There is no perfect used car (or a new one, for that matter). If you’ve ever worked at a franchise dealership, you’ve had brand-new vehicles that still needed some level of attention.

The ironic thing is that consumers don’t expect used vehicles to be perfect, either. Consumers say they get nervous and skeptical when vehicles are presented as “perfect” or “like new.”

But they want those used cars to look nearly new when they purchase one. No one wants to drive a vehicle they’re not proud of, and the only person who should know the mileage and the history should be the driver. What the neighbors, friends, family members and everyone else will see is the fact that it’s a nice-looking vehicle.

What are buyers concerned with? They want to know: Where did you get it from? What shape was it in when you got it? Things like the inspection process and repair orders go a long way to building a customer’s confidence to make a buying decision.

The consumer’s best-case scenario is this: A vehicle that’s been well taken care of, has undergone a complete inspection process, and has been reconditioned to a high standard. What checks all the boxes? Certified Pre-Owned vehicles (CPO).

Consumers are often budget-conscious and need to understand the value in spending a little more for a CPO vehicle versus a traditional used car. Successful dealers look at their CPO inventory as an additional category that straddles the line between new and used. They also give the CPO customer an experience that’s much like buying a new car. They market them separately and often separate them in a dedicated section, if they have room on their lots. Some even keep a CPO car in the showroom, often near the service waiting area.

Many customers find value in the inspection process, the near-new age of the vehicle and the extended warranties but that only happens when the sales team believes in the process — and is able to convey the program benefits with confidence. The extra cost that CPO vehicles draw above other used cars will be justified in the consumer’s mind by their desire for peace of mind and getting a vehicle they can feel comfortable spending their money on.

Join us at Used Car Week’s Pre-Owned Con this November in Phoenix, where we can talk more about how strategic CPO initiatives can provide opportunities for your business.

–Just The Fax

By Robert Grill, Carfax Senior Partner Development Manager

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