Helping CARite get the right car at the right price

On paper, it’s a great time to be a used-car dealer. As the U.S. economy shifts, consumer demand for used cars is expected to remain strong or grow, and with a record number of cars coming off lease in the next three years, it will be easier for dealers to find vehicles.
CARite Dealership Success Story

But Michael Cavanaugh, like all executives in the used car business, knows that’s only part of the equation.

“What keeps me awake at night is how we are going to continue to source the cars we need,” says Cavanaugh, Chief Operating Officer of CARite, a chain of 24 used-car dealerships in 10 states. “When all you do is used cars, you need to source a lot of cars.”

CARite needs to keep the vehicles coming, because the Madison Heights, Mich.-based chain is opening six additional stores this year and expects to sell 11,000 vehicles in 2017.

But it’s not just about finding enough cars. “One of our mottos is ‘Better cars, better experience,’” Cavanaugh says. “We source late-model, low-mileage cars and price them at or below market.” With a no-haggle pricing policy, he says, “We don’t have the luxury of paying too much and then making it up by selling for more. Finding the right cars at the right price is paramount to us.” CARite focuses on vehicles for the subprime market—affordable cars that still are only one to three years old, with low mileage.

“A couple of years ago we switched to MAXDigital, and have worked hand in hand with them for three years now at all our stores,” he says. CARite has a centralized inventory team in Michigan that buys all cars for all locations, using MAX’s tools to appraise the vehicles before purchase.

After CARite purchases a vehicle, photos are fed into MAX’s inventory management program. “One of the reasons we like MAX is that they not only have good market data before we purchase, but their program generates really good content and descriptions on each vehicle for the consumer,” Cavanaugh says.

He says he appreciates not only MAXDigital’s technology, but also the company’s soft side.

It’s a really good value for us. They have been better to work with than any other tech vendor I work with. Our relationship with their CEO and other executives is great. If we need a custom report, they provide excellent, fast service—you feel like they are part of your business. With a lot of big vendors, you call an 800 number and you get what you get. MAX takes the time to understand the situation and what you need; they don’t just go through a canned list. Every employee genuinely cares about you and wants you to be successful. MAXDigital is a core part of our business; we wouldn’t be as successful as we are without them.

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