Recent headlines point to changes in consumer purchasing behavior. As Forbes reported in June, “According to TransUnion, the growth in used-vehicle sales has outstripped nearly flat new-vehicle sales in the U.S. market the last three years in a row.” Additionally, according to Experian, “Customers with good to excellent credit accounted for well over half of used-car financing.”
One thing, however, remains the same. People need to buy vehicles and they often want the latest and greatest technology. So, affordability is the one big challenge that dealerships face. “The average price of new vehicles has risen to around $35,000 … ‘Customers are having monthly payment shock,’ Mike Jackson, chairman of AutoNation, told the New York Times.
How A Preowned Strategy Helps Dealerships
Dealerships struggling to maintain profitability and increase vehicle sales can tackle this problem by developing the right pre-owned sales strategy. The benefits to a dealership start before the vehicle even hits the sales floor. The vehicle will likely impact every department in the dealership: the body shop, the parts department and the service drive, and bring in revenue.
Once the vehicle is sold to a consumer, the ancillary products included in the financing of the vehicle also generate income. It can also bring business back to the dealership service department via scheduled maintenance.
This strategy has worked in practice for a dealership in Kentucky, according to Automotive News. They had been selling about 75 pre-owned vehicles a month. They shifted their mindset about pre-owned vehicles and the benefits they could reap from them and they now sell 175 preowned vehicles a month, and more importantly, they retain 80% of these customers in the service department. They’ve built a relationship with the customer and have a greater chance to see them again in their dealership.
Steps To Formulate A Preowned Strategy
One solution is to offer residual based financing (RBF-walk-away balloon loans and leases) options for preowned vehicles. Consumers can benefit from a lower monthly payment and shorter terms. Dealerships queue up a repeat customer at the end of the shorter RBF term, move more units, and experience the benefits of generating income pre- and post-sale on those units. Additionally, the ability to offer different financing options to meet the demand for lower payments can increase customer satisfaction and increase customer loyalty. These activities strengthen the relationship between the buyer and the dealership and the likelihood of repeat business when the customer is ready for a new or pre-owned vehicle.
The AFG Walk-Away Balloon and Leasing programs include pre-owned vehicles up to five model years old. Additionally, dealers enrolled in AFG’s RBF programs can use the tools the program makes available to them to further refine their preowned sales strategy.
The first tool is AFG Pre-owned Vehicle Hot Sheet. The Hot Sheet identifies current vehicles where the residual value in relation to the sales price produce a low payment. Armed with this information dealerships can acquire vehicles that are in demand and deliver a competitive monthly payment.
The second tool AFG offers is called the Dealer Inventory Download (DID). The DID helps dealerships identify vehicles within their current inventory that perform best on the AFG programs. The DID consumes your dealership’s entire inventory and presents a comparison between RBF monthly payments and conventional payments. The results can then be quickly ranked or sorted to allow your sales and F&I teams to quickly assess the best vehicles and payments for the customer.