Dale Pollak has created an interactive online product that he says will reduce the need for used-vehicle price negotiation at the dealership.
The RealDeal Report shows how the price of a used vehicle compares with the prices of vehicles of similar make, model and age that also are for sale in a dealer’s market.
RealDeal allows dealers to price vehicles competitively with their markets and create reports that show how the dealer’s price stacks up with the competition, says Pollak, founder and chairman of vAuto Inc.
The reports can be shown to consumers on computers at the dealership, printed out and handed to them, or emailed. Consumers cannot access the online information without going through a dealer. Customers are less likely to haggle over the price of the used car or truck if they think they are getting a good price, Pollak says.
“The seller has to justify the value for the price,” he says. “The customer has to validate that value, and that is typically negotiation.”
Demo at NADA
Pollak is testing RealDeal reports with about 10 dealers. He plans to demonstrate the product this weekend at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Fla.
VAuto, of Oak Brook, III., specializes in used-vehicle inventory management software. About 2,400 dealers, of which 80 percent operate new-car franchises, subscribe to vAuto products, Pollak says. RealDeal will cost vAuto subscribers $695 a month and will be sold only to subscribers.
Pollak hopes RealDeal reports will become as popular with consumers and dealers as used-vehicle history reports from companies such as CarFax Inc. “We’re going to build RealDeal as a CarFax-like brand,” he says.
RealDeal creates reports by monitoring more than 40,000 third-party and dealer-owned Web sites that offer used vehicles for sale, Pollak says.
The online report has four tabs. The first lists details about the vehicle being offered for sale by the dealer — including price, vehicle identification number, mileage, body style and color.
The second tab scans the market within an adjustable radius set by the dealer — say, 100 miles or 50 miles — to find similar vehicles being offered within that radius.
The third tab lists those vehicles on a grid that plots price and mileage. It highlights the market average price of those vehicles and indicates whether the dealer’s vehicle price, conslderlnq mileage, is low, good or high when compared with the other vehicles for sale.
The fourth tab lists all the similar vehicles for sale in a market, with details such as price, color, how far away the vehicle is from the dealership and days on the market. Dealers can choose whether to show that tab’s information to customers.
Pollak says dealers can adjust their own prices to change how they rank against the competition and can adjust the radius for finding competing vehicles. They cannot make any adjustments to competitors’ listings.
If a dealer using RealDeal changes the price of a used vehicle, the software automatically can send an e-mail with the new price to any customer that has received an earlier RealDeal report on that vehicle.
Bill Pearson, co-owner of Finish Line Ford in Peoria, III., tested RealDeal for vAuto and says he is sold. He says most used-car buyers have done their homework online and know the vehicle they want to buy, so the deal comes down to price.
Pearson says he has ordered two touchscreen kiosks for his store so customers can run Real Deal reports on his used vehicles.
He adds: “The transparency and the third-party validity it brings is something we want to promote.”