Closing the Gap in Vehicle Worth with Private Sellers


According to Auto Remarketing, used-car sales in April beat year-ago figures by 3.0%, according to estimates from Cox Automotive, which said the pre-owned SAAR climbed to about 39.3 million for the month.

That compares to a used-car SAAR of 38.1 million in April 2018 and a 39.0 million used-car SAAR in March, the company said in its Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index Data & Commentary released Tuesday.

In a separate forecast released late last month, Edmunds was calling for 3.4 million used-car sales in April, down from 3.7 million in March. The resulting used-car SAAR was projected at 39.1 million, compared to 39.2 million in March.

Going back to the Cox Automotive data, such pre-owned strength observed in April continues what the company described in Monday’s Data Point report as a “shift in vehicle demand, away from new and toward used.”

How long the Spring used car market will last was the lead talking point for May’s Used Car Marketing Panel Discussion. And with us to discuss was ACV Auctions Director of Business Development Stuart Zalud.

When asked what dealers should be thinking about right now and in consideration of the long term, Stu responded. He says that if he were in a dealership today managing a new and used car department, his strategy would be to look at and try using as many of the products and tools that are available. Then, sort out those that provide the best results.

Because of Stu’s position with ACV, talk of auctions – pricing, supply, and demand we a big part of the conversation as well.

“Dealers are struggling to find used vehicles these days,” says Zalud. “The affordability of the new product and even with leasing has become more of a challenge for buyers. The CPO-type cars and late-model used are in short supply because three and four years ago those vehicles were leased. Most of those cars were over-residualized to put back on the road. And now the manufacturers are stuck with cars that are worth less than they own it for.”

This causes them to be reluctant to sell the cars to dealers, resulting in less used vehicle supply and thus increased prices. When you factor that in, you can see why margins are thin.

In the video below, Stu talks about the importance of closing the gap with consumers.


“Sometimes the biggest obstacle in putting a new car deal together is how much that car is worth in the mind of the consumer and the mind of a dealer. There’s a gap that has to be closed to make a deal.”

Stu’s advice?

“If you’re a three-decade guy or two-decade guy and everything you’ve done has always been successful, or even a four-decade guy like I am, I think you have to be aware that there’s a lot of opportunity out there and you need to seek out and use every quiver in the bow. Don’t short yourself.”

In short, dealers today must be utilizing the right products and tools to profitably source used vehicles from private sellers.

About the Panel

The Used Car Marketing Dealer Strategy Sessions are held each month featuring various industry experts and thought leaders discussing two or three key points related to the used car business. The webinar sessions are streamed live and recorded, and then featured on the AutoConverse Podcast.

To participate in the discussions, either as a Panelist or as an Attendee, you must register with the series. By signing up, you will automatically be enrolled with the series and able to participate.

For more information and to sign up, follow this link.

Ryan is a marketing consultant for Vehicle Acquisition Network who has been working in the automotive business since 2001. He got his start working with dealers in online merchandising and was one of the first to introduce blogging for car dealers. Today Ryan produces content for his Automotive B2B clients.

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