In volve your management staff as you plan for 2003. Not only have they a vested interest in preparing the forecast, but you will also get them on board with your new-year strategy.

Accomplishing the forecast will become more to them than just words on paper. Your success potential will expand proportionally.

Take the team off-site where distractions are limited. It is essential that you look at your 2003 business objectively, but realistically. Establish and incorporate proven best practices.

At this meeting there can be “no sacred cows” or agendas other than those which are best for the overall dealership and its personnel.

Look at each individual expense item, your required (not desired) personnel needs and acceptable asset management goals. Have each manager choose five items (key success criteria) that they can control. Then hold them accountable. For example, the new and used vehicle managers should choose sales personnel staffing levels as one of their five items.

When this forecasting and planning meeting adjourns, you should not only have a solid business plan that everyone has bought into, but one that is realistic and one that can be accomplished.

Category Domestic Regular Import Highline Import My Dealership
Productivity - Gross Per Employee Avg Mo $6,928.00 $7,913.00 $11,515.00 $_____
Productive Employee % Total Employees 54.8% 56.8% 50.2% _____%
Gross PNVR Excluding F&I $1,475.00 $1,548.00 $3,648.00 $_____
Net F&I Pre-Compensation PNVR $709 $753 $825 $_____
Gross PUVR Excluding F&I $1,635.00 $1,503.00 $2,237.00 $_____
Net F&I Pre-Compensation PUVR $704 $723 $759 $_____
Advertising As % Retail Gross New 12.5% 11.8% 5.0% _____%
Advertising As % Retail Gross Used 13.8% 14.4% 10.3% _____%
Floor Plan Int. -Net- As % N/V Retail Gross -4.1% -3.3% -3.8% _____%
Expense as % Total N/V Gross 78.2% 70.8% 49.1% _____%
Expense as % Total U/V Gross 75.4% 75.9% 78.5% _____%
Expense as % Parts Gross 55.4% 66.7% 51.5% _____%
Expense as % Service Gross 84.0% 73.3% 75.9% _____%
Expense as % Body Gross 91.2% 83.7% 86.6% _____%

To assist in preparing your forecast, below are selected 2002 Benchmarks from our NCM database.

An important reminder about November:

This is the month to include a letter with your monthly payables advising your creditors that your dealership is compiling its approved vendor list and soliciting bids for products and services for 2003. Each year dealers comment on the success and effectiveness of this quick and simple process.

Should you have any questions about the forecast process, benchmarks or the approved vendor list, please let me know.

Good luck and good selling!

Tony Noland ( is the president and CEO of NCM Associates, Inc.