If you ever get the chance to go to SEMA, do.  Mind boggling is one way to describe this arena of excess which causes you to ask "what downturn in the economy?".  Now there were fewer exhibitors and one or two less 'Blinged Out' rides, but the aftermarket world is more than healthy without question.

VW: Amid their hyped-up CC and soon-to-come magna-blogged Scirocco, their booth was definitely one to see of the OEMs in attendance. They seem to be in-line with consumer trends and have their ears locked on to communities, so it will be interesting to see how they fare over the next year or so.

Subaru: One of only two brands that are 'up' year over-year in 2008 (read: anything that's not down 20% is doing really well, and they are actually up in unit sales), they continue to hangout with the tuner-set and aftermarket gurus. This year's show was no different. They are looking to enter the social networking/viral marketing area for their Rally following and so we threw our hat in the ring.

IS-F here, IS-F there, custom IS-F's everywhere.  Not to mention that you could hop in one on the dyno and get it up to…well, let's just say enough over 100MPH that the Nevada Highway Patrol would have a heck of a time catching you.  As always, Lexus did classy and the IS-F mods were very impressive.

Chevrolet: Skip the rest of the cars and go to the back row: Camaro-ville. A nice heads-up to what should be the full-blown production cars and looking good. Of course SEMA had the expected rounds of tricked-out 'Vette's (including the first new ZR1 IM@CS has seen in person) but the nostalgia heads were talking about the RS and SS and they looked good.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program:

bridgeSpeak: The folks at one of our favorite technology secrets headed up by Jon Poploskie continue to do a great job at making process work at dealerships. Their latest telephony and integrated (CRM/DMS) solutions are impressive, especially when it comes to providing a better customer experience. While IM@CS has been pleased with their outbound phone/reminder system in the past, these updates are relevant and cost saving. Check them out at http://www.bridgespeak.com

ActivEngage: The leader in live chat announced the launch of multiple language translation for live chat on
auto dealership websites. Now dealers can engage website visitors in
their preferred language, without having to employ multi-lingual staff
members. The new technology offers dealers a huge competitive advantage
through increased personalization for their website visitors’
communication preferences, which all happens real-time. This is what best-practices is about.  http://www.activengage.com

We'll try to keep these updates weekly and ultimately have an area where you can get in touch with the vendors.

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results