NIADA Partners With Fort Worth Dealerships To Offer CPO Vehicles

By: Jeff Hatch

November 14, 2018

RB Sales & Leasing and 6th Gear Auto, both of Fort Worth, Texas, are now proud members of the NIADA Certified Family. To celebrate, NIADA held kickoff launches at both dealerships.

“It’s important to us to be here,” said Mike Sims, business development manager for program administrator Warrantech. “Not only to us as a whole, but to these dealerships as a client, as a partner of ours with TIADA and NIADA, and everything we do.”

Scott Lilja, NIADA’s senior vice president of member services, was also on hand to offer support and explain the benefits of partnering with NIADA. “We’ve been around for 73 years protecting dealers’ interests, putting together programs to help them get to that next level in terms of differentiation and quality, and trust and transparency with consumers. And that’s what the NIADA CPO program is really about.” 

The NIADA Certified Pre-Owned Program offers high‐quality used vehicles backed by a powerful warranty with nationwide reach and by NIADA – a national association whose more than 15,000 members are dedicated to integrity and subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics.

For a vehicle to be considered “NIADA Certified,” it must undergo a 125-point inspection conducted by a licensed repair facility and be backed by a rigorous vehicle history report. Once all requirements have been met, dealers are then able to offer these vehicles to their customers along with a number of features and benefits:

  • A CARFAX vehicle history report
  • Special financing for qualified customers
  • Flexible, fully customizable warranty options
  • Roadside assistance, towing, vehicle rental and lost key/lockout service

Offering these benefits is already paying big dividends for both dealerships. “My turnover is in the 40s now and that’s what I’m really proud of,” said Chris Johnson, owner of 6th Gear Auto Sales. “We’re selling cars faster, but more importantly, our systems, our procedures and our policies through Warrantech have helped us sell more cars through our training processes.” 

“It adds value to what we’re doing here,” said Shane Collins, general manager for RLB Sales & Leasing. “It adds value to every vehicle we sell. We’ve already seen the uptick – we’re pacing 60 cars this month, last month we did 30 – so we’re excited. It’s going to be a long, happy journey.”

To learn more about how your dealership can become NIADA Certified, visit niadacertified.com/dealers or call 1-877-310-0288 to sign up today.

Filed Under: CARFAX, certified, NIADA, pre-owned, vehicles, Warrantech

Krietz Auto named NIADA CPO Dealer of the Year

By: Jeff Hatch

June 25, 2018

The following is an article by the Auto Remarketing Staff, which appeared on June 22, 2018, at autoremarketing.com. The full article can be found here: http://bit.ly/2Ish7EP

Award Recognizes Maryland Dealership’s Rapid Rise to Certified Pre-Owned Success

Krietz Auto, a dealership in Frederick, Md., run by Charlie and Kim Krietz and their sons, Charles and Cory, became the second winner in the award’s three-year history after Todd Hoagey of Auction Direct USA claimed the first two honors.

The award recognizes the quality of dealership operations, the vehicle certification process, the number of CPO vehicles sold and the dealer’s commitment to providing a better product and level of service to his customers and the community.

In accepting the award, Charlie Krietz, who founded Krietz Auto as an auto repair shop 35 years ago, choked up with emotion as he recalled his journey to success.

“The dream I had, the vision, going through the recession and the hardships we went through with the family ... to be here today, among a lot of great people, is incredible,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of help. ... but our hunger and desire to survive, the passion – it was there.”

When he had to pause to compose himself, Krietz apologized. “I’m a little passionate,” he explained.

While Krietz Auto has been in business 35 years and was Maryland’s nominee for the 2017 National Quality Dealer award, it was only a year and a half ago that Charles Krietz met with Mike Sims of NIADA CPO administrator Warrantech to discuss getting involved in the program.

“I got with my family and said, ‘I met a really good guy today, and I think this is going to be a really good thing for us,’" Charles Kreitz recalled. “Fast forward a year, and we’re standing here getting this award.”

Now Krietz Auto is among the top operations in NIADA CPO sales, at about 180 CPO units per month. The Krietzes certify 100 percent of their qualifying vehicle inventory and have made major investments in training their 50-member staff in CPO sales, marketing, digital merchandising and reward/recognition incentive programs.

As a result, the dealership has doubled its F&I gross margin per unit since launching CPO program.

Krietz Auto is also very involved in its community as a major contributor to local organizations and programs such as 4H scholarships, Toys for Tots and youth sports teams.

Charles Krietz invited his fellow independent dealers to get in on the CPO action.

“Hopefully, all you guys can learn all about the program,” he said. “It’s a really great program. Look into it — you’re not going to go wrong.”

