Three Ways to Help Ensure Your Members Make Wise Vehicle Purchases

For most members, buying a motor vehicle is a major investment. You can help make sure they are well informed before committing to their purchase.

 

By O'Neal Credit Union

 

How Much is that Vehicle in the Window?

For most credit union members, buying a motor vehicle is a major investment, often the second most expensive one they'll make. As a service to your members, you want to make sure they are well informed before they commit to any major purchase.

But ensuring that they're buying, selling or trading-in a vehicle at a fair price requires special knowledge. And nowhere is this knowledge more difficult to attain than in the used vehicle market.

Three Things to Know About Buying or Selling a Used Vehicle

Unlike new vehicles, which have a published invoice price or MSRP with optional equipment, the value of a used vehicle is determined by several variables and, ultimately, is often subjective. Under such conditions, it is imperative that all key sources and factors are objectively considered before assigning value.

You can help your members make wise purchasing or trading decisions by assisting them with these three principles of shopping for used vehicles: know what happened to the vehicle, what's on it and what it's really worth.

1. What Happened To It?

A Vehicle History Report (VHR) could be the best, and most cost-effective, investment advice you'll ever offer your members. A VHR typically consists of public information, culled from a variety of sources, such as DMV records, and can alert your members to any hidden accident damage or false odometer readings. Among other things, it can ensure the vehicle has a clean title. Some VHR providers also offer ratings and reviews.

Make sure your members do not get caught by surprise. Enable them to access industry-leading VHR providers from your Web site.

2. What's On It?

A Vehicle History Report is your members' single best source for seeing what's happened to a vehicle. But that's only part of the story. They might also need to know what equipment is on—or could or should be on—a vehicle, as well as the estimated value of any installed options. Especially if the vehicle is pre-owned, your members will want to know everything that's on it before making a purchase decision.

The solution? Put complete research tools at their fingertips. Let them “build” their own dream car, compare vehicles or even translate a cryptic VIN into a meaningful vehicle description. Your site should address the high-level research requirements of the grandmother, as well as the rich details desired by the gearhead.

3. What Is It Really Worth?

Once your members have the vehicle's history in front of them, as well as a list of what's on the vehicle, they're very close to understanding its true value. But what's the vehicle really worth on today's market?

There are several sources for assigning a value to a used vehicle. However, some sources intentionally favor either the retailer or the consumer. And in many cases, values can be off by thousands of dollars on the same vehicle. Companies that publish used valuation guides typically identify their research methodology, either in their printed books or their online service.

Make sure the publisher you provide determines valuations through an editorial process that analyzes Retail and Wholesale used vehicle sales data gathered from a variety of sources, from Dealers to Auctions to Advertisements. The publisher should also take into account market, regional and vehicle conditions.

Increase Member Satisfaction, Drive More Auto Loans

To the online shopper, all bets are on. In researching their options, many will consider used, new and certified pre-owned vehicles. They want and expect a wealth of information to help them make the right purchase decision. If you don't provide it, your members will simply go elsewhere to get it. And when they do, there's a good chance they will get pitched financing from someone other than your credit union.

So make it easy for your members to get the information they need while visiting your Web site. If you do, you're destined to increase member satisfaction, as well as your share of auto loans. Give your members what they need and they'll stay longer--on your site and with your credit union.

Chrome Systems pioneered the technology behind electronic vehicle configuration close to 20 years ago and continues to lead the industry. Today, half of all auto dealers in the United States use Chrome. Plus, the company's vehicle data powers more than 2,000 Web sites and helps drive car loans for more than 500 financial institutions.

 

March 21, 2005


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