General Motors has shifted the day-to-day operations of its Certified Used Vehicle program from corporate headquarters to the field and added flexibility to the program to make it more attractive to dealers.
Roy Pikus, GM Certified Used Vehicle brand manager, said moving the program's training, consulting and business activities to the field means that market area teams will make certified used vehicles part of their discussions with dealers. Market area teams help dealers put together business plans to integrate certified used vehicles into GM's brand portfolio.
Many dealers have shunned the used-vehicle program, saying it is too expensive. GM hopes to attract more dealers by making the program simpler, more flexible and cost effective. Now, about 1,000 dealers sell GM certified vehicles.
To be eligible for certification, vehicles must be 1997 model-year or newer, have fewer than 60,000 miles and pass more than 100 mechanical and appearance checks.
The GM program is open to all GM makes except Cadillac and Saturn, which have their own brand-specific certification programs.
Pikus said the company began testing modifications in April with 35 dealers in the Indianapolis and Cincinnati areas.
Dealers now can choose the warranty that best fits the vehicles they sell and their customer base, he said. Under the old program a vehicle with 17,000 miles would get a 48-month/50,000-mile warranty. Under the enhanced program, a dealer may choose to cover the vehicle under a less expensive 39-month/39,000-mile warranty.
Bill DeLord, owner of Bill DeLord Auto Center (Pontiac-Buick-Oldsmobile-GMC) and Bill DeLord Used Car Superstore, in Lebanon, Ohio, was in the pilot program.
'This helps us keep the cost down and gives us more gross-making opportunities,' said DeLord. He said he expects to sell 650 used vehicles in 1999 and more than half will be GM certified.
The program now allows dealers to spend 20 percent of their co-op ad dollars to promote their Certified Used Vehicle operations in any medium. Before, dealers could devote no more than one-third of the space of a print ad to certified used vehicles, Pikus said.
Dan Johnson, general manger at Hubler Chevrolet in Indianapolis, also was in the test program. He said he especially likes that he is no longer limited to just print ads. He sells about 165 used vehicles a month; of that number about 35-40 percent are GM certified.
Also new is Kelley Blue Book Karpower software, which lets dealers print GM Certified Used Vehicle stickers in house.