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Thriving on the Cutting Edge of Recon Success

Working with Hugh Hathcock’s Velocity Automotive brought all the recon processes of Greenway Auto together in one spot.

Greenway Auto Group is a large family of franchise stores located in eight different states, primarily from Texas to the Southeast. Casey Coffey, as COO, oversees operations of all 43 of the locations — quite a task from someone who never intended to enter the automotive industry!

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“It’s been an interesting journey,” Coffey says of his path to the automotive industry. “I was originally going to go to law school and was set to attend the University of Missouri Law School. I had a fraternity brother who called me and said he needed some help selling cars in Kansas City. I told him I’d help him for a couple months and then get back to my studies. I went and joined him and never left.”

Part of Coffey’s many responsibilities involve overseeing the vehicle reconditioning processes of the dealerships. With used car sales at slightly over 50% of the group’s business, vehicle reconditioning is a major facet of keeping overall operations running smoothly and profitably. 

Casey Coffey, COO of Greenway Auto Group

“The reconditioning aspect of it is tremendous to our organization, not only from a profitability standpoint, but from the ability for us to be able to offer our consumers great quality cars and to exceed their expectations with the quality that we have,” Coffey says. 

The large dealership group was challenged in standardizing its various stores’ past recon processes. “It was a little bit of a mismatch of operations. We have varying degrees of size of stores, from very large stores to rural stores.” He notes that some of the bigger stores were using a recon software application, but the smaller stores’ practices “were kind of off the cuff.”

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Last year Greenway Auto partnered with Velocity Automotive to streamline the entire group’s processes. “With adding VelocityRecon (Velocity Automotive’s workflow process management solution), we’ve been able to standardize and ensure that all of our processes are equal across the board — no matter what store we’re in.

“VelocityRecon has made a tremendous impact in our level of reconditioning and our ability to communicate that reconditioning to the customer, which so many dealers don’t do and don’t take advantage of, and it’s made a big difference to our overall level of success.”

Industry Trailblazer on the Cutting Edge 

When asked what influenced Greenway Auto Group’s choice of vendor, Coffey notes his ongoing business relationship with industry veteran Hugh Hathcock. 

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Hathcock founded ELEAD1ONE, which he has since sold to CDK Global, and is now the founder and owner of Velocity Automotive. 

“I’ve known Hugh for over 25 years and have been a big customer of Elead,” Coffey says. “And he’s always at the cutting edge of everything that he does. When he came and brought this solution to me, we kind of felt like we already had one; it was working, it wasn’t broken and why would we need to do it? Hugh had to do a little bit of arm twisting, but once we got it in and we quickly realized that having the ability to have all of it into one centralized portal and to be able to not only handle our reconditioning, but to be able to market to our consumers through VelocityEngage and then have it all in one centralized location made it so much easier for our employees.

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“In my opinion, he’s a tireless worker,” Coffey says of Hathcock. “No matter how good the software is that Hugh is helping create, he’s always looking for that next advance in the product offering. He’s constantly out there retooling it. He listens to dealers. Hugh understands what the complexities are in the dealership world. And he goes out and he creates tools to help make our business easier.”

He notes that his team quickly learned the new program and integration went smoothly. “It’s a very, very simple process and the way Hugh has set up the software to be able to work and the integration of it all really was about a day and a half of training.”

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Leveraging OEM Window Stickers

One of Velocity’s premier products are their window stickers. “From the customer’s standpoint, being able to have that OEM window sticker that they’re familiar with seeing when they have shopped for a car … they have seen those stickers for years on vehicles, the layout of it is very easy to read. It’s very recognizable. [Customers] can go through the flow and see the options that are available on the vehicle. And they have a trust level with an OEM sticker. They believe in it, and they know that vehicle contains all of those attributes, and they feel good about it.

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“From an employee standpoint, it’s twofold. Number one, it helps educate the salespeople and the managers on what’s on the vehicle. Number two, from a management standpoint, when you’re looking at a vehicle, if you’re looking at appraising it to buy it in auction or appraising it when a customer’s trading in the vehicle, you can pull up that OEM sticker and know exactly without a shadow of the doubt as to what options are on the vehicle, what packages are there, and it allows you to be able to review the vehicle and appraise it appropriately.” He notes that if managers don’t know what package is on a vehicle, they can make a mistake appraising a vehicle by thousands of dollars.

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Investing in the Reconditioning Process

With consumers shopping for vehicles from their homes, they have more choices today than ever before. Showing them the reconditioning that’s been done on the vehicle can provide them a greater level of comfort.

“A lot of dealers, including Greenway, do a tremendous job with reconditioning, but we never really took credit for it,” Coffey explains. “The consumer never really understood what went in to reconditioning that vehicle and all of the efforts that were made to be able to provide a quality vehicle to them. So today, with having that information, the consumer can go in, take a look at the RO and determine what we did to the vehicle and have a level of comfort that really makes them feel good about buying the car.”

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Reducing Recon Time

Coffey explains how VelocityRecon puts the process in front of everybody, saving valuable time. “When the reconditioning team comes in, they know exactly where the vehicles are in the queue and what needs to happen next, where it’s going to. The sales managers, who are away from the reconditioning center, can easily go into a portal — it integrates with our DMS and our CRM — click on the VIN, see where that car is, be able to make an estimate of when the vehicle is going to get through the reconditioning process and also have some type of an idea of what the total overall cost is. It’s made a tremendous impact in our ability to be able to speed up the reconditioning and also be more accurate with our pricing.”

click here for more from the March 2022 issue of Dealer Service

Coffey explains how the dealership group has utilized VelocityEngage to communicate with customers. “With VelocityEngage, we can send to them via email or text or video and pictures of the vehicle, or, as we spoke about, the OEM window sticker, the Carfax on the vehicle, any of the safety ratings on the car, anything that the consumer may otherwise have to go outside of the dealership’s purview and go find information, we can send it to them in one neat, complete package. It keeps them focused. It also keeps them from going out there and potentially seeing another car.

“The consumer wants to be able to see everything in one spot and the least amount of work that you have them go through to be able to make a thorough decision is better for everybody. It saves the customer time and aggravation, and quite frankly, it ties them into the dealership to a much stronger degree.”

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Implementing digital engagement tools like VelocityEngage has been a tremendous benefit to the Greenway Auto sales team, according to Coffey.

“It helps them be an expert on the vehicle. It’s very difficult today for a salesperson to know every make and model and all the different nuances of each car … but with VelocityEngage, they can look at that information and get better prepared to be able to answer the customer’s questions. They become the expert and can come across in a much more professional manner.”

It’s clear that the Greenway Automotive Group values and prospers from the transparency and ingenuity that Hugh Hathcock has developed in the Velocity Automotive programs. For more information, visit velocityautomotive.com.

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