vAuto Podcast Special Series: Retail Revival
This special-edition series of the vAuto Podcast focuses on the challenges and concerns dealers face in the current market. Each episode gives actionable takeaways from thought leaders and dealers to help you manage inventory during these uncertain times.
Check back for new episodes every week.
How Recon Estimates Hurt Your Appraisal Success
Host: Lance Helgeson Guest: Mike Boyd
September 18, 2020 — In this vAuto Podcast episode, host Lance Helgeson and iRecon Founder Mike Boyd discuss how inaccurate reconditioning estimates in appraisals can undermine a dealership’s ability to acquire and retail used vehicles. Mike shares findings that suggest an average $600 variance between reconditioning estimates and the cost of the actual work — a gap that often translates to lower look-to-book ratios and less-productive inventory acquisition efforts. Mike also details how dealers can measure appraiser performance to achieve a higher level of recon estimate accuracy and consistency, and how such “measure to manage” efforts yield more positive outcomes for the dealership.
Dealer Voices: “Find Out What It Is That Makes You Different”
Host: Randy Kobat Guest: Cary Donovan
September 2, 2020 — In this episode of the vAuto Podcast Retail Revival series, host Randy Kobat and Cary Donovan, dealer principal at Rolling Stock Specialty Auto Sales in Louisville, Kentucky, discuss the unique retailing strategy Cary has developed at his warehouse operation. Cary shares how he manages his customers through appointment only and details his reasons for choosing not to offer F&I options as part of his customer-centric sales process. Cary outlines how he determines if a vehicle is right for his customers and how he aims to become a trusted advisor to win a customer’s business and satisfaction.
A Stocking Prescription for the Current Market
Host: Lance Helgeson Guest: Dale Pollak
August 12, 2020 — In this vAuto Podcast episode, host Lance Helgeson and vAuto Founder and Cox Automotive Executive Vice President Dale Pollak discuss current market conditions that suggest dealers should take a more cautious approach to acquiring used vehicle inventory. Dale shares his recommendation that dealers should stock a 30-day supply of inventory, based on a rolling 14-day total of retail sales, rather than a full 30-day snapshot. Dale also suggests dealers should re-think cars that “cost too much” at auction and offers a benchmark to help dealers capture a higher percentage of lower-cost trade-in opportunities to ease their reliance on auction purchases.
Dealer Voices: “You Have to Adapt to Your Market”
Host: Randy Kobat Guest: Bobby Sight
August 5, 2020 — In this episode of the vAuto Podcast Retail Revival series, host Randy Kobat and Bobby Sight, operations director at Rob Sight Ford in Kansas City, discuss how Bobby has spent the past year revamping the dealership’s marketing strategy as part of an effort to increase the store’s new vehicle business. A fourth-generation dealer, Bobby shares how he studied competitor inventories and sales to find his own opportunities to grow market share. Bobby details how his more aggressive approach to new vehicles created positive momentum that has helped him grow retail sales by 27 percent despite the disruption and low inventory levels caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bobby also shares how he and his team are faring in used vehicles as they contend with unprecedented competition and cost for wholesale inventory.
Reckoning With Today’s New Vehicle Realities
Host: Lance Helgeson Guest: Brian Finkelmeyer
July 21, 2020 — In this vAuto Podcast episode, host Lance Helgeson and Brian Finkelmeyer, director of new vehicle business development for vAuto, discuss the current environment for franchise dealers in new vehicles. Brian shares an update on new vehicle sales and inventory supplies, and how these factors create an environment where the margin of error in pricing or vehicle ordering can make a difficult situation even worse. Brian offers three ways dealers can optimize their new vehicle inventory to capture the right cars and customers amid the current market volatility.
