Latest OnLine Editon  Read Here

here are plenty of ways to succeed in the used-car business. But a close look at some of the best operators shows they share several habits.

One of these is coming up with a plan.

“All successful dealers have a business plan for the year,” said Joe Lescota, with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association.

This plan must be realistic, which means including a projection of net profit along with gross and revenue.

Successful dealers review that plan on a weekly basis.

Dealers must know how each employee fits in this plan.

That means having a job description for everybody and training them on how to do those jobs.

One of the most important habits is consistency, said Anthony Underwood, the owner of Underwood Mo- tors in Bessemer, Ala.

Underwood said people often want to change the script just to maintain their own interest, regardless of how well a business operates.

“Success is boring,” he said.

Dealers need to remember to do what is best for all rather than themselves.

Consistency is different than not changing. In fact, another habit of successful dealers is accepting change, especially when it comes to technology.

Ken Shilson, founder of the National Alliance of Buy-

Here, Pay-Here Dealers, said it was enough a few years ago for a dealer to have a website and maybe use AutoTrader to attract customers.

It was a question of putting himself out there and having the customers come to him.

“What works today is proactively connecting with the customer before they go somewhere else,” Shilson said. “You have to take their hand and being them to your lot.”

Successful dealers embrace other technologies to solve their problems.

For example, the kind of inventory typical of buy-here, pay-here lots proves hard to find these days. Successful dealers use technology to broaden their search for the right units with which to stock their lots.

They also use tools such as GPS devices to control their costs and make their operations more efficient.

Another habit that helps dealers on several fronts is making their customers happy.

“Do whatever you can to keep the customer happy and that goes a long way,” said William Denius, an attorney who specializes in auto finance.

Denius said many disputes between dealers and their finance companies arise when a customer starts griping and as a result stops paying.

“Of course, there will be times when you do all you can and it’s not enough,” De- nius said.

“But trying is crucial.”

So successful dealers are in the habit of keeping their customers happy, keeping up with change, having a plan and being consistent.

 

 

 

Published in Spotlight

Central Auto Auction celebrated its 11-year anniversary March 7.

Founder and President Peter Saldamarco began the sale with his annual State of the Auction and State of the Industry address.

“2017 will be a year of many exciting changes for the auction,” Saldamarco said. “Central Auto Auction will be opening a brand new vehicle evaluation center, a service department with specialization in both new and used tires, along with a much-anticipated 4th lane in our facility.”

With over 400 vehicles and 250 dealers in attendance, the sale featured new-car trades, fleet-lease, units repossessions, and donations in the lanes. Central Auto Auction completed the anniversary event with an 83 percent conversion rate.

To thank their valued customers, the auction treated everyone to gourmet Italian pizza from the Big Green Pizza Truck, served straight from the back of a 1947 former International Fire Truck.

Since commencing operations in 2006, Central Auto Auction has expanded to nine acres. Most recently, Central Auto Auction purchased Chet’s Auto Parts – an adjacent automotive scrap processing facility. 

“This addition benefits our INOP sales and donation vehicle processing, as it allows us to pay our consignors considerably more for scrap,” Saldamarco said..

Central also just established a partnership with the Credit Union League of Connecticut. The League now endorses the auction to its 80 members.

“Hopefully, that will kick up our repo volumes,” Saldamarco said.

Central also signed with Tom Stewart of AMS, so Saldamarco also expects to draw more fleet business.

The year started slow, in part because of weather that included a snowstorm that dropped 15 inches on the auction.

The feds delaying tax season also took a toll. But the end of February “just boomed,” Saldamarco said.

Overall, volumes have been down 20 to 30 percent, but sales percentages have been pretty strong.

“We’ve been running 300 and on a good week 370 to 380,” Saldamarco said. “But during the slow time, it was down to 270 to 290.”

Each sale draws about 300 bidders in the line with another 30 or so participating via simulcast.

In addition to its regular sale, Central runs a GSA sale once a month, seven to eight months out of the year.

“New cars just started arriving, which we also marshal for GSA,” Saldamarco said. “The used cars should come in by April.”

A typical sale is 100 units.They are all reconditioned and the sale is open to the public.

The bulk is passenger vehicles, but Central also gets light trucks and mid-size trucks.

“Amtrak is one of GSA’s biggest customers, and Amtrak is our next-door neighbor,” Saldamarco said. “So a lot of pickup truck and light truck volumes come from them specifically.”

