On a Thursday afternoon in September, a reporter opens the website of Cavender Toyota.
In the upper-right corner: “The Official Toyota Dealer of the San Antonio Spurs.”
Makes perfect sense.
The dealership’s perch atop Toyota’s certified pre-owned sales rankings the last few years looks like the hometown Spurs’ NBA resume in the 2000s: title after title after title.
San Antonio-based Cavender Toyota has been the No. 1 seller of Toyota Certified Used Vehicles (TCUV) in each of the last four years and is on track to make 2019 its fifth straight crown.
So far this year, Cavender Toyota leads the pack again, having sold 2,073 CPO units through August, the TCUV program said. And the store will now will add this to its resume: Auto Remarketing’s 2019 CPO Dealer of the Year, an award sponsored by ADESA.
The dealership will be recognized at the Used Car Awards luncheon on Nov. 12 at Used Car Week, which runs Nov. 11-15 at the Red Rock in Las Vegas.
Stephen Cavender is dealer principal of Cavender Toyota and explained in an emailed Q&A how the store has kept itself near or atop the TCUV leaderboard year after year.
“Since 1996, we have been ‘all in’ with Toyota Certified,” he said. “We simply believe that the Toyota Certified Used Vehicle represents the very best value for our customer. Therefore, we represent TCUV as our ‘premium inventory’ and fully explain why each vehicle is worthy of that designation.”
Cavender said he expects the store will sell approximately 3,100 TCUV units, which would be a 60% share of its total used volume.
“Through August 2019, our CPO business is up 6%,” Cavender said. “We anticipate strong CPO numbers for the rest of the year, and we are thinking we will end up about 8% to 9% higher in CPO sales than last year. We anticipate a 3,100-unit 2019 versus a 2,896 count in 2018.”
Speaking of that website earlier, Cavender has found that can be key to educating shoppers about CPO, along with other key practices.
“We have found our dealer web page to be very important. TCUV is featured prominently, along with the many consumer benefits that come with a TCUV purchase,” Cavender said. “Our sales staff receives consistent and relevant training each day on TCUV.
“It is important that the team is passionate about the value TCUV represents. Lot display and showroom point-of-sale material help, as well,” he said.
Also front-and-center on their website is the trade-in appraisal tool powered by Kelley Blue Book’s Instant Cash Offer. Asked how that has helped generate CPO inventory, Cavender said: “Customers appreciate having credible tools at their fingertips. It’s simply part of the transparent sales process we try to provide every client.”
The dealership turns to the “usual places” that most dealers would to find CPO-worthy inventory, he said. “But what we probably do a little better than most is farm our existing data base and make sure our Cavender Toyota owners know that we will always be the very best purchaser of their vehicle because of our commitment to TCUV.”
Cavender Toyota also has two staff members dedicated to sourcing used inventory, he said in a follow-up by phone. The dealership also has found a lot of sourcing “strength” in data mining that, for example, can identify service drive customers whose vehicles meet the parameters of what the store is looking for in a vehicle, Cavender said by phone.
Cavender also touted the store’s work with AutoAlert and the dealership’s strong business development center as key in this.
A key supply source industry-wide for CPO supply has been the volume of vehicles coming out of leases. Asked in the Q&A how off-lease volume has impacted CPO operations at his store, Cavender said: “Lease returns provide a nice supply. Toyota Dealer Direct and strong auction relationships help make sure that we get our fair share of the lease returns.”
As far as other key strategies, Cavender emphasized by phone the important of pricing TCUV vehicles right and surveying the market.
Additionally, the store has a “hot potato” approach in getting vehicles reconditioned and ready for market as soon as possible.
Lastly, the market Cavender Toyota calls home has been a strong one.
“San Antonio is a great pre-owned vehicle market. In our market area, we consider TCUV to be a great way to introduce our customers to Toyota,” Cavender said in the Q&A. “In a way, TCUV has become another Toyota entry level product. We benefit from the fact that Toyota is a fantastic brand, and many of our consumers are aspirational purchasers of Toyota.”
Cavender Toyota is the 10th dealer to earn CPO Dealer of the Year recognition from Auto Remarketing.
Previous honorees include:
2018: Trophy Nissan
2017: Kia of Irvine
2016: Fletcher Jones Motorcars
2015: Bill Luke Chrysler Jeep Dodge & Ram
2014: Hyundai of New Port Richey
2013: Galpin Ford
2012: Longo Toyota
2011: Karl Chevrolet
2010: Paragon Honda/Paragon Acura