It was an idea born of frustration and still in relative infancy: Open up the method — and costs — of used-automobile reconditioning to the shopping for the public to let them see what the dealership has completed to every car on the lot.

When Daniel Gregg, stock director at Street Volkswagen of Amarillo in Texas, got here up with the idea at a 20 Group assembly this yr, he didn’t realize the way to get it achieved, he admits.

But that has grown to be a group workout on the dealership, related to the income, carrier and data technology staffs. And the result? A specific electronic file, to be had to each dealership worker around the clock, that lays out through stock variety the whole lot that the dealership is aware of and what it is executed to the used motors it has on its lot — whether or not they needed new brakes or tires, whether they’d body harm after they got here in, what the inspection confirmed and what kind of the dealership invested in getting the vehicles equipped to promote to the next customer.

In quick, a prominent reconditioning system that shows used-car clients that the dealership did more significant than “wash the automobile and throw it on the lot” and translates into better products to the position before those customers.

The dealership built this machine and the reviews it generates at almost no extra cost, with dealer-supplied inspection reports, Google Docs, and its internal electronic mail system.

“You understand the question,” Gregg defined. “Every salesclerk receives it — maybe now not from every patron, but a number of them, from those that care.”

His voice raised a piece: ” ‘What did you do to it?’ And if you can display them precisely what you did to the auto, it may be also kind of presell our provider department” and help justify the rate of the car.

So how does it work?

Like almost all franchised dealerships, Street Volkswagen’s carrier department completes a detailed preliminary inspection of each pre-owned automobile that it acquires, either with the aid of alternate-in or at wholesale, as a part of its reconditioning work. It does the same form of inspection for the customer-owned automobiles that come through service and offers every customer with a report, whole with images, or in which the vehicle has problems. The pix in the report are populated mechanically via dealer Xtime, a subsidiary of Cox Automotive.

Where the innovation comes is what takes place next: Inspection reports, together with recommendations and any complete provider repair orders, are stored electronically via stock range to a shared Google Drive, where each worker at the dealership has immediately get entry to to them on any electronic device.

“Before, these records have been all on paper and kept in a carrier,” Gregg said. “So while a person was given the query ‘What did you do to it?’ the shop clerk needed to depart the customer, pass lower back to the provider, locate someone to look up the service record, after which retake it to the consumer. It became an excessive amount of freaking paintings! And except, salesmen never placed whatever back,” he joked.

Because Street Volkswagen’s device is in its early days, Gregg says he is nonetheless experimenting with different data the dealership has to get right of entry to to that can be compiled into a new thorough document for every one of its used cars. Some examples: the car’s original Monroney sticker, restore histories from other Volkswagen dealerships, pictures of the present tires while they’re changed or before-and-after pics of dings and paint imperfections which are addressed inside the in technique.

But one aspect that is protected in every used-car report is the whole value of any maintenance that was finished.

“We all pay retail, so there shouldn’t be a hassle about showing retail fee of upkeep and components. So why need to there be any difficulty in being transparent?” Gregg said.
Transparency is prime

Even that degree of openness has had an oblique effect on operations. “The provider and elements managers are satisfied because it’s another cause now not to capture warmth once they feed the inner customers full retail. And frankly, it’s generated greater reconditioning paintings because I do not need something to reveal up as advice on an inspection report and no longer do it,” he explained.

Using the shared Google Drive to house the used-car statistics has already proved beneficial on the sales ground, says the dealership’s standard manager, John Luciano, who is additionally chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council.

“Customers love the transparency,” Luciano defined. The dealership, within the heart of the Texas Panhandle, sells an average of seventy-five new and one zero five used cars a month. “Transparency is a difference-maker now with customers, and we sense it is even supporting us in finance due to the fact each person can see everything it is done to an automobile, and it is motivating humans to get service contracts to maintain the automobile in form.”

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