Thu | Feb 20, 2020

ATL Automotive expands pre-owned unit to trade-ins

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2015 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
Matthew Cripps, general manager of ATL Automotives.
ATL Automotive complex in Montego Bay.

ATL Automotive has opened up its pre-owned sales unit to brands outside of its exclusive dealerships, under an arrangement that allows customers to trade in their cars, as part payment for new ones, or to purchase from the company's stock of pre-owned cars.

The trade-in started in January, amid ATL Automotive's push for a bigger piece of the pre-owned market, and has seen 45 trades so far, General Manager Matthew Cripps told Wednesday Business.

The arrangement, called a part exchange trade-in, aims to lessen the transaction time for the customer who wants to offload their old car for a newer one, as well as feed the company's stock of pre-owned vehicles.

"A lot of people are trying to sell their old vehicle by themselves, so they can't afford to buy a new vehicle until they've sold the old one. That slows the process down," Cripps said.

Customers who come in have their vehicle appraised by ATL's certified pre-owned manager, then an independent valuation is done.

"We take into account the condition of the car, what the market research on that vehicle is, and how quick we can sell it," the general manager said.

The valuation will cost the customer US$35 to US$45 ($4,000 to $5,000) depending on the vehicle, he said.

valuation fee

"If they decide to purchase a vehicle from us, new or pre-owned, then we refund that valuation fee," he said.

ATL Automotive entered the pre-owned market in 2013, then only dealing in brands it represents - inclusive of Honda, VW and Audi. The company previously represented the Land Rover/Range Rover and Jaguar brands. That business migrated to rival Stewart's Automotive during the summer.

The pre-owned unit was located at the ATL Auto Parts Centre at lower Hagley Park Road, but Cripps said this has been relocated to its Oxford Road, New Kingston, complex. Trade-ins are also offered through the company's Montego Bay outlet.

"Let's say a brand new car is $10 million. The trade-in has been valued at $4.2 million. We would maybe offer $4 million. In some cases, the offer may not be exactly what they are asking for, it may be a couple hundred dollars less. But what it does is enable them to buy their new car much quicker," the general manager said.

Brands traded so far include Honda, Toyota, BMW, KIA and Nissan, among others.

"What this has enabled us to do is grow our used car business as well. This is a long-term business strategy that we will continue doing," Cripps said.

To ensure it has sufficient stock of pre-owned cars, he said ATL will "target a number of customers with cars three to five years old and offer them better deals to sell their cars now rather than wait until they are 10 years old."

The company also pulls from its stock of demonstration vehicles and from the fleets within its network of companies to satisfy pre-owned demand.

"We are selling some of our own demonstrators and our own company cars as well. We are lucky because we can pull any of our company demonstrators or staff cars, so we always keep a healthy good stock of our own pre-owned cars, which we can sell anytime," he said.

The pool of vehicles creates an average of "between 45 to 60 cars available for sale at any time," he said.

The company is pushing for pre-owned sales "of 30-35 cars per month across all brands," he said.

"We will take any brand against any brand. If someone wants to buy a Honda, we will take in a Mercedes. If someone wants to buy Audi, we'll take in a Mitsubishi, proving the vehicle is roadworthy and has not been written off by an insurance company," he said.

Vehicles with lien bank loans against them can still be traded, he said, noting that the loans will be cleared from the agreed trade-in price and the balance paid over to the customer.