Car buying rewards program a hit in Libertyville
Rebates provide spark for local business, charities in Libertyville
Car sales in Libertyville are much improved from the last time dealers paired with the village on a rebate plan, and an ongoing campaign is considered one way to reward customers for their support.
The Shop Libertyville Rewards program provides certificates of $100 for nonresidents or $200 for residents to the first 30 customers at each dealership who buy or lease new vehicles during July. The certificates can be redeemed at about 90 local business and are backed by up to $72,000 budgeted by the village.
In turn, the 12 dealerships that make up Libertyville's Mile of Cars will each contribute $100 for each of the first 30 customers toward a local charity to a total of $36,000. The program began July 6 and is intended to keep Libertyville on the minds of car buyers, while rewarding customers, helping those in need and promoting local business.
"I think it's a very visible way to show people that shopping Libertyville has a lot of benefit," even for nonresidents, said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator.
And it appears to be popular with buyers.
"All of the dealers but a couple have used up all their rewards cards," said Glenn Bockwinkel, president and general manager of Acura of Libertyville and head of the dealer association. The village will collect the forms next week to determine resident and nonresident participation, as well as how much the charities will receive.
Rowe said she isn't aware of another community that has done this type of program. But there is precedent, as the village first paired with dealers in a rebate program in 2009 as the recession deepened. By that time, car sales had been dropping for years and the concept of the Miles of Cars was introduced as a way of protecting its investment.
In 2014, the category that includes car sales accounted for about $4.5 million or 59 percent of the village's share of sales tax, which is used to fund day to day operations. In 2013, the amount was $3.9 million.
"It's been since about 2007 since we've seen figures close to where we're currently at," Rowe said.
Bockwinkel said the industry nationally is on a record pace.
"Dealers are doing well. How do we give back to the community?" he said of the charitable donation part of the rewards program.
"We want to reemphasize this as the place to buy cars and keep the sales tax in the community," he added.