ADP Readies Digital Marketing Program

Ford Motor Co. had selected Automatic Data Processing Inc.'s Dealer Services Group to provide digital marketing and online search services for its dealers.

The move is part of Ford's plan to move a reported $1.2 billion to tier- three advertising for its dealers. ADP worked closely with Ford's National Dealer Council to put the program together.

Ford's selection of ADP raises questions about its relationship with FordDirect, which handles online leads and web sites along with other Internet services for its dealers.

Insiders speculate the decision to go with ADP precipitated FordDirect's President and Chief Operating Officer Steve St. Andre to leave the company in July.

<a href="http://Reply.com" target="_blank">Reply.com</a> Expands Lead Bidding to Auto Finance

Reply.com is widening its online marketplace for the bidding and selling of auto-sales leads to now include auto-financing leads.

The process essentially is the same as that for a sales lead. An Internet user on one of many auto-related Web sites would fill out an online credit application and submit it.

That “lead” and others like it would then be put up for bids on a cost-per-lead automotive finance exchange created in conjunction with Detroit Trading Co. Exchange participants include dealers, lenders and third-party lead providers.

The auto financing feature — including special financing for consumers with credit problems — is a new category on Reply.com's lead exchange.

Reynolds On Pace to Retain 90% of IDMS Clients

Technology vendor Reynolds and Reynolds had signed nearly 400 General Motors Corp. dealers to the auto maker's integrated dealer-management system program by January 2008.

But in February, Reynolds announced it would no longer support or sell the IDMS program. Few people expected Reynolds to hold on to its clients who had signed on with IDMS.

That's not the case, says Reynolds spokesman Tom Schwartz. Since February, the technology provider has worked through 50% of its IDMS clients and has transferred 90% of them to a Reynolds contract.

Dealership Wins Arbitration in Upgrade Dispute

Hammonasset Ford-Lincoln Mercury in Madison, CT, was awarded $297,567 by an arbitration panel in a dispute with Dealer Computer Services, which is owned by technology vendor Reynolds and Reynolds.

The dispute began in August 2006 before DCS's parent company, Universal Computer Systems Inc., acquired Reynolds and assumed its name.

At the time, DCS informed several dealers they needed to spend $100,000 to upgrade to a more modern system that would accommodate new software.

Hammonasset refused, requested an arbitration ruling and was awarded the settlement. Reynolds is suing, asking a Texas court to review and vacate the award.

Approximately 70 other dealerships also refused the upgrade and are in various stages of arbitration or lawsuit.