Saturday, December 27, 2008

Real Value

We've been at this long enough to understand the real value of iLUXCARS.  We've spent a significant amount of time, effort, and money on all aspects of iLUXCARS. The result. we think, is real value beyond just the individual parts.

While it's absolutely critical to the business (we are an internet company, after all) - the system is only part of our real value. And, even though it's absolutely critical to your business, the real value in iLUXCARS isn't just the Market Report.

The core of what we do is actually really simple - we manage your risk. Think of iLUXCARS as a complete risk management solution. Complete. 

Payment - our money, our guarantee, our risk. Shipping - all iLUXCARS. Condition - same thing. Title - all us. Collection - still our problem.

Face it, given today's financial climate, managing your risk is your number one priority. And if it isn't then it should be.

iLUXCARS - the complete risk management solution. Real value.   


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recent Updates

For those of you who don't get or (worse) don't read our email you should know that last week we updated values in the online version of the Market Report. It is available to download from your home page. To read it you'll need to log in and click on the large, friendly text that reads: "December Market Report."

Note that this update is available exclusively to iLUXCARS members

If you aren't a member or aren't reading the report then you should really think about changing that. Among other things, you are increasingly in the minority of professional dealers in the country.

Even if you aren't dying every month to read the informative and entertaining content in the report, you are certainly in need of the data. For example, In the 3 weeks between the time we printed and mailed the December issue to the last online update overall average depreciation - averaged across all models - has accelerated to over 5% (in 3 weeks). That's critical information.

We arrive at the numbers by analyzing the hundreds of millions of dollar's worth of luxury and exotic vehicles that are submitted to the iLUXCARS System every month. It isn't, in other words, our opinion. 

Look, even if you know everything there is to know about your market you still need to be safe. Especially today. Really knowing may just save you money. Hey, it may save you a bunch of money.

Faster. Safer. Better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Time

Except for the Big Meal nationally planned for Thursday, the entire iLUXCARS team - Sales, Marketing, Development, Logistics, Accounting, (even Art!) will be working all Thanksgiving weekend. We, like most of you, are prepared for a big, successful Black Friday. (And Saturday, and Sunday.)

The iLUXCARS.COM site, of course, is always available (we're an Internet Company) and if you enter a Live Trade or an Appraisal even in the middle of pumpkin pie, the System will be working on it.

Some of your cars may have expired when you get back to the office on Friday. You'll need to look in the 'My Expired Vehicles' list and click Re-Open to turn them back into Live Trades. Simple. Fast.

Remember, if you start any deal without iLUXCARS then you are taking a serious, unnecessary risk. Start your deal right. We're here to help you make money.

Even while we're eating turkey.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interested?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get typically starts with "What ever happened to that..." 

To address this, we've added a new feature that allows you to view and express interest in recently expired Live Trades on the site.  To view the list, click on "Recently Expired" under "My Account."

If you see a car you are interested in, click on the "I'm Interested" link at the right of the list:

When you do this, a notification is immediately sent to your account manager. Your account manager will call the seller to see what state their deal is in and, if possible, re-open the car if it's still available.

A bunch of you are already using this feature - many successfully. Let us know what you think, and, as always, we welcome your feedback, comments, questions, and suggestions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fear and Greed

At iILUXCARS, we pride ourselves in having our finger on the heartbeat of our industry. And right now, the heartbeat of the luxury car world is beating a little fast. 

Sure, there is uncertainty about things - about prices, customers, even the future of big chunks of the industry. People are distracted.

We know this because good cars at very good prices aren't getting good bids. We think it's fear. 

Warren Buffet recently wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times. He had an interesting quote: He said, "A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

Smart guy, that Warren Buffet.

Look at it this way - Prices are down. People are fearful. Sounds like a good time to buy.

Be like Warren. Be greedy.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

About Appraisals

Over the last few months the number of deals that start in the appraisal stage has grown dramatically. We've put a lot of emphasis on this because the appraisal allows us to do two very important things.

One, an iLUXCARS Appraisal provides you a real time look at the current vehicle value within minutes. The appraised value shows you today’s money, based on the most recent transactions from the system. 

Two, the appraisal value can be used to both educate yourself and, more importantly, get a commitment from your customer to sell the car. 

An appraisal is not a buy bid from iLUXCARS. You cannot accept this offer. The number is to be used to get a commitment from your customer that will make the deal. After you get the commitment, convert the appraisal to a fresh trade and we'll open the vehicle up for the entire network to see. 

Most of the appraisals that are converted into live trades get bids - offers you can accept - that are very close to the appraised value. In fact, on average, deals that are converted from an appraisal and accepted bring an average of $694 MORE than the appraised value.

iLUXCARS is able to get this close because we have access to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions - all through the iLUXCARS system. And all of this is at your fingertips 24 hours a day. All part of the system.

Appraisals. Faster. Safer. Better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's Changed

Since we published the October Market Report a lot has happened in the world. 

The DOW is down 13% in October alone. New car sales are at a 15-year low. General Motors and Chrysler are talking about a merger. And the credit markets have apparently lost their minds.

As all of you probably know the global turmoil has had some substantial effects on our world as well. Prices on luxury and exotics are under real pressure. In the last 2 weeks, 29 of the 72 models we covered in last month's report have dropped by more than 2.5%. (To put this into perspective, that's 75% better than the S&P 500.)

At iLUXCARS, we felt that you needed to have this information today, so we updated the October Market Report with prices as of today (October 15th). You can download the updated report by logging into your account now.

The good news, no kidding, is that many of our members are buying cars. In many cases they are paying a bit less for the vehicle than they would have last month, but deals are still being made. In fact, we're actually seeing more activity this month that we did in August or September.

The biggest change we've seen is that our members are increasingly using iLUXCARS as an extension to their own inventory and a way to make retail deals. This makes a lot of sense to us, of course. 

It's simple, really - if you have a customer looking for something specific chances are we can find it. There really isn't any better way to make a deal. Enter a new vehicle request and we'll get to work. Fast. 

So, a lot has changed. The trick is to adapt. Download the new report. Pay attention to Live Trades. And make SURE you enter your vehicle requests. We'll probably find it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October Market Report

Internet companies don't typically get to shake that many hands. In September, we changed all that – if only for a few of you. 

We took a trip to Florida. 

We met several new and existing iLUXCARS members.  One of the most interesting (and encouraging) things we saw was that the September Market Report was being used throughout the country.

We talked about iLUXCARS and what we're doing to help you make more deals. We talked about the value of information and the value of a guarantee. We talked a lot about the fact that with iLUXCARS, you do business with iLUXCARS – not individual dealers. 

And of course, we talked about numbers. 

Numbers are everything in our business. Seemingly small mistakes can cause large problems. iLUXCARS is dedicated to reducing mistakes by keeping you armed with the numbers you need to make good decisions.

The October Market Report is in the mail. If you don't for some reason get it in the next couple of days, please let us know and we will be happy to send you another. There is also a version available for download online. Simply login to your account and click on the large, friendly "October Market Report" link on your home page.

Finally, this month's report includes analysis of an additional $105 million worth of vehicles - all created over the last 30 days. We also increased the size of the report by almost 40% (22 new models). 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bidding Closed

Nobody likes being a buyer at an auction. We know, because we've been buyers at auctions. You're either afraid to bid because nobody else is bidding, or, you're mad that someone is trying to outbid you.

Buying cars at auction, in our professional opinion, sucks. 

And it isn't just us that feels this way - a significant percentage of the iLUXCARS network feel exactly the same way. We know this because you've told us. In some cases you've told us often.

So, we solved the problem.

First, we streamlined the selling process to ensure that the only cars you see have a commitment to sell at a known price. (Read more: Big Changes)

Second, if you meet or exceed the asking price on one of the committed Live Trades in the system we close the bidding. Which means you can't be outbid. Ever. Problem Solved.

Simple, really. You bid the money. You win. 

Bidding Closed. Like we keep saying: Faster. Safer. Better.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September Market Report

The September issue of the iLUXCARS Update is in the mail. Most of you should receive it by Monday the 8th. If for some reason you don't see it let us know and we will be happy to send you another.

Starting tomorrow you can download the latest report by clicking on the link 'September Market Report' in the 'What's New' section of your home page after you login.

The Market Report is the result of almost $1 billion dollars worth of data on luxury and exotic vehicles. We summarize, analyze, and publish this report in order to provide you the essential information you need to make more deals.

This month's report is full of useful information - the most hopeful is that depreciation rates in August have dropped to a comforting 1.2% (on average) from nearly 3% in July. Ferrari and Lamborghini fared even better.

