Should You Focus On Used?

When it comes to the automobile business, we often have a very short memory. There are many who have forgotten what it was like back in 2008-2009. The better business gets, the shorter the memory we seem to have.

For some of us, it seems like it was just yesterday, and I can clearly remember how depressing the NADA Convention was in New Orleans in 2009.

There were some recent stories in Automotive News about how dealers were able to survive during those tough years.

One in particular that stood out for me was on Denny Amrhein, a managing partner at Grogan’s Towne Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram located in the Toledo, OH market.

The header in the article: “A new philosophy: Turning cars in 30 days.”

To quote Mr. Amrhein, “In 2008-09, right during the recession, my used-car manager came with a new philosophy of turning cars in 30 days – 60 days max,” Amrhein said. “We weren’t into making a lot of money on the cars -we were into turning them, so we could turn our cash fast

His store went from selling 60 used cars a month to 150-175 per month. Winning.

The way he was making money in 2009 is the same way you make money today. Turning your inventory is always a solid fundamental business principle of the used car business.

Back in 2008-2009 dealers were losing their franchises and were left with some nice empty showrooms. Many of them tried to turn those empty showrooms into used car operations. A few succeeded. Many failed.

They failed because for so many years they had ignored their used car business. They had made their money on new vehicles and paid little or no attention to used.

What better time to get your head into the used car game than right now when business is good?

You have very little control over your new car business. You can always control and make a living selling used.

We’re blessed to be new car dealers. When you focus on used, you increase your odds of remaining a new car dealer. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Should You Shoot The Moon?

There’s a lot of talk these days about the “Velocity Method” of selling used cars and trucks.

There are some that would define Velocity as: “A method of giving your cars away so as to impact your gross to a point of a substandard amount that will make you want to throw up your hands, beat yourself over the head, and barf.”

My definition for the word Velocity: the whipping boy of the auto industry that can be blamed when we use software pricing tools as the Bible, don’t use our brains and don’t use the tool as it was intended in the first place. Software is a tool. It’s not a genie in a bottle.

If you’re in a favorable market day’s supply position, why would you not shoot the moon on certain units for 10 to 20 days? If you use your vAuto pricing tool and apply some common sense your odds of improving gross profit and volume increase.

That being said, dealers today have never been smarter when it comes to understanding inventory turn. By and large, most dealers really do “get it.”

You don’t have to give all your units away, but you have to be smart enough to know how to turn your inventory. Being smart means knowing when to pull the trigger.

Dealers often miss the chance to take a shot at making some big grosses because their vehicles are hung up in recon for the first 10 to 20 days of their shelf-life. Those first 20 days are always when you make the most money.

As you move forward, think about the choices you have:

1. Hold a high gross profit per unit.
2. Improve your volume with lower grosses.
3. Improve your volume and be smarter about pricing and gross profit.

In today’s market, your best chance is #3. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Are You Efficient?

If you’re going to continue to make money, and hopefully make even more money, you will have to become more efficient.

Your processes will need to become more efficient. Your management team will need to become more efficient. Your entire dealership will need to become more efficient.

You will have to become more efficient when it comes to managing your expenses. And, you must become more efficient when it comes to speed and cost of your reconditioning. I know it’s a sore subject for some of you, but the sooner you address it the sooner you will move forward.

There are many issues dealers are scrambling to deal with as we move into the most competitive environment in the history of the automobile business.

In order to do volume in used cars you need to have a “costing advantage.” By “costing advantage” I mean what’s added to the car once you own it, which includes packs and reconditioning.

To have a costing advantage you have to re-think your packs (which usually gets down to pay plans) and most importantly, what you charge the used car department from your shop.

If you know your history, you know that a couple of the reasons dealers added packs and charged full retail from the service department was because sales managers worked from cost up.

This is no longer true. Your sales managers don’t have control over gross as they did 20 years ago. The market conditions such as days supply are having an impact on how you price your vehicles.

More and more dealers are moving toward becoming one-price dealers and saying “no” when the customer shows up and wants a discount. (In the near future our UpYourGross software will track this for you.)

Becoming more efficient means improving the amount of time it takes to get a unit through recon and to the front line. Every day that a unit is not on your front line available for sale is costing you money.

Sadly, most dealers do not actually know how long it takes. And even when they do, they turn a blind eye toward the problem. They let the proverbial tail continue to wag the dog when
it comes to fixing the service timeline problem.

If you’re going to do more volume you need to have an advantage when it comes to getting cars through your system and the cost tied to doing so. You must become more efficient.

The pain of efficiency, or the pain of regret. You’re going to have one or the other and the cool thing is you get to pick. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Phrases That Make You Better

1. I trust your good judgment.

2. How can I help?

3. What do you think?

4. I’m proud of you.

5. We can fix this.

6. You’re important to our team.

7. It’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity.

8. I need your help.

9. How can we get faster and better?

10. Tell me more.

11. What do you want to be when you grow up?

12. Whatcha got?

13. What’s working?

14. What’s not working?

15. What’s the number one complaint you’re hearing?

16. You have my full support.

17. What else?

18. You’re the best.

19. Love ‘ya.

20. Let’s go to work.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs