Certified Pre-Owned

Certified used-car sales up 7% for May


Certified pre-owned sales climbed 7 percent last month and three brands reported best-ever sales, according to Autodata Corp.

The firm, which released industry-wide CPO numbers Friday morning, said in its report there were 237,445 certified sales in May, beating the 221,936 sales a year ago by 7 percent.

Through five months of the year, there have been 1.12 million CPO sales, up 1.6 percent year-over-year.

Cadillac, Mitsubishi and Subaru each posted their best-ever month for certified sales, according to Autodata.

Cadillac sold 4,205 CPO vehicles for a 48.6-percent year-over-year gain, Mitsubishi moved 144 certified units (up 132.3 percent) and Subaru had 6,450 CPO sales (up 22.9 percent).

Domestic brands combined to sell 83,272 certified vehicles for the month (up 10.4 percent). Through May, they have sold 383,688 units, which is down 3.1 percent from the prior-year period.

Asian brands were up 4.3 percent in May with 113,455 CPO sales, and they have sold 546,477 certified vehicles through five months (up 3.7 percent).

European brands sold 40,718 CPO units for the month (up 7.7 percent).

They have sold 189,207 year-to-date (up 6 percent). 

Millennials have less connection to first car than boomers


A new survey from CarGurus reveals that the first car buying experience of millennials starkly differs from that of previous generations.

Compared to millennials, baby boomers were not only found to have been more involved when selecting their first car, but were also far more likely to have contributed to the purchase cost, the online automotive shopping platform said.

While only 37 percent of millennials surveyed said they contributed to the cost of their first car, 65 percent of baby boomers told CarGurus they paid for some or all of their first car, according to the survey. And 53 percent of Gen Xers contributed to the cost of their first car.

“Our data shows a clear generational shift in the dynamics of first car purchase,” said Sarah Welch, senior vice president of consumer marketing, said in a news release. “Given the rise of autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and sweeping urbanization, it will be interesting to see if future generations show the same trend in parents controlling the first car purchase or if we’ll see a drop-off in dependents needing a car at a younger age.”

Twenty-three percent of millennials’ first cars were hand-me-downs, while only 10 percent of baby boomers were, according to the survey.

The survey also found that millennials were more likely to receive their first car from a family member, and were just as likely to not have a choice. Thirty-four percent of the millennials surveyed said they were given their first car for either school, a job or extracurricular activity.

Thirty-three percent of millennials did not have a say in their first car, as opposed to 24 percent of baby boomers.

Although the survey shows clear differences in first car buying experiences between generations, it presents a few similarities, as well.

The survey found that 83 percent of all first cars were either bought or given used and 55 percent of drivers got their first car between the ages of 16 and 18.

Additionally, the survey also asked participants to name their favorite car brands. Chevrolet is the only brand to top each generation’s list of favorite brands. The overall most popular brands amongst all the drivers surveyed are Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda and Dodge, respectively.

The following are lists of the top five brands for each generation.

Baby boomers: Most popular first-car brands

  1. Ford
  2. Chevrolet
  3. Volkswagen
  4. Plymouth
  5. Toyota

Generation X: Most popular first-car brands

  1. Ford
  2. Chevrolet
  3. Toyota
  4. Dodge
  5. Pontiac

Millennials: Most popular-first car brands

  1. Chevrolet
  2. Honda
  3. Toyota
  4. Ford
  5. Nissan

CarGurus said it conducted the online survey of more than 1,800 randomly selected participants last month. Survey participants included drivers who have owned a car, ranging from 18 years of age to 70.

Millennial car shoppers seek personality fit over other factors

CARY, N.C. - 

While quality and affordability are regarded as key decision factors when purchasing a car, America’s growing group of millennial consumers are most likely to consider brands that fit with their personal image instead, according to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics and behavioral communications provider 

“Finding brands which fit their personal image was the largest growing factor amongst millennials when compared to older respondents,” Cambridge Analytica Data Scientist Tom Richardson said via email when Auto Remarketing asked about the study’s findings.

Fitting personal image was found to be the largest differentiating factor between the youngest consumers and older car buyers, he said.

Cambridge Analytica found this and several other trends following its study which examined American car buying habits across key demographics.

About a third of millennials surveyed said fitting personal image was “extremely important,” while only a quarter of all respondents said the same, according to the study.

Last summer, Cambridge Analytica asked 3,018 respondents to consider the following set of factors: fits with personal image, affordability, high quality, driven by celebrities, brand reputation, made in the USA and environmentally friendly.

“When dealing with younger customers we might advise dealers to use a sales pitch based on matching an individual’s style and perhaps offer small personifications/bonus extras with the cars,” Richardson explained.

According to the study, Audi is the most desired brand amongst the millennials surveyed and Lexus and Honda ranked the lowest, which suggests the two brands don’t align with a millennial’s personal image.

Car owners vs. non-owners

The study also found that car ownership status rather than age is the best predictor when identifying shoppers who rate environment as important.

While environmental impact was found to be generally less important than both affordability and quality, 10 percent of respondents without a vehicle said they consider environmental factors extremely important.

Those without a car also consider affordability to be extremely important more often than quality. The group is 10 percent less likely to rate quality as extremely important and about 6.5 percent more likely to rate affordability as extremely important, according to the study.

Similarly, respondents who already own a car told Cambridge Analytica they are mostly interested in vehicles that offer higher quality than what they currently own.

Men vs. Women

High quality and affordability were the most important factors for both men and women.

But while a majority of both genders agree that the two factors are extremely important when choosing a new car, about 10 percent more women than men believe affordability, in particular, is extremely important.

Additionally, men are almost two times more likely than women to select BMW as their most desired brand, according to the study.

Other luxury brands such as Mercedes and Lexus were also found to be favorite brands for men.

Women were found to desire Japanese economy brands like Honda and Toyota most, while they significantly favor the Jeep brand more than men. Meanwhile, 7.6 percent of the women surveyed chose the American brand as their favorite compared to just 4.5 percent of men.

Interestingly, Audi was equally as popular with both genders: 7.8 percent of men chose the brand and so did 7.8 percent of women, according to the study.

Cambridge Analytica’s study was conducted online in June 2016, “when most people began talking about 2017 car models,” Richardson added.

Kia Motors boasts best-ever April CPO sales

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kia Motors America said that last month's certified pre-owned sales marked its best April ever and more than a 5-perecent increase. And this, right after Kia had its best first quarter ever for CPO

Last month, Kia sold a 6,953 vehicles, which was up 5.6 percent year-over-year.  CPO sales have risen 14 percent year-to-date, reaching 26,406 units, according to Autodata Corp.'s April CPO retail sales report.

"Kia's record CPO sales are not surprising when you consider Kia offers the longest powertrain coverage, excellent financing incentives and a strong inspection process," IntelliChoice director of data products Eric Anderson said in a news release. "This is why IntelliChoice awarded Kia the best popular brand CPO program."

Kia’s CPO program only accepts Kia vehicles that are five years old or newer with less than 60,000 miles, according to KMA. Each vehicle also undergoes a 150-point quality assurance inspection by certified technicians.

Additionally, KMA said all Kia CPO purchases come with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and 12-month/12,000 mile Platinum Coverage.

Maserati's new CPO program has 2 years of unlimited-mile warranty

CARY, N.C. - 

Maserati North America has launched a new Officine Maserati Certified Pre-Owned program that includes two years of unlimited-mile warranty coverage.

It also includes a free three-month trial of SiriusXM.

The company made the announcement about the new program, which began last month, on Tuesday.

As part of the certification process, each vehicle undergoes a 120-point inspection.

“Maserati pre-owned vehicles have their entire history thoroughly checked, with all services brought up to date, while being expertly certified to meet factory quality-assurance standards before qualifying for CPO status,” the company said in a news release.

“The Officine Maserati signifies the expertise and capabilities of Maserati Dealers to select, prepare and to exclusively add unlimited-mile coverage to a Certified Pre-Owned Maserati.”

Maserati said the CPO warranties are available at $2,095, and $2,445 for the GranTurismo.

There were 60 Maserati certified pre-owned sales in the U.S. during April, according to Autodata Corp. That beats year-ago figures, when it sold 48 CPO vehicles.

Through four months, Maserati has sold 270 certified vehicles this year, up from 202 in the same period last year.

In March, the company had its best-ever month for CPO sales, moving 79 units, Autodata said.

Maserati began reporting its certified sales to Autodata eight years ago this month.  Autodata said that the automaker moved 205 certified vehicles the following year, which was Maserati’s first full year of sharing CPO results. 

