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Old 12-10-2015, 04:57 PM   #1
slyons316
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Default Lyons Auto Group in Denver

Hi all...new used dealership here in Denver. Lyons Auto Group is a husband and wife lot near downtown Denver at a very busy intersection at I25 and essentially Highway 6. We have constant, 24/7 heavy traffic right by our lot. A lot of folks commute past us on their way to work driving cars nicer and some cheaper than our inventory, so we thiiiiink we are in a good spot. We currently have a very small inventory (8 vehicles) in the range of 2010 RX350 to a 2014 Fusion, and have been open for about 10 days. Currently advertising on Craigslist, Facebook (free-yay), and just got an Autotrader account. Prices on the cars, gates open every day, sign up with name/hours/phone. But we aren't getting much action, let alone sell anything.

If anyone has any advice, we are trying to figure out our next steps. Although we are aware we won't sell all eight vehicles three weeks before Christmas, we are a little worried that we haven't had any of that drive by traffic stop by or much action on our online posts. The vehicles are priced slightly below NADA retail value, but not too low as to appear like crap (we think?). We are also aware this is a slow time for auto sales. What do the seasoned folks think? Do we hang tight until tax return time and not fret too much? Do we buy more inventory to have a better offering for potential customers (funds available, no problem, just a little hesitant to buy more at this rate)? Are we doing the online game wrong? Do you think we should be doing something different/more?

Thanks in advance for any advice. We are looking forward to being a part of this community and have already started learning from the threads we read.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:19 AM   #2
steve_biegler
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Welcome to the Forum! Lots of great people and advice here.
This time of year is usually slower so just keep at it and keep your chin up. Is it easy to get on your lot? Are you posting prices on the windshield? Are you putting anything on the cars to draw attention...streamers...flags...etc. Main thing is keep a good attitude and treat everyone as a buyer. Good luck and Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:54 AM   #3
XDCX
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slyons316 - First post - Welcome to DealershipForum

While I don't have any direct experience with opening a used car operation I can say that opening a new car location can be frustrating because it takes a fair amount of time to grow your business.

Concerning your inventory, as a customer I'd likely be reluctant to buy from a used car dealer that only had eight cars in inventory. My impression, right or wrong, would be that the business is likely cash constrained and that would make it difficult for me to get any satisfaction if problems arose out of the transaction.

While I agree with Steve that this is a slow time of year and it's essential for you to keep your chin up, I also think you need to find a niche and cater to cars in that segment. If it were me, I'd see if a Cross-Sell report was available for your market and study what used vehicles are selling in your market and who's selling them.

As a final thought, I'd suggest you be careful about adding inventory that competes too closely with new cars. When I was working the Sales Desk I hated taking in late model trades. It's not that they weren't nice cars or their wasn't a market for them, it was too often the payment on a used 2014 Ford Fusion is higher than the payment would be on a new 2015 Ford Fusion. The customers didn't care that my car was cheaper and the term was shorter - they just wanted a new car for a lower payment.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:10 AM   #4
57years
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I hope you have some consideration of your potential clients. If it is working class drivers, you should only have 4 door sedans and SUV/Crossovers in inventory. Forget the sports cars, convertibles, big engine coupes, etc., that have pizzazz, as you do not want tire kicking kids, or those persons of suspect insurability.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:31 AM   #5
mryan55
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Get a Google Places page (perhaps it requires a Google Plus page now) so you show up in Google search results. Right now it looks like that there is a dealership in Denver with a very similar name and an established presence that shows up even if I type in "Lyons Auto Group Denver CO"... this is everyone will find you, and the sooner that gets set up and the sooner there are a few reviews of the dealership the more digital legitimacy you will have.

