Chrysler group dealers who use the company's inventory management system will get first crack at buying factory-owned used vehicles.
The Chrysler group plans to launch DC First in early spring. The online service will offer dealers former rental, company, and employee-leased cars and trucks that are available for sale as used Chrysler group vehicles.
DC First works with the Chrysler group's Used Vehicle Total Order Planning System, or U-TOPS. That system identifies which used vehicles sell best in a dealer's store and market. Six hundred and eight of the Chrysler group's estimated 4,000 U.S. dealerships use U-TOPS.
With the new service, Chrysler executives say, dealers can order used vehicles almost immediately after they are turned in to the company, before they are assigned to a traditional auction.
Bud Place, the Chrysler group's senior manager of used vehicle sales and marketing, says participating dealers will be offered the vehicles before they are reconditioned.
The vehicles will come mostly from the 2005 model year, Place says. Some will be 2004 and 2006 models, he adds. Place declined to estimate how many vehicles the company will offer for sale under the program.
Under DC First, the Chrysler group expects to save money on reconditioning used vehicles and transporting them to auction, Place says. That will enable Chrysler to sell dealers the vehicles for less than they would pay at auction, he says. He would not estimate a typical dealer's savings.
The company is "real excited" about the program, Place says. Previously, he adds, the Chrysler group did not offer to sell its used vehicles to dealers until they had been consigned for sale at auction.
Dealers will be able to bid on company vehicles through U-TOPS for 48 hours once they become available. For retired rental cars, it's 24 hours.
After that, all Chrysler group dealers will have the same length of time to bid. Vehicles that remain unsold will be sent to auction, Place says.
DC First will gradually expand the number of used vehicles it offers, Place says.
"We'll start with a couple of marshaling yards" where the Chrysler group stores used company-owned vehicles, he says. "We'll grow it from there, based on the findings we glean along the way."