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MAF Picks: Top 15 Car Dealer Blogs of 2014

One way we keep our blog fresh and interesting is by taking inspiration from our peers in the blogosphere. Recently we selected our Top 15 Credit Union Blogs of 2014, an honor that engendered quite a lot of likes and shares and tweets and other digital-world fanfare. Now it’s time we honored the blogs on the other side of the car-buying process:  the car dealers.

As you might expect, there is a wide variety of quality among car dealer blogs, and according to our research we are the first blog to honor the Top 15 Car Dealer Blogs of 2014…or any year, for that matter. So sit back, throw these blogs into your RSS reader, follow them on Twitter, share, and comment. If your dealer made the cut, please consider republishing the list on your blog (code provided below)!

Note on Methodology

These honorees were whittled down from a list of over 100 high-quality blogs our researchers gleaned from internet searches, social media, and world of mouth. Each has been in existence for at least six months, is updated at least once per month, and stands out from the crowd in some way: how well-researched the posts are, how experienced the writers, how frequently the blog is updated, or simply how entertaining the blog is to read. If you feel that your dealer’s blog should have made the cut but didn’t, just let us know and we might be able to sneak a 16th or 17th entry into our “Top 15″ ;)

AutoPark Honda – Cary, NC

AutoPark-HondaAutoPark Honda does a wonderful job of bringing fun, interesting, newsworthy content to its readers. The posts are mainly Honda-related, as you can only expect, but what’s not to love in a blog that discusses such high-performance intelligence as the Acura NSX Supercar being revealed at the Detroit Auto Show, or the Civic Type-R being slated for import to American shores in 2016? The blog is updated at least once per week, which is plenty given that each and every post is actually worth a read. AutoPark Honda themselves, in business since 1989, serves customers at 3639 Old Raleigh Road in Cary, NC. If you have any doubt that customer service is their top priority, get this:  every customer gets the GM’s cell phone number!

Benzel-Busch – Northern NJ

Benzel_BuschBenzel Busch is a Tri-State area network of dealerships repping Mercedes Benz, Audi, and Maybach. Their blog is not updated as frequently as some–typically just once to twice per month–but the vehicles they profile set them apart from the crowd. For the true German-car pistonhead, it would be difficult to find an online source that does a deeper dive into the features, options, technology, and performance of today’s Teutonic luxury cars. The company, which can trace its origin all the way back to a family of blacksmiths in the mountains of Italy, is also very active in the community, primarily as a supporter of Englewood Hospital.

Bob Chapman Ford – Columbus, OH

Bob-Chapman-FordThe blog of Bob Chapman Ford has quite possibly the slickest, cleanest design of any on this list, and the content itself doesn’t disappoint. The authors really have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry. For instance, there’s a recent post about how Ford filed a patent for the name “EcoBeast”–an obvious play on their renown EcoBoost engines–and they do a great job of mixing performance, technology, and safety-oriented posts. There’s information about Roush Performance’s new supercharger kit right next to an explanation of how Ford’s pre-collision system works. The dealership itself is located at 1255 Columbus Avenue, and Bob Chapman is by far the oldest dealership on this list–founded in 1913. Yes, more than century in business!

DriveTime – Nationwide

DrivetimeDriveTime’s blog is simply a cut above the competition, coupling expertly-written personal finance and lifestyle articles with just plain fun. This isn’t surprising given the team of talented writers, many of whom have written for such authoritative outlets as MSN Money, World Report, Yahoo! Finance, and Mint.com. The publishing tempo is largely unrivaled, with new posts going live every other day, and the inclusion of entertaining photos with every post keeps the eye intrigued. DriveTime itself has 123 dealerships across the nation, and they boast having approved more 2.5 million loans and sold more than 650,000 cars and trucks through their dealerships.

