Rick Ricart, general sales manager of Ricart Automotive Group, likes consistency when it comes to certifying used vehicles.
That's why the Columbus, Ohio, dealership group forgoes the certified used-vehicle programs offered by the six brands it sells -- Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan -- and uses Motor Trend Certified instead.
Rick Ricart says that third-party certified used-vehicle program, coupled with an overhaul of the group's marketing strategy, has helped the group increase its used-vehicle sales 47 percent in the first six months of this year, to 3,372 units.
"The Motor Trend program keeps it consistent for us," says Ricart, 33, whose grandfather started the family business in 1953 as a Ford dealer.
"It keeps the inspection and reconditioning process consistent. No matter what vehicle is going into the shop, it's based on years and miles. The nameplate doesn't matter. If it's under 80,000 miles, it's certified with very few exceptions."
The Ricart group has used Motor Trend Certified for three years. Automobile Protection Corp.'s Easy Care warranty program administers the program.
Ricart says about 78 percent of the vehicles that the dealership group sells have fewer than 80,000 miles on their odometers, making them eligible for Motor Trend certification.
Most of the vehicles the group sells are 2 to 6 years old and just less than 40 percent are still covered by manufacturer new-vehicle warranties, which run concurrent with Ricart's warranty, he says.