Bob Ruth Ford Relies on VINCUE VBC to Ensure Long-Term Profitability

For over 20 years, used inventory has been the driving force behind Bob Ruth Ford’s success. But competition at the auction made it harder to find the vehicles they need at the right prices. Bob Ruth shifted focus to private party acquisition and, with the help of VINCUE’s Vehicle Buying Center VBC™, in three short months they saw higher profits, increased turn and a better plan for the future. The future is now — they are currently acquiring over 200 cars per month from private-party acquisition.

The End of Auction Dependence

Used inventory has always been the cornerstone of Bob Ruth Ford’s business, and according to owner Rob Ruth, acquisition is the most important factor behind used car success: “If you get that wrong, there’s nowhere else you can go,” says Ruth. So when high-demand sent auction prices soaring last year, he knew his buying strategy needed to change. 

“We were buying too many cars from the auction, plain and simple,” he says. “As the market fluctuates, you really feel the effects unless you’re able to turn your inventory within 14-20 days – we got tired of the volatility.”

Making a Shift to Private-Party Acquisition

In September 2021, Ruth turned to his Inventory and Acquisition Manager, Jeremy Zarfos, to develop a private-party acquisition (PPA) strategy. After some initial success with third-party lead providers, they realized they needed more out of a PPA partner: “KBB ICO was helping us bring in leads, but we didn’t like that they were then shared with other dealers,” says Zarfos.

Ruth and Zarfos started a search for an all-in-one solution that could accelerate PPA — a search that led them directly to VINCUE’s proprietary Vehicle Buying Center, the VBC™.

Super-Charging Acquisition with VINCUE VBC™

After partnering with VINCUE, Ruth and his team kicked off dedicated marketing campaigns to drive leads into their VBC Digital Custom Journey.“ A huge part of our PPA strategy is letting people know we’re the place to trade or sell your car,” Ruth explains. The results were almost immediate. “Within the first month, VINCUE had already helped us by driving over 5,000 visitors to our VBC landing page,” he says.

According to Zarfos, inbound leads are just one part of the equation: “At some point, we also needed to do outreach ourselves,” he says. “VINCUE has made this easy by aggregating private listings from Craigslist, Autotrader, CarGurus, and Facebook Marketplace into a single screen where our agents can then reach out directly via text, email, whatever.”

Since deploying VINCUE VBC™, VINCUE solutions has helped Bob Ruth Ford go from buying 20 cars a month from the public to over 200. “Our goal was to acquire over 200 cars from private parties and we realized that goal in partnership with VINCUE,” Ruth says.

Not only has their new acquisition strategy kept their lot full, but sourcing more of the inventory they want has helped accelerate their front-end gross and turn: “We’ve seen our front-end gross double since February,” says Ruth, but that’s not all. “Before VINCUE, we were turning our inventory 8-11 times per year, that’s now up to 18-20. On average, cars that we’re buying from the public only sit on the lot for about 18 days.”

Seeing VINCUE VBC™ as the Future of Acquisition

As impressive as those numbers are for Ruth and his team, the most important thing VINCUE brings to the table is the relationship: “We don’t feel like we’re put into a box, they really listen to our concerns and try to help us just like we would our own customers,” he explains. “That’s what we love about them.” 

“I would absolutely recommend VINCUE to other dealers,” Ruth says, adding: “other than my local, competing dealers, of course!” Asked if they’ll ever return to an auction-focused strategy, Zarfos is doubtful: “This isn’t a short-term solution because inventory is hard to find. It’s a long-term strategy that helps your dealership run more profitably,” he says. “That’s what makes this the real future of acquisition.”