Fairway Chevy – Las Vegas, NV

Fairway ChevyWhere Fairway Chevy stands out from the crowd is the finger they have on the pulse of what’s fun and new and interesting in the General Motors world. For instance, where else could you go to listen to OnStar advice for outrunning werewolves or dealing with a zombie apocalypse? Writer Chris K. Leslie never fails to bring readers interesting snippets and stories from across the web. Some of them are gleaned straight from authoritative resources such as GM Authority, but such content curation is appreciated in the oversaturated blogosphere. Fairway Chevy is located at 3100 East Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, and has been family-owned since 1969.

Felix Chevrolet – Los Angeles, CA

Felix-ChevyFelix Chevrolet’s blog may look like a lot of other dealer blogs out there, but they know how to leverage the power of video. Each blog post is short and sweet, typically featuring a video from the parent company. For instance, there’s the uber-rugged Chevy Colorado ZR2 concept truck, the Paul Stanley concept ‘Vette at SEMA, and none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr reviewing the Chevy Spark. Sure, Felix Chevy can’t necessarily take credit for the production of these great videos, but they sure know how to find and present them in a fun way. The dealership itself is located at 3330 Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, taking their name and mascot from the 1920s cartoon “Felix the Cat”–because, get this, the dealership was opened in 1921 by Winslow Felix, a friend of the filmmaker whose studio created the cartoon! Now THAT makes for one interesting about us page!

Fiat of Kirkland – Kirkland/Seattle, WA

Fiat of KirklandFiat has become one of the hippest, quirkiest, most fun brands in today’s automotive industry–largely with the introduction of the Fiat 500. So it comes as no surprise that a Fiat dealer would make our list of best blogs. Probably our posts are filed under the blog’s Just For Fun category, the kind of place you learn that James Bond is switching to a Fiat (travesty, but we’ll survive), that the Pope drives (or did) a Fiat Panda, or that an Italian hairstylist spent more than 150 hours cladding her Fiat 500 in hair, winning the Guinness World Record for Hairiest Car.  Now THAT is what blogging is all about. Fiat of Kirkland, also known as Rairdon’s Alfa Romeo and Fiat of Kirkland, serves the Kirkland, Renton, Seattle, and Tacoma areas.

Garden Grove Kia – Garden Grove, CA

Garden-Grove-KiaTo be honest, the format of Garden Grove Kia’s blog is a little strange:  there is a single page that serves as an index, and all of the posts in their entirety are published here–versus excerpts you click to view the rest of the post. However, you soon get accustomed to this format and realize it makes for a very convenient viewing/reading experience. The posts are great, from tips such as surviving a family road trip and driving with your pet to news such as Kia’s goal to increase fuel economy by a staggering 25%. Garden Grove Kia themselves can boast a truly cosmopolitan staff, with managers and sales consultants that speak Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese. They are located at 10081 Garden Grove Boulevard, and you can find them on all of the major social media networks.

Key Hyundai – Manchester/Milford, CT

KeyHyundaiThe CT Hyundai blog is written by Jill Merriam–“car dealer of the people”–the only female franchised car dealer in the state of Connecticut. A sense of transparency, honesty, and pervades her blog. She blogs on everything from Car Buying/Service Tips and Hyundai News to Family and Volunteering, and she’s been at it since November 2008–easily making this blog one of the longest-running on our list. And as for writer expertise, not only is the blog written by the actual owner of two dealerships, Jill once works in corporate finance and sat in on meetings with none other than Bill Gates! There are Key Hyundai dealerships in Manchester and Milford, Connecticut, and the company has been in business for nearly a decade. If I lived in Connecticut, I can honestly say I would go out of my way to buy from Jill and her team.

