Facebook Putting The Brakes on Marketplace

It’s now going to become a little more difficult and expensive to showcase your inventory on Facebook Marketplace.

As of September 13th, 2021 Facebook will no longer allow dealers to upload their used inventory to Marketplace through an approved whitelisted partner feed. Dealers, however, will still be able to manually upload their used inventory to Marketplace.


“As we evolve and build for the future, we continue to invest heavily in solutions for the auto industry, creating products and surfaces that help auto advertisers reach more potential car buyers while improving the consumer experience throughout the shopping journey. At the same time, we need to cater for a wide range of potential buyers and sellers on our platform. On Marketplace we’ve seen increased usage and demand for shipped goods with onsite checkout. So, to meet that demand, and best serve the people and businesses who use our services, at this moment we are shifting our product resources from supporting distribution of vehicles and rentals listings via partner catalogs on Marketplace, to expanding our offerings and features for shipped goods with onsite checkout.”

You can make the argument that Facebook is doing this for two reasons:

1 – They want dealers to pay to have their inventory displayed in Marketplace via Auto Inventory Ads (AIA)

2 – They are moving resources to focus on a play to have their Marketplace become more like Amazon.

Dealers with lower volume inventory could possibly manage their Marketplace feed manually, however, those dealers or dealer groups would have a much more difficult time keeping their listings fresh.


Option 1: You will be able to push both your new and used inventory to your Facebook page.

Option 2: You can create an AIA campaign that targets the Marketplace exclusively.

Option 3: You can manually upload each unit to Marketplace and remove them once they are sold.

Changes from Facebook are nothing new in the auto industry and we’ll do our best to keep you informed on what’s to come and how to make the best of this decision.

The Virtual Car Show Take Over

Many auto shows have been cancelled due to COVID19 measures, here’s how automakers are filling the void.


Toronto, Detroit, LA and the UK are usually abuzz this time of year with concept and vintage car showcases, new model highlights and dealer tradeshows. The automotive industry is packed with new products, innovation and collaboration, now more than ever! Certainly, the event industry has taken a hit, it’s understandable to question if the auto show industry will return, in the interim brands and auto publications are working diligently to capture the attention of consumers in wait.


Kia Canada has had a successful first quarter showcasing their 2021 and 2022 lineup via their month-long Virtual Auto Show Experience. Using a 3D lobby space with a variety of Kia presentations, demonstrations and even live chats and people are eating it up! We’ve mentioned it time and time again, most consumers are more comfortable learning about new vehicles on their own time. Virtual auto shows allow customers to get deeper and deeper into the engagement funnel. According to Kia Canada, actual human Kia representatives are also online to answer questions and set up dealership appointments for potential shoppers. “What began as a solution to not having in-person auto shows evolved into a contemporary, category-leading consumer experience,” said Elias El-Achhab, Kia Canada’s chief operating officer. “Our team has created a truly immersive virtual space.” The Canadian Kia Virtual Auto Show Experience will be wrapping up at the end of this month.


BMW took an interesting approach attracting their Canadian consumers back in February. They offered previews of the upcoming BMW iX and i4, Bowers & Wilkins headphone giveaways, and a free movie code from the Cineplex Store and it worked! They were able to draw in large virtual crowds, larger than they even anticipated.  Andrew Scott, director, BMW Brand Management in a press release. “Auto shows give us the opportunity to share our passion for BMW with the people who love our cars as much as we do. We couldn’t let a year go by without getting together with them or telling them how much we appreciate their support, so we brought our products directly into their living rooms. Digital formats are a great way for us to remain connected with our community. Our customers are our priority, and a key step in supporting that is being where they need us to be.”


Even publications like Driving.ca are getting in on the action. They couldn’t leave their loyal attendees hanging this year and it seems like the virtual format is here to stay. Their 2021 Virtual auto show was sponsored by Toyota and hosted by award-winning automotive writer Lorraine Sommerfeld.

Brands like Acura and Nissan have followed suit by creating specialized virtual experiences for their target audience. Experience Acura and Nissan Studio are great examples of how your dealership can incorporate virtual experiences on a smaller scale. These microsites have a number of pre-recorded videos exploring new vehicles, Q&A as well as the shop from the home process.

