Wednesday, 29 May 2013 14:23
Gus Kurtz, president, Sports and Imports Inc., Pasadena, Md.:
Weve been in business 21 years. We have two
locations, about eight to 10 miles apart.
In total, I carry about
But we bumped our inventory up about 20 percent from this time last year. We used to carry about 120
to 125. That was prompted by demand.
I get some vehicles through trades. I also buy at local auctions, which
are Manheim Baltimore-Washington and Bel Air Auto Auction.
Were selling between 70 and 75 percent a month. Business is up about 20 percent. One reason is that our sales staff is working much smarter than (in the past). Weve also adjusted our inventory mix more accurately to reflect our sales. Our turn is much greater.
About 95 percent of our business is retail. We dont do any subprime. We might do one or two buy-here, pay-here deals a month. Those are for local customers we want to help out.
Our retail price is probably around $13,000 to $14,000. Thats increased from this time last year by about 30 percent because of our change in inventory.
Were predominantly specializing in trucks and the prices on trucks are outrageous. Our inventory is about 60 percent trucks, 25 to 30 percent SUVs and 10 percent cars.
Our car mix used to
be 40 percent, but they werent moving.
The average model years are from 2005 to 2008. Our average mileage is 75,000 to 110,000 miles.
Our average mileage has increased about 10,000 miles from last year. We used to try not to go much over 100,000. But weve had to go, especially in the truck category, up to 110,000 to 115,000 miles.
In the truck line, its 60 percent domestic and 40 percent import.
(Reconditioning costs) are probably $500 and $700 a car. It used to be $300 to $350. Everything is higher (in cost).
We sublet out our state inspection work, which is required for every car. Our detailing we do in-house. We sub out about 80 percent of (recon) work.
Well do print, media (radio/television) and Internet.
One recent vehicle we sold was a 2005 Toyota Scion tC. It had 104,000 miles and sold for $7,500.
Mike Lessne, president, Alpine Motors, Wantagh, N.Y.:
Weve been in business 19 years. We have one location.
On average, we stock just over 100 units.
In the last three years, weve had a large expansion (of our inventory). Three years ago, we were carrying about 55 (units) on average.
We network through local new-car dealers to get new-car trades. We also buy off the street, purchasing cars directly from the public and, obviously, from auctions.
So were actually buying a little bit more from the auctions as new-car stores seem to be keeping a lot more of their trades than they used to.
Weve tried to step up in purchasing more off the street. We actually created a Web site two years ago for this. Its called sell-my-auto.com.
We average between 25 and 40 (vehicles sold) per month. Thats about the same as this time last year.
Were strictly retail.
Our average model year is probably a 2007. The average mileage is between 40,000 and 50,000 miles.
We will buy late-model lease returns with (low miles). For example, we recently sold a 2011 GMC Sierra with 1,900 miles.
We really handpick our vehicles. We key in on Carfax certified cars and low miles. But every day, it gets tougher and tougher to find (lower-mileage cars).
The inventory is about 60 percent cars and 40 percent trucks. Being in the Northeast, were a seasonal business. So this time of the year, were thinning out the trucks. Focusing more on sports cars and the luxury convertible market.
Most of our inventory is European, with some domestics, but very few Asian (vehicles).
Our average retail price is about $18,000.
Our average reconditioning costs are between $500 and $1,000.
We put each car through a 100-point-certification mechanically. If our brake pads arent at least 50
percent, theyre changed. If the tire (treads) arent at least 50 percent, theyre changed. Everything is checked, right down to fresh wiper blades.
We send out the (vehicles) for tires and brakes. All of the other work is done in-house. We service those vehicles through an off-
Were a black-and-white store, not a smoke-and-mirrors store. The dealership has been voted Best on Long Island, in the used-car dealership category, by the Long Island Press for five years in a row.
We also won the 2012 New York Quality Dealer award.
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 14:22
Richard Galway, general manager, Ocala Auto Dealers Exchange Inc., Ocala, Fla.:
As a company, weve been in business (more than 20) years. We have three auctions: Ocala Auto Dealers Exchange, Sanford Auto Dealers Exchange and Cocoa Auto Dealers Exchange.
We have four lanes and were running three lanes at the moment.
On average, were running 400 cars. I cant compare it to this time last year because we didnt own the auction at the time. Weve only owned it since last July.
But weve increased business here quite a bit since we bought it.
Were running between 40 and 50 percent (sold).
I suppose were registering somewhere between 180 and 220 dealers.
Dealers are coming from the Greater Orlando area and the Crystal River, Fla., area. Were also (drawing) dealers from Georgia. There are quite a few coming down from Valdosta, Ga. There are also a lot of dealers coming from the Panhandle and Gainesville, Fla.
Of course, we also get a lot of local dealers. In general, were drawing dealers from a 100-mile radius.
I think the dealers like how things (are going) at the auction. They like to see the changes. Ten years ago, this place used to rock and roll. So they like to see
Theres definitely an
excitement that hasnt
been here in a while.
The business itself is very competitive.
But, like Ive said, were getting good feedback from the dealers.
People like what were doing, so were trying to grow. I have the resources to run 600 to 700 cars.
But I dont want to do that since it will make the percentages drop. I want to grow it steadily.
Were mostly dealer consignment. We do have a little fleet-lease, but thats still a work in progress at this point.
We also looking for support from our local dealers and working within
the community. For example, were employing more people now.
Were not really holding special salvage sales. If we have in-ops, well push them through the lanes as part of our overall dealer consignment.
Were an evening sale, kicking off at 5 p.m. every Wednesday.
The evening sales tend to be more for the new-
car dealer franchises to
sell their vehicles to used-car independents.
Typically, the new-car dealers dont come here
to buy, they come here to sell. The day sales tend to
be where the big national companies sell to the new-car dealers.
Ive sold vehicles from $500 to $35,000. But I would say the bulk of our cars are selling in the $3,000 to $7,000 range.
Weve got a big demand for trucks here. Thats not necessarily about the
economy (or people buying work trucks).
Its just more of a truck kind of place.
Mark Wescott, general manager, Port City Auto Auction, Richmond, Maine:
Things are going (well).
Weve been here for 25 years, since 1988.
Port City has six lanes. Were running four.
Volumes are about 350 to 375. Thats about the same as this time last year.
For the last month or so (April and early May), the percentages have been great. Theyve been in
the high-60s, to 68 or 70 percent.
I think the market held up a little better than last year as far as the tax season. That held on a little longer, but I think that had to do with the feds being late to roll out the tax (plan).
It also seems theres just a shortage of used cars and guys need the cars.
We average 230 to 250 dealers in the lanes.
Dealers are coming from all over Maine and Northern New England, basically. Were drawing new dealers that havent been here. Were seeing dealers travel a little farther. For example, were seeing some dealers from Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, so theyre traveling a bit to get here.
The moods of the dealers (change) depending on
the week. They are cautiously optimistic.
Most of our volume is dealer consignment. On the fleet-lease side, its mostly repossessions. Those (volumes) have changed. Those numbers are down. Thats because of the repos.
Were hoping to get some more fleet-lease units (that the industry expects to come in through the end of the year).
I dont know the average price coming through the lanes. I think its in the $4,000 to $4,400 range. Thats about the same as this time last year.
We do hold some powersports sales. Well have those once a month. Well see a lot of campers and boats this time of year. Well run a handful of those.
I think 2013 will be a little better than last year, but not by leaps and bounds.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 12:59
Joseph Peanut Cornett, general manager, Ledets Auto Sales, Gonzales, La.:
We have two locations. Weve been in business 16 years. Theyre both in the same area and have (similar) inventory.
We keep about 200 units in inventory. Thats similar to this time last year.
We average about 130 units sold per month. Thats up some from last year. Weve got a great economy in our parish. Were right in the chemical industry belt, so this area and surrounding parishes are doing great. Were located directly between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
We buy a lot of our vehicles from various auctions. We also buy a lot of vehicles from Enterprise Rent-A-Car vehicles.
Were straight retail.
Our average retail price is about $13,000.
We carry, primarily, model years 2008 and up. The mileage on our vehicles is normally about 60,000.
About 60 percent of our inventory is trucks and sport utility vehicles. About 40 percent of our inventory is automobiles. Thats pretty much what weve carried over the years.
Most of our vehicles are domestics. About 10 percent of our (vehicles) are imports.
We also have our own service department. We service just our own vehicles. The average reconditioning cost per vehicle is about $600 to $650 this year.
We just opened up a five-bay service department in October. We used to (farm it out). The bottom line is eventually going to be much better. I think the (time issue) is also going to work itself out as we get the right guys in the right places.
In terms of advertising, we primarily use News on Wheels, an auto classified magazine. Well do some other local advertising, but we dont use radio or television. Were also a big supporter of the schools and community down here. Thats where we put a lot of our (marketing) dollars.
Were very optimistic about 2013.
Recently, I sold a 2008 Cadillac Escalade DXT. That particular unit had about 60,000 miles on it. We sold that vehicle for about $28,900.
Our owner, Scott Ledet, has been selected the 2013 Louisiana Quality Dealer of the Year. Were going to be at the National Quality Dealer of the Year (event) in Las Vegas for the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Convention.
Ahmed Belmeshkan, president, New Rio Grande Motors, Fort Worth, Texas:
Ive been in business for 22 years. But Im hoping to retire in two more years.
I have one location. I keep about 50 units on my lot, on average. Thats the same as this time last year.
Ill get my inventory from new-car dealers and from auctions. I dont get as many from new-car dealers like I used to, though. Most of the dealers are bringing their cars to auctions because theyre getting good money.
Its still hard to get those vehicles.
We average about 25 vehicles sold per month. That hasnt changed compared to last year. This year, income tax (returns) were delayed, so that put us in a tough position early.
Were 100 percent buy-here, pay-here. Most of my clients are Hispanic, about 85 percent.
I do speak Spanish. I learned from the past 20 years, having mostly Hispanic customers. I dont have a separate Spanish-speaking sales person.
I never had a sales person. My staff is just myself, along with my family and my mechanics.
My down payments are about $1,500 and up.
My term length is about two years.
Our average retail price is about $9,500.
We carry vehicles that are model year 2003 and up. The average model year is probably between 2004 and 2008.
Our sales are mostly SUVs and pickups. Most of that is for construction workers. We have a good market compared to other states. But its still hard to find good pickups.
The average mileage goes up to 150,000. No higher than 150,000 miles.
I dont sell many imports locally. Any of the imports I get, I will wholesale overseas. We export an average of 20 vehicles a month (wholesale).
I only service the cars I sell. With every car we sell, we give a 30-day warranty covering engine and transmission.
I dont sell warranties or service contracts. I just take care of customers. Thats my advertisement. I dont advertise (through television or radio).
In fact, I have a billboard that Im renting to a franchise dealer.
I invest in my community, from churches and the Boys and Girls Club to schools. About 80 percent of our sales are through referrals.
Now Im looking to hire two people to (develop an Internet program).