Mel Hambelton Ford – Wichita, KS

Mel Hambelton FordWhat we like most about this blog is the authors’ focus on performance, highlighting such models as the Ford GT (yes, it’s coming back!), the Ford Raptor, the Roush Stage 3 Mustang, the Shelby GT350R, and the Mustang Rocket–a 725-hp monster created by Galpin Auto Sport and Henrik Fisker. For some reason, as an American it’s always super interesting–and sometimes frustrating–to see what models automakers are selling overseas that we don’t get on our shores, and Mel Hambelton Ford likes to showcase such models, including the EcoSport Storm and the Focus RS–once a Euro-only model we will actually have in US showrooms. The dealership itself is located on West Kellogg Avenue in Wichita.

Olathe Toyota – Olathe, Kansas

Olathe-ToyotaOlathe Toyota specializes in shipping OEM Toyota parts all over the United States, boasting lightning-fast customer service and more than 2500 5-star customer ratings.  So it comes as no great surprise that their blog is simply a cut above the rest. The posts largely alternate between super-helpful replacement guides you could find nowhere else, and interesting tidbits of Toyota news–for instance, a forthcoming Toyota Prius camper conversion. If that isn’t wild, what is? If you had any doubts as to the popularity of the blog, consider that Olathe Toyota has more than 10,000 likes on Facebook! If you need any OEM parts from Toyota, this is the place to order them.

Passport Mazda – Suitland, MD

Passport-MazdaWhere Passport Mazda’s blog stands apart is its focus on technological advances such as iActivsense, SKYACTIV, and Mazda’s development of a new bio-based plastic that can be used for car body parts. This is very interesting stuff, and the blog authors do a great job of translating complicated tech features into understandable terms. The dealership itself is located at 4800 Branch Avenue, and they take pride in being a “Full Disclosure Dealership”–evidenced in a recent post explaining the fine print of various incentives.

Planet Honda – Golden, CO

Planet-Honda-Golden-COPlanet Honda’s blog has only been around in its current incarnation since May of 2014, but they have already carved out a name for themselves in the world of dealer blogs. Their January 2015 post “Where to Hit the Slopes?” takes the cake for having the most creative featured image, and our bloggers confessed to spending a little more time than they should reading and watching the video in the post “Tony Hawk Rides a Real Hoverboard.” Hey, it’s 2015 after all, and according to Back to the Future II our cars should be flying and our skateboards hovering! Planet Honda itself is located at 15701 Colfax Avenue in Golden, Colorado, part of the Planet Automotive Group–which itself has a great blog.

Toyota of Naperville – Naperville, IL

Toyota-NapervilleToyota takes the cake with three dealer blogs making our list! The piece that first stood out to us was one debunking a myth that’s highly pervasive among today’s drivers, us included:  that you need to warm up your car before driving it. This is no longer necessary from a mechanical standpoint, though Toyota of Naperville does admit that a remote starter can help you get your car nice and toasty before you slide into the driver’s seat on a cold winter day. Another recent post tackled the new Illinois lease tax law that may help car-buyers save some money on their next purchase. Toyota of Naperville, a member of the Dan Wolf Automotive Group, is located at 1488 West Ogden Avenue, and their website is super helpful. You can search for vehicles under $10,000, for instance, or over 30 mpg.

Toyota Place – Garden Grove, CA

Toyota-PlaceThere must be something in the water in Garden Grove, because Toyota Place is the second Garden Grove dealer whose blog made our list! With reviews going all the way back to 2010, the blog authors have had plenty of time to refine their craft, and it shows. Whereas some dealers simply piggybank on the videos and promotions of the parent automaker, you can tell that Toyota Place’s bloggers forge their own path with posts such as “2015 Toyota Models that Match Your Personality”–geared for their Southern California customers. Another post customers will surely appreciate is a recent one explaining the various incentives and offers and how they work, going deeper than what you see on TV, in the newspaper, or hear on the radio. Toyota Place, located at 9670 Trask Avenue, advertise themselves as The World’s Most Convenient Toyota Store–they are one of the nation’s largest dealers, located right in the heart of Orange County, and they offer consultants who speak not only English but Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino. Sounds pretty darn convenient to us!

 

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If your credit union made the list, boast a little–you deserve it! ;)