Northwood University Students Analyze Use of Technology in Dealerships

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Students majoring in Automotive Marketing & Management recently worked on two research and analysis projects for the Reynolds and Reynolds Company.

MIDLAND, MI – Students majoring in Automotive Marketing & Management recently worked on two research and analysis projects for the Reynolds and Reynolds Company.

Group one consisted of Patrick Roney, a senior from Grand Rapids; Andrew Hollingsworth, a senior from Mountville, PA; Steven Ostrovich, a senior from Grass Lake; Joseph Boyce, a senior from Romeo; Jake Trost, a senior from Carrollton, IL; Brad Bergman, a senior from Birch Run; Mackenzie Wieland, a senior from Bay City; Amber Parham, a senior from Columbus, OH; Greg Maki, a senior from Muskegon; John Kirkpatrick, a senior from Wormleysburg, PA; and James McCurley, a senior from Flemington, NJ.

Group two consisted of James McCurley; Shannon Corby, a senior from Plymouth; Kameron Driskell, a senior from Burton; Stephanie Titus, a senior from Oakville, ON; John Allen, a senior from Rochester Hills; Dan Blanchfield, a senior from Rapid City; Derrick Brown, a senior from Petoskey; Jeffrey Smail, a senior from Latrobe, PA; Frank Pingatore, a senior from Sault Ste. Marie; Nolan LaRose, a junior from Midland; Nick Jackson, a junior from Mendota, IL; and Stephen Sovis, a senior from Ovid.

The two groups worked on the project over a seven-week period. The first group concentrated on Return on Investment (ROI). This mindset focuses on the concept of selling a vehicle for a lower gross in a short period of time as opposed to holding onto the vehicle in the hopes of making a larger amount of gross profit. This allows a dealer to sell more vehicles in a shorter amount of time while turning its inventory quicker. The second group focused on front end gross which is the amount of money made in a deal prior to anything sold in the finance and insurance (F&I) office without a set time frame.

The information to conduct this study was provided to the students by Reynolds and Reynolds. Data included 50,000 lines in each category: make, model, color, price, number of days in stock and mileage with group two providing an additional variable of front end gross as percent of vehicle price. Each group looked at each piece to come up with recommendations for dealers on how to stock pre-owned inventory to fit either of the business models.

Senior James McCurley, leader of both projects, noted, “In a volatile used car market dealerships must be pioneers in order to stay ahead of the competition. The market-based studies done by Northwood University, in conjunction with Reynolds and Reynolds, have profound results which have the ability to drastically change the profitability of the used car business. Dealerships cannot afford to not read these trailblazing studies in order to stay competitive.”

The students were given the opportunity to present their findings to executives of Reynolds and Reynolds at their corporate office in Dayton, OH, on April 13, 2012.


Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day and evening programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.