While we are in the midst of a quite weekend with not much being said about what is happening with Saab, now seems to be a good time to bring up trade-ins or used cars. I’ve written a little about the safety of Saab’s and the exceptional value of a used Saab and to add to those two, I think it’s best we know a little about what goes into those traded in Saab’s and why I feel there is great value in used Saab’s.
Firstly, when a customer is looking to buy a new or used car and asks the age old question “do you take trade in’s?”, the process of a trade evaluation is started. At our dealership this generally happens after a customer has driven one of our cars and is now sitting with the sales consultant. The salesperson fills out a trade evaluation form and brings it to me. I then take the vehicle for a 10 minute drive to check the transmission and to see that everything electrical is working, like the window regulators and air conditioning.
Upon arrival back to the dealership, I would put the vehicle up on a hoist to check for leaks, tire wear and damage. You can learn a lot about a vehicle from underneath. Some vehicles are notorious for steering rack problems and by looking for this before presenting a trade value ensures the customer isn’t losing value because we aren’t worried about it now. A steering rack on some cars could change the value of a trade by $1300. A lot of dealers won’t take this step as it’s time consuming, but it is good for the customer as we will have a more realistic idea of what we will need to spend on the vehicle to put it on our lot, thus not costing them on a maybe problem. This can help the customer to not get the “low ball” trade offer because we know approximately what will be needed to fix the car. Having spent the time to put it up on the hoist and looked over the vehicle with one of our mechanics, leaves very little surprises. In my mind, this also gives credibility to the dealer, as we have taken the time to actually know what we are talking about and not just giving lip service. At this point, the customer is presented with their trade value and makes a well informed decision to either trade or not.
Now a vehicle is traded in. The next step in the process is to have a safety inspection done by one of the mechanics. We put our vehicles through a 150+ point inspection and fix anything needing repairs. This can take up to two days to complete as the sales department cars come second to customer cars, as they should and sometimes parts for off make vehicles will have to come in over night. Once the safety inspection and service work is complete the vehicle goes to the body shop if any body work is needed. You have to remember that just because someone buys a used car, doesn’t mean they want it to look like a used car. If a bumper has been smacked up or there are scratches in paint, we try to make our used cars shine like a new car. Depending on the condition of the car traded in, the body shop could take a day or two or it could take a week. The next step is the detail department.
Now the vehicle has reached the final step of reconditioning and is in the detail department. We are fortunate where I work to have our own detailers, this way we have control over the finished product and can clean a car up the way that makes people come back to us over and over again. Our detailers as you can see from the attached photo, bring the car back to showroom clean. If carpets are soiled, they will remove the seats to give the rugs a really good cleaning. When a car leaves our detail shop, it is our expectation that it will look as nice and clean as any of the new Saab’s on our lot.
From start to finish, a vehicle that gets traded in takes about a week to hit the front line of the dealership lot and be available for sale. The time and care that goes into getting the vehicle lot ready is part of why I think there is tremandous value in purchasing a pre-owned Saab from any dealer.