Technology helps Cardinale keep inventory ripe

Technology helps Cardinale keep inventory ripe

Cardinale, a leading new-vehicle franchised dealership group, has long valued used-vehicle sales. But a pivot in the group’s technology strategy in 2010 allowed the retailer to maintain one of the highest used-to-new vehicle ratios in the country.

Armed with a proprietary online marketing platform and in-house processes, Cardinale, of Marina, Calif., pays assiduous attention to the precise time and price point to sell a used car.

To keep its offerings consistently ripe, Cardinale aims to keep days to turn to less than 45. If a vehicle sits for 60 days?

“It’s out. Cut it, auction it, sell it wholesale,” Gail said. “Time to free up the money and go put it into something that will perform better.”

Across 22 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, Cardinale sold 26,068 used vehicles and 15,599 new in 2018, for a used-to-new ratio of 1.67, according to Automotive News’ top 100 list of U.S. dealership groups ranked by used-vehicle sales. Cardinale’s ratio ranks third highest in the country among franchised retailers, behind No. 1 Garber Management Group, of Saginaw, Mich., at 1.73 and Kunes Country Auto Group in Delavan, Wis., at 1.7.

To keep things moving, Cardinale keeps a strict clock on reconditioning: No more than 72 hours from when a used car arrives at one of Cardinale’s locations until it gets prepped, photographed and listed online.

Any exception to the timeframe needs to be written up by the parts and services director and then signed off by a general manager, Gail said.

Some of the group’s higher-volume locations have as many as 25 service technicians devoted solely to reconditioning, Gail said.

The average used-to-new ratio on Automotive News’ top 100 list this year was 0.82-to-1, with only 22 dealership groups at or above 1-to-1. Last year, 18 groups on the list reached those ratios, with an average of 0.75-to-1 for all 100.

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