The Secret

Dealers are always asking for the “secret” to their used car operation. The answer is the dealer. The dealer is the secret.

Always has been, always will be. For definition purposes, the dealer as I’m describing here is the owner, operator or general manager. In other words, the PIC (Person in Charge.)

In almost all cases the PIC has a used car manager or management team who they have high expectations of and continue to be frustrated with in terms of production and profits.

The common theme among dealers is, “I need a used car manager/used car department who can get the job done, someone who understands both the technology side and the common sense side of the business.” Where do you find this person? He is sitting at your desk!

If you are the PIC and want to take a major leap with your used car business then you need to become the used car manager. You read that right, become the used car manager.

I’m not saying that you have to take the title of used car manager, but you have to take personal ownership of the used car department.

I don’t buy your excuse that you don’t have the time. Most dealers have a good Controller, a good Parts Manager, a good Body Shop Manager, a Good Service Manager and a Good Sales Manager. Most of these departments run better when you keep your nose out of their business.

That’s not to say that you don’t have a good used car manager, but the used car department is the one area that you have unlimited potential in and the one that most of you are not even coming close to maximizing.

You have the time if you want to make the time. Far too often the PIC doesn’t want to dirty his/her little paw paws with the day to day issues of the used car department and market.

In all my travels around the country the number one common thread for the very best used car operations is the PIC. I can tell you that as a new car dealer for 20 plus years I had the most success with my used car operation when I personally took ownership of it.

As the Dealer (PIC) I could make really quick decisions. If I made a mistake I fixed it and moved on. When you’re the PIC you know anything and everything that goes on in the used car department. When your typical used car manager makes a mistake he/she can’t always fix it without the wrath of the boss coming down on them.

If you’re the used car manager you are operating under a handicap. It’s called experience. Not your experience, but the experience of the PIC.

The PIC has been burned so many times with other used car managers they have tied your hands to the point that no matter what you think or want to do/try they just can’t turn you loose.

So, even though they themselves won’t dig in, they won’t let you dig in but so much. But, they still have these grandiose expectations of what they want out of the used car department.

I can tell you until the PIC takes ownership along with a solid used car manager, it’s never going to happen.

So, now you know the secret. What are you going to do with it? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs