The dealership built this system and the reports it generates at almost no additional cost, with vendor-supplied inspection reports, Google Docs and its internal email system.
"You know the question," Gregg explained. "Every salesperson gets it — maybe not from every customer, but from a lot of them, from the ones that care."
His voice raised a bit: " 'What did you do to it?' And if you can show them exactly what you did to the car, it can also kind of presell our service department" and help justify the price of the vehicle.
So how does it work?
Like almost all franchised dealerships, Street Volkswagen's service department completes a detailed initial inspection of each pre-owned vehicle that it acquires, either by trade-in or at wholesale, as part of its reconditioning work. It does the same type of inspection for the customer-owned vehicles that come through service and provides each customer with a report, complete with photos, of where the vehicle has issues. The photos in the report are populated automatically through vendor Xtime, a subsidiary of Cox Automotive.
Where the innovation comes is what happens next: Inspection reports, including recommendations and any completed service repair orders, are saved electronically by stock number to a shared Google Drive, where every employee at the dealership has immediate access to them on any electronic device.
"Before, these records were all on paper and kept in service," Gregg said. "So when someone got the question 'What did you do to it?' the salesperson had to leave the customer, go back to service, find someone to look up the service record, and then take it back to the customer. It was too much freaking work! And besides, salesmen never put anything back," he joked.
Because Street Volkswagen's system is in its early days, Gregg says he is still experimenting with other information the dealership has access to that can be compiled into a more thorough report for each of its used vehicles. Some examples: the vehicle's original Monroney sticker, repair histories from other Volkswagen dealerships, photographs of the existing tires when they are changed or before-and-after photos of dings and paint imperfections that are addressed in the reconditioning process.
But one thing that is included in each used-vehicle report is the full cost of any repairs that were completed.
"We all pay retail, so there shouldn't be a problem about showing retail cost of repairs and parts. So why should there be any issue in being transparent?" Gregg said.