Vehicle sourcing is the cornerstone of any successful dealership strategy. Buying the right inventory — at the right price — is critical to thriving in today’s auto market.
Country Hill Motors spent years using an auction sourcing strategy that kept profits steady. However, as the market became more competitive, they knew something had to change. GM Danny Zaslavsky looked at what was working for the competition and realized there was a better way to acquire inventory: buying vehicles directly from the public.
Three years later, Country Hill has seen a significant increase in their front-end gross and inventory turn rate. Now, Zaslavsky wants to encourage other dealers to do the same by building their own Vehicle Buying Center (VBC).
“How do I sell more cars and make more money?”
Zaslavsky was born into the car business. He started working at his family’s dealership at 14, and has been hearing the same question throughout his career: “How do we sell more cars and make more money?”
The answer, Zaslavsky learned, starts with inventory: “If you buy the right vehicles, selling is never the problem,” he explains. “The challenge is that buying the right inventory gets harder as the internet continues commoditizing the industry.”
Buying Inventory from the Public
When Zaslavsky first took over sourcing for Country Hill, he had a hard time adjusting to the auction experience: “I’m not the biggest fan of auctions,” he explains. “They are hard, high pressure, and I pay more than I want.”
He started looking for alternatives, turning to businesses like CarMax, Vroom, and Carvana for inspiration. “It didn’t take long to figure out the secret to their success,” he says. “Every dealer in the country knows you make more money on trade-ins than auction purchases. Buying from the public [like CarMax] is no different.”
Zaslavsky decided to reverse-engineer the CarMax strategy for his own dealership. The result: an in-house Vehicle Buying Center (VBC).
Building a Vehicle Buying Center
“We started with a commitment to buy 20 cars a month through our VBC, with the BIG goal being 100 a month,” said Zaslavsky.
The first step was to hire the right person who would be dedicated to building the VBC. Zaslavsky looked for someone with the heart of a teacher — someone who would communicate clearly and educate customers, not try to sell them.
“We were building a business within a business, so having the right strategic partners was, and still is, essential.”
Next, Country Hill made it as easy as possible for customers to sell their cars to them. They set up a dedicated website (www.SelltoCountryHill.com) and ran marketing campaigns to promote the new program. They also utilized Vehicle Acquisition Networks to generate leads.
Finally, Zaslavsky needed the right data to inform their buying decisions. For that, he turned to VinCue.
“There were so many moving parts, we really relied on VinCue to make much of it work,” says Zaslavsky. “[VinCue] was able to handle lead generation, real-time appraisal for customers, and even some digital advertising.”
Delivering Dramatic Results
It’s been three years since Country Hill Motors launched their Vehicle Buying Center, and the results speak for themselves:
Country Hill now earns $1,200 more in front-end gross on VBC purchases than on vehicles bought at auction.
“It’s not necessarily because we’re buying these cars for that much cheaper,” explains Zaslavsky. “What we’re doing is eliminating the middleman and avoiding things like auction fees, transportation costs, etc.”
Not only that, but the inventory turn rate on VBC purchases was cut nearly in half — down from 40 days to just 22. Zaslavsky attributes this to smart buying decisions and their VinCue intelligence tool.
“You go to auction just to stock up on inventory,” Zaslavsky explains. “Buying from the public through our VBC lets us source the inventory we want and need.”
How to Build Your Own VBC
Any dealership can build a VBC and achieve the same results, says Zaslavsky. All they need are the right tools, people, and process.
“If you’re wanting to build your own VBC, I recommend you use VinCue,” he says. “Their platform comes with the strategy and features you need to streamline the entire process.”