The future is digital, and the future is now. Consider incorporating virtual experiences in your marketing strategy and level up your engagement. It can be as simple as adding 360° views of your top inventory or booking personalized walkarounds via Zoom. Open your mind to involving local enthusiasts and influencers in your virtual experiences. Collaboration is exciting because there are more opportunities to engage with consumers with different and overlapping interests. In this case, more is more! Talk to your consumers about concept cars, model updates, staff highlights and EV lineups.

Get creative!


The “must-haves” for your dealership’s brand success!

Dealerships are an extension of the manufacturer and the overarching branding is best complemented by the personal branding messages that take place at your dealership among staff, customers and the community. This involves all touchpoints across the consumer experience including:

  • Website design 
  • Social media presence and responsiveness
  • Relationships with suppliers
  • E-commerce experience
  • Staff phone etiquette

There is an opportunity to relay your brand message to the consumer at any given moment. Both back and front-end dealership operations create a chain reaction of experiences that establishes the brand voice.

There are some must-haves when it comes to developing your own unique brand voice:

High-Quality Web Experience – Whether connecting via mobile, desktop or tablet, customers should have a smooth and streamlined digital experience. Having a well-designed custom website that is easy to navigate is of the utmost importance when it comes to your brand voice. Your website’s performance in organic search results is centric to everything we do. Ensure a positive customer experience regardless of the device your website is being viewed on.

Track Lead Generating Communication – Track what forms of communication are working for your clientele and determine which ones aren’t performing as well. Most dealers in 2021 are running ads and have websites, so you need to set your dealership apart with new and fresh strategies based on consistent KPI tracking. If Facebook Lead Ads are working really well for your sales team, experiment with Messenger or Call ads and see how your clientele transitions from fillable forms to instant communication. After some time you’ll see if you can communicate with customers in a new way, otherwise, it will confirm that your current strategy is best for your dealership.

Direct Communication Capability – Messenger ads aren’t the only way to quickly communicate with your customers. In today’s tech-obsessed world, your customers want and need a means of instantly contacting a knowledgeable and welcoming salesperson. There should be some instant messaging access to your dealership and this can be done through website chats, text messages, or phone calls. Most consumers do not want to spend time looking for specific information to answer general questions in the beginning stages of the buying process. Each person on your sales team should be able to quickly respond to incoming inquiries to improve sales performance. Create a positive and memorable first impression that will last, customers will likely return to your dealership when they are ready to buy if their first experience went well.

Content Strategy for Social Media – Just like your SEO strategy, your social media strategy must be well thought out with dedicated time and attention. The importance of a social media strategy in the current market is undeniable. Selling through education is a great way to keep consumers engaged and establish trust. This knowledge helps build a more personal relationship with customers and prospects. 

Encourage regular team-based brainstorming sessions.

We urge your sales team to put their personality into your content strategy to show prospective customers who they may be dealing with, bridging the gap between traditional selling and the current shop online era. In order for your brand voice to appear cohesive, your content strategy must be aligned with your SEO and advertising strategy, echoing the overarching manufacturer message. This includes writing custom blogs, consistent video posts, and presence on all popular social media platforms.

Testimonials – Customer experience testimonials are non-negotiable in the success of your dealership’s brand voice. Potential customers are always looking for ways to measure the credibility of products, services, and salespeople. Reviews and testimonials go a long way in producing proof of trust and satisfaction from people who have already bought from your sales team. A social media strategy that showcases reviews and recommendations is the most effective way to build-up your car dealership’s sales reputation. Testimonials where specific sales members are named or other detailed information about the experience is offered are always better than generic, non-descript reviews.

Ask customers if they are comfortable on camera, video testimonials are social media gold!

Video Communication with Customers – If you haven’t already started video chatting with existing and potential clients, you should certainly consider it. This could be done through pre-recorded informational videos covering FAQs, or personal Zoom sessions. 

A lot has changed over the last year, but video communication is here to stay. People simply love to watch videos and they perform way better than text and still images alone. You should have an available inventory of videos including walkarounds, finance options, service tips, incentive updates, staff shout outs and more. Know your target audience and deliver your brand’s message through all available channels to capture their attention and close sales.

