of Manhattan; Jason Schroeck, Social Media & Web Manager, Toyota of Manhattan

(L-R) Mekimi Chairman of the Board Chesky Kauftheil; Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn); Mike Ianelli, General Manager, Bay Ridge Toyota; Joe Ciaccia, Social Media & Web Manager, Bay Ridge Toyota; Steve Kritikos, General Manager, Toyota of Manhattan; Jason Schroeck, Social Media & Web Manager, Toyota of Manhattan

As previously posted here, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) has teamed up with Bay Ridge Toyota and Toyota of Manhattan to present a 2012 Toyota Sienna Mobility Edition van valued at close to $50,000 to the family of 12-year-old Alter Pinter. Alter’s legs were amputated last year after he nearly lost his battle with a vicious case of swine flu which raged through his entire body and spread to his legs. He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. Click HERE to read the full press release.

We hope that we were able to make this family’s life a little easier. It is unimaginable to even try to understand what this young boy and his family has gone through. To be able to bring a smile to Alter and his family’s faces, and help getting in and out of the vehicle and traveling that much easier is wonderful.

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Here is some video from the ceremony that took place in a courtyard outside Mekimi’s office on December 12, 2011.

Toyota of Manhattan Supports Breast Cancer Awareness

nbcam_pink_ribbonDuring the month of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), Jason Schroeck led the way for Toyota of Manhattan to collect donations from their customers, employees, fans and friends. The total donations collected was $550 and then Toyota of Manhattan matched the amount to make a total of $1,200. We donated the amount to the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. On Thursday, December 15, 2011 Tierre Simpson , Development Coordinator at the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, stopped by Toyota of Manhattan to accept the total donation and say a few words.

Jason Schroeck; Social Media & Web Manager, Toyota of Manhattan, Tierre Simpson; Development Coordinator, Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Steve Kritikos; GM, Toyota of Manhattan, Kristine; Motor Vehicle, Toyota of Manhattan, Chris Mignano; GSM, Toyota of Manhattan, Vicki Reina, Office Manager, Toyota of Manhattan — at Toyota of Manhattan, 645 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10036

Jason Schroeck; Social Media & Web Manager, Toyota of Manhattan, Tierre Simpson; Development Coordinator, Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Steve Kritikos; GM, Toyota of Manhattan, Kristine Hoff; Motor Vehicle, Toyota of Manhattan, Chris Mignano; GSM, Toyota of Manhattan, Vicki Reina, Office Manager, Toyota of Manhattan — at Toyota of Manhattan, 645 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10036

Lock. Load. Engage.

Auto_Dealer_Social_Network_SmallOK. So you have your social media presence set up. You’re on the right track. You are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TUMBLR, Flickr and wherever else you have found.

Now we have to build your fan base and followers. How do we do that? Through engagement, that’s how. Engagement is a tricky process, but will have great rewards if you do it right.

Engagement in this regard, means the interaction between the follower/fan and the dealership. Often it is a daunting task, but once it gets rolling, it will most likely steamroll, as long as you stick with it and continue to encourage engagement through creative ideas. I will be discussing things I personally have done in the past that have worked well. I invite you to try them and build from them. These will get you started and from there, you will hopefully run with it in a creative direction of your own.

Lock. Load. Engage. 

Firstly, contests are a great way to reward your followers. It’s also a terrific way to add followers. Have contests where the entrant must like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter in order to qualify. Make sure the contest is fun and that the prize is rewarding. The bigger the prize, the more chance you have at earning the interest of new followers. A free oil change as a prize may earn you, say, 10 new followers while an iPad may earn you 500 new followers. Examples of some contests to do are: Recipe contest. Photo contest (Pets, Kids, Your make car, etc …). Fan of the Week contest. Get creative with it. The more fun and easier it is, the more interaction you will get.

I am a big fan of humanization of the dealership in social media. Car dealerships and auto sales associates are often spoken with and thought of with negative connotations. You can change that view of your followers. Show them you are “humans” like them. Show them you can have fun at your job. Tasteful humor is often a great ice-breaker in many situations. (I will go into that a little later.) How do you show them you are human? One of my favorites is candid shots. Employees of the dealership being photographed while working, doing fun stuff, extra-curricular activities (business appropriate) such as a sports league or work related event. These kinds of photos help show you are “real people” just like the customers, show you can have some fun and often strike up conversation and engagement. I’ve actually been told by co-workers that customers have been in the dealership and mentioned the pictures I took of them and uploaded to Facebook.

Everyone has seen the GM or Sales Associate on video telling them about themselves. Try something different. I have done in the past, “Get To Know Our Staff” segments, where the fan/follower, customer, employee, etc … ask the questions. I would take say the GM. Post his picture, name and position out there and have your followers ask questions of that person that they might want to know. Questions can range from “What is your favorite color?” to position specific questions like “How do I check my oil” for a service technician. The questions are then collected and asked of this employee while they answer on video. This is an interactive video where the customers are involved and helps them connect with individuals at your dealership. This was a success during the time that I ran it.

