Improving Used Car Operations

1. It starts by selecting the right inventory. Unless you are an exception to the rule, most of those aged units are purchase cars. Therefore, you are obviously buying the wrong stuff. I continue to be fascinated at how many overage cars have been purchased from the likes of Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

2. Tackle my “Life Cycle Management” concept like your life depends on it, because it does. You will never get your inventory under control as long as you allow all units to have the same number of days on the shelf. You have to identify and acknowledge what each car is on day 1 not day 61. Can’t you spot a Zebra in a herd of horses? Acknowledging what you are dealing with is a major step towards improving your used car turn and eliminating problem cars.

3. Making smart and quick decisions on trade-ins you bury yourself in. Happens all the time. You step up for whatever reason, but since you don’t use “Life Cycle Management” you treat these units just like every other unit. Look Einstein, if you buried yourself in it on day one it’s only going to get worse. The best thing you can do is price that unit below market and make it disappear.

4. Don’t get too excited about a successful short term run. It will kick your butt every time. Stop it. All of a sudden you have a strong 30 day period when you sell 10 XYZs. For whatever reason they were hot. So, what do you do? You run out and buy 20 more of those bad boys. And guess what happens? They sit and they sit. And now you have some more huge wholesale losses staring you in the face.

You have much more control when you take them in small doses rather than choking yourself to death.

5. Understand that you are in the retail business. You need to make sure you are pricing your cars to market early enough and attractive enough to find a retail buyer early in the life cycle. In most cases, if you analyze your aged units you will discover that for whatever reason you overpriced them too long. Key words here are “too long.” Sure you might have them priced correctly now, but they are now stale, the sales staff knows they can’t make any money on them so they walk around them.

That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs