The use of electronic multi-point inspection systems (eMPI) has been prevalent in dealership service drive and workshop for years, and is predominantly used to inspect a customer’s vehicle when it is brought in for a scheduled service. It presents a great opportunity for the dealerships to identify and recommend additional repair work in a transparent manner. It fosters customer involvement in the inspection process and promotes the dealership staff as problem solvers in the eyes of the customer.
The next generation multi-point inspection systems can also provide benefits in other parts of the dealership.
Ask any used car manager either or both of these two questions, “How many times do you find a trade-in that needs no work?” Or, “How often do we get a trade that is in such good shape that we can just put it out front and sell it without doing a thing to it?”
A safe guess would be that the answers will range anywhere from “once in a blue moon” to “hasn’t happened yet.”
Because of this, prior to putting a used car on the front line, it will typically undergo an inspection process. A standard practice in most dealerships, a multi-point inspection is performed to determine what needs to be fixed to make the vehicle is saleable.
The reasons for making sure every used car we sell is safe and roadworthy are obvious.
Dealerships will most likely be held liable by local and state law to represent the vehicle accurately and provide the buyer with a safe vehicle. Plus, they have a reputation to maintain and a responsibility to provide our customers with fair value.
More and more dealers will not sell a used vehicle to a customer until a complete and thorough inspection has been done. The eventual expense and damage to the dealership’s reputation for selling a “lemon” are just not worth it.
The pre-sale inspection process usually means that the used car department pays the service department to perform a “condition” inspection of the vehicle. If you want to sell that trade-in as a “Certified Used Car,” which sometimes brings a premium price, OEM’s can require an even more detailed inspection. GM, Ford, Land Rover and Toyota each have a used car checklist with over 150 items on it to determine if the vehicle can be “certified.”
Some vehicles will pass the inspection with an acceptable amount of repair costs while others will need so much work done that they will be no longer be able to be sold at a profit. Cars falling into the last category are then wholesaled to independent used car outlets at a reduced price.
Used car reconditioning costs and trade-in value “guestimates” have long been more of an art than a science. You just can’t tell by looking, listening, tire kicking, or “gut” feel anymore. Today the trade needs to be up in the air, hooked up to diagnostics and carefully inspected by a trained technician to determine what needs to be fixed before sale.
Now consider that many trades brought in for inspection were owned by current dealerships customers who bought the car from the dealership in the first place and rely on regular mainenance to keep their car in tip-top shape.
If your dealership has an inspection process that requires 100% of the vehicles that come in for service undergo a multi-point vehicle inspection, there could be some significant benefits to your used car department, especially if that process involves one of the newer, electronic, and cloud based inspection products.
If used car managers have access to electronic reports of previous vehicle inspections, they can get a better handle of a trade-in’s condition. They can simply pull up the inspection history and see what was found to be needed, not needed, fixed, or not fixed on a particular vehicle.
This information can come in quite handy when determining the amount of dollars the used car department is willing to put into a trade. The newer VIN-driven, cloud shared inspection products contain great detail and outline, down to individual part numbers and prices, what was found, authorized, scheduled, or declined relative to a particular inspection.
If the previous inspections show that many red or yellow items were found but not repaired by the owner, the used car manager has a quick indication that the vehicle will probably require extensive reconditioning. He or she can then adjust the offer to reflect repairs that will definitely be needed.
It is a fact that when a vehicle owner is facing a future large car repair bill, he or she often considers trading in the car. If your used car department isn’t aware of that major future repair, they could easily get stuck with that cost.
On the flip side, a vehicle that has just passed a recent multi-point inspection and has no needed repairs, or a vehicle that has had needed work found and repaired at the customer’s expense might enable the used car manager to raise the trade-in value by a few hundred dollars, thus enabling the sale of a new car to occur.
Bottom line: Multi-point inspection tools are only as good as the data they are built with. Genuine OE data and inspection processes fed by VIN-level detail can quickly and accurately pinpoint needed repairs, making the job of valuing a trade-in much easier.