With the used car market under pressure from lack of supply as cautious consumers are keeping their cars longer, retailers need to sell vehicles quicker to reduce costs and maximise profits but often the prep process can hold up the source to sale process.
A vehicle’s journey through a dealer group’s preparation process can be fraught with obstacles particularly when parts are difficult to come by, delaying its appearance on the physical and digital forecourt. Such difficulties are further compounded as dealers, faced with supply issues, are increasingly retailing older vehicles, which are more likely to require additional and more complex repairs prior to sale.
“The clock starts ticking on a used vehicle’s days in stock as soon as it has been acquired for many dealer groups,” Andy Whitehair, Autofinity’s CEO said. “Whilst no one will argue the sooner a vehicle is on the virtual and physical forecourt, the quicker it will repay the dealer’s investment and realise a profit, often it is the prep process which can hold up the vehicle’s journey to the marketplace.
“Having an overall view of where a vehicle is in the prep process and reasons for any hold-ups can help overcome obstacles whilst managing vehicles on a single platform allows vehicles to be marketed as soon as they are in a group’s ecosystem which also reduces days in stock.”
As part of Autofinity’s ViHUB platform, ViPrep automates, measures and improves the vehicle preparation process for retailers. ViPrep keeps track of a vehicle’s journey to the physical and online forecourt with a single view interlinking data feeds, systems and departments in one online portal creating a seamless transition from one stage to the next.
Autofinity partner, digital consultant Ian Godbold, who led Cambria Automobiles digital and ecommerce transformation for 14 years before launching IGC Digital in 2022, works with independent dealers, franchised retail groups and car supermarkets in the UK and across Europe and highlights vehicle prep as one of the sticking points in a car’s speed to market.
“The prep process often creates a bottleneck of vehicles which become stuck for a myriad of reasons including difficulty obtaining parts or more complex repairs required for older vehicles,” he explained. “Antiquated processes add to the frustration as it becomes difficult to identify and therefore rectify reasons for delays or easily switch the prep centre’s focus from one vehicle to another to free up space. ViPrep overcomes that by providing a digital overview of each vehicle’s progress making it easier to reorganise workloads, unblock bottlenecks and identify easily implementable solutions.
“In addition, ViPrep enables dealers to much more readily keep track of a vehicle’s days in stock making it easier to calculate the cost of sourcing, prepping and eventually selling each individual car. Such exceptional insights helps drive the velocity trading principles which I work with dealers to implement. Velocity selling looks at every cost aspect of a vehicle to understand its real profitability and identify areas where costs can be reduced and profits maximised. ViPrep provides the overview dealers need to make that happen and is especially useful now older vehicles are increasingly a more common site on forecourts in the current climate.”