Old dogs and new tricks

November 13, 2009

I want to acknowledge the many contributions to our industry made by Tommy Gibbs.  Below you will find two recent letters to Tommy Gibbs from mutual clients.   These are two examples of many similar letters that I frequently receive talking about the new levels of performance that are obtained by working closely with Tommy.  Congratulations to Tim Harr, Ed French and Tommy for your outstanding used vehicle improvement.


Letter from Tim Harr:

Tommy – Hope things are going good for you. I just received your email about the webex. I think that would be awesome and you could definitely count me in! Since you were here our business has increased significantly. I’ve put many things in place that you suggested. Remember the big billboard on the property next door that you thought we should utilize for advertising? Well Jim (owner, brother) bought it a couple of weeks ago and we’re getting the wording set up now and that’s going to be great advertising! (I should send you what we’re thinking of putting on there). I put the oval stickers on all the used vehicles. I have a budget center of about 10-12 cars that are less than $5000. I’ve been pushing hard to get the vehicles detailed and pics on web in 3 days (not as easy as it sounds). Parking trade-ins on the east side of showroom and writing on the windows the date, salesman, retail wholesale etc. helps keep pressure on service. 


We use vAuto religiously. Every Monday Robb, Matt and I go over all the pricing on the internet and adjust accordingly using vAuto. All the sales people have ‘the internet value pricing” sheet that you gave me posted in their office. Our used vehicle volume has gone way up since you were here. We sold 70+ used in Sept.! Last month it slowed to 48 but before you came an average month was 35-40. Traffic has slowed up but we’re still hanging in there. My average cost per unit fluctuates considerably but it’s at $15,000 today probably because of the 4 Tundra’s we just took in on trade (3 limiteds!)


I’m low on inventory and like everyone else I’m having a little problem getting inventory. Our new ads inviting to purchase cars have been going good! I’ve made some excellent purchases off the street! I don’t do very well trying to buy online (not that I haven’t tried). I seem to do very well when I’m at the auction though! I believe that the lanes that have condition reports (which are only about 1/4 at any of the auctions) are much more expensive than the other lanes. I’m going to just have to schedule a day every other week or so to go to auction to keep my inventory in line. That’s just some of the things going on around here since you were here. So you still can teach an old dog new tricks! Let me know about the webex and take care!  Thanks again for your help – Tim


Letter from Ed French:

Tommy: As Maverick so eloquently put it “I feel the need for speed” we, have REALLY ramped up our operation to increase “throughput” as the only way we see to increase total gross. We have separated our $4,999 and under vehicles with a separate manager, sales force and marketing dedication. After implementing this change in October we DOUBLED our volume in this category, and did not lose any velocity in our “regular” used business. We went from 25 to 51 in the lower transaction price units which doubled our gross in that category as well. We retailed 155 used in our market of 15,000 people and own a 15% market share according to the cross sell. I believe until the economy recovers, we have only one choice: Dominate the market and sell what the market is absorbing, and in this economy, it is a lower transaction price vehicle. Six months ago, we could buy $8,000 vehicles for $8,000 but now they are 10 grand. SO I went even further downstream and went to $6,000 and under. There is a serious sweet spot here for those who understand this market!!!. As the book 212 degrees puts it, It is only one extra degree!!! – Ed

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