Why Should Dealers Care About Vehicle History Reporting?

April 14, 2016

Vehicle history reporting is a topic usually approached from a customer’s standpoint. It makes sense when you think about a responsible car buyer, especially now that people are doing so much research online. When a consumer narrows down their choice to a couple of used cars, their decision might come down to the vehicle history.

There are a number of reasons for car dealers to care about what’s in a vehicle history report (VHR), too. In addition to considering the needs of your customer, taking full advantage of VHR can make a difference in your business and used car sales. Let’s take a moment to consider what vehicle history reporting is and why it’s so important for dealers to pay attention to it.

Use Vehicle History Reporting for Accurate Pricing and Appraisal

Every car on your lot has a Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. A car’s VIN is like a fingerprint. It’s how we can tell two white 2009 Honda Civics apart from one another, or how you can differentiate three grey 2005 Mazda3 cars. Variety in the car market can be more limited than some brands let on, but thanks to the VIN system, we know that no two cars are truly alike.

What actually separates one car from another is its experiences. One car might be serviced twice as often as another. Another car might have three times as many miles on it even if it’s the same model year as two other cars. Some cars may have even been in an accident or considered a total loss at one point.

VINs allow us to track all of these cars across the thousands of miles they go in their lifespan, and they have enabled the creation of detailed Vehicle History Reporting. Every service visit, every instance of warranty work, every accident is tied to the VIN of each car on the road today, and any of those cars could end up at your dealership. They might appear as a trade-in, or they could be something you acquire via dealer trading or at auction.

You’ll want to check the vehicle history for every car that comes onto your lot and for every car you’re planning to sell. Doing so allows dealers to make the best trades, and when combined with industry standard pricing and appraisal tools, it can improve your profit margins by setting prices that make the most sense for a given car.

Still, you can go a step further with vehicle history reporting. The true benefits of VHR come not just from consulting it yourself, but giving your customers free access to this valuable information, too.

Give Customers the Info They Want with Vehicle History Reporting

Vehicle history reports have all the details a customer wants to know when they’re shopping for a particular used car. They include:

  • Title and registration history
  • Usage history (how many owners has the car had and what did they use the vehicle for)
  • Samage history (water, fire, accidents, and so on)
  • Salvage, junk, or lemon status
  • Outstanding liens
  • Mileage verification
  • And more

This is the kind of information that can be a huge benefit to your used car merchandising. Customers shopping for a used car want to know just how used it is. If you can provide detailed vehicle history reporting for free on your website, that’s one more reason for a shopper to stay on your website browsing your inventory. When you’re plugged into the largest network of prospective car buyers in the country, it will also let you advertise directly to customers.

VHR Can Improve Your Reputation and Boost Your Sales

We often discuss the importance of transparency, and vehicle history reporting is yet another way you can give your customers transparent information.

One shopper might wonder why you’re asking for a certain price on the used car they’re looking at. You can point them to the car’s history to demonstrate how well taken care of it is.

Another customer might have concerns that you’re selling them a lemon. Direct them to the vehicle history report that you provided for them so they can see the car has a clean bill of health.

Giving consumers access to online vehicle history reporting for free sends the signal that you care. It’s another service that will not only improve your standing with your community but can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Give yourself an edge by looking out for your customers.

Both of the major VHR databases, AutoCheck and CARFAX, allow dealerships to partner with them to provide these services. If you haven’t already looked into it or you’re not sure how to proceed, don’t hesitate to ask someone you trust how to proceed.