Filed Under: Auto, award, certified, CPO, Krietz, NIADA, pre-owned, vehicle, Warrantech

Stand Out From The Background Noise

By: Jeff Hatch

June 22, 2018

One day as he drove to work, Chris Johnson noticed there were so many dealerships along the road that it looked like one huge car lot.
 
“You could not tell where one began and the other finished,” said Johnson, owner of 6th Gear Auto Sales in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
Johnson, who had established his independent dealership in 2011, knew he had a better operation than most. He had grown up in the business and had been taught by his father, a successful dealer.
 
The problem was how to distinguish his operation as special among the two hundred used car operations within a five-mile radius of his store.
 
The more he thought about the competition the more he thought the best way to increase his business would be to broaden his base from the used car row of Fort Worth to the national market by way of the Internet.
 
The problem was, he found the same clutter on the web that he’d seen on the street around his physical lot.
 
The same problem of how to stand out among all the car lots trying to be heard also exists on eBay, Carfax or any other of the many automotive listing services.
 
As Johnson studied the problem it became clear that if he wanted to stand out, whether on the street or on the Internet, he was going to need a certified pre-owned product.
 
Johnson had built 6th Gear Auto Sales from the ground up. He wanted to see the business thrive and provide income for his family and his employees for a long time to come.
 
“I realized that without being able to advertise certified pre-owned, I would lose the 60 percent of the market that is currently looking for the comfort of a certification program,” he said. “Sixty percent is a large segment. Not all of them know exactly what certified is and what it means, but they know it is something special and they want it – or at least the option of having it.”
 
Johnson knew to take 6th Gear where he wanted it to go, he would have to find a certified pre-owned program his customers could afford. He also knew his options were limited as an independent dealer.
 
“There are not many national programs to choose from,” he said. “The factories have their programs but they are exclusive to franchises – and they’re way too expensive.”
 
Eventually, Johnson came across a program that was tailor-made for his operation – the NIADA Certified program.
 
“First off, it was a National Independent Automobile Dealers Association program,” he said. “Since I was already a member of the association, that made me feel confident.
 
“When I found out it was backed by Warrantech, the same people who handle General Motors CPO and Mazda’s and Bentley’s programs, I knew this would be the program for us.”
 
Johnson’s employees love the changes that have come out of becoming an NIADA CPO dealership.
 
“It has been a culture change for us,” finance manager John Frymire said. “People see the certified cars on the Internet and because there is a warranty protecting them, they don’t mind coming from a long way away to buy our cars.”
 
There has been a big change in the inventory because the cars are selling faster. Johnson said he had 90-  to 120-day turn of inventory before the CPO program – now he is at 47 days and is working toward turning his 70-car inventory in as little as 30 days as his operation becomes more known for having certified pre-owned inventory.
 
“The news is spreading like wildfire on both the Internet and in the community,” 6th Gear salesman Elvys Agreda said, “and that is good for business.”
 
Want to stand out from the background noise in the used car market? Just ask Chris Johnson how adding NIADA Certified Pre-Owned vehicles changed his business.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Carr is a longtime auto industry veteran in sales management and training and the regional training director for Warrantech Automotive, Inc., administrator of the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program. For more information on the NIADA CPO program, visit www.niadacertified.com/dealers.

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Used Car Dealer magazine and can be found online at: http://www.omagdigital.com/publication/?i=502218&ver=html5&p=28

Filed Under: car, Carr, Certified, CPO, market, NIADA, Pre-owned, vehicles, Warrantech, William

The CPO Playbook

By: Jeff Hatch

January 24, 2018

Make the Right Call for Your Certified Pre-Owned Program By Getting Your Entire Team on the Same Page

How do you build a top-tier certified pre-owned marketing program in your independent operation?

You build it from the ground up.

That means you start with the basics – a good partner to help you with your program and train everyone on their role in the process.

When Peyton Manning was quarterback of the Denver Broncos, he would yell “Omaha” as he waited for the snap.

Manning’s voice made the entire stadium tense up in anticipation of what was coming. Most important, his teammates snapped to a state of mental preparedness. When the snap came, they could react without thinking. 

The offense has the advantage over the defense – the offense knows what’s about to happen.

Every player knows his responsibilities and if any of them fail to carry out their assignment the play won’t work. Because they have a plan, the team moves in unison, beginning at the sound of the quarterback’s voice.

That can happen in your store. You can make is so everyone knows what to do when you call the play. 

When your staff knows which part of the playbook is being used and what everybody’s assignments are, the store becomes a team.

Manning was able to get buy-in from his teammates because they all knew the situation. Some plays are designed to get one tough yard and some are after a big gain. 

When everyone knows the situation and the goal of the play, they can carry out their duties with a more dedicated commitment.

So why are you calling the play for a CPO program?

Even if you know the answer to that question it might not be obvious to your employees.