Autotrader names top May CPO deals


Autotrader’s list of the top certified pre-owned deals available this May recognizes BMW, Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Volvo for extending types of deals often reserved for buying new.

“Shopping CPO is ideal for price-conscious car shoppers that do not want to sacrifice quality over a good deal,” Autotrader executive editor Brian Moody said in a news release. “With CPO inspection and warranty coverage, you're likely to get a vehicle that is among the better choices out there.”

BMW's CPO program offers models that are available with a warranty that offers coverage for up to six years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date this month. Shoppers particularly interested in the brand’s 3 Series or 4 Series can get 0.9 percent interest for up to 36 months. Autotrader calls this offer “a new-car deal on a used model.”

Chevrolet is offering qualified shoppers interested in a CPO Chevrolet Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, Silverado or Traverse 1.9-percent interest for up to 36 months through the end of May. This is an exceptional rate for a used vehicle, Autotrader said. 

This month Ford's CPO program boasts up to seven years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection from the original sale date, as well as an additional year or 12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage. Qualified buyers will also be offered 2.9-percent interest for up to 66 months on all of its CPO models, according to Autotrader.

Nissan's program is extending “impressive” incentives to qualified shoppers that are available on any model among its CPO fleet through the end of the month. May’s offerings include 1.95-percent interest for up to 36 months or 3.95-percent interest for up to 72 months. Additionally, Nissan is offering up to $500 cash back on its Altima, Maxima, Rogue and Sentra models.

Throughout the month, Land Rover's program will extend bumper-to-bumper coverage for up to seven years or 100,000 miles. Autotrader said the best deal Land Rover has this month is on 2013-2015 Evoque models. The automaker is offering qualified shoppers interested in an Evoque CPO 0.9-percent interest for up to 60 months.

Toyota's CPO program is among Autotrader’s highlights this month. The automaker is offering seven years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection, along with an extra year of bumper-to-bumper coverage. Additionally, through the end of the month, the Prius is available at 1.9-percent interest for up to 60 months. The deal also extends to the smaller Prius c and larger Prius v.

This month Volkswagen has a special offer aimed at qualified shoppers interested in financing. Throughout May, shoppers can purchase any CPO model with 1.99-percent interest for up to 60 months. Autotrader said this is “a great rate and a long term that you'll typically only find in the world of new vehicles.”

Volvo’s CPO program is offering shoppers bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage for seven years or 100,000 miles from the original sale date, through the end of the month. Autotrader said this is among the longest warranties in the industry. Qualified buyers interested in financing their CPO purchase can also get 0.9 percent interest for up to 24 months. This is a rate rarely offered on used models, according to Autotrader.

For additional details on the CPO programs Autotrader named this month, click here.

Certified used vehicle sales continue moderate growth


Certified pre-owned vehicle sales were up modestly in April, as the first third of the year wrapped up slightly ahead of the 2016 pace.

According to Autodata Corp., there were 234,493 CPO sales last month, beating year-ago figures by 0.7 percent. That pushes the year-to-date sum to 881,881 sales, a 0.3-percent increase.

This follows a particularly strong March, a month where Autodata determined the industry turned the second-highest amount of CPO units ever and four automakers posted new all-time highs for monthly CPO sales. 

As for April, European brands were up 3.6 percent with 38,771 certified sales, the firm said. Asian brands were up 0.2 percent with 113,052 sales and the Big 3 was down 0.1 percent with 82,670 CPO sales. 

For the year, however, European brands have increased sales 5.5 percent with 148,463 units moved, the firm's data indicated.

 Asian brands are up 3.6 percent with 433,002 CPO sales.

Certified sales for domestics are down 6.3 percent at 300,416 units sold. 

Staff writer Nick Zulovich contributed to this report. 

Christman on CPO: It’s your reputation — manage it!


For well over a decade, I have worked with, led and trained some of the best sales professionals in the world. They all, without exception, share a single common trait. 

Somehow they know more about their customers’ business and what their customers are trying to accomplish than customers do.  The reason for this is simple: Most successful salespeople are such students of their customers that they are able to take their experience with one and build on it with the next.

At the same time, I’ve seen some successful dealers teach these principles on the floor while ignoring them when it comes to modern technology tools. Today, we’ll speak specifically about the role of social media and reputation management when it comes to your certified pre-owned sales and your new- and used-car sales.