Also in August - We signed up our 1,000th dealer user! This is a milestone we're very happy about, and, it's good for everyone.

iLUXCARS is a network – and a network draws its strength,in part, from size. More users equal more cars available, more buyers for your vehicles, better money, and more ways for iLUXCARS to help you make your deal.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recent Team Additions

This week, August 18, iLUXCARS welcomes Tim Rogers as Vice President of Sales & Operations.

Tim comes to iLUXCARS from Autobytel, Inc. where he was Vice President of Dealer Sales. At Autobytel, Tim led the sales team, which was responsible for thousands of retail dealers nationwide. He developed an industry leading national sales force, spanning both field sales and telesales, with reps in every major U.S. market.

As one of Autobytel's original employees, Tim was a key contributor in steering Autobytel’s early growth from 1996 through 2000. A primary player on the sales team from the beginning, Tim led the integration of both the Autoweb and Car.com sales teams after Autobytel acquired both companies in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

Tim brings more than 12 years of management and leadership experience to iLUXCARS. You will be hearing more from Tim in the near future. All of us on the iLUXCARS team are looking forward to working with Tim as we continue to grow the iLUXCARS Network and improve the iLUXCARS System.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blame Someone Else

Along with the Big Changes this week the System is now attaching 2 versions of the iLUXCARS Appraisal Report to the email that contains your appraisal number. The first version has comparable values and the 'Simple' version doesn't.

The Appraisal Report is a powerful tool you can use to get a real commitment from your customer. And, best of all, you can blame someone else for the number. Blame iLUXCARS.

You can mention that we've processed nearly a billion dollars worth of luxury and exotic cars in the last 18 months. You can show them the Market Report if you want.

We've talked to several of you about this idea and the response has been great. Several of you are using it to make your deal.

So, blame someone else - we can handle it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Big Changes

At iLUXCARS, we are constantly trying to improve the process to balance the needs of both buyers and sellers. Starting tomorrow, the format and rules for buying cars is changing.

First, cars on the "Live Trades" list will have commitments from sellers at the specified target price. If the target price is met, the bidding will automatically close. This will encourage buyers to bid early and tie up the car quickly. Once the target price is met, it is the seller's responsibility to finish their deal and accept the offer as quickly as possible.

Second, when you enter a new vehicle you will be asked if you have a commitment from your customer. If you don't, the System will enter your vehicle as an appraisal where you will receive a value based on the last 30 days of transactions. The Appraisal will help you start your deal and achieve a real commitment from your customer. Once commitment is established, you can convert from Appraisal to Live Trade, enabling the entire network to view your car. Note that if the commitment is too far above the appraised value, you will be unable to convert to a Live Trade.

Our biggest complaint from our network is the lack of commitment from the sellers - either no commitment or above market asking prices. These changes are designed to alleviate these frustrations, as well as increase the participation from the dealers. We are aware all dealers want to know what buys the car. We are also aware that dealers don’t like the auction process and want the bidding closed once they have bid the money.

Designed for Trades. Faster. Safer. Better

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The iLUXCARS Update

By now you should have received our first issue of the iLUXCARS Update which includes a comprehensive Pricing Guide. The guide includes current wholesale prices for our vehicles over the last 4 months.

We know that your business office staff often throws these sorts of things directly into the circular file, so if you haven't seen it, you really, really need to ask for it.

If you want, you can download the latest report by clicking on the link 'August Market Report' in the 'What's New' section of your home page after you login.

The report is the result of extensive analysis on live iLUXCARS transaction data. Over $850 million worth of luxury and exotic cars have passed through the iLUXCARS System in the last 18 months. In other words, this isn't just our opinion. We have substantial proof.

The data included in the report is specific to selected high-end luxury vehicles – our specialty. We've chosen the makes and models included in the report for many reasons:

One, we have extensive data about all of these vehicles – prices, options, colors, mileage, etc.

Two, this is the center of our expertise – we trade more of these types of cars than nearly anyone in the world.

Three, we have been asked for access to our data about these cars by everyone – the demand, seriously, has been a bit of a surprise.

Four, and possibly most important, there is no other good source of reliable data on these vehicles available today.

If you haven't seen it or can't find it let us know and we'll send you another copy. We have a feeling that you'll be glad you did.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Your Questions, Answered

The Top Two Questions asked of our account representatives go something like this: "What buys the car now?" and "What's the deal on that car?"