The answer, really, is easy – to keep up with the competition.

The popularity of certified pre-owned is not showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, CPO sales set records for six consecutive years, and when the final numbers are tallied for 2017, they’re expected to break the record again.

Certified pre-owned vehicles are becoming more desirable even though fewer than half of all customers know what CPO entails. 

According to Autotrader’s 2014 CPO research study, 60 percent of car buyers said they’d like to look at a CPO unit while making a used car selection, but only 48 percent actually knew what it means for a vehicle to be certified. 

Those customers most likely don’t know the difference between warranties that come with a vehicle and extended service contracts that are purchased.

That leads to several conclusions about how to maximize the value of a CPO program.

Customers have heard of CPO and feel it is a better option. They also know it’s usually backed by a warranty for some period. 

The statistics tell us that to get the full value of a CPO program dealers should not rely on what customers think they know about certified pre-owned. A full presentation and explanation allows salespeople to create a need for the program.

For example, at Auction Direct USA, one of the nation’s most successful CPO dealerships, salespeople walk customers past an education wall that teaches them about Auction Direct, NIADA and their partnership in the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program. 

Sales is about giving enough information to allow customers to arrive at the conclusion you want them to. That definition requires your salespeople to have knowledge of what the dealership’s program includes.

With that knowledge your salespeople can provide customers information that allows them to consider the value of the CPO program when weighing your dealership’s vehicles against the competition’s. 

The economy continues to grow, allowing more people to be able to buy a vehicle. That alone is going to create a spike in business.

To capture more than their share of that market, independent dealers must be ready to compete for every deal. 

Analysts agree a majority of used vehicle buyers are interested in at least learning about CPO.

That means if you do not have a CPO program, you are left fighting for the scraps among the minority of customers who don’t know about or are not interested in CPO. And it allows new car franchises and sophisticated independents to dine on the more lucrative segment of customers who are searching for certified pre-owned vehicles. 

You need to let your team know why the CPO play was called. The people who represent your programs to the public need to know it will allow the store to stay competitive and will make marketing to the entire spectrum of the used car business viable. 

Once the people who will make your program a success know why you are setting up a CPO program, the next question to answer is, “Why that one?”

So how do you choose which program to bring into your dealership family?

Factory programs are fantastic – but they’re not an option for independent dealers. OEMs only certify their branded vehicles exclusively through franchise stores.

Even if independents could get in on the factory CPO programs, they have their issues.

Just a few years ago, for example, the margin for CPO vehicles was as much as $2,500 more than for other inventory. Today, according to research by iseecars.com, it’s more in the $750-$1,200 range.

That’s still a good return, but when you add in the average price of reconditioning a used vehicle to factory CPO specifications – including expensive items such as factory floor mats and four matching tires – most of that profit for OEM programs goes to expenses that don’t increase the customer’s satisfaction with the vehicle.

Indeed, factory programs are so stringent with their qualifications that they only certify their brand at a factory store. Which is why some new vehicle franchises have begun to use independent programs to certify their non-factory inventory. 

Without a factory program what are you left with?

There are three main ways to certify a vehicle. OEM programs are one. Independents can also self-certify through a service contract company. 

Or they can find an independent organization willing to certify the dealer’s CPO process.

The best-known national certified pre-owned program for independent dealers in the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program, sponsored by NIADA – an organization with more than 70 years of history whose mission includes promoting ethics in the used car industry. 

When NIADA wanted to bring its reputation and expertise to the CPO world it looked for a partner with the ability to certify pre-owned vehicles as well as experience and financial wherewithal to back those vehicles with a strong warranty. 

The exhaustive search for a program administrator led to The Amynta Group and its wholly owned subsidiary, Warrantech. 

“The best thing about that is it’s the same administrator General Motors and Mazda use for their extended service contracts and CPO, giving independent dealers’ customers the same service a new vehicle franchise would give,” said Warrantech’s Natalie Suarez, director of NIADA Certified. 

As a result of NIADA’s partnership with The Amynta Group, Suarez said, “we are able to provide a high-level, complete marketing program for independent dealers.” 

NIADA’s program, Suarez said, “is designed to give customers the kind of service in the event of a breakdown that’s usually reserved for new car dealerships, elevating the independent dealer in the customer’s eyes.

“And the more repeat and referral business dealers can generate, the less they spend on conquesting new customers.”

One of the first car salespeople in America was a man named Eddie Rickenbacker, who was best known as America’s most decorated flying ace, earning the Medal of Honor in World War I. He also raced in the Indianapolis 500, helped design a vehicle that bore his name and founded Eastern Airlines. 

Rickenbacker always said he learned while selling cars that you had to find your advantage and move continually towards that advantage, a philosophy that allowed him to survive countless dogfights over France. 

