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Does Your Used Car Reconditioning Time Measure Up?

Car dealers face an unprecedented demand for vehicles, changing the automotive industry for at least the foreseeable future. Business Insider reports that the devastating shortage of microchips is slowing car production worldwide. The lack of new models is driving prices up. These high new car prices have created a great demand for pre-owned vehicles.

This demand has forced dealerships to pivot in some areas and improve efficiencies in others. One area dealerships are working to improve is the time it takes to get a used car ready for resale.

How long is your used vehicle reconditioning time?

A fixed ops leader posed this question on LinkedIn, sparking various responses from other industry professionals. The general consensus was that used car recon generally takes three days. However, some fixed ops leaders stated that, in some months, it might take a little longer depending on circumstances. Others claimed a 24-hour or less turnaround time.

Undoubtedly, multiple answers mean there must be multiple ways of handling car recon. There are many variables that impact a dealer’s ability to get a used vehicle ready for the market.

Challenges that prevent quick turnaround times for reconditioning

used car reconditioning

One hurdle to completing reconditioning work in a timely manner is getting the necessary parts.  

Without a doubt, the labor shortage has impacted most industries, and the automotive industry is no exception. Finding good techs is an ongoing challenge for service leaders but more so since the pandemic.

Furthermore, manufacturers sublet recall repairs to dealers which often causes backups in service departments in addition to everyday repairs. The backups can cause reconditioning services to stall. The hold-up creates tension between fixed ops leaders and variable ops leaders.

With any business, communication is vital to successful processes. Many dealership leaders comment that inefficient systems and lack of communication between departments are major hurdles in reconditioning a vehicle.

Impact of long recon times

The adage goes “time is money.” The longer reconditioning time takes, the more customers will leave the lot without test driving that vehicle. As you can imagine, this really takes a dig at the potential income for the dealership.

Dealership decision-makers must put systems in action that help sales and service teams smoothly execute the reconditioning process. Quick turnaround on used vehicle recon benefits both the sales and service departments.

Solutions to speed up the process

Some dealerships commingle reconditioning work with customer pay and warranty work, while others have teams or individuals dedicated to car reconditioning. Fixed Ops professional Nick Shaffer says “it would be wise to remove reconditioning from those teammates who process your customers’ cars. Their pay plan is likely focused on CSI or Customer Pay Sales which disincentivizes them from giving priority to used cars.”

Shaffer also points out that “sometimes the biggest bottleneck for the used car reconditioning turn time is the parts department.” He recommends incentivizing all teammates who touch used cars on used car turn time, including the parts back counter.

For more automotive industry articles and insights, visit TVI MarketPro3.

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