The cars in the iLUXCARS Live Trades list are, well, Live Trades. This means that on many cars, we don't actually know the answer to these questions. That's because the seller doesn't know. And the seller doesn't know because their customer doesn't know.

Starting today (July 25th), when we DO know "What buys the car now" AND we have a real commitment from the seller AND the target price is on the money, we're moving the car to the top of the list. Cars with this sort of commitment and price are now in the "Buy it Now" group at the top of the Live Trades list in a friendly green color. Click the "Buy It Now" button and you win. No bidding, no waiting, you don't even need to call us.

For the FEW of you who haven't logged in today it looks like this:

Also starting today you'll notice that we've added the status of every deal in red bold letters right on top of the vehicle description. The "deal status" will be one of the following:
  • Target price buys car - This means we have a solid commitment from the seller and the car is priced on the money. These cars are in the "Buy It Now" list.
  • Client committed at target price - The seller has a commitment at the target price to make the deal. Needs the target or close.
  • Need buy bids to work with, no commitment from client - The seller has NO commitment from the customer and is looking for buy bids to start their deal.
  • Need buy bids to work with, client commitment price is over market value - The seller has a commitment from their customer but it is over market value. They need buy bids to start the deal.

To help answer another question we hear on a regular basis - "What do I tell the customer" we've improved and renamed the Appraisal Report.

The Appraisal report can be a powerful tool you can use when starting your deal with today's, how should we say, optimistic customer. Selling a Car 101 - always blame the market.

To print a report, click on "Appraisals" from iLuxCars Offers, select the deal you are working on, and click the "Report" button (circled in red below). To see a sample, click here.

As always, we're open to suggestions on how to make the System better. And, as always, we're happy to answer any questions.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Texas Wisdom

There is an old saying in Texas that goes like this: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”

Yes, the market is a little rough. Yes, prices have dropped. Yes, everybody is scared. But, cars are still being sold when you can put the right number on the trade.

And, there is no better way to ensure the right number than to put every trade into the iLUXCARS system. Simple. Risk free. Every time.

Today is, after all, the start of last 10 days of the month. You need to finish strong. There are deals that will be made and, we're quite confident, iLUXCARS can help you make these deals. Assuming, of course, you're willing to change what you normally do.

Just like they say in Texas.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Do-it-yourself

Shortly after we made our 5 Minute Appraisal Commitment the number of appraisals entered into the system got a big bump. And, the number of requests we received about allowing you to convert an appraisal to a Live Trade increased as well.

So, we're going to let you do it. Last night we added a simple, do-it-yourself way to convert any appraisal into a Fresh Trade. To do this, select the appraisal in the list and click 'Convert.' You'll have the chance to adjust your target price and we'll do the rest. The network will be notified immediately and we'll get to work on your deal.

For the visual minded group - it looks like this: 


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Something Different

The first of every month we sit down together - sales, logistics, development, accounting, administration, marketing, and management - and ask the same question: "What are we going to do different this month?"

Last month, no matter how bloody it was, is all over but the counting. And if you're in the car business, well, there probably isn't that much to count. So while you could trudge along doing business the same way you did last month – it might be time for a small, but potentially very positive improvement.

Why not enter every high-end trade into the iLuxCars System as an appraisal? Just spend 2 minutes to enter every trade (even if you haven’t taken it in yet), and get an immediate appraisal from our extensive, nationwide market data in a guaranteed 5 minutes (Our Commitment).

Print it out. Educate the customer. Make your deal. Once you make the deal, give us a call and we'll open the vehicle up for bidding to the entire iLuxCars Network – nearly 1,000 members strong. Accept the iLuxCars offer – and we take care of everything. The car is off your lot - fast. Fax your title – get paid – fast (48 hours or less). Now that's something different, right?

And here's another benefit: entering your car into the System gives you a permanent record of every car. So, if your negotiation drags on for a few days – you'll have an easy way to re-start your deal.

If you’re not running every luxury and/or exotic trade through iLuxCars before you try to put a number on that car in today’s market, you are taking a serious risk. One of those money-losing sort of risks.

So, what are you going to do different this month?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

10-Year Low

We're more than sure that you don't need the New York Times to tell you this, but times are a little tough right now in our industry. (But, it is an interesting article, if you want to read it: "New York Times - Car Sales at 10-Year Low")

Prices, no matter what you want to believe, have slid.

