by Jon LeSage, editor, Used Car Market Reports
It’s a historic moment in US vehicle recalls, and behind that benchmark lie opportunities to better serve and retain customers. Steve Wahezi, president of USA Auto Dealers in Temple Hills, Md., has learned a lot this year about effectively dealing with well-informed, demanding customers and what they want to find out about recalls.
As an independent dealer, USA Auto Dealers lacks the manufacturer-provided data that franchised dealers receive in their networks. However, accessing Carfax data has provided Waheizi’s team with the same recall information franchise dealers have and that they need to provide to car shoppers. It’s also invaluable when buying wholesale units and managing their inventory.
So far, there have been more than 40 million vehicles recalled this year; Carfax data suggests that 37 million vehicles are on the road right now with unfixed recalls; that’s nearly one-in-six vehicles out there. The top states with unfixed recalls are Texas, California, Missouri, Florida, and Ohio. So, the recall process will be taking much time and energy for dealers this year and beyond.
Presenting car shoppers, and current customers, with Carfax Vehicle History Reports is helping USA Auto Dealers alleviate worries. Car shoppers do bring up recalls all the time with USA Auto Dealers staff – sometimes after being barraged with national news coverage and sometimes to use it as a leveraging point for getting a better deal on the car.
Carfax Reports and the recall process have taken much of the wind from the sails, Wahezi said. It’s been resolved for USA Auto Dealers by seeing open recalls on Carfax Reports and working directly with local franchised dealers responsible for carrying out the recalls. Most all of the recalls have taken just half day to a full business day for franchised dealers to fix.
Using Carfax, franchised and independent dealers both have access to a common resource that helps them easily find out if a specific car has an open recall — the Carfax Vehicle History Report. OEMs report VIN-specific open recall information directly to Carfax, almost all on a daily basis. Dealers simply run a Carfax Report on their computer or use the Carfax for Dealers mobile app to see if there’s any outstanding recalls on it. To help your customers stay on top of recalls, you can sign them up for myCarfax (www.mycarfax.com) so they get alerts about future recalls issued for their specific car.
Wahezi has seen this carried out on both sides of the aisle – with 23 years in management at franchised dealers and then after opening up USA Auto Dealers a year-and-a-half ago. Carfax data is helping him buy vehicles at auctions and better manage current inventory in today’s high recall awareness environment. His team looks at the status of used vehicles in their loan and lease life, service records, and if a particular recall may be a minor fix or a major repair job. Sometimes that also involves doing a Google search to stay current on where a specific recall stands and how it may be affecting consumer opinions.
Carfax Reports help USA Auto Dealers be well prepared for the sales process. “Carfax has been part of closing deals,” he said. “Dealers not going with Carfax are losing out on a lot of smart customers.”