VW, DealerMatch create dealer marketplace online

Volkswagen of America and a Manheim corporate sibling have developed an online marketplace for VW dealers to buy and sell used vehicles among themselves for a flat monthly fee.

DealerMatchVW Network was created for VW dealers by DealerMatch, a company that helps dealerships avoid auction fees by matching dealers that want to buy vehicles with those that want to sell vehicles.

Scott Weitzman, VW's general manager for used-vehicle operations, says the network helps dealers find new trading partners and keeps VW models that are eligible to be sold as certified used vehicles within the VW retail network.

VW dealers pay $399 for a three-month trial. After that, they pay $399 a month, the same as all other dealers who subscribe to DealerMatch.

"It's always in our interest to maintain Volkswagen brand units within the Volkswagen network," Weitzman says. "The benefits are higher transaction prices and better residual values."

DealerMatch parent Cox Enterprises Inc. also owns Manheim, the nation's largest vehicle auction company, and AutoTrader Group.

Paul Sims, DealerMatch customer strategy officer, says DealerMatch expects to create similar platforms for more manufacturers and dealers later this year.

DealerMatch was created last year as a way for dealers to buy, at wholesale prices, other dealers' used vehicles that are listed for retail sale on AutoTrader.com with no transaction fees, no contracts and no physical or online auctions.

A "few dozen" VW dealers are using the platform, Sims says. Weitzman adds that VW and DealerMatch are in the process of formalizing the agreement.

Tom Cunningham, used-car manager at Heritage Volkswagen in Parkville, Md., says he signed up for DealerMatchVW on Feb. 24 and the next day purchased a 2011 Jetta TDI on it. "I've already recouped our money," he says. "$399 is about what I'd pay in buyer's fees if I bought it from another online site or actually go to the auction."

You can reach Arlena Sawyers at asawyers@crain.com



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