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What’s Your Dealership’s Average Front-End Gross Per Vehicle?

 

This is the third in a series of blogs I’ve been writing on metrics: in my last blog we discussed the average percentage of sales in dealerships that can be attributed to Internet leads. This week, I’d like to talk about average front-end gross per vehicle.

 

In a recent survey we conducted, we asked dealerships representing all types of makes and models:

 

These were the two questions related to front-end gross in the survey:

1) What is the average front-end gross per vehicle sold in the showroom (floor sales) in your store?

 

2) What is the average front-end gross per vehicle sold in the Internet department in your store?

 

We wanted to first quantify the difference between gross from showroom sales and Internet sales, and we wanted to compare the averages of stores in different “performance brands.”

 

Here are the survey results:

 

• 29% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the showroom is > $1,300

• 15% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the Internet department is > $1,300

 

At the same time:

• 9% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the showroom is < $800

• 21% of respondents said the average front-end gross per vehicle in the Internet department is < $800

 

It’s clear there’s quite a disparity between averages in the showroom and the Internet department. We consulted David Kain of Kain Automotive on this question, because he believes (and the survey results reflect this), that most Internet salespeople tend to discount too soon. This tendency leads to lower front-end gross averages in the Internet department.

 

Regardless of what your dealership’s average gross per vehicle (PVR) is, the goal is for the showroom and Internet department averages to be the same. Why is this important? The higher the gross per vehicle, the higher your ROI and profits are.

 

We compared answers from dealerships making seven times or more ROI on their Internet spend, to those making three times or less ROI on their Internet spend, regardless of make or model. The results were compelling:

 

Internet Department ROI

Showroom PVR > $1300

Internet PVR > $1300

< 4x

21%

7%

> 6x

58%

44%

 

So how can you increase your average front-end gross per vehicle, as well as get the Internet department gross in line with the showroom gross? Here are a few tips:

 

  1. Always provide the customer with choices and carefully review leads for model selection and trim levels. If you’re quoting your customer the loss leader or base model and they want the luxury model, then you’re setting them up for a price expectation way lower than is reasonable.
  2. Just like when you’re face-to-face with a customer, focus on building value in the vehicles. Customers want to know what they’re buying is worth the money, and you have the opportunity to explain why the price is what the price is
  3. Don’t be tempted to immediately give a discount, and be wary of programs that send inventory selections to customers with quotes designed to beat your competition or that are loss leaders. Big discount quotes make the customer believe all vehicles can be significantly discounted.
  4. Mystery shop your competition from time to time on key vehicles to ensure you’re pricing your vehicles to market.
  5. Consider location. If a customer is close to you, then price in the convenience of shopping with you. If the customer lives 20 miles away and has to drive past multiple competitors in order to get to your store, you may be more aggressive in your pricing.
  6. Set the rules in the Internet department based on what vehicles are selling for in the showroom. If they know the ‘floor’ price, you’re less likely to have a significant discrepancy between the showroom and the Internet gross.

 

What other tips do you have to raise the average front-end gross per vehicle, and more importantly, to increase the averages in the Internet departments to be more in line with showroom averages?

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