I recently had a bad experience with a local dealership in their service department. This is a dealer that I have been working with for almost 15 years, one where I have purchased several vehicles and have been a regular user of their service department for the past 10 years. 

The issue was that they recently began charging a diagnostic fee that is not absorbed into the job when you agree to have them do the work. Their door rate is already the highest in town, and I’ve never questioned this part until there was an un-communicated additional charge. I questioned the charge and poor communication with the service writer, who stood firm. 

The service director was out and the GM unavailable, so I paid and went away unhappy.

Bothered all weekend by this experience, I wrote an email to the GM on Monday morning. He didn’t respond. Two days later, I went onto their Facebook page and wrote a negative review. 

Still no one at the dealership responded. I wrote another negative review on another social media site; still no response. 

I then went to a major third-party site and wrote another negative review. Then sent a note to the zone manager. That finally got their attention and a call back from the GM; now five days later!

Things were resolved fairly and to my satisfaction. An hour later, the third negative review I posted was emailed to the Internet manager and the GM called me about changing the review (which I agreed to do).

The point? Simple. Just as you are putting your best foot forward when a customer walks onto your showroom floor, you and your dealership must also manage your brand and reputation on social media. When it comes to CPO, consumers are buying from you because they trust that you are doing the extra work in inspecting the vehicle, reconditioning it to make it like new and taking the extra step to put an extended warranty.

This trust can be shattered with the reading of a negative review about any part of your dealership on social media.

While I was waiting days for a call back from the general manager, I began reading reviews on DealerRater, Facebook, Google Reviews, Edmunds, Consumer Reports, Yelp and even the Better Business Bureau on this dealer and then others around the country, and it astounded me on how many negative reviews there were without responses or offsetting positive reviews!

To millennials: reputation matters! To Gen Xers: reputation matters! And to baby boomers: reputation matters! Or should I just say: to buyers, reputation matters!

Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the digital age. Gen Xers learned about touchscreens as tweens; even the oldest millennials were surfing the Internet after school; and later, while still in school. This is their home. They’ve posted their share of embarrassing content, of course, but this only makes the consequences of online reputation more real to them. When you’ve witnessed firsthand the damage that an ill-advised tweet or regrettable photo can do, the need for managing online reputation is obvious.

A more broad study conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, shows that online reviews impact 67.7 percent of respondents' purchasing decisions. More than half of the respondents (54.7 percent) admitted that online reviews are fairly, very or absolutely an important part of their decision-making process.

The research also uncovered that businesses risk losing almost one-fourth of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product. If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2 percent. Have four or more negative articles about your dealership appearing in Google search results? You’re likely to lose 70 percent of potential customers.

Online reviews have a significant influence on the decision-making process of consumers. They can destroy trust in your customer.

For the past year, I’ve been showing you and telling you that today’s consumers buy CPO for three reasons: trust, safety and security. 

I’ve focused on the negatives in this article thus far, since negative reviews are being posted daily about dealers all over the country and adversely impacting trust, safety and security of the buying decision.

At the same time, your brand reputation can be managed and used as a selling tool to draw more customers into your showroom and to close more sales.

How? Here are four easy habits. They will take time and will work, when worked.

  1. Monitor and analyze your dealership’s reviews on popular review sites like Google+, Dealer Rater, your own Facebook page and Twitter. Other sites, like Yelp, Cars.com or Edmunds, should also be checked often, as they can quickly climb Google search results. Don’t attempt to artificially alter the results, but instead look for best practices on how to improve Yelp reviews or other review sites and implement them. The goal is to naturally improve the general buzz around your business.
  2. If negative articles exist, there are solutions for improvement. Work with your SEM/SEO provider and create positive press and reviews about the dealership through SEO and online reputation management efforts. By gaining control of the search results for your company or product, you will be in control of the main message that individuals see when looking for more information about your dealership.

    That's done by working to ensure prospects and customers enjoy a satisfying experience when interacting with your brand (product AND people), whether online or offline.

  3. Respond quickly to any negative review by being transparent and actively listening to what the customer’s complaints are — whether they are right or wrong — and then responding to their needs.
  4. Ask happy customers in sales and service to write a positive review from their device before leaving the dealership.  Make it easy for them to want to brag about the great decision they made in buying from you!

Eric Hippen, general manager of Kemna Auto of Fort Dodge told me that he has instituted a policy that salespeople are to ask every customer to write a review as they are taking delivery. The results? They hold a FIVE-star rating on Google Reviews and Dylan, a salesperson at the dealership, has customers walking in regularly and asking for him by name because of the reviews they read about him and the dealership. 

