Dealers are always asking for “the fix” to their used car operation. The reality is the answer is the dealer. The dealer is the fix. Always has been, always will be. For definition purposes the dealer as I’m describing here is the owner/operator/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 dealerships 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 Comptroller, 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 Cracker Jack 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. Every time I turned it over to someone else it went south. That’s not because I was a great used car manager and the people I turned it over to were not. It’s just a fact of life. Because I took ownership of the used car department, I made it work and I made it work really well. 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 everything and anything 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. And, knowing human nature the odds are about 90% that it’s not going to happen.
Let me share one final thought with you. The biggest complaint I hear these days is, I can’t find used cars. I’m telling you when the PIC is in charge of the buying they can find cars. And not only can they find them, they can figure a way to retail them. I spoke to a PIC last week who does most of the buying, He has a couple of other people who also buy for him, but last week, in just two days, he himself bought 39 cars. Not online, but at the auctions. How many used car managers bought 39 cars last week? How many bought 39 cars in the last month?
So, if he can do it you can too. It’s a matter of choice. You can choose to make it happen or sit around and wish that someone else would do it.
- If it is to be, it is up to thee.
- PIC – Understand the difference between being the PIC and becoming the Person In Charge.
- You can become your own used car manager. You have the time if you want to make the time.
That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs