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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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Acquiring used inventory

    As everyone already knows, it has been harder and harder lately to buy the right inventory at auctions and pay the right money. Aside from trade-ins, we really haven't done a great job finding a way to get used inventory other than going to auctions. It is becoming very clear to us that we need to branch out and get better at exploring other ways to acquire additional inventory.

     We have some ideas of things that we want to try but rather than go into all of that, I thought it would be better to throw this topic out and get some feedback. What have you guys found to be the most successful way to get inventory?

Jake McCracken
Bryant, Great question, and the real answer that we found is you just have to look harder. We ditched the "waiting till auction day" and hoping I can fill my list mentality quite a while ago and it's worked pretty well for us. I haven't been to a live auction since probably Sept. or Oct. last year. We do a lot online, and out of our area, but with the shipping cost added to already high prices has hurt our margin, but it's still necessary to get enough cars. The biggest area we improved has been purchasing direct from the public. We get nice, local owned cars without fees and shipping, and the margins are good. It just takes work! We commission our salespeople if they buy a car. It gives them another avenue to make money and they are good at it for the most part.
Larry Schlagheck
Bryant, coming from the auction world I've seen a few "tricks" that out-of-the-box thinking dealers have used. (1) Don't just go to "whole-car" auctions, take a look at the damaged vehicle auctions like Copart, IAA, and Manheim's TRA. Yes, you're bodyshop will have some work to do, but you can increase your margin. (2) Try to work directly with your local rental car company reps. All have folks in place that handle their vehicles being pulled from the fleet and while their may be "rules" in place concerning how they are supposed to sell these vehicle there are always deals being cut. You just have to be willing to take that Ford Fusion to get that 2012 Camry that you really want.
Bill Simmons
Bryant, great question and something we all are dealing with. I run a used car store without a new car franchise, so I definitely feel your pain. Have you tried buying cars out of your service lane? There are several different processes that have been discussed in the forums here about how to go about it.We can scan our next days service appointments in our CRM system to see the year, make and models of cars that are coming in the next day. From there, we can zero in on vehicles we are looking for. If the salesperson who sold the customer the car is in, we will alert them that the customer will be coming in. Through conversation we find out if they would like to get an offer for the car while they are there and you would be surprised at how many say yes. I also run a "We Buy Cars" ad in the automotive services section of Craigslist that generates 5 to 10 purchases from private owners. The other system that has helped me fill my lot without going to the auction is buying off of Manheim Simulcast and OVE with the help of vAuto Provision tool. Hope this helps.
Sarah Udelhofen
Bryant, Great used cars are hard to find! We do a lot of the same things Bill is talking about & it works very well. We have a sign in service stating "We Buy Cars" and have started having our ASM's ask customers if they are interested in an appraisal, after all who doesn't want to know what their vehicle is worth? We also do a lot of marketing to our customers targeting their trades like blackbook mailers and things like that. When we run different used car ads we always throw in a little "We Buy Cars" starburst. A while back we did some heavy advertising that we would "Beat ANY Carmax appraisal" (Not sure if you have a Carmax near you, but you wouldn't believe the traffic and awesome trades we purchased. Good luck!
Russell Grant
Bryant, I would suggest YOUR BEST AUCTION is your Service Drive. Developing a process for Service to Sales is the best way to find the exact vehicles that are otherwise difficult to find. Typically these will be low mileage, one owner, and you will have service history. Dealers that I speak to who have this strategy are typically turning over these vehicles twice as fast vs other used car inventory(on their lot) with higher grosses. Typical dealer comments are: I not bidding against anyone with my Service Customer and I dont transportation costs for the vehicle. You can use data in your DMS to find out more info with your Service Appointments. Hope this helps !!

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