Paul Lynch felt like "crawling under a table" when his dealership financial data revealed to his classmates at the NADA Dealer Academy that some of the used cars on his lot had been there for more than 500 days.
But the shame provoked the general sales manager at DePaula Chevrolet in Albany, N.Y., into action, leading to a complete overhaul of his used-vehicle operation.
With the support of the dealership's vice president, Tom Restino, Lynch sold off the aged inventory at a $200,000 loss. He also reduced by 80 percent the time it took to get a used vehicle ready for retail sale.
He enacted a strict policy: No used vehicle sticks around for more than 60 days. Ever.
In 2012, the year after Lynch's epiphany, DePaula sold 1,385 used cars and trucks, almost twice the 737 it sold in 2011. His gross profit improved about $400 per unit.
"It looks like such a drastic improvement because we were so bad before," says Lynch, who this year is selling about 130 used vehicles a month.
"There was not one thing we were doing well. We weren't making money in used cars. We were losing money on wholesale. We had a lot of aging inventory. We had to bring a schedule of our inventory to class. They asked who has the oldest cars. I was the worst; we had cars 500 and some days old. It couldn't have been worse. "Now we don't have any cars over 60 days old."