As part of the Aug. 1 print edition of AuSM, our Power 300 issue, we conducted a few Q&As with leaders from some of the top companies in the used-car space.
Below is a Q&A with Ron Cooney, who is the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles sales operations manager at Toyota Motors North America.
AuSM: When did you move into the role of TCUV sales operations manager, and what have been some of your goals from the outset?
Ron Cooney: Great timing on my move into this position. In 1997 I started with Toyota as a TCUV consultant for the New York and Boston regions. Now, May 2017, exactly 20 years and several positions later, I’m at headquarters working with all of the Toyota regions. My short-term goal is to get settled in Plano, Texas, and adjust to the heat. Seriously, the short-term goal is to serve all of our regional offices in their efforts in supporting the dealers.
AR: How has the increase in off-lease volume helped Toyota certified, and how has it challenged Toyota certified?
RC: Some may look at a lot of lease returns as a problem. Lease returns obviously present new-car sales opportunities as well as create the used-car and TCUV inventory pipeline. Accurate lease return schedules help design incentives and marketing based on expected dealer inventory levels. Lower-mileage, shorter-term lease returns provide great inventory opportunities for both TCUV and non-certified sales. The point is, the Toyota dealer has first crack at the inventory and then the Toyota dealer becomes the one-stop place for any used, certified or new Toyota.
AR: How is the TCUV working to raise awareness and understanding of CPO among consumers?
RC: These days, terms like “peace-of-mind,” “consumer confidence,” etc., have become clichés when it comes to certified used vehicles, or certified anything for that matter. We are delivering the message every day that TCUV is more than just a warranty, and peace-of-mind is not a cliché. TCUV means a thorough eligibility inspection, intense reconditioning, both mechanical and cosmetic. So there’s confidence at the time of purchase, which is just as important as the warranty benefit in the event there’s an issue down the road. You start with the best new cars, add in the best reconditioning standards and you get the best of the best used cars, a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle.
AR: What are some of the challenges dealers are facing in CPO, and how is Toyota working to help dealers overcome those challenges?
RC: Challenges in the used-vehicle and CPO markets can be cyclical. Too many available cars can drive prices down, too few cars drive prices up and less selection for consumers. Consumer questions like, “Should I buy a new car or should I buy a used car?” always challenge dealers to make sure they have the right vehicle, priced correctly for every consumer.
Toyota has seen tremendous growth in used Toyota and TCUV sales over the years. When dealers stay focused on having the right car for everyone, Toyota, the dealer and, most importantly, the consumer, wins. If we do that correctly, we have a customer for life.