Selling your own certified used vehicles will make you a better car dealer.
That might seem like a late-night TV pitch worthy of Ron Popeil of Veg-O-Matic fame. But it's really just logical retail advice, says Lou Bregou, director of operations at Burdick Automotive in North Syracuse, N.Y.
"A real dealer certification program can and should change dealership processes, resulting in more consistency and quality," he explains.
Bregou, 53, is responsible for the 12 franchises in eight locations held by Roger Burdick, one of three brothers who together hold 23 franchises in 11 locations in the central part of the state. The family centralizes the marketing of its new-vehicle operations as well as its certified used-car program, called Driver's Select.
Bregou says dealers who have their own certified used-vehicle programs are in effect forced to standardize their cosmetic and mechanical reconditioning. "Every dealership has a quality level for its used cars," he says. "Why not raise it, and standardize it, and get paid for it?"
By standardizing used-vehicle reconditioning, you "let consumers know what to expect when they come on your lot." And that can give you a winning edge with buyers.
"We have a very complex business for the consumer," Bregou says. "They don't like the process of buying a used car. We dealers have to simplify it and make it easier for the consumer. Whatever it takes to do that, we have to do."
Having a certified program does take a good deal of initial work - the dealership must set standards for the service department and for the reconditioning work, and interaction among departments may take some ironing out.
"It's a hassle," he admits, "but it's better for us to have a hassle internally than for the customers to have to go through that trying to get the quality they want."