 

 

Published in Auctions

For used-car dealers who have been in business for a while, the past was both good and bad.

South Carolina dealer Billy Threadgill, president of the National Independent Auto- mobile Dealers Association, said starting out was much easier when he became a dealer 40 years ago.

Back in the 1970s, a dealer didn’t even need a bond. They could start with a deal- er license, a lot and some insurance.

“That’s probably the extent of it,” he said. “Today you will work harder for less money and most dealerships today start out under-capitalized.”

He said a low-end car lot — without floor-planner backing — would probably re- quire a minimum $100,000 in capital.

Back in the 1970s, Thread- gill’s father started the business with a $15,000 mort- gage.

Acquiring inventory in the past had both advantages and disadvantages.

Jerry Smith, co-owner with his dad of H.L. Smith Automobiles in Hurst, Tex-as, started in 1971.

When Smith started, he could easily get dealer trades by visiting franchise stores late in the evening or first thing in the morning. Smith would ask about any trades and the used-car manager would have several cars in the back and throw him the keys.

“Now, they either take them to the auction or they’d have a wholesale entity handle it,” Smith said. “Back in the 1970s or ‘80s, I could actually test-drive the car and do an appraisal and condition report myself.  Now when you buy and can’t test-drive them, you’re going to get some surprises.”

But for Threadgill, acquiring inventory meant living on the road.

“I stayed on the road continually to buy cars,” he said. “I’d leave my house on Sun- day and head to South Florida. I wouldn’t come home until Thursday night.

“I was also the truck driver. I brought them home. I’d go from Florence to Miami twice a week and be back on Friday to work.”

But life was cheaper then, too. Threadgill said he could take $100 to pay for all his fuel and most of his motel expense.

Once it came to writing up a car deal, there was paperwork – lots of paperwork.

“I used to have to type or handwrite (the deal),” Threadgill said. “Minimum, it was an hour to do it, if you had all the docs available to type up. Today, it may take you five minutes to enter the information and five min- utes to run your docs.”

Most dealers would use handwritten cards to track payments and delinquencies.

Threadgill used account cards set up by due date in a file system. When a customer came in and paid, he’d write it down. If they didn’t, you put them in an unpaid account file. Handwriting was important to make sure the information was clear and correct.

Smith said he used payment cards as long as he could until Texas passed an e-tag law so the dealership had to have a computer to generate it.

“But I still use payment cards,” Smith said. “I write conversations in red and payments in black or blue.”

Before the internet, print was king and was the main source of advertising for 78-year-old Ed Bass. Bass re- tired five years ago from the buy-here, pay-here business, Car Credit Center based in the Chicago area.

“I was in the Chicago Tribune, I was in the Chicago Sun-Times, I was in the Herald-American,” Bass said.

He later moved into radio, television and, eventually, the internet.

Smith said advertising was much cheaper in the past.

“Back then, you could do shopper’s guides or the local newspaper ads and they were cheap,” Smith said. “We did things like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and you’re talking $2 to $3 for a small ad.

“In the 1980s, we even did a full-page ad in a little shop- per newspaper and it was $500 a week.”

Smith prefers the old way of advertising to the inter- net. For example, he had a vehicle advertised online that generated numerous hits, but sat on his lot for over a year.

“If there’s that many people looking at it, why in the hell ain’t somebody buying it?” he said.

Recovering cars without starter interrupt or GPS de- vices made parts of the job more tedious.

Without GPS, Threadgill and Smith worked the customer application and con- tact sheet to find the car through references, etc.

“Or you call them and tell them they won a free pizza, and get the address,” Smith said.

However, when Smith was forced to get a computer for e-tags, he also made the move to GPS units and realized how much easier it is.

“I’m telling you, I would never go back,” he said.

Regulations were not a problem decades ago

“I wasn’t worried when I came in to work that the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) – and on and on – would come up to my door over stuff I never thought would be relative to our industry,” Threadgill said. “In 1975, when you did a deal, you had four documents if it was financed. Today, if you don’t have a file that’s two inches thick, you’re probably haven’t done something right.

“I think it’s much harder today than it was back then.”

Published in Dealers
Friday, 03 March 2017 19:54

Auto Finance Delinquencies Rise

Auto finance delinquencies continue to rise, raising eyebrows in the media and among some on Wall Street. But industry experts see little cause for a concern.

