Dealer Certification vs. OEM Certification

Dan Ferguson
We have a dealer client that is considering certifying their own used cars as opposed to running them through OEM Certification programs. The warranty and certification is exactly the same as the OEM warranty, in some cases even better. My question is, if the dealer chooses to do this, will they run into compliance issues on their websites? Can the list certified vehicles that THEY'VE certified w/o getting into hot water with their OEM's? We're already concerned about the lack of exposure on the OEM sites themselves (if they don't have any Honda certified vehicles then they won't appear in searches done for CPO on the OEM site). Anyone go through this already? Thoughts?
Kemick Larson
Dan, I have heard through the grapevine that this is a way that some dealerships are leaning, but consider this: As a consumer, are you more trusting of "so in so" auto group or in "Ford/ Toyota/ Honda Certified?" Even though dealership's images are changing, the masses still trust the factory more than the dealerships. Not to mention, are you really going to drop all of that advertising to save a couple bucks on each car? Keep in mind that almost all of the advertising that is done from the factories to support their certified programs route back to their certified websites. Have your auto group ask their customers in a "pre-exit" survey what their thoughts are on it before making any major changes... If you see that people are mostly interested because it is "make" Certified, there will be no benefit to making the switch! Example questions: How was your sales/finance/dealership experience? What was the best part of your experience? What could be improved to make this experience a better one? Was "Ford's" involvement in certifying your vehicle a factor in your purchase? Would you still have purchased your vehicle if it were certified by .... auto group and gave the same warranty, inspection and benefits? I am just spit balling, but you get the idea! Spend 3 to 6 months and if the people in your area would have still sought out an purchased the car, then make a change... and the next step would be to make sure you are focused on getting organic leads and not having to rely on the factory website...
Dennis Wagner
Yes.. I have several dealer clients that decided to do their own certification process. There is only maybe 2 out of 20+ that were met with positive results. The sad fact is the consumer does not trust their local dealer group to be around long enough to honor the entire warranty term, with good cause. The extra couple hundred bucks to factory certify the vehicle is well worth the money in my opinion. If you want to impress your customers offer the limited lifetime power train warranty backed by the dealership in addition to the factory certification. That seems to work.
Dan Ferguson
Thanks guys...good input. I like the idea of the exit interviews for a few months prior to making a final decision. The factors you mentioned will be all under consideration if they weren't already. Would welcome some more input!
Lauren Moses
we certify through GM. I understand the lack of exposure since we don't get that many leads on our certified that get traced back to GM. But I have to agree with Kermick on this one. Who are they going to trust more in the certified scheme of things. Not to mention if they are certified through the dealership then they are stuck having to take it back to that one dealership. Am I correct? Versus going with the manufacturer certification where they can take it to ANY of that manufacturers dealerships to have repairs done.
Dennis Wagner
Lauren, It depends on who / if anyone that the dealers uses to insure the dealership certification. Some dealerships use national extended service contract companies to certify their inventory, and in that case you can take the vehicle to any dealer or shop that accepts that particular warranty. In my opinion the Factory Certified warranty adds value heads and shoulders above dealer certifications, but both have value.

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