“The one thing I know for a fact is every lot has the same vehicles and the prices are pretty much the same, so if you want to differentiate yourself from the pack, you better provide something no one else does,” longtime auto dealer and advertising pioneer Bob Catterson once said. “If you can’t do something special the only other choice is price, and price prohibits sales, not makes them.”

Calling the NIADA CPO play for your store creates that competitive advantage over other independent dealers – and it allows you to compete with new car franchises for their used vehicle customers.

NIADA adds to that advantage with CPO partners that include some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Carfax, eBay Motors and SiriusXM Radio, adding credibility with customers and making your inventory more visible on search engines. 

Not to mention The Amynta Group, which has earned an A rating on A.M. Best’s rating system as one of the most stable companies in America and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. 

Once all the people in the store know their part in running the play, it is important for everyone to flawlessly execute his or her assignment.

As legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said, “You can’t coach a player who hasn’t been trained.” Before they can execute the plan, your staff must be trained. 

Whoever is responsible for certifying vehicles must understand how important it is to properly communicate the condition of each vehicle to management.

If it costs too much to bring the car up to CPO standards, management needs to know. And the certifying technician needs to know that not certifying a vehicle also has a cost to the dealership. 

The technicians who inspect the vehicles need to be shown the deeper importance of their work to the sales process.

In the CPO process, credibility is extremely important. Customers must believe in the concept of the inspection process. If customers do not believe there has been an actual technician touching the car, they will doubt the value of the warranty and that will negate any certification advantage. 

Sales must use the NIADA certification checklist in the sales process. 

The sales department should leave a copy of the checklist in the glove compartment of the certified vehicle. The salesperson will pull the checklist out during the walkaround or demo ride and go over how the inspection affects the customer’s ownership experience. 

The tech’s role is to check every box individually to give validity to the checklist. He or she can help sales even more by adding extra details, such as writing the actual numbers for tire tread and brake pad width.  

When the behind-the-scenes people who help sell vehicles realize how much the little things they do help the profitability of the store, their work ethic is increased.

Salespeople have the job of being enthusiastic about the program.

W. Clement Stone once said, “A positive attitude increases the likelihood of a good outcome.” That means being committed to the belief that what the store is providing the customer has value helps accomplish the task – in this case, the task is maximizing profit and sales volume.

How did Peyton Manning always perform at a high level and get his teams to perform with him when he called his plays?

The team started from the ground up, making sure everyone knew the play, their role in the play and the goal the play was meant to accomplish.

If everyone does their job, from the inspection process to sales and finance, having a great CPO option allows independent dealers not only to keep up with the local competition but to be competitive with dealers across the country via the Internet.

When you have the advantage, you become a difficult team to compete against. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Carr is a longtime auto industry veteran in sales, management and training and a regional training manager for Warrantech Automotive, Inc. administrator of the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program. For more information on the NIADA CPO program, visit www.niadacertified.com/dealers

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of Used Car Dealer magazine and can be found online at: http://bit.ly/2DyhBHN 

Filed Under: Carr, contract, CPO, dealer, dealership, extended, independent, NIADA, service, team, William

AmTrust On Board as Diamond National Corporate Partner

By: Jeff Hatch

July 12, 2017

AmTrust, a multinational provider of insurance and warranty services and parent company of NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program administrator Warrantech, has joined with NIADA as a Diamond-level National Corporate Partner.  

Operating through its partners and subsidiaries – Warrantech, AmTrust, Warranty Solutions and NIADA Certified Pre-Owned – AmTrust offers dealerships unique, customized solutions designed to fit their specific business needs.

The AmTrust team includes automotive industry experts and vehicle service contract/insurance industry veterans, expertise that translates to a comprehensive perspective with insight that enables the company to uncover hidden growth opportunities and structure programs that offer a high-value proposition for dealers and their customers.

AmTrust’s real-world expertise guides its team of trainers to help dealers refine sales strategies and build customer loyalty and enhance brand image.

The company’s vertical integration allows it to provide any combination of program management solutions, from turnkey operations with full underwriting, marketing, dealer training, sales support and administration services to a la carte services and hybrid solutions. 

Last month, AmTrust announced it has been named to the prestigious Fortune 500 list for the first time. The list, which includes the largest companies in the U.S. by total revenue, is recognition of AmTrust’s financial strength and stability. The company’s revenue rose 18 percent in 2016, reaching $5.45 billion. 

AmTrust’s partnership with NIADA gives dealers access to the only nationally recognized independent CPO program, which lets your customers know your business and the vehicles you are selling are held to a higher standard.

For more information, visit www.amtrustgroup.com or call 800-723-1154.

Filed Under: corporate, Diamond, national, NIADA, partner, service, Warrantech, warranty

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