There is no doubt that we are operating in turbulent times. Many segments of the automotive industry are experiencing major challenges.
However, pockets of stability remain. The UK used car market remained stable in the first quarter of the year, with more than two million transactions, and a 30.7% increase in demand for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars.
This is perhaps unsurprising. In times of economic and political uncertainty, consumers are less likely to splurge on a more expensive, brand-new vehicle, whilst drivers dipping their toes in the waters of electric or hybrid cars for the first time may prefer to do so with a less expensive, second-hand model.
It also presents exciting opportunities for automotive dealerships in terms of aftersales and maintenance services.
Used vehicles, fairly obviously, are more likely to require more frequent, complex and costly aftersales services than their brand-new counterparts, particularly if they have had several owners or if their previous ownership is not well understood. As such, a steady (or increasing) market for used cars presents opportunities for dealerships to maximise their aftersales revenues.
What should you consider in order to build this strand at your dealership? Here are some ideas.
- Initial health check. Drivers who have just purchased a used car, particularly if direct from the previous owner rather than through a garage, may have anxieties about how well it has been serviced in the past, and whether there are any unnoticed problems which are likely to escalate. Offering a quick and cost-effective ‘once over’ of a ‘new used car’ can be a great way for dealerships to build trust with customers, put their minds at ease and set the foundations for an ongoing care and maintenance relationship over the vehicle’s life.
- Track potential problems. Used vehicles, particularly older ones, are likely to come with a few scratches, bumps or small flaws included. A key part of ensuring that a used car is a good investment and performs well is tracking those small flaws, and delivering alerts as dealing with them becomes more urgent. autoPREDICTIVE, our forecasting and alert tool, is designed to do this, generating reminders for any Amber work which is identified during a health check but not completed immediately. Similiarly, it offers text and email alerts for your customers when their vehicle is next due a service. This proactivity optimises the performance of used cars, and hands visibility and control to your drivers.
- Trust and transparency. These qualities are key for any automotive dealership, but perhaps come to the fore even more when it comes to used vehicles which drivers are (initially) less familiar with. Tools like autoVHC, particularly the integrated photo and video functionality, are designed to help you be as clear and transparent as possible with drivers. You can guide them through a consistent process, clearly demonstrate any problems that need fixing now – and those that may escalate – and provide visual evidence of work done.
The used vehicle market is holding steady – which is good news for any dealership offering aftersales services. Make sure you are ready to capitalise on the opportunity.