Training » Looking for Subprime Inventory?

Looking for Subprime Inventory?

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A far too common objection heard when discussing Special Finance is, “We just don’t have any Subprime inventory!” or “All our used cars are out of the book!” By far the most difficult part of special finance can be to get the “right vehicles”. The list seems to change daily.

Obviously, any vehicle that can be obtained “behind book” is the right vehicle. Current year program cars, which can be sold from like invoice, are good units to have. Typically, the best vehicles are trade-ins, since these are the units you tend to own best. Keep in mind that SFI vehicles don’t have to be movie stars. If they run good, this can overcome some objections to minor imperfections (a dent or a ding) and if done correctly, Special Finance is about selling the loan, not selling the vehicle, Sell the concept of rebuilding credit. Qualify for a loan and then get a car!

Don’t necessarily overlook the need to have some older, higher mileage units on the lot. These units don’t need the full reconditioning but need to be safe and functional. They are perfect for those deeper lenders as well as customers who simply need basic transportation. Create a “Credit Corral” to supplement standard Sub prime inventory. These are units that might typically be wholesaled but, with a minimal shop investment, can be made saleable and turn what might be a wholesale loss into retail profit. This can result in a few extra units sold each month.

Be flexible. Having a wide spectrum of used cars is a safe bet. The worst scenario is to have an approval without a vehicle to show. Make sure there is an adequate amount of used car inventory on the lot. Keep a good mix of vehicles on the lot to have the ability to land the right cars on customers.

Make sure the Used Car Manager knows what’s hot and what’s not with lenders. Certain vehicles may be restricted (limited advance) or ineligible (unable to finance) with a particular lender. Keep the used car manager up to date on model year change-over as well (when the lender considers current year models to be 1 year old and so on down the line.) The Used Car Manager is the inventory lifeline. Take a short deal on a 60+ day old unit every now and then, especially on a short deal, to help level out the used car inventory.

Check the lot everyday for new arrivals. Used Car Managers should let the Special Finance department know what was bought or traded for in the last few days. Book out every retail unit to determine which ones have the best loan to value. (Loan to value or LTV is the cost of the unit versus the book value.) A unit with a strong book has a loan value significantly higher than its cost, which generates higher profit or allows the absorption of negative equity or high discount fees. Remember that, while most lenders use NADA trade for their book values, some lenders use Kelly Blue Book for their valuations.. Be careful not to “power book” a vehicle (add options that are not on the vehicle). Lenders may verify the equipment with the customer during their interview, and will seek to chargeback any over-booking they find.

Don’t be afraid of new vehicles in a franchised dealership. Vehicles with substantial dealer cash (not consumer rebates, but money paid by the manufacturer directly to the dealership if it meets sales objectives on a particular model) may allow a structure on a new car deal which makes it very attractive to a lender. Some lenders allow the use of the manufacturer’s rebate as part of the down payment. Keep up to date on incentives, as they may get better as the month goes on.

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