Bucket jumpers—vehicles that reach 16, 31 or 43 days in inventory—pose a huge strain on your dealership. Make certain your bucket jumpers get all the attention required to reduce inventory aging issues and improve turn.
Investigate the vehicle
A vehicle becomes a bucket jumper by sitting too long in your inventory. The first thing you need to do is check on how much interest the vehicle is generating on the internet.
Prior to the stock walk process, analyze how much prospect activity garnered attention on each vehicle. Here’s what I suggest you evaluate:
- The number of times the vehicle appeared on a search results page (SRP)
- How often prospects clicked through to the vehicle details page (VDP)
- The vehicle’s VDP conversion percentage (Divide VDP by SRP)
- Confirm the number of inbound phone calls received on each vehicle
- Check the number of emails received requesting information for each
Once you have a sense of how much interest the bucket jumper has generated, inspect it in person:
- Open all of the doors, the hood and the trunk; identify any issues that require correction.
- Start the vehicle. Does it operate properly? Check all systems such as climate, navigation and audio. Open the sunroof, and make certain the windows, locks and seats are in proper working order.
- Inspect the exterior for problems that require correction.
- Determine if the vehicle needs detailed again.
- Keep a list of the vehicles you identify that need additional reconditioning, and make certain the reconditioning is completed in a timely manner.
Involve your staff
The most important question about a bucket jumper is: Why haven’t we sold it? Ask your staff how many opportunities you’ve had on lingering inventory and how many of those opportunities went on a demonstration drive. Get their feedback about the vehicles, especially any comments they remember from customers.
Once you’ve gathered all the information—how much interest the car is generating, its condition and how many people have seen or test driven the car—it’s time to implement your action plan.
Address the problems
Typically, there are three possible resolutions to the bucket jumper problem. The vehicle needs additional reconditioning—arrange for the repairs immediately or wholesale the unit. The vehicle is priced too high—keep it, but adjust the price immediately. It’s not a good vehicle for retail—wholesale the vehicle and redeploy the cash.
Selling the bucket jumper list
Be aware that the decision to keep a bucket jumper means a commitment to more work. Not only will you likely need to adjust its price, but you’ll need to evaluate its marketing and merchandising. Once these are addressed, you should see movement; if not, it’s time to reevaluate.