3 ways to increase your used vehicle sales

In 2009, new sales will be 10+ million vehicles. But used sales will reach almost 38 million, and 2010’s forecast is 40 million. And though franchised dealers are now retailing a larger share, to 36%, 64 of every 100 used vehicles are sold by others.

Do the math: In ’09 new-car dealers will retail 13.7 million used. If you are retailing 135+ used vehicles for every 100 new, you are average.

Here are 3 ways to increase your used sales:
1. Sell older models. Some franchised stores favor late models and miss opportunities. You can increase sales dramatically by retailing some earlier models now wholesaled. Look at the numbers: New-to-four-year-old sales are about 14% of the market, but five-to-nine-year-olds are sold at three times that rate—52%! Cars’ median age is now 9.4 years, and trucks’ is 7.4.

2. Recognize good transportation trades: Start, Steer, Stop, and Safe. Recondition to that market’s expectations, not higher standards. Get a mechanic, not a curator. And don’t worry over a $2,000 recon bill, if it’s needed. In most stores, you’ll generate $1,000 extra parts and service gross!

3. Get your people on board. It takes a culture change that starts at the top. First the dealer, then the managers, technicians, and finally the salespeople make it happen. As for the salespeople: Just don’t promise customers what you can’t deliver. Share inspections and known faults. Many customers will want items fixed and pay extra, which is more P&S gross. Sell AS-IS, but if a buyer complains, take the unit back, and refund the money!

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