Leaders at Reedman Toll Auto Group took a look at where the automotive market was headed and anticipated a shift in the way people would use and buy vehicles. Namely, they expected the prevalence of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft presented a fundamental change — and an opportunity, said Daryl Kessler, the group's vice president.
The services are "very much here to stay and a growing part of the industry, and there is for that reason a market among those ... drivers for cars," Kessler said. "Many of the people who are interested in starting as ... drivers either can't afford a new car, or even if they could, they can't get financed for any number of reasons."
So Reedman Toll, with seven stores in the Philadelphia area, decided it should get vehicles from its dealerships into the hands of ride-hailing drivers.
"That developed into a bigger idea of partnering with companies that would allow us to rent cars to those people," and to sell cars to them, Kessler said.
In fall 2018, the dealership group set up a separate company called Stork Driver PA, which buys lightly used inventory from Reedman Toll and then rents or sells those cars to ride-hailing drivers. Stork Driver PA also rents space from Reedman Toll's Langhorne store, where a lounge with couches, a TV, snacks and other amenities was set up to provide those drivers with a place to relax.
Around the same time, Reedman Toll partnered with DriveItAway, a mobile application that connects ride-hailing drivers with vehicles, to generate leads. "We also think that as this grows, and as we are developing relationships with drivers, that we're going to start to see an increasing number of word-of-mouth customers," Kessler said.
Reedman Toll also offered perks for ride-hailing drivers on service work, such as four free oil changes, free brake pads for life and a 20 percent discount on service and maintenance jobs. So, in addition to more vehicle sales or rental revenue, Reedman Toll also is benefiting from more business coming through the group's service lanes, Kessler said.