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How does your dealership acquire its most desirable pre-owned inventory? Aren’t the vehicles you previously sold your best candidates…aren’t they the vehicles your market wants most and that hold their gross best? 

Sure they are. Trouble is, given the increasing buy cycle gap, most dealers aren’t seeing the trade opportunities for such models as they’d like. 

Strong demand for used vehicles, as reported by NADA  at mid-summer, is likely to continue. This will likely mean continued competitive wrangling at auctions for the most desirable inventory for the used car operations of franchised new-car dealers.   

If a dealer wants a greater percentage of these kinds of units in its used inventory, the dealership has to acquire those quality in-demand vehicles from their existing customers. 

How does one do this, how does one turn up the flow of these kinds of trade opportunities? As I learned when selling cars, you simply ask. 

Many of your existing customers are driving the models you want for your used operation. They are likely to trade them to you today or this week if you can put them into a new model for a payment similar to what they’re paying now. 

Mining your customer base for owners of the models and model years that sell well and hold gross on your used lot is a more direct and less costly way to attain highly marketable used inventory than relying on auctions.  

You know the downside of buying at auctions, as necessary and valuable to the industry that auctions are. The competition for the newer, in-demand vehicles at auctions can be fierce. This demand drives up the bidding, driving up your costs. Furthermore, you’ll pay auction fees, transport costs – and make-ready costs back at your dealership all erode gross. 

Database analysis tools such as AutoAlert can help you remedy this situation. It can help you better source the pre-owned inventory you want, directly from your existing customers. It equips you with precise customer-specific financial and vehicle equity data and compelling talking points to help you offer to buy customer vehicles at the right price and then them into new models from your new inventory for about the same monthly payment.  

This Rx for pre-owned inventory puts units on the lot you originally sold and serviced, so owner records are available for the next buyer. Nine out of 10 times, you’ll sell a new model as part of the transaction, retaining these customers’ business and perpetuating this great used inventory acquisition method. 

Contact me and I will prove how powerful a remedy this strategy is for managing your used inventory.

About the author: Jeff Cotton is Vice President and Co-Founder of AutoAlert, Inc., a leading customer database analysis and sales strategies company. He is a former sales professional with Fletcher Jones Motor Cars. Contact him at and visit



Views: 68

Tags: auctions, autoalert, big, cars, data, equity, inventory, mining, preowned, trade-ins, More…used


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