Used Car Stocking: Driving the science behind used car stocking

Dealers have a variety of tools to locate, assess and transact the vehicles they need to keep their forecourts replenished but tracking stock and understanding ROI against several KPIs has brought new challenges.

The topic will come under the spotlight at this year’s Automotive Management Live event, which takes place on 9 November, as part of the discussion on ‘the science of used car stocking’, sponsored by Autofinity. The panel also includes Craig Petty, sales director at Hatfields, where Autofinity’s ViHUB has been in operation since last year.

As well as traditional stock acquisition methods such as part-exchange vehicles and auctions, dealers are also interacting with multiple relatively new vehicle sources including online auctions and platforms such as carwow which has enabled consumers to sell directly to the sector.

Increased lead times for new vehicles, car owners keeping vehicles longer due to economic pressures and the increased cost of borrowing, have seen retailers become savvier in matching the right used vehicle to the right buyer at the right time at the right price as well as utilising a variety of stocking sources.

Keeping tabs on several vehicles at varying stages from source to transportation, through the prep process to the forecourt, as well as costs and profit margins, has become an incredibly complex task.

ViHUB collates all a vehicle’s information by integrating with a dealer’s multiple and often disconnected systems to create one accurate source of vehicle data or ‘a single view of the truth’. 

Neil Smith, former Imperial Cars operations director and Cazoo retail operations director, and now heading up automotive consultancy, Motorvait, said: “The logistics of a vehicle’s arrival in group stock to its appearance on the forecourt can be immense with additional complexities now coming into play such as waiting for hard to come by parts all of which impacts costs and profits.

“Dealers apply different criteria when defining whether a vehicle is in stock. It could be when the trade transaction takes place, the vehicle is on the transporter, undergoing its PDI or when all images have been taken and the vehicle is ready to be marketed. 

“Having the oversight to immediately track the vehicle’s location and progress as it makes its journey to market is essential if profit margins are to be maximised and days in stock minimised which Autofinity’s ViHUB platform delivers.”

Neil, who formalised his partnership with Autofinity as a board advisor and associate consultant last year, will also be joining the Autofinity sponsored debate at AM Live as a panellist whilst visitors will also be able to catch up with him on the Autofinity stand C26. Also joining the panel will be Alex Jones COO at Bristol-based Carbase/Vanbase, the largest used car and van retailer in the South West.

Autofinity CEO Andy Whitehair, who will chair the panel at AM Live, added: “Used car vehicle stocking and sourcing has always been a hot topic for dealers but never more so than in the current climate and we are looking forward to a lively discussion as well as explaining our solution to dealers who visit us on the stand.”

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