Know your Competitors — Marketing and online platforms are constantly evolving. You won’t get lost in the shuffle if you stay ahead of the curve by consistently monitoring updates and peer strategy in the industry. Multiple dealers in one region may share target audiences with vehicles that are quite similar in regards to price and functionality. The key to separating yourself from the competition lies in the customer’s perception of your dealership and you cannot differentiate yourself if you are only aware of your own brand voice. It is also a great opportunity to benchmark your performance in a wider market.

There are many ways to develop and enhance your dealership’s brand voice, but there are a few key takeaways we want you to remember. Put technology to use whenever you can, ensure the customer experience is smooth and visually appealing, personalize your content, and stay closely involved with your marketing process. The power of brand recall and loyalty can make or break your business, and they all rely on the foundation that is your brand voice. It represents your team values, the principles of your dealership, and your dedication to enhancing the customer experience.


Exploring Electrified Innovation in the Automotive Industry

Kia Niro PHEV
2020 Kia Niro PHEV
Fuel-efficient, spacious and sporty, the 2020 Niro Plug-in Hybrid is one fearless crossover.

There’s no denying it, 2020 was a great year for EV and PHEV lineups and it looks like the trend is here to stay. Companies like Nio, Tesla and Kia are making big waves in the EV industry, but the benefits can be seen across the industry as a whole. Whether it be via car sales, battery manufacturing, or charging infrastructure.

If you’re new here, EVs are electric vehicles powered by batteries or solar panels for example, while PHEVs are plug-in hybrids. Not only do they reduce pollution, but they also reduce operating costs for the driver as well. There seems to be an arms race between carmakers, government agencies and investors looking to profit from emission-free electric cars. Most brands have made it their mission to transition toward an electrified future. In a recent press release, Kia Motors announced their intention to accelerate their electric transition plan with an 11 model EV lineup and 7 dedicated EVs by 2026. General Motors aims to only sell zero-emission vehicles by 2035, Volkswagen Group has budgeted over €34 Billion or CAD$52 Billion for e-mobility, autonomous driving, digital connectivity and new mobility services, and that’s just for 2022!

2021 Nissan LEAF in profile showing aerodynamic design
2021 Nissan LEAF® EV
Electric power, instant thrills.

According to Driving.ca Ontario has welcomed almost $6 billion in investments – pickup truck production in Oshawa, Ford’s decision to build EVs in Oakville, and FCA ramping up PHEV production in Windsor. The green incentive has been injected into the Ontario economy in the midst of the worst health/financial crisis anyone can remember.  In the third quarter of 2020 alone, 18,771 new green vehicles were registered across Canada between July and September, according to data just made available by Statistics Canada. That figure doubled from Q2 to Q3 and we believe that number will continue to climb.

An elevated view of a Billet Metallic Pacifica Hybrid with an overlaid illustration of the vehicle’s 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 Hybrid engine and 16-kWh lithium battery.
Powered by two efficient sources – gasoline and electricity – the 2021 Pacifica Hybrid seamlessly shifts between the 3.6 L Pentastar ™  VVT V6 Hybrid engine and the 16-kWH lithium battery.

So where do you fit in? This global initiative requires participation at every level. We encourage dealers to voice their commitment to a zero-emission future. The best way to engage your customer is to sell through education. Green vehicles are fairly new, and they may often be overlooked simply because consumers don’t know enough about them. Much of the hesitation in EVs is due to outdated articles that have poor information about available technologies. You can change that with in-depth, focused information on current models. Remind them that greener alternatives are relatively affordable, you don’t need a Tesla Model S to go electric! Ensure your team is aware of best practices for maintenance as well as the differences between standard and rapid charging.  We also encourage you to invest in a robust green vehicle lineup so that your staff and customers can get better acquainted. Sales are often lower when there is less selection. Additionally, don’t be afraid to offer special incentives when possible, this creates a special experience for the consumer and it’s a great way to bring more eyes to your dealership. 

Keep in mind that the sales process is often longer for EVs/PHEVs and they require great dedication from your already dedicated team. As mentioned, customers often require more detailed information and there are many nuances to the technology and the customer’s lifestyle that need to be accounted for in the buying process. There is a learning curve for these vehicles, so keep lines of communication open and coordinated after the purchase is finalized. Facebook lead ads are a great way to qualify your prospective buyer prior to them entering your dealership. 

