Request for assistance in managing multiple segments of used car inventory

January 25, 2010

Last week I spent some time with a very smart woman named Betty Ballantyne, the Used Car Manager at Chris Irwin’s Ford and Toyota store in the Northeast.  Betty has quite a bit of frustration due to the fact that she’s trying to manage several different types of used cars from her single location. For example, she’s trying not to pass on easy selling “as-is” cars, trying to maintain a mainstream used car operation, as well as supporting a certain inventory of CPOs.  Throw on top of that a few sub-prime vehicle sales, and what you’ve got is pretty much of a management nightmare.  With each segment of vehicle sales there are differing strategies for reconditioning, pricing, advertising, warranties, etc.  Keeping the policies straight for each and a common understanding thereof among the sales staff is proving to be very difficult.  

I personally believe that a business should focus its operations on its core strengths, however today the used car business is so difficult, that it’s very hard to suggest that Betty just focus on one segment of the used car market.  I found myself with very few practical suggestions for Betty, but I promised to put this issue on the blog, and hopefully get some input and advice for Betty.  I would appreciate any constructive advice.

Thank you