These are just a few successful methods I’ve used. Don’t be afraid to be creative. If you are a social media manager for your dealership or workplace, come up with some fun ideas and run them by your management team to get their approval, and get up and running!

  • this article was published in Social Dealership Magazine

So you want to be social?

facebook_fan_pageA few years ago, there were countless dealerships and automotive people saying “Social media is just a ‘fad’ and won’t last.” Well, it’s still here and it’s lasted. The dealerships that thought out of the box and jumped on board are reaping the benefits of it while the other dealerships are now scrambling and trying to create a social media presence. Sure, not every dealership did it well. Some made mistakes and had to learn from them. Some are better at it than others. The more willing and creative these dealerships and their Social Media Managers are, the more chance at success they have.

What are you talking about Jay? I created my Facebook page years ago. – Creating a social media presence is more than just creating the profiles and occasionally making some posts. Being social is about engaging and interacting with your audience on a regular basis: your customers, your potential customers, your fans and friends. You are creating online relationships. The best way for you to establish this is to have a person or team in charge of this responsibility. Hire a Social Media Manager (aka Community Manager), add it as a responsibility to your Internet Department or hire an outside company that specializes in Social Media.

Social Media has become a part of our everyday life for most and with the ease of access through smart phones & tablets, more people are on it and more frequently. Creating and maintaining a social media presence is about getting your name out there (brand awareness) and connecting with people. Use it to create and establish relationships with customers and potential customers. Use it as a customer relations tool. Manage your online reputation with it. Many use Twitter and Facebook to voice their opinion about an experience at a dealership, wouldn’t it be nice to show some feedback? Thank them for their business and positive feedback. Answer back quickly and try to resolve complaints. Use it to showcase your staff and vehicles (in a social & fun way). Run contests and be active in the community.

If you are not currently utilizing social media to its advantage, I would suggest starting off with the “Big 3” as I would like to call them. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Auto_Dealer_Social_Network_SmallFacebook is currently the largest and most popular social media website. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the World. I would strongly suggest starting here. Create and maintain a profile and/or fan page. Here you can share status messages, links, photos & videos. This is where you can most easily interact with customers and find potential customers.

Twitter is a “micro-blog” social media website where you post status updates within 140 characters or less. It may take some getting used to with the character limit, but if done right, it is a very effective way of getting your message out there. Communication and conversation is key.

YouTube is a video sharing website that is highly searchable being owned by Google. You are going to want to create fun, short, quality videos with a great title containing a few important, relevant keywords and relevant “tags”. Viral content can spread fast, so make sure your video is portraying the message you want it to in a fun and/or educational way.

Just please remember, Social Media is “social” … A one-sided conversation will have people tuning you out. Converse, interact, engage.

  • this article was published in Social Dealership Magazine

Automated driving. Is technology going too far?

automated-drivingIn recent years and in the near future, we are seeing the Automotive Industry take a whole new direction in their technology advancements. There are vehicles that parallel park themselves, vehicles that sense and warn of vehicles or objects in “blind spots”, back-up sensors and video cameras, pre-accident sensors, cars that will apply the brakes when drivers don’t, etc …

This brings up the question in my mind: Are these technological advances in regards to driving, making it “ok” to be a bad driver, making it easier to become lazy or making it safer for drivers on the roads?

In fact, I personally believe that it is doing all three at the same time.

Of course, the safety features on cars, that I’m sure will eventually become standard on all vehicles; will in fact make it safer for drivers on the road. With the advancement of technology, these features will be improved upon and perfected by the time it becomes a standard on all vehicles. By then when a driver, for whatever reason, is close to an accident of any kind, the car will warn the driver or prevent the accident by taking control of the car. Technology will not prevail 100% of the time, but it should decrease the amount of accidents significantly.

By realizing this, these technological advancements will make it easier for the driver to become lazier. They will begin to rely on knowing that the car will take over if they do not. Honestly, over time, if you have a vehicle that parallel parks itself, would you have the desire to parallel park anymore? If you know that the car will warn you of blind spot objects, are you going to continue to look thoroughly before changing lanes or making turns? We, as drivers, are already extremely distracted by things like radios and cell phones while on the road. How would It get any better if we know the car will prevent us from accidents while we drive with one knee, texting and changing the radio station?

Let’s face it. There are some drivers that are near perfect, some good, some bad and some that don’t even belong on the road. Now with the aforementioned distractions and laziness, this can turn a nearly perfect driver into a bad driver in a hurry. Add in the possibility of laziness and it’s a recipe for danger. Now the car is allowing this to happen because it will take over when the driver fails. Which seems to makes it “ok” to be a bad driver.

In my opinion, the available technology should be used in cars as a last resort to prevent accidents. The driver should take full responsibility and the initiative in safety. As I already mentioned, technology will not prevail 100% of the time. I would want to be fully aware and prepared in the event of an accident. Especially if the safety technology fails. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t encountered a technology that doesn’t have the occasional errors and works 100% of the time.