POSITION: General manager, Larry H. Miller Volkswagen, Lakewood, Colo.
ACHIEVEMENT: Led the store to new records for new- and used-vehicle sales while earning the store's second-best net profit on record
In his 10-year automotive career, Jarred Black has found that the recipe for a successful dealership can be found in the used-car department.
Black took over as general manager of Larry H. Miller Volkswagen in Lakewood, Colo., in May 2013. During the next seven months, he applied the lessons learned in his previous job as a used-car manager to drive the dealership to record new- and used-vehicle sales volumes, record service and parts gross profits and the dealership's second-best net income on record as new and used volume grew to about 1,350 units from about 1,100 in 2012.
Black pushes his staff to focus on boosting used-car volumes. Selling more used cars with higher profit margins drives profitability and brings more business into the service drive to help cover overhead costs with service and parts profits.
Then, the new-car department can be unleashed, he says. "I would rather sell a lot more cars for a little bit of profit," he said, adding that he cares more about total accumulated gross profits than per-vehicle grosses. "The old-school way of doing biz was, 'I'm going to make as much money as possible on every car we sell.'"
Black says it's also critical to mix both old- and new-school approaches to the used-car market. He says digital tools and market data are important, but without firsthand knowledge gleaned from experience at auctions, those tools are useless.
"The used-car market is a science," he says. "If you think you're going to just grab that digital tool and become a rock star, you're going to have another think coming."
-- Ryan Beene