Why Dealers Want Your Used Car


Do you have a used car you no longer want or need? Or, maybe you’re just in a tight spot and willing to part with your older vehicle. Whatever the case may be, there’s likely someone who wants to buy it. And, while you could advertise your car and make a sale to a private buyer, dealerships are an even better option.

A great many dealerships buy used cars from their previous owners. They may purchase these vehicles outright or let you use them for a trade-in credit. Either way, there are some definite advantages to taking this route. Plus, dealers are really investing in the aftermarket right now, so why not strike while the iron is hot?

Why Dealers Want Your Used Car

Sales of New Cars Have Declined

In the past, new cars tended to fly off the lots. However, times have changed. New car sales have declined significantly in recent months. Some of the decline is likely due to the pandemic’s effect on buyers’ finances. However, a bigger problem is a widespread shortage of semiconductors, which has led to a reduced selection of available cars. To make matters worse, the slim choices available tend to be on the higher side pricewise.

Since dealerships aren’t profting as much from new car sales or from servicing them, they’re having to find new ways to recoup costs. For many dealers, this means turning to the aftermarket and purchasing used cars from individual owners.

More Than Just A Trend

While dealers are hopeful that the supply shortage will end soon, there’s another problem in store. All-electric vehicles are gaining in popularity. Thus, dealers who only or mainly offer standard vehicles with internal combustion engines may continue to see a decline in their profits. This means that, even after things return to “normal,” these dealers are still likely to go after aftermarket sellers and what they have to offer.

Learning from History

It’s easy to draw comparisons between the current dealership crisis and the Great Recession of the early 2000s. During that time, dealerships were forced to focus largely on the aftermarket. Many also expanded their scope and began to purchase vehicles they would have once passed over. This included older vehicles and even vehicles outside of the brands they normally sold.

This shift in operations actually turned out quite well for some dealers. Not only were they able to profit from selling these used vehicles, but also from servicing them. As the saying goes, “history repeats itself,” so it’s very likely that similar trends will soon pop up. So, even if you think your used vehicle isn’t a great candidate for a dealership sale, it might be, or at least it could be soon.

Why Dealers Want Your Used Car

Private Sales May Decline Too 

With more dealers going after aftermarket vehicles, private sales may lose popularity. Buying through a dealership is often deemed as safer for buyers. So, if more dealerships start offering cars they can afford, would-be private buyers may turn to these dealers. For sellers, this can decrease the chances of quickly and easily selling a private vehicle. While you might get lucky and find a buyer, selling through a dealership may soon be the best possible option.

Online Sales May Expand

Private sellers have long been using the online market to sell their used vehicles. Many dealerships have gotten in on the trend as well. COVID sped this up even more as fewer people wanted to leave their homes or interact with strangers. 

As a result, the online car selling market has grown tremendously. Along with it, the technology available to dealerships has grown as well. Many dealerships now offer virtual showrooms, detailed videos, and a variety of interior and exterior vehicle images to help them sell cars online. As a private seller, it’s hard to compete with all of that, which is yet another reason that selling to a dealership makes sense.

More Accessible Information

The internet provides information on anything and everything, including used cars. Today’s savvy shoppers can easily find out how much a used car is worth, what features it has, and any problems or issues it’s known for.

All of this information can make selling your used car more difficult, especially if you’re trying to make a profit. You can expect more informed sellers, more price haggling, and more hassle in general. With a dealership, you don’t have to worry about any of that. You can simply find a dealership that offers a fair price and complete the deal with no added stress.

Stop Waiting And Worrying

The changing state of dealerships isn’t the only reason to opt out of private sales. Dealerships also offer a much speedier sales process. They can let you know quickly, often within a few minutes, whether or not they will purchase your car and how much they’re willing to offer. Many can even complete the deal on the same day.

Plus, you can easily consult with different dealerships and compare their offers. This allows you to get the best possible price on your car without a long wait. You don’t have to put up fliers or post in online marketplaces. Instead, your sale can be fast and easy. This can really come in handy when you need quick access to money or are trying to get into a new car as soon as possible.

Afford A Nicer Vehicle

As mentioned, many dealerships are happy to use your vehicle as a trade-in. This means that you can take the money earned from selling your used car and put it toward a newer, nicer vehicle. For many people, this is the best or even the only option for getting a great car. If you’d like to take this route, look for dealerships that offer the car you’re interested in. Then, check with them individually to see how much of a trade-in credit you could get and if your desired car is eligible.

Avoid the Paperwork Hassle

Selling a used car might seem simple. However, it’s actually quite involved. There are rules to follow based on where you live. Things get even more complicated if you’re selling to an out-of-state buyer. There is plenty of paperwork to fill out no matter what. You also need to keep careful documentation of the sale for your own protection. And, if you make a profit, you’ll need to keep and maintain records to file taxes properly. 

When you sell to a dealership, almost everything is done for you. You’ll get a receipt and official paperwork to file away. Ultimately, it’s just an easier experience all around.

Why Dealers Want Your Used Car

Reduce The Risk of Scams and Legal Problems

The internet is rife with scammers. Many of them even target people selling their used cars. You might think you’re selling to a legitimate buyer, only to find that they’ve got other plans in mind. A common scam is to send you a check to pay for the vehicle. The buyer may claim they’re traveling or live out of state. You mail the title, and then the check bounces, leaving you without a car and without the money for it. There are also scams designed to steal your personal information. 

Scams aren’t the only risk either. You can end up responsible if a buyer never registers the car in their name. Or, if problems develop with the car, a buyer may even try to sue you. With a legitimate dealership, you don’t have to worry about any of these possibilities. Everything will be handled safely and legally for your protection.

Preparing For A Dealership Sale

As you can see, there are many compelling reasons to choose a dealership sale. If you take this route, be sure to prepare properly. To start with, research the value of your car. Take its current condition and history into consideration as you do. This will give you a realistic idea of your vehicle’s value. That way, you’ll know when a dealership is giving you a fair offer.

Also, research dealerships in your area. If possible, talk to friends who have sold their cars to dealerships in the past. Find out what they learned from the experience and which dealership they used. You should also speak with multiple dealerships and compare offers before committing to a sale.

Additionally, consider making small improvements to your vehicle before you speak with dealerships. Generally, the better the condition of your car, the more you are likely to get for it.

The Bottom Line

Dealerships are very interested in the aftermarket right now. And, if you have a used car to sell, you’re a part of that market. Make the most of it while you can. There really is no better time to sell to a dealership. You just have to choose the right one for best results.

EVOX Images leads the industry in automotive imaging and offers the largest library of virtual reality and augmented reality assets available for commercial use. Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.