Thirty-day delinquencies inched up slightly to 2.44 percent in the fourth quarter from 2.42 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, Experian reports. Sixty-day delinquencies increased to 0.78 percent from 0.71 percent.

“Delinquencies are always an important indicator of the overall health of the automotive lending market, but it’s equally important to watch how lenders react when they see a rise,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior product director of automotive finance for Experian Automotive.

In this case, creditors are shifting more loans toward customers with better credit.

The average credit score rose to 714 from 712 for new vehicles and to 654 from 649 for used.

Financing for deep-subprime and subprime customers decreased to 20.82 percent of the total lending market from 22.05 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. Lending to prime and super prime customers jumped to 59.41 percent from 57.86 percent. 

“The shift to a higher percentage of prime and subprime customers is a natural consequence of the slight growth in delinquencies,” Zabritski said. “Overall, we are still looking at a very healthy lending market.”

The concern for the general public is a dramatic rise in auto delinquencies and repossessions will harm the credit situation for already vulnerable consumers. The concern for Wall Street is harm to the asset-backed securities backed by these auto finance contracts.

Two of the major ABS ranking firms see little need to worry.

Kroll Bond Rating Agency stated in a recent report that while auto finance originations are at their highest level, the growth since 2010 is still below the decrease seen during the Great Recession and is not disproportionate to any risk category.

KBRA expects slightly lower originations for 2017 due to lower vehicle sales and tighter credit from lenders.

KBRA has seen more aggressive risk tolerance in terms of longer tenor loans, higher loan-to-value ratios and lower purchase discounts from dealers since 2010. However, underwriting remains tight.

Delinquency and charge-off rates for 2015 and 2016 originations to borrowers with subprime scores are above peak levels while rates for near prime and prime borrowers are in line with the best performing vintages and are performing within a narrow range. But KBRA sees subprime creditors tightening credit standards.

Fitch Ratings places a Stable outlook on the subprime auto sector, although the firm sees some downside risk.

Subprime auto ABS performance is pressured in 2017 due to softer performance in the 2013-2015 vintage securitizations, which have weaker credit quality pools., Fitch reports.

Subprime annualized net loss index are predicted to range between 10 percent and 12 during 2017, and could rise to peak levels recorded back in 2008-2009 of approximately 13 percent were the pace of losses to pick up beyond expectations, said Hylton Heard, senior director of Fitch Ratings.

Through January, Fitch’s ANL index stood at 10.30 percent.

Fitch continues to have a positive rating outlook for prime auto loan asset-backed securities (ABS) in 2017, despite higher losses expected this year.

Published in Auctions
Thursday, 23 February 2017 20:36

Manheim Brings Auctions to Dealers’ Lots

More than a dozen dealers stood on a sidewalk in New Orleans in January bidding on BMWs.

The setting was unusual, but the event was designed to show effectiveness of Manheim’s mobile auctions to attendees of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Manheim sees a big opportunity in the cars dealers don’t bring to auction. And they’re meeting this opportunity by bring the auctions to them.

The Cox Automotive subsidiary has been growing its mobile auction service the past few years. It now serves more than 70 locations.

Many of these are dealer’s own lots, but sales have been run at all kinds of locations, including a baseball park and that side street in New Orleans.

Brandon Steven, the owner of a several new- and used-car dealerships in Wichita, Kansas, was already sold on the process before attending the NADA event. He’s been using mobile auctions to move at his stores for six months.

“I love the concept,” Steven said.

Manheim brings a truck loaded with equipment and staff to run a sale that replicates what bidders experience at a traditional auction.

“We can bring the truck literally anywhere,” said Grace Huang, Manheim’s senior vice president of inventory services.

The trucks spend their off-time parked at Manheim auctions around the country.

It’s these auctions that provide the staff for the trucks. They can serve dealers up to 200 miles away.

Janet Barnard, president of Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions, said Manheim could set up a sale for a dealer the next day, but local regulations usually require a longer lead time.

Dealers have been running their own auctions for years. The mobile auctions take this process up a step, adding floor planning and Manheim Simulcast bidders.

The mobile auction sales bring plenty of motivated buyers, with retention rates above 70 percent.

Scott Cahill, used-car manager at East Coast Honda Volkswagen in Myrtle Beach, S.C., has been using the Manheim mobile auctions several years.  The dealership runs sales of 175 to 250 units every 60 days.

The inventory consists of aged units and trades that don’t fit into the store’s used-car model.