Dealer Voices: “Building the Case for What the Vehicle’s Worth Today”
Host: Randy Kobat Guest: Jonathan Hakes
July 14, 2020 — In this episode of the vAuto Podcast Retail Revival series, host Randy Kobat and Jonathan Hakes, used vehicle inventory director at Dorschel Automotive Group in Rochester, New York, discuss how the group is putting a greater emphasis on capturing more trade-ins and off-street vehicles to feed its used vehicle inventory. Jonathan shares how the group is refining its “sight unseen” appraisal process and using Kelley Blue Book® Instant Cash Offer to get more accurate, consumer-led assessments of a vehicle’s condition. Jonathan also details the group’s goals to achieve a Look to Book ratio of 60 percent in the coming months.
A View of Online Inventory Acquisition in the Current Market
Host: Lance Helgeson Guest: Rob Berman and Patrick Janes
July 14, 2020 — In this vAuto Podcast episode, host Lance Helgeson; Rob Berman, used vehicle manager at Nate Wade Subaru in Salt Lake City; and Patrick Janes, director of business development for Stockwave, discuss how Rob has adjusted his inventory acquisition efforts to fit current wholesale and retail conditions. A self-proclaimed “dinosaur,” Rob shares how he’s casting a wider net using technology to find the cars that match his buying parameters, regardless of where they are. Rob also details how and why more targeted, profit-focused auction acquisitions helped drive record-setting used vehicle sales volume and gross profits in June for his dealership.
Why Retail Demand Remains Strong Despite Economic Conditions
Host: Lance Helgeson Guest: Dale Pollak
June 30, 2020 — In this vAuto Podcast episode, host Lance Helgeson and vAuto Founder and Cox Automotive Executive Vice President Dale Pollak discuss two questions on almost everyone’s mind — why is retail demand so strong, and how long might it last? Dale shares a perspective shaped by conversations with top thinkers at Cox Automotive that suggests 4 “C’s” are driving retail demand: cash, credit, confidence and cheap money. Dale also encourages dealers to right-size their used vehicle inventories to current retail demand to avoid carrying too much inventory if retail demand loses steam as summer turns to fall across the country.
Dealer Voices: “We’re on the Right Path.”
Host: Randy Kobat Guest: Phillip Gill
June 23, 2020 — In this episode of the vAuto Podcast Retail Revival series, host Randy Kobat and Phillip Gill, general sales manager of Tom Gill Chevrolet in Florence, Kentucky, discuss how business has changed at the dealership since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Phillip outlines how the pandemic disrupted his transition to Provision ProfitTime™, and then proved to be a useful way to position the store for a record-setting pace of sales in May. Phillip shares some of the ways he’s changing his sales process to retain and grow the share of customers who now prefer digital retailing. He also discusses the opportunities dealers have to achieve greater efficiencies and profitability by adapting their business to new retailing realities.
Dealer Voices: “Treat Other People Like We Want to Be Treated”
Host: Randy Kobat Guest: Jeff VanderWal
June 3, 2020 — In this episode of the vAuto Podcast Retail Revival series, host Randy Kobat and Jeff VanderWal — founder and president of ClearShift, an independent dealership based in Littleton, Colorado — discuss the factors that have helped the operation double its retail sales despite the pandemic. Jeff shares why ClearShift adopted digital retailing strategies years ago, and how his sales process has offered an advantage in the current market. Jeff also shares pointers for other dealers to help them re-engineer the way they sell cars by putting an earnest and honest focus on serving customers in the manner they want to be served.
Pandemic Helps Dealer Increase Reconditioning Efficiency
Host: Lance Helgeson Guest: Jim Farkas and Mike Boyd
June 3, 2020 — In this vAuto Podcast episode, host Lance Helgeson; Jim Farkas, general manager of Germain Honda in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Mike Boyd, director of business enablement and founder of iRecon, discuss how Farkas used the COVID-19 pandemic to rethink the store’s approach to reconditioning. Farkas details how he’s defined specific performance standards and timelines to shave nearly three days off the time it typically takes to get vehicles front-line ready. Farkas shares how he has changed pay plans and tied shop rates to specific time targets to ensure vehicles are out of the shop and detailed and online within 72 hours.
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