Bill Marsh Jr. says the problem with manufacturer-backed certified used-vehicle programs is that they build brand equity for the factory, not for the dealers selling the vehicles.
That's why the family-owned Bill Marsh Automotive Group (Buick-Pontiac-GMC-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Saturn) in Traverse City, Mich., created Price Point in 1998.
Price Point is the auto group's used-vehicle operation. It has its own facility, sales staff and service department. But most important, it has its own brand identity.
Marsh Automotive is among the dealerships that shun factory-certified used-vehicle programs and have created create their own used-vehicle brand instead.
Boch Enterprises in Norwood, Mass., is one of them. The company sells new Dodge, Toyota, Scion, Honda and Kia cars and trucks. And it markets used vehicles separately under its "Boch New to You Superstore," banner, says Michael Shafman, the company's vice president of operations.
Shafman and Marsh say their brands give them the opportunity to offer customers value. It also gives the companies' control over their growth, inventory and marketing message.
"Our problem with certified used vehicles is there was a time when only one or two manufacturers were doing it -- it was relatively unique," says Marsh, who owns the business along with his brothers, Jamie and Mike.
"Now it seems like everybody has a certified used-vehicle program. So it has lost some of its luster and uniqueness. We feel that taking those resources we would have spent on a certified program and developing our own identity works better for us."
Shafman says Boch Enterprises has built a reputation in its market and that enables the company to market its own brand of used vehicles successfully.
"The reason factories came out with certification is to sell their cars and to give credibility to the vehicle." Shafman says. "We can take our own vehicles and service them to a standard that is equal to -- and sometimes better than --the factory standards.
"We stand behind them with a full standard warranty for 1-year/12,000-miles. We have a long history of taking care of our customers, so there is a trust factor. It winds up making very good sense for us."