Prior to Manheim, the dealership used a smaller auction company to run sales at its store.

Cahill said the other company offered far fewer services.

The most important feature for Cahill is Manheim Simulcast.  The East Coast sales usually draw 50 to 60 online bidders from as far as Michigan.

This helps bring higher prices.

“It’s not how many cars you sell online,” Cahill said. “It’s how many bids you get online.”

Another advantage for East Coast is that since the vehicles stay on their lot until sale time, they can retail them up until the day of the auction.

The cars in New Orleans were sold by BMW Financial Services instead of a dealer. And all but two of the BMWs were off-site, so the whole effect was a little lacking.

But Steven still feels it worked,

“It was a great way to display what they’re doing,” he said.

 

Published in Auctions

Teshome Tesfaye, 59, came to the United States as a 21-year-old Ethiopian immigrant with just a few dollars in his pocket.

Today he owns Norfolk Motors outside Denver, with more than 100 vehicles on his website.

It was a long journey and a big change from his native country.

“When I left the country, it was under a Communist regime,” Tesfaye said. “It was getting worse and worse.”

He came to America to get an education and attended Cheyney State College, which later became Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, a historically black college founded in 1837.

He then traveled to Metropolitan State University of Denver and studied chemistry.

While driving a taxi to earn money, he went to pharmacy school.

Tesfaye said one of his early jobs as a pharmacy tech was working at the hospital preparing I.V. bags, but it didn’t last.

“I worked a couple of months and quit because I didn’t like it,” he said. “The smell (of the medications) was making me sick.”

So he went back to driving, working for a shuttle company.

“It was good money at the time,” he said. “I had a family.”

Tesfaye was married to his high school sweetheart, who had previously studied in Germany on a scholarship.

Eventually, Tesfaye got a dealer license. It was about 1996 or 1997, he said.

“I love cars,” he said. “I was a wholesaler when I started.”

At that time, his brother was an independent retail car dealer.

“He was giving me advice and everything,” Tesfaye said. “He’s my little brother, but he had been doing it for a while.”

Tesfaye wanted to make more money than he was making as a wholesaler and decided to start a retail business.

“I opened up my own store and started with three cars,” he said. “That’s how I started.”

His dealership – Norfolk Motors in Aurora – was named after a street he used to live on. It has grown a bit since then.

“Right now, I have a place that takes up the whole block,” he said.

Norfolk Motors sells almost all retail, with no subprime and maybe one or two buy-here, pay-here deals. Tesfaye also does wholesaling.

“I sell 60-plus a month in retail,” he said

He has 100 units in stock and more than that in storage. Tesfaye caters to a more upscale market.

“I carry luxury cars like Range Rovers, Mercedes, BMWs, Audis – most of them are luxury,” he said.

The average retail price is in the $14,000 to $15,000 range. The average model year is 2008 or 2009 and mileage is less than 120,000.

Tesfaye said this niche is not common among the independents he knows.

“A lot of dealers don’t carry luxury cars because the maintenance is very high,” he said.

While there are some used luxury dealers around, Tesfaye said his vehicles are targeted toward middle-class people.

“It’s not too much money to ask,” he said. “You can drive a Range Rover for $14,000.”

Tesfaye is settled here in the U.S. with his wife and two daughters. Many of his other family members live in America as well.

He was fortunate to come here in the mid-1990s, he said, when the waiting period to become a citizen wasn’t so long. Within five years of applying, he was an American citizen.

Last June, he had a chance to go back to Ethiopia for the first time in 23 years.

“It was completely different,” he said. “When I left the country it had 45 million people. Now the country has, like, 98 million people.

“I had to show my kids, because they were born here. They’ve never been there.”

Tesfaye’s oldest daughter is away at college in North Carolina, studying marketing and business. His youngest is in high school.

When Tesfaye first left his homeland, he hadn’t planned on going back.

It still lacks the freedoms that the U.S. offers.

“It’s just controlled by a few people,” Tesfaye said. “But when I left, it was completely Communist.”

“They’re still killing people.”

For Tesfaye, America is a land of opportunity.

The differences between the two countries stood out last summer when Tesfaye attended the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s Day on the Hill in Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t expect that this guy from Ethiopia would be meeting with U.S. Senator Cory Gardner,” he said. “This is just a dream come true.

“It was very exciting. It was the time of my life.”

Tesfaye said one of the reasons why so many Ethiopians come to America is because of the lack of freedom in his native land.