Ask questions like:

How many kilometres do you drive in a day? 

Do you have access to charging at home or at work?

Do you need hauling or towing capacity for this vehicle?

We want you all to look at green vehicles as a booming opportunity, not a threat or an afterthought. You can also do your part in more ways than one when it comes to reducing our emissions in the future. Consider more cash for clunker programs if it applies to your dealership. Every year people are becoming more and more conscious of what they put in their bodies, minds and the environment. It’s time we go green and never look back!

Canada’s Top Sellers of 2020

The results are in!

Many of us want to put 2020 in our rearview mirror, but there’s a lot that we can learn from such a volatile year. Canadians made their needs very clear during the early stages of the pandemic and the automotive industry responded thoughtfully. Let’s take a look at how we navigated a turbulent year and utilized the gift of online selling!

According to Driving.ca, we lost out on nearly 400,000 sales across the country, yet Canada’s top eight best-selling vehicles in calendar-year 2019 returned as the top eight in 2020, with the top three returning to their exact positions. While we haven’t seen economic conditions like this since 2008-2009, some of our top sellers were still able to grow. It is promising to see that quality vehicles and consistent brand communication are bolstering the industry in times of economic constraint. 

5. GMC Sierra: 51,492 Units Sold 

2021 Sierra 1500 Denali.

Toting the title of the best-in-class heavy-duty cargo bed, the GMC Sierra’s marginal year-over-year decrease speaks to the health of Canada’s full-size pickup truck sector in 2020.

4. Chevrolet Silverado: 52,767 Units Sold 

2020 Silverado 1500 Pickup Truck Exterior Off Road View.

Chevy boasts that they have put over 100 years of truck-building know-how into the Silverado to deliver a truck that’s bigger, stronger and lighter than the previous generation, and it seems to be paying off! While the industry saw sales fall at an average of 13%, this make and model only say a 1% decrease in sales.

3. Toyota RAV4: 57,972 Units Sold 

RAV4 Family lineup

Family vehicles that can handle all terrains are important to Canadian consumers, the sales can confirm! For a fifth consecutive year, the Toyota RAV4 is Canada’s best-selling utility vehicle. On a global scale, Toyota has now surpassed VolkswagenGroup, becoming the world’s top-selling automaker in 2020. Toyota’s 2020 group sales include those of its subsidiaries Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino.

2. Ram P/U: 83,672 Units Sold 

 2021 Ram 1500 traversing a rough off-road trail.

Known for their power and agility, Ram pickup trucks offer an exceptional combination of capability, safety, security and convenience features – the pickup that raises the bar in every category that counts. AJAC has awarded the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Best Pickup in Canada for 2020. While Ram has not been able to claim the number 1 spot, the brand has contributed greatly to the production and stability of the automotive market in Canada.

1. Ford F-Series: 128,649 Units Sold 

A 2021 Ford F 1 50 Tremor being driven off road through water

No surprise here, this vehicle has been Canada’s top-selling truck for 55 years straight! In 2020, the F-Series accounted for 55 percent of all Fords sold in Canada, 54 percent of Ford Motor Company’s sales, 39 percent of full-size pickups, and 8 percent of the entire new-vehicle fleet. Now that’s impressive. 

 Honourable mentions include:

10. Nissan Rogue: 25,998 Units Sold 
9. Hyundai Kona: 26,641 Units Sold 
8. Toyota Corolla: 33,181 Units Sold 
7. Honda Civic: 42,996 Units Sold 
6. Honda CR-V: 44,495 Units Sold 

It’s interesting to compare this list of the top sellers to Canada’s most searched vehicles of 2020:

10. Toyota RAV4
9. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
8. Chevrolet Corvette
7. BMW M
6. Honda Civic
5. Porsche 911
4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
3. BMW 3 Series
2. Ford Mustang
1. Ford F-150

As we continue to move towards our new normal, operational innovation and digital integration will continue to lead the path forward. Now is the time to celebrate our resilience as we reimagine the automotive industry, offering clean, efficient and affordable vehicles for our consumers. Hindsight is 2020!

All statistics provided by Driving.ca and Automotive News Canada