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Best independent used car dealers in the USA...who are they?

Feb 9, 2012
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Todd
I am curious if anyone here on Dealer Refresh can name names of any independent dealer they think has their game on....Thanks!
 
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Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
231
199
Awards
1
First Name
Dan
I don't know but there's this guy named @Todd Caputo that I remember from Dealer Inspire days that runs a pretty good operation at Sun Auto Group. Carbiz is one of the others that stood out from DI days as well. Sheesh, maybe I need a DI site for our pre-owned lot....
 
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joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
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First Name
Joe
@Todd Caputo, I find EchoPark's biz model to be the most disruptive in the Indie Dealer space. EchoPark is a profitless frontend dealership. IOW, it sells cars at cost and all buyers are required to finance thru them. Think printers & ink.

If you think price sells cars, look at the advantage EchoPark has on the market. Using Cargurus deals box, compare Carvana vs EchoPark in dallas tx.

I'll not label the 2 boxes, do you see what I see?
1605608033739.png 1605608085440.png

If you believe price generates ups and sells cars, look at the ratios of the 2 stores.
  • EchoPark (left) has 74% of its inventory in Good or Great Deal buckets
  • Carvana (right) has 13% of its inventory in Good or Great Deal buckets

Another example, @Dan Sayer's Anderson Ford of Grand Island has 12% of its inventory in Good or Great Deal buckets
1605609079329.png

Similar to Carvana, EchoPark uses the car as a tool to generate F&I income, but, clearly, EchoPark is far more aggressive at using $0 front end as it's weapon of disruption.

Don't think EchoPark is a viable biz model?
  • Read Sonic Auto's 10k and 10q's, EchoPark's $0 frontend, $2k backend multiplied by it's super fast turns are generating more profits than the traditional stores.
  • See its reviews. 4.5 stars.
So, if your EchoPark, you can
  1. pay more at acquisition and not care (auction/street-buy/trade).
  2. payless for ad traffic because your killing all dealers on price sensitive marketplaces like CarGurus

Carvana gets all the attention, but EchoPark is the biggest threat.

Hope this helps...
-Uncle Joe

Carvana Dallas https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/m-Carvana-sp375400
EchoPark Houston https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/m-EchoPark-Automotive-Houston-sp415965
Anderson Ford https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/m-Anderson-Ford-Lincoln-of-Grand-Island-sp376385
 
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Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
231
199
Awards
1
First Name
Dan
@Todd Caputo, I find EchoPark's biz model to be the most disruptive in the Indie Dealer space. EchoPark is a profitless frontend dealership. IOW, it sells cars at cost and all buyers are required to finance thru them. Think printers & ink.

If you think price sells cars, look at the advantage EchoPark has on the market. Using Cargurus deals box, compare Carvana vs EchoPark in dallas tx.

I'll not label the 2 boxes, do you see what I see?
View attachment 5189 View attachment 5190

If you believe price generates ups and sells cars, look at the ratios of the 2 stores.
  • EchoPark (left) has 74% of its inventory in Good or Great Deal buckets
  • Carvana (right) has 13% of its inventory in Good or Great Deal buckets

Another example, @Dan Sayer's Anderson Ford of Grand Island has 12% of its inventory in Good or Great Deal buckets
View attachment 5191

Similar to Carvana, EchoPark uses the car as a tool to generate F&I income, but, clearly, EchoPark is far more aggressive at using $0 front end as it's weapon of disruption.

Don't think EchoPark is a viable biz model?
  • Read Sonic Auto's 10k and 10q's, EchoPark's $0 frontend, $2k backend multiplied by it's super fast turns are generating more profits than the traditional stores.
  • See its reviews. 4.5 stars.
So, if your EchoPark, you can
  1. pay more at acquisition and not care (auction/street-buy/trade).
  2. payless for ad traffic because your killing all dealers on price sensitive marketplaces like CarGurus

Carvana gets all the attention, but EchoPark is the biggest threat.