“When I left Ethiopia, the government let us take $50 only. That was a scary thing.

“But this is a dream land. If you work hard, you can make money. You can do anything you want.”

 

Published in Dealers
Saturday, 07 January 2017 17:37

Auction Rises from Ashes

Mid Kansas Auto Auction in Hays, Kan., is celebrating the new year with brand new auction facilities after a devastating fire last summer destroyed the former four-lane sale.

At the end of December manager Trevor Ottley said workers were putting the finishing touches on the rebuild in the aftermath of the disastrous July 24 fire.

On that day, the staff was getting ready to give out a loaner car for someone who had repair work, Ottley said. The loaner was a 2005 Buick LaSabre, which has the battery under the back seat. The battery was set on a trickle charge and employees left for about an hour, Ottley said.

“One of our employees came back and the car was engulfed in flames and the building followed,” he said.

Ottley was mowing his lawn and got a call that the auction was on fire. He and his father, Mark Ottley, both live about a quarter of a mile from the sale.

“I thought they were joking, but I ran out and looked across and could see a couple hundred feet of flames in the air,” he said. “My dad and I both beat the fire department here.”

There were more than a dozen cars in the building and even after the firefighters got it under control, it sparked up again, Ottley said.

Ottley said it was windy day and the fire got so hot it shorted out garage door openers and caused them to open up, allowing the wind to feed the fire.

“The fire was so hot, the concrete was exploding,” Ottley said.

“It got hot enough to melt the steel beams.”

Fire inspectors came out and said everything was hooked up correctly so it was a malfunction in the extension cord, the machine or the car.

No one was hurt, but the devastation was total.

“We had one facility which encompassed everything and everything burnt down,” he said. “We lost all of our servers, all of our data.

“So within four hours, everything we’ve done over the past 11 years was gone.”

After replacing a server a few years ago, the service provider did not make the proper connection between the server and online backup, so all of the data was lost, Ottley said.

“That was much worse than the building,” he said. “We had to start over.”

Ottley said the auction couldn’t even register a car after that.

It was just as much work to try and build up a temporary sale so they just stayed closed and worked on rebuilding instead.

“We’re separating our office facility from the auction facility and then we have a separate recon facility,” he said.

Ottley said the one positive is that it forced them to stop and make all the changes at once, without having to juggle the weekly sales and daily operations at the same time.

“We also have the cutting edge technology now, setting up with AutoIMS,” he said. “It will be much better.”

The new two-lane sale will have the ability to run up to 300 cars.

The auction used to run 125 units on an average sale day. At press time, Ottley was expecting to run more than 200 for the first sale at the new facility, which was scheduled before the new year.

As a family-owned independent auction, the Ottleys have focused on their customers and still did some transportation during the four-month rebuild.

Owner Mark Ottley opened the original sale new in 2005 and during the rebuild did not lay anyone off, keeping all of the staff on.

Trevor Ottley said he looks forward to running sales for dealers again.

“We’re excited to get back open for them.”

 

Published in Jeff1
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 15:21

2016 Saw Growth for Retailers, Auctions

This was the year that the publicly traded franchise groups decided to get into the used-car business in a big way by opening their own dedicated superstores.

Penske Automotive Group became the latest when it signed an agreement in December to acquire CarSense, a stand-alone specialty retailer of used vehicles in the U.S. 

CarSense has been in operation since 1997 and has five locations operating in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Penn., market areas, including southern New Jersey.

The Penske move came about a month after AutoNation Inc. announced it would launch AutoNation USA, a chain of standalone pre-owned vehicle sales and service centers.

AutoNation has identified 25 AutoNation USA potential sites in its existing markets, of which five are expected to open in 2017.

Not all these efforts have worked out for the parent companies.

Asbury was one of the first public dealership groups to launch a standalone used-car brand. It has also been the least successful, so far.

During the company’s third quarter earnings call, Asbury executives announced plans to scale down the scope of its Q used-car stores.

What was originally intended as a chain of standalone operations will now become a brand addition for existing stores.

“It’s an area where, quite frankly, we didn’t live up to our internal expectations,” said Asbury CEO Craig Monaghan.

“And it’s going to get a tremendous amount of focus from us as we move forward.”

Asbury’s history in the used-car business is spotty. In 2002, the company entered into a joint-agreement with Wal-Mart on a venture called Price 1.

It was an attempt to sell cars at select Wal-Mart locations.

