Group 1 Automotive Inc. has found that its AcceleRide digital retailing platform has not only helped to grow its footprint, but also to add cars and trucks to its lots at a time when auto retailers desperately need inventory.
New- and used-vehicle inventories have been tight — especially new — while consumer demand is expected to remain elevated through the end of the year, at least.
Daryl Kenningham, Group 1's president of U.S. and Brazil operations, said that with the retailer's relatively low inventory, it's become critical to presell incoming new vehicles. AcceleRide has helped this process, Kenningham said in an earnings call last week, by allowing customers to finalize transactions on in-transit vehicles and to take deposits digitally.
At the same time, AcceleRide has boosted Group 1's sourcing of used vehicles. Through the platform, Group 1 bought nearly 5,000 vehicles from customers in the third quarter, which was up 30 percent sequentially from the second quarter. The purchases included trades and individual acquisitions.
Overall, AcceleRide's use continues to grow, both digitally and as a supplement to the traditional, in-store car-buying process, Kenningham said. The Houston group sold 5,200 vehicles through the platform in the third quarter, a 68 percent jump from a year earlier.
About half of all Group 1 vehicle sales in the U.S. in the third quarter involved AcceleRide at some point, with purchases completed through the traditional in-store method. Not bad for something it launched a little over two years ago.
Said Kenningham, "In our view, digitizing the dealership experience saves everyone time, creates complete transparency and increases professionalism."