AuSM has named its 2017 CPO Dealer of the Year, an award presented by ADESA.
Earning this year’s honors is Kia of Irvine.
For three consecutive years, the California dealership has been the automaker’s top seller of certified pre-owned vehicles nationwide.
And Kia of Irvine might make it four in a row in 2017, the automaker said.
Eric Hardin is the president and general manager of the dealership.
“Eric Hardin and his team have been a leader in the L.A. market promoting the many benefits that the Kia CPO program offers. They have done an outstanding job covering the entire LA Basin,” said Mike Raumschuh, who is manager of CPO and company vehicles at Kia Motors America.
“Eric has made sure his sales team remains focused on delivering a great CPO value story to all consumers. He has done a good job making sure each and every customer has a good understanding of the benefits that come with each CPO vehicle,” Raumschuh said. “They have continued to see their customer loyalty improve as their volume of CPO has.”
Last year, the store moved 1,130 certified units, up from 992 in 2015 and 579 in 2014. In all three of those years, Kia of Irvine was the national and regional CPO sales leader for the company.
“They’ve got a great product and (within) their CPO program, the warranty is second to none,” Hardin said in a September phone interview, referring to Kia. “And in our area, our customers are seeing the value in it.”
Through August, Hardin said his store’s certified sales are down slightly: “We’re just feeling the market kind of slow down just a little bit,” he said, noting the dip is at most 10 percent.
However, Kia of Irvine could still top the automaker’s CPO sales chart this year for the fourth time in a row, as Raumschuh noted that “it looks like they have a chance to finish number one again in 2017.”
When asked how his store educates the consumer as to the benefits of CPO, Hardin said: “It’s easy, just because it comes with 10-year, 100,000-mile service warranty. It’s hard to argue with, and the price is right.
“Kias are great quality cars, but they’re also … a great value, anyways, brand new. So when you turn it into a CPO, especially for people with their kids, it’s a great way to get them into a nice midsize car that’s pre-owned versus a compact car that’s new,” Hardin said.
One major factor impacting the CPO market, as a whole, has been the influx of off-lease vehicles, following many years of high new-car lease penetration.
As for Kia of Irvine, “It’s been helping,” Hardin said. “There’s a lot of competition in our market now with all the other dealers getting on board (with) the program, but we get a lot choosier cars now at the auctions and coming off our customer turning their leases in at the end.
“We try to lease them new vehicles when they come in and then try to retail the CPO as quickly as possible,” he said. “It’s been helping a lot, though.”
The CPO Dealer of the Year award will be presented at the Used Car Awards Luncheon, which is sponsored by TradeRev, on Nov. 14 during Used Car Week.
One of the conferences at Used Car Week is one specifically geared toward the retail used-car market: Pre-Owned Con, presented by Equifax.
It was previously known as the CPO Forum, but has since expanded to include the entire pre-owned car market.
This is the award’s eighth year. Previous winners of CPO Dealer of the Year award include:
2016: Fletcher Jones Motorcars
2015: Bill Luke Chrysler Jeep Dodge & Ram
2014: Hyundai of New Port Richey
2013: Galpin Ford
2012: Longo Toyota
2011: Karl Chevrolet
2010: Paragon Honda/Paragon Acura