Chuck Jacovina knows his dealership can get better prices from vendors.
Just 14 months ago, he worked for a different dealership group that once had 20 stores. He bought in volume from vendors and got low prices. But Jacovina's present employer, Gettel Automotive Group, has only 12 stores throughout Florida.
"I said to a vendor recently, 'Hey, I was paying $1,000 a month for this from you at the other store and now I'm paying $2,300 for it.'" says Jacovina, general manager of Gettel Acura in Sarasota, Fla. "The vendor told me he can't do that price for me now because I had 20 stores then. I have only seven using this particular product now."
Jacovina's experience is similar to many single-point stores or family-owned dealership groups. They don't get the same prices as the larger dealerships that buy in volume. That's why dealership co-op groups are seeing increased use of their services by smaller dealerships that want to buy goods in bulk. And conglomerates are forming to help level the playing field.
"Our whole purpose is to try to save them money," says John Hackman, president of Wisco Cooperative Association in Marshfield, Wis.
Wisco has been around since 1972. It has 548 dealer members. Its membership is not rising, but members are using it more often to buy vendor products at a lower rate, Hackman says.
"We're growing as a cooperative," Hackman says.
He adds that through October, Wisco's sales were up by 12.5 percent compared with the same period last year.