Why Steven Ward isn’t fond of sale-or-return vehicles.
Some dealers exclusively use sale-orreturn vehicles for stock. Others won’t touch them at all. The vast majority use SOR to some extent. SOR saves a dealer using capital to purchase a car for stock – maybe that model is a bit heavy for the dealer’s target market? Mainly, however, an SOR car is too expensive for the dealer to buy outright from the owner.
I usually make a firm agreement on the selling price of a car before reluctantly taking it as SOR, but even this backfired on me recently. I called the owner to say I’d sold their car and they’d be getting the agreed price. They went ballistic, wanting more as they’d seen what I’d advertised it for. Audi owners, eh?
The customer, of course, doesn’t appreciate the fact that you’ve had to prep the car both mechanically and cosmetically prior to putting it on sale. Nor will they factor in the cost of advertising it online or, in my case, the cost of taking up room in my showroom – that space comes at a premium – and the trade insurance. Then there’s the work involved in selling it to a customer, the price of the part-ex you’ve just taken in against it or the fact that you’re liable for the warranty for the next six months. These are all risks to my business.
For these reasons, not to mention the fact that you can agree on a price only for the book to drop, I’m now utterly loath to take in SOR cars.
The savvy, usually high-end, dealers overcome these issues by charging punters between £500-£1000 for the privilege of placing a vehicle up for retail. This is paid up front, before the car is even handed over. To me, this is the only way SOR makes sense. It covers you for the time and costs involved, particularly if the owner then turns around and tells you they’ve sold it to a mate after you’ve made it mint.
If they won’t agree to that, the owner knows where they can go: online.
‘I’m now utterly loath to take in sale-or-return cars’