Eric also told me that reputation management is so important to their sales, that he personally oversees this area of the business.

The myth about managing high producing sales talent is that they don’t need management. Superstar salespeople want someone to watch them in action. As their boss, it can be one of the best days you’ll ever spend in the field. Similarly, millennials want someone to watch them too; those are their social media followers who read their reviews. Give them every reason to make it their best day to brag about you!


Rob Christman is a 15-year veteran of the auto industry and has worked for top brands such as Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book in both corporate product development and field sales positions. Rob has presented at many industry conferences, most recently at the 2016 Used Car Week's CPO Forum.


Kia posts best-ever Q1 CPO sales

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Kia Motors America's certified pre-owned vehicle sales program achieved a record-high first quarter, having sold a total of 19,453 units.

Along with several other automakers, last year was also a best-ever CPO year for Kia, selling a total of 76,224 units in 2016.

"Kia's sales boost is reflective of the confidence that comes with buying a vehicle that has passed a rigorous inspection and helps consumers establish a long-term relationship with the brand," the Seoul-based automaker said in a news release.

According to Autodata’s March CPO retail sales report, Kia continues to outdo the industry with an overall notable 17.3 percent increase year-over-year for Q1.  

In an Auto Remarketing report from January,  Maria Williams, Kia's senior CPO retail support manager, said Kia's certified sales have climbed each year since the automaker partnered with JM&A Group to help build its certified pre-owned program.

Kia’s program administered by JM&A Group only accepts vehicles up to five years in age with fewer than 60,000 miles on the odometer and every vehicle undergoes a 150-point Quality Assurance inspection by certified Kia technicians.

According to Williams, the program with JM&A Group was launched in 2008, and is targeting another growth year in 2017.

Additionally, Kia's CPOs also come with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty as well as 12-month/12,000 mile-Platinum Coverage, according to KMA.

"Certified pre-pwned vehicle programs tap into the best attributes from both the new and used worlds," Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell said in a news release. "For consumers who might be uneasy about buying used, CPO vehicles offer lower prices than a new car coupled with a warranty that provides peace of mind about wear and tear."

Luxury shoppers drive uptick in used-car interest for Q1

CARY, N.C. - 

Jumpstart Automotive Media discovered a 6-percent uptick in shopping for used cars across its portfolio of sites during the first quarter, which it attributes to a rise in shoppers looking for used luxury vehicles, in particular.

Used luxury shopping is up 11 percent year-over-year, while down 3 percent for new, according to Jumpstart’s latest quarterly report, titled Share of Shopper Interest Highlights.

Similarly, among non-luxury brands, shopping is up 4 percent for used cars and down 2 percent for new.

“This is one of the shifts we have expected to see as new cars sort of flatten from a retail and sales standpoint and also as the supply becomes greater on the used side,” Jumpstart marketing and strategic insights vice president Libby Murad-Patel said in a phone interview with Auto Remarketing.

“Between sales and from our audience standpoint, luxury is driving a lot of this activity.”

She said from a sales standpoint, a lot of the luxury brands are holding very strong right now.

According to Murad-Patel, the used market is growing because those shoppers interested in the technology of new vehicles and shoppers who want to try luxury for the first time often seek out used models.

“Why it particularly effects the used market is because used prices are starting to soften a little bit, and it’s a great way for someone to enter the luxury space for the first time,” Murad-Patel said. 

“We definitely see that on the certified side or near-new vehicles in the 1- to 3-year-old age range, that is typically a nice entry point for a consumer who maybe doesn’t typically buy luxury, but wants test out those brands because you get such a good price discount. You’re getting a good product with low mileage, newer technology and high-end features,” she said.

Interestingly, Patel said the brands that are starting to see more interest from shoppers aren’t the biggest brands, such as Audi, Mercedes, and BMW, but some of the smaller luxury brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Tesla.

“Certainly Tesla’s been in the news a ton, so they're seeing a lot of growth as well,” she added.

Additionally, Jumpstart’s latest quarterly report features the vehicle segments, makes, and models that captured the largest share of online auto shoppers during Q1.

The data reported represents the percentage share of online shoppers across Jumpstart’s portfolio that consists of more than 25 million in-market auto shoppers researching vehicles.