Peter Leto’s guide for car dealers as the auto industry looks to the future

Today on Kain & Co., host David Kain, President of Kain Automotive, sits down with Peter Leto, CEO of Foundation Direct and formerly, Google’s Head of Automotive Retail for eleven years. The pair discuss the guidance that car dealers need, in order to thrive during these challenging times and beyond.

Coming off of a global pandemic and immediately into a semiconductor chip shortage, Leto says it is now imperative for car dealers to market at the speed of the customer. The challenge is that consumer demand has never been higher, and auto retail professionals are having to be more creative in order to address customers’ needs.

In 2020, less than 10% of car dealers were actively advertising used cars. While third-party lead aggregators certainly have their place in the market, Leto and his colleagues at Google always wondered why more dealers were not showing their inventory themselves. As dealers get engaged more with used car search, they will start seeing the fruits of their labor, says Leto.

To give your dealership a best-in-class marketing strategy, Leto recommends asking three crucial questions.

  1. Are we marketing across profit centers?

2. Are the partners running media and paid search correctly?

3. What would be the results if paid search was set up correctly?

For 2022, Leto thinks the industry is going to have a push for dealerships to divest in paid search and invest more into OTT advertising. However, from his perspective, while paid search might not be the flashiest form of advertising, it will be the most impactful for the business.

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