Hope this helps...
-Uncle Joe

Carvana Dallas https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/m-Carvana-sp375400
EchoPark Houston https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/m-EchoPark-Automotive-Houston-sp415965
Anderson Ford https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/m-Anderson-Ford-Lincoln-of-Grand-Island-sp376385
That particular store, @joe.pistell, was actually one of mine in my GM days. That town chewed me up and spit me out but I wouldn't trade that time for anything. They're at 87% Cost to Market and 97% Price to Market in that total bucket. Interested to know your take on that looking at that Price Rating mix. As far as Echo Park, we have been eyeing that as an option in our Lincoln, NE market since we have moved away from Finance Managers and committed to one-touch with sales people handling the process all the way through Finance product and paperwork. It would seem counter intuitive to focus on back-end after having removed F&I Managers, but I'm sure most of you understand the advantage of providing a better experience for shoppers. One a side note, since you mentioned the customer rating, we have struggled with Service reviews being the main drag within our ratings. A Used dealer typically isn't running a thousand RO's, if they even have a service facility, so their Reviews are going to be mostly all Sales related. We use Podium and drive all Reviews to one main GMB profile per rooftop which ends up muddying the waters. We have been focusing on Service reviews but if we had Sales alone, our Reviews would easily be in the 4.8 range. I know its a separate thread topic but Service vs Sales Reviews are an issue for us across the group.

Are you looking for (non-publicly traded) independents @Todd Caputo or giants as well? How's CarMax doing these days? I haven't see any reporting on their year so far. I'm on a couple of Used Car FB groups and I recall a post where independent used managers were mocking (like petty junior high BS) how easy it must be to raise your hand in the lane if you have a blank check as a CarMax buyer. It must be a little easier without packs. CarMax has no packs so you can raise your hand not worried about the $500, $1000, $1,500+ pack that you'll have to overcome before recon. I wonder if Echo Park has packs?

I get in the trap of being drawn to the dealers that have a great website, disruptor process, slick showroom, etc and making an assumption that must make them the best. But, we all know those dealers that seem to kill it in spite of those things. This dealer in the middle of a run down industrial park in Engelwood and used to sell 5,000 a year (not sure what they're doing this year). http://www.thesharpestrides.com/
Here is their price mix:
Image 2020-11-17 at 8.20.04 AM.png
 
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Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
231
199
Awards
1
First Name
Dan
Looking for non publics....Just would love everyone's opinion of the best of the best ..Thank You !
Well @Todd Caputo here is a list from 2019's Auto Remarketing's TOP 100 (volume 2018). These are the top 25 of the non-public (because most of the Top 100 are CarMax, Hertz, and Carvana... Google away my friend as I'm not sure if you are looking for Best Volume, Best Rated, Best Gross, etc. Maybe the question is what area of your business are you wanting to compare? Like my mom says, "Comparison is the thief of joy." :lol:

DEALER CITY STATE TOTAL OFF LEASE ONLY ORLANDO ORLANDO FLA. 14,902
NORTHWEST MOTORSPORT PUYALLUP WASH. 12,260 (@Collin Pedersen, isn't that you?)
OFF LEASE ONLY PALM SPRINGS PALM SPRINGS FLA. 11,303
OFF LEASE ONLY MIAMI OPA-LOCKA FLA. 9,839
TEXAS DIRECT AUTO STAFFORD STAFFORD TEXAS 8,773
STG AUTO GROUP MONTCLAIR CALIF. 7,754
OFF LEASE ONLY NORTH FORT LAUDERDALE NORTH FORT LAUDERDALE FLA. 7,107
DRIVERSSELECT GRAND PRAIRIE TEXAS 6,765
EASTERNS AUTOMOTIVE MARYLAND HYATTSVILLE MD. 5,252
THE SHARPEST RIDES ENGLEWOOD COLO. 5,114
EVO MOTORS - SEFFNER SEFFNER FLA. 4,572
ROBERTS AUTO SALES MODESTO CALIF. 4,463
CAR OUTLET CHICAGO ILL. 4,326
CALIFORNIA MOTORS DIRECT STANTON STANTON CALIF. 4,232
OC AUTO EXCHANGE FULLERTON CALIF. 4,099
FLORIDA FINE CARS - MIAMI MIAMI FLA. 3,337
SOUTHWEST MOTORS INC PUEBLO COLO. 3,299
DRIVERSSELECT GRAND PRAIRIE TEXAS 3,278
COAST TO COAST MOTORS HOUSTON TEXAS 3,192
AUCTION DIRECT USA RALEIGH N.C. 3,127
AUTOS OF DALLAS PLANO TEXAS 3,085
NORTH EAST AUTO CREDIT CLEVELAND OHIO 2,969
NEW WAVE AUTO SALES CLEARWATER FLA. 2,948
FLORIDA FINE CARS WEST PALM BEACH WEST PALM BEACH FLA. 2,846
PACIFIC AUTO CENTER FONTANA CALIF. 2,843