Certified Pre-Owned Sales Are Taking Off—Are You Ready to Compete?

The purchase of a new vehicle is typically one of the most expensive transactions a consumer will undertake and, in today’s economy, buyers are looking for a way to save a few bucks. As a result, sales of new vehicles have taken a significant hit, while demand for used cars has strengthened. What many consumers don’t know is that a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle can offer them the best of both worlds—the features of a new vehicle with the substantial savings that come from purchasing a used vehicle.

So far, Mercedes CPO sales are up nearly 18 percent year-over-year. Lexus, Infiniti, and Ford CPO sales also have been heading upward over the last year, indicating an increase in consumer awareness and demand.

To help guide consumers toward the purchase of a CPO vehicle, dealers must be armed with the most up-to-date information available. By leveraging granular data to effectively market certified vehicles, dealers can increase their exposure to consumers and ultimately increase profits. Below are a few easy tips to improve any dealership’s CPO sales.

1. Focus on savings.

When showcasing certified units, be explicit in your advertising. By disclosing the modest premium a certified vehicle commands over a comparably equipped non-certified vehicle, it becomes much easier to convince consumers to bite.

2. Share as much information as possible online.

Let’s face it, we are living in the digital age and, with so much information available online, the attention span of consumers is shorter than ever. There is nothing more frustrating to an in-market shopper than having to click through multiple links only to find that they have to “call for pricing.” In most cases, you have just prompted that customer to move on to the next dealer. By disclosing a fair value they can verify on a third-party website and tons of high-quality pictures, a customer will be far more likely to visit your showroom.

3. Stay up-to-date on market trends.

Today, information is readily available for most consumers and if your inventory is overpriced, you don’t stand a chance. Consumers compare vehicles listed on a variety of sources, such as eBay, Craigslist, etc. If your certified vehicles are priced well above the competition, consumers will quickly move on to the next advertisement. By providing accurate and relevant CPO pricing on all models, you stand a much better chance of attracting consumers.

4. Leverage your online resources!

Not sure how to price that certified unit you just picked up at auction? Look online; there are a myriad of resources available to help you properly price your CPO vehicles. Your customers are searching the web for vehicle values, you should too.

Alec Gutierrez is the lead analyst of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book. Gutierrez can be reached at aqutierrez@kbb.com.

Alec Gutierrez


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