The Trade-In Appraisal Process at a Dealership, Explained
When it comes time to turn in an old car for a new one, some folks prefer to do so at a dealership rather than sell their car privately. Many find the process to be a positive experience; for some, it’s a tax credit while for others, it’s credit towards a new car, or saving time on the selling process. Selling privately involves the headache of sorting through offers, talking to interested buyers, and meeting those potential buyers to show the car. By trading a vehicle into a dealership, sellers save time and can complete a transaction in one day.
In addition to a plethora of market data points such as day’s supply, recent retail transactions, and even color, dealers also use a Vehicle Condition Report (“Vehicle CR”) to appraise vehicles brought in for trade-in inspection. This assessment includes the age and popularity of the vehicle, mileage, wear and tear, accident history, and any necessary repairs for the vehicle to be sold again.
The used car market can be volatile, with prices that often change daily. Wholesale used-vehicle prices have dropped for the last six months in a row, with prices 15.6% lower than they were in January 2022. With the decline in used car values, getting the trade-in value right, and in a way that is convenient to consumers, is critical.
Until now, the safe bet for an accurate trade-in appraisal has required the consumer to bring their vehicle into the dealership for a final inspection before any money can be handed over. This can be inconvenient and time-consuming for the consumer and the vehicle condition reports can still be subjective or prone to human error.
Dealers are no longer using vehicle condition reports solely on paper to appraise trade-in vehicles. Increasingly, they are using vehicle inspection software to create and keep track of vehicle condition reports to streamline efficiency, improve safety, save money, and increase transparency for customers. With all the benefits vehicle inspection software brings, dealerships have turned to a number of different solutions.
However, these solutions are mainly numbers based and, for the most part, do not have a sophisticated solution that allows the dealer to remotely assess the condition of a vehicle. For example, a dealer could see the data provided and be able to guess that the car is extra clean, but they can’t confirm the actual condition of the vehicle until it’s been brought in for assessment. Without that in-person verification, the dealer is unable to make an instant cash offer as they need to confirm multiple factors beforehand. This slows down the entire trade-in process and wastes both the dealer and the customer’s valuable time.
The Ravin AI vehicle inspection trade-in solution enables dealers to complete that verification step without requiring the consumer to “come on down!” (And wait around.) Rather than requiring customers to bring their vehicles in for a trade-in inspection, Ravin sends them a simple link.
Customers can open that link to begin an AI-guided, two-minute walk-around of the vehicle that allows them to organize and compile the photos into an electronic condition report. The app is able to detect damages to the vehicle, missing and/or broken photos, flag photos in need of closer inspection, and then the app stores that information for later use.
If the dealer purchases the vehicle, Ravin can provide a tool to help the reconditioning team add additional information or validate what was flagged in the appraisal. This allows the tool to become a workflow tool for multiple departments. For example, not only can the service department streamline any repairs or maintenance, but the wholesale team is able to remarket the purchased vehicle quickly via an upstream auction site or its own retail listing website.
With Ravin’s vehicle inspection software, both dealerships and sellers benefit. By streamlining the trade-in inspection process, both parties win time back in their busy schedules. Not only do customers appreciate this convenience but the increased transparency and consistency Ravin’s solution offers improves trust between dealerships and their customers so they can continue their relationship in a positive manner for years to come.
Book a demo for your dealership today to see how Ravin can improve your trade-in inspection process.