In case you're still in denial, here's an example: yesterday (July 1), we had a somewhat desperate inquiry on an '04 360 Spider, Red / Black, racing seats, F1, 9,000 miles, all service. The minimum the customer has to have is $160k. This is the amount left on the customer's loan. This car, we can say with absolute certainty, isn't worth any more than $140k, best case, wholesale. $155k, best case, retail.

Silly, optimistic customer, you say? Unfortunately, it isn't that simple. 

First - if the customer can't get his $160k on the trade (and he won't) someone doesn't make a deal. Second, and far more sinister, it isn't just uneducated customers that are in denial (by 12.5%). Our members - that would be you guys - are in the same boat. 

Why? Nobody is buying. Unless - and this turns out to be the important bit - unless the car is already sold. Which means when you DO get a buyer, you need access to good cars. Nationwide access. iLuxCars access. Because, as it turns out, if you aren't buying and selling cars you aren't in business.

Like we keep saying - Faster. Safer. Better.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Your New Home Page

We've rolled out some important changes to your home page. Most are self-explanatory, but just in case here's some guidance:

First - we've added friendly, red 'New!' markers next to the new items. You notice 2 new items - "Manage My Account" and "Actions."

Manage My Account -- The first 2 links (Invoices and Purchase Orders) are links to the list of vehicles you have bought or sold. From these lists you can print your Invoice or Purchase Order.

Current Bids, Lost Bids, Bids by My Dealership show you all of the bids you've made and the outcome of those deals. Notice that you can quickly switch between the 3 lists using the new set of links at the top of the page (the orange one is the current list):
iLuxCars Offers (everyone's favorite page), Withdrawn Vehicles, Expired Vehicles show you current, withdrawn, or expired deals. You can accept working deals or re-open expired or withdrawn deals. We've split these into 3 pages because many of you have so many deals that it was becoming confusing. Again, you can switch between the 3 pages using the links at the top of the page:

The Activity Reports link takes you to an online version of your dealership's monthly activity (this is the one we mailed last month).

Actions -- The Action links are a shortcut to enter a vehicle (Trade or Appraisal), Request a Vehicle, report issues about the System, or read the latest news (this BLOG).

Finally, if you want a really, really easy way to start the new car wizard (Sell A Car or Appraisal), we've created a small program that will put an icon on your desktop to launch the wizard in one step. If you have save your password (on the login page), then you won't even need to type your password to get started. To try it out, click here.

Of course we're always available to help you through any problems you're having or answer any questions you have about the system - toll-free, anytime. 866.276.4540.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What's New - May 2008

May was another record month for us at iLUXCARS.

We had 84 new members join iLUXCARS last month alone. New members from all over the world - Florida, California, New Jersey, Washington, Utah and the Bouches-du-Rhône department of France. (If you're curious, it's in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region: Bouches-du-Rhône)

That's right. iLUXCARS Europe is officially open. Besides the fact that this sounds really, really cool (say it: Bouches-du-Rhône) - we think this proves the unique and global value of the iLUXCARS Service. Next - iLUXCARS Canada.

We also announced a new commitment to super fast appraisals and super simple appraisal to trade conversions. Here's the short version: Enter an iLUXCARS Appraisal and the System will give you an up to the minute value in 5 minutes or less. Start your deal fast. Let the System do the work.

And finally, most of you probably received your first monthly activity report by now. The report shows everything you and your dealership did last month - buy, sell, even the number of times you logged in. If you didn't get it - or can't find it, it's available on your home page under 'Activity Reports.'

So, if you're new to the network - welcome. Or, as they say in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - Bienvenue!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Real Money

Occasionally we hear second hand what people are saying about the iLUXCARS service. Most of what we hear, unsurprisingly, is overwhelmingly positive.

The most consistent thing we hear: "iLUX? It works." (Exactly)

One of the more interesting things we've heard: "iLUX? That isn't real money."

Excuse me?

That is, the current bid in the System isn't actually real money. Really? News to us.

It could be that these non-believers haven't considered the fact that iLUXCARS operates nationally. The money in one market is frequently better than the money in another, and iLUXCARS is the only sensible way to take advantage of that.

It could also be that some of you don't really understand the iLUXCARS idea, or the iLUXCARS System, or the iLUXCARS guarantee, or the quality of the iLUXCARS service.

Or, maybe you're just jealous.

So - just to be crystal clear - it's real money.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Commitment

When you start the process of selling a car to a customer