California seller says resisting sticker markups is nice enterprise


Brandon’s first temptation so as to add market changes to high-demand autos got here within the late Nineties after he purchased Capistrano Volkswagen within the coastal city of San Juan Capistrano. The launch of the New Beetle was 9 months away and customers had been asking whether or not the dealership would take orders for the extremely anticipated revival of the German automotive legend.

Extra importantly, patrons needed to know whether or not Brandon would promote the New Beetle at sticker value or add 1000’s of {dollars}, as different sellers within the area had been.

“These had been each straightforward questions for me — sure to orders and no to markups,” Brandon, 60, instructed Automotive Information. “We rapidly developed an enormous order financial institution, at instances in extra of 250 autos.”

Whereas the New Beetle launch 24 years ago can’t be in comparison with the widespread stock scarcity of as we speak, the controversy over market changes hasn’t modified a lot.

Brandon’s mentor, now-retired San Diego auto seller Ken Nieman, felt strongly about by no means promoting above sticker value. “It is simpler to interchange a automotive than a buyer,” was one among Nieman’s classes, Brandon stated.

“I misplaced sleep one night time realizing how a lot I used to be leaving on the desk,” Brandon stated. “However I spotted that almost all prospects do not assume by way of provide and demand curves, and that making pals for all times is extra vital than catching the large one as we speak.”

The standard $3,000 markup for the New Beetle, multiplied by a whole lot of vehicles, may attain into the tens of millions of {dollars} again within the day.

Whereas there was a gentle provide of New Beetles from the manufacturing facility, VW could not meet up with demand for about 18 months, Brandon stated. That created a chance to make some huge cash from markups — or at lot of completely happy prospects shopping for at sticker value.

Amongst his glad New Beetle prospects was an area couple who labored in advertising. They later helped the dealership develop the Smileage Assure, a set of guarantees and perks. One is that no automobile is offered over sticker value no matter reputation. Perks embrace a seven-day return coverage and a educated workers targeted on buyer satisfaction.

Brandon added a ground-up Mazda dealership next door to the VW store in 2015.

The Smileage Assure on the two San Juan Capistrano dealerships was the topic of an Automotive News Best Practices story in 2019.

Final 12 months, mixed gross sales on the dealerships had been 2,012 new and 780 used autos, a decline from pre-pandemic 2019.

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