By chance, did you ever have any operations in Boulder? I wholesaled a car to a Lyons International Motors in Boulder about two years ago
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:09 AM   #6
slyons316
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This is my first time dealing cars. I'm a restaurant guy by experience. I wanted to get into the used car market and see what happens. As far as the inventory goes, I have the cash to purchase more, but am reluctant to buy until I sell a car as it makes me very nervous having $100k worth of cars without much attention.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:13 AM   #7
slyons316
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Currently, the prices are on the windshield. How do you guys feel about that? Driving down Colfax in Denver, it seems like no one puts their prices on the car.
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:23 PM   #8
mryan55
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I don't post prices on any windshields -- occasionally we will do hang tags on the rearview mirrors. We are mostly a new car store but I have found a sweet spot for used in our working class town... the $8k to $12k 2011-2013 midsize car is usually a go to vehicle for us. Good price point and good new car alternative for us.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:42 PM   #9
flstsphil
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Default How to sell a car

Don't look at your cars as if you are trying to sell them. Look at your cars as if you are trying to buy them. Make sure you have pictures, descriptions and prices on the most popular sites, where you would look to purchase a car. Make sure you have the vehicle marketed so that if you were comparing that car to similar cars,yours would be the one you would want to check out first.
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:41 AM   #10
XDCX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57years View Post
I hope you have some consideration of your potential clients. If it is working class drivers, you should only have 4 door sedans and SUV/Crossovers in inventory. Forget the sports cars, convertibles, big engine coupes, etc., that have pizzazz, as you do not want tire kicking kids, or those persons of suspect insurability.
I agree 100%.

In my opinion if you're going to run a small used car operation it's imperative that you decide what segment of the market you're going to participate in and that's mostly based on what you have for clientele.

When you're running a small operation you can't be everything for everyone. Also, in my opinion, it's much harder for a small dealership to compete on the higher end than it is on the lower end.
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:47 AM   #11
XDCX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyons316 View Post
This is my first time dealing cars. I'm a restaurant guy by experience. I wanted to get into the used car market and see what happens. As far as the inventory goes, I have the cash to purchase more, but am reluctant to buy until I sell a car as it makes me very nervous having $100k worth of cars without much attention.
I think most people in the car business will tell you that selling cars is no longer as easy, fun or profitable as it once was. There's still money to be made but the days when you could go to a Dealer-only auction and buy inventory and then retail it for a quick $2K to $3K gross are long gone.

While I can understand your concerns about adding inventory, seasonality is actually in your favor at the moment. If you buy the right cars it's actually possible that they'll appreciate as they sit in your inventory between now and spring time. (We had a thread about the seasonality of auction prices - I'll see if I can find it.)
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:52 AM   #12
XDCX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyons316 View Post
Currently, the prices are on the windshield. How do you guys feel about that? Driving down Colfax in Denver, it seems like no one puts their prices on the car.
I think there are many schools of thought as it relates to windshield pricing.

I remember working for a dealer who refused to put prices on the windshields because he wanted the customer to either call or stop by the dealership to get that information. This was back in the pre-Internet days when customers didn't have access to as much information.

On the flip side, I've know dealers who love putting prices on the windshield if they have vehicles with great curb appeal but low book values - e.g. an older vehicle that has a current body style or a newer vehicle that has a lot of miles.
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Old 12-14-2015, 12:44 PM   #13
slyons316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XDCX View Post
I think most people in the car business will tell you that selling cars is no longer as easy, fun or profitable as it once was. There's still money to be made but the days when you could go to a Dealer-only auction and buy inventory and then retail it for a quick $2K to $3K gross are long gone.

While I can understand your concerns about adding inventory, seasonality is actually in your favor at the moment. If you buy the right cars it's actually possible that they'll appreciate as they sit in your inventory between now and spring time. (We had a thread about the seasonality of auction prices - I'll see if I can find it.)
Wow, appreciate?

Thats incredible!
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Old 12-14-2015, 12:45 PM   #14
slyons316
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How should I price the cars? I have them mostly $1000 under NADA retail value currently.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:40 AM   #15
flstsphil
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Compare the vehicle you are trying to sell similar make, model, equipment and mileage vehicles. Price your car so that if you were trying to buy that car, yours is the car you would want to buy. Customers do not know or care what you paid for a car. They only car how your car compares to others in the market.
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