Titling can be a complex and time-intensive part of the car purchase process. With strong sales volumes expected in the back half of the year and car buyers wanting to spend less time at the dealership, the time is now for managers to devise more efficient strategies. On this episode of Driving Solutions, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Kaitlin Gavin, vice president of operations for dealer solutions at Cox Automotive, John Devlin, the CEO and president of the Pennsylvania Automotive Association and Steve Hoffman, senior vice president of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association to discuss tried-and-true methods for improving the titling process.
The automotive industry has changed significantly in recent years as it has adapted to new tools and online platforms. Although the market is beginning to return to normal, titling is one of many aspects of the car business which have been permanently transformed by technology. This year, in particular, has been marked by the proliferation of digital titling, driven by the acceleration of online used vehicle shopping. With inventory and demand for certified pre-owned vehicles starting to rise even more, dealers who have yet to switch to a digital titling platform should prepare to do so in the coming months.
Cox Automotive’s Dealertrack is one tool that has been helping retailers make the transition to online titling. The service has seen users more than double since 2019 due to its ability to expedite the traditionally weeks-long process into a matter of days. Gavin notes that Dealertrack also provides ancillary products, such as RegUSA, to help storefronts ensure speed and compliance even when fulfilling out-of-state purchases.
With digital titling, Cox Automotive has helped stores in multiple states improve the car buying experience and speed up their operations. In Pennsylvania, Devlin notes that Dealertrack has put more control into the hands of retailers. “It has been a fantastic thing; most of our dealers are on the system,” he comments. Hoffman has seen similar results in Virginia and notes the platform has shown “a real willingness…to work with our dealers and our lender stakeholders to advance future electronic title initiatives.”
While Gavin, Devlin and Hoffman urge dealers to consider switching to a digital titling service, other strategies can help make the process faster and better protected from bad actors. Fraud is prevalent in the used-car sector, which is why prevention and security have become basic requirements for ensuring customers have an excellent experience. Gavin notes that dealers can obtain a copy of a vehicle’s title before the trade-in is accepted, allowing them to validate that the person authorizing the trade-in has the legal right to do so. “This will help dealers avoid any payoff surprises such as undisclosed co-owners or incorrect addresses,” she adds.
Gavin also notes that the number of cars deemed unsalvageable by insurance companies has recently increased by 3%, which means dealers are seeing an influx of buyers who urgently need a new car. While in the past, customers have been held back by the traditional, weeks-long titling process, retailers can now better service clients in need with digital tools. Gavin also explains that the dealer who can handle the entire titling process in a reasonable amount of time has the chance to earn better CSI scores and loyalty than one who does not.
Whatever dealers do, preparing for higher CPO demand will be essential for keeping buyers satisfied in the latter half of this year. To learn more about Cox Automotive’s Dealertrack and how it can make the titling process more efficient, visit their website here.