The Price 1 stores closed after a year.

Asbury will continue to operate the existing Q stores in Florida and does plan on extending the brand to stores in additional states.

There was plenty of expansion on the wholesale side this year, as well.

ADESA grew at a rapid pace, adding by acquisition and opening a greenfield to serve the Chicago market.

The growth started in February, when ADESA bought eight auctions owned by the Brasher family for approximately $283 million in cash.

ADESA then acquired Sanford Auto Dealers Exchange  and Ocala Auto Dealers Exchange in Florida. The Ocala sale merged with ADESA’s existing Ocala auction.

In the fall, ADESA officially opened its new ADESA Chicago auto auction. ADESA invested approximately $40 million to develop the auction, which hosted its first sale Oct. 28.

ADESA further expanded in the Midwest by acquiring Flint Auto Auction in Flint, Mich.

 

Published in Auctions
Monday, 12 December 2016 16:34

Autotrader Names Best CPO Deals

Autotrader.com spotlighted some of the best certified pre-owned deals being used to clear out inventory at the end of the year.

Acura's CPO program offers qualified shoppers a 1.9 percent interest for up to 36 months on all CPO models except the TL, TLX and ILX.

BMW's CPO program is offering 0.9 percent interest for up to 72 months to qualified shoppers for 2013 or 2014 CPO 3 Series models.

Buick is sweetening its CPO program further this December with an additional incentive, as qualified shoppers can purchase a CPO Buick at 1.9 percent interest for up to 36 months on all models.

GMC's CPO program offers those who qualify get another impressive incentive, receiving 1.9 percent interest for up to 36 months.

Lexus' CPO program offers qualified shoppers 0.9 percent interest for up to 60 months.

Lincoln's CPO program offers shoppers who qualify 2.9 percent interest for up to 66 months.

Mercedes-Benz's CPO program offers qualified shoppers a 1.99 percent interest rate for up to 48 months on its E-Class sedan, with two years of complimentary pre-paid maintenance.

Nissan's CPO program offers qualified shoppers interest rates as low as 1.95 percent for up to 36 months on all CPO Nissan models, or 2.95 percent for up to 72 months on certain models. The brand is also offering $400 cash back on certain CPO vehicles.

 

 

Published in Dealers
Friday, 09 December 2016 17:46

Later, Slower Tax Season Might Help Dealers

Tax season is for buy-here, pay-here dealers what the Christmas shopping season is for other retailers.

But for both, the dynamics of the season have changed.

The Internal Revenue Service recently reminded taxpayers to remember that a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds until mid-February in 2017 for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit.

In addition, new identity theft and refund fraud safeguards put in place by the IRS and the states may mean some tax returns and refunds face additional review.

Beginning in 2017, a new law approved by Congress requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the EITC or the ACTC until mid-February. The IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

Richard Johnson, owner of Earl’s Credit Auto Sales, said last year’s tax season was delayed and he was still seeing tax money in April.

Johnson said he prefers a “stretched out” tax season for a number of reasons.

One is that his sales process takes a long time because it’s of a thorough closing process.

“In a hectic tax season, it’s hard to do that,” Johnson said.

The other reason is a slower tax season means Johnson can avoid paying inflated prices at auction when he needs to replenish his inventory.

Johnson depends less on tax season each year as he builds up his repeat business that now stands at 70 percent of all sales.

One change for the better this year is that the downward trend in wholesale prices means vehicles are more affordable as dealers stock up for tax time.

America’s Car-Mart  CEO Hank Henderson said on a recent conference call that he’s heard reports from the field that prices aren’t going up like they normally do.

“It’s not anything huge at this point, but we are starting to hear it is happening at certain places,” Henderson said.

Hoping for fewer “crazy competitive” offers during tax time that drive up losses.

Doug Turner, director of asset management for J.D. Byrider, said it helps that the dealer group doesn’t have to stock up as much.

“Still, we plan on watching the market very closely in the next 30 to 60 days,” he said. “Wholesale prices are dipping and it’s our goal to buy them at the right time to hedge on tax-season buying as much as we can.”

In prior years, Byrider would start buying a little earlier and it’s not buying as much early as it had in the past, Turner said.

“What you don’t want to do is be sitting on gobs of inventory in late April or May because you stocked up too much,” Turner said.

He said even though the overall wholesale prices are dropping, the market for a good, clean used car is still pretty strong.

 

 

Published in Dealers
Page 1 of 3