Fleming: Why CPOs Are the New Vehicle Of Choice For Many Women Car Buyers


The used-car business had two of its best years ever in 2011 and 2010, with record sales of 15.6 million reported last year at franchised dealerships.

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, 8.7 million were retail sales made at dealerships, and 57 percent of them came from trade-ins or from the ever-increasing inventory of vehicles returned to the dealership at the end of a 24- or 36-month lease.

These lease trade-ins are the very cars fueling the growth and popularity of certified pre-owned vehicles.

With their low mileage, exemplary service records and factory-certified inspections complete with warranty, these cars create an unparallel opportunity for increased used-car sales at the dealership.

In a late-2011 study conducted by AutoTrader.com and Morpace, results show that 60 percent of new-car shoppers are more likely to consider a CPO vehicle this year, and 29 percent of them are open to buying a CPO vehicle for the first time.

Smart and forward-thinking dealers are focusing their sales efforts on women as they know that women buy or influence the purchasing on 80 percent of all sales.

Dealers who want to continue to reap the benefits of this trend in 2013 are developing sales and marketing efforts around this demographic. These seven reasons should be part of every conversation you have with them.

1. CPO Cars Lower the Risks of Buying a Used Car & Avoid New-Car Depreciation

When it comes to car buying, women don’t want to take risks. They want smart cars that are safe and reliable and stylish. CPO vehicles eliminate a lot of risks and provide better value, offering customers new-car quality and assurances.

Women feel they are getting a like-new car with new car-like peace of mind, and they have the assurance the car won’t depreciate the instant they drive the car off the lot. These vehicles also help women save on auto insurance rates, versus brand-new 2013 or 2012 vehicles.

2. CPO Cars Allow Women Car Buyers to Own Cars They Could Not Afford New

With a CPO vehicle, women are often able to buy a luxury vehicle or a sport utility vehicle they otherwise could not afford. For example, according to Edmunds.com, a woman can buy a CPO Lexus RX 400h for the same price as a new-year model Toyota Highlander, and she gets a luxury nameplate for a used-car price.

In their most findings year to date, Women-Drivers.com, a website that connects women to Certified Women-Drivers Friendly Dealers, women rated what influenced them most when purchasing their used cars.

Aside from price, their top three responses were: a) the reputation of the brand and model of the car, b) the style and design of the car and c) the service they receive from the dealership.

3. A New Level of Trust & New Digital Tools

So these customers can’t fill out a CSI form, but they sure can write reviews. Ask them to write a review, and use an incentive in the way of a discount or coupon on future service work. This increases the change of her using your service lane in the future.

According to DME Automotive, only 23 percent of any given dealership’s customers are true “loyalists” in the service lane, so develop a drip marketing program specific to your CPO buyers, rich with coupons, discounts and value-add offers that are rewarding, to gain her trust and her business.

Concierge vehicles, more evening hours, child play areas and Wi-Fi are a must for the attention and retention of younger CPO customers. Other technology tools that really go a long way in building service sales are Web‐based tools to “visually explain” repairs. ClearMechanic.com is helping dealerships with this “proof‐based” technology that has a 20‐ to 40-percent success increase on additional service recommendations.

Why? It’s simple. Real-time photos and videos reduce, and even eliminate, skepticism. A picture is worth 1,000 words. What emerges is a new sense of trust from your customer.

4. CPOs Offer Quality Assurance, But One Worth Paying

In the same study by AutoTrader and Morpace, it was found that car buyers are willing to pay a premium, or an average of $1,380 more, for a CPO vehicle, compared to a used, non-certified one.

When purchasing CPOs, women expect a thoroughly inspected vehicle with a solid detailed history of where it’s been and what it’s been through. While these cars cost more, the quality assurance is a big selling point with women, who are looking for reliability as a top feature in a vehicle.

5. Factory-Certified Warranties Offer Peace of Mind

Women want peace of mind and little headaches or hassles when it comes to repairs and maintenance. With all CPO vehicles getting a multi-point inspection and all of the repairs necessary to certify them, women appreciate that a manufacturer’s certified vehicle program is more reliable and can be used anywhere in a given city or the country.

This is another measure of peace of mind that is appreciated by all women, especially mothers with children. Having access to quick service is one less thing to worry about.

6. CPOs Offer Low Financing Rates For Qualified Buyers

Often times, women buyers run into problems with their banks and financial institutions charging higher interest rates on used cars compared to new ones. Typically, dealerships can be competitive and flexible with their financing requirements with women car buyers who qualify. The savings can be significant. If your rates are competitive, use this as a selling point.

7. CPOs Offer Many Of The Same Perks As A New Car Offers

Many women adhere to a budget and want to make sure they are getting the best deal for their money. They will respond positively to the incentives offered with a CPO vehicle. Most all car manufacturers and/or dealers offer good warranties and financing incentives, but can offer a lot of other benefits, too.

These types of benefits include free oil changes, 24-hour roadside assistance, free car wash and concierge vehicle if the car is being serviced overnight.

Work these selling points into every sales conversation. According to Women-Drivers.com, two-thirds of women shop at multiple dealerships before buying.

If a women prospect is in your store, she is interested at some level. Why have her go anywhere else? Increase her interest by increasing the “what’s in it for her” factor, and make your dealership her last stop.

Anne Fleming is president & car-buying advocate at Women-Drivers.com.

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