Best PracticesDealership Marketing

Does Your Dealership Tell Used Car Buyers What They Want to Hear?

Used cars aren’t like new cars – each one is “like a snowflake“, no two are the same, depending on where it’s been and who has owned it.

Logically, this means that, unlike new cars, every used car needs to be marketed slightly differently so their unique stories can be highlighted and buyers can understand the pros and cons of their used car purchase.

In doing consumer research earlier this year, we discovered, not surprisingly, that consumers’ biggest concerns when buying a used car is getting a clear picture of its current condition – including how key features, such as brakes, batteries and tires have been maintained or reconditioned, as well as accident and service history.

And, because most used car shoppers are also looking to get as many “features for the buck” as they can – things like MP3 and Bluetooth support top the list, but high performance tires, heated seats, keyless entry and rear view cameras aren’t far behind – they also want to easily understand what features a used car might offer.

When listing used cars on your own website and/or used car marketplaces, is your dealership highlighting the obvious things consumers want to know?

In all likelihood, the answer to that question is “No”. In fact, we recently analyzed millions of used vehicle listings across numerous used car marketplaces and found that fewer than 50% of them included any seller comments at all – whether they were customized or auto generated. Clearly, customized comments will let you highlight what makes a particular car unique and will help you move it off the lot. In fact, think about how you market used cars on the lot – you are likely talking about the features you know will sell the car not just listing facts like color, price, MPG and mileage.

Which is exactly what the majority of seller comments did include! The top items mentioned in dealer seller comments are items that are typically already included in a standard listing! And fewer than 3% of the comments we analyzed included any reference to reconditioning information (tires, brakes, batteries) – this is a HUGE opportunity for dealers.

[Tweet “You’re reconditioning used vehicles – turn that action into content to sell more cars.”]

“We’d love to think our used car managers are walking around every car writing a perfect custom description…that just doesn’t happen…any data we can provide to the store to create great custom comments is a plus,” Bill Simmons of Haley Auto Group

[highlight color=”#CCE6FF” font=”black”]For more findings and detailed information, dealerships can download the full CarStory How to Convert Used Car Shoppers to Buyers white paper at While you’re over there, check out their free market reports for on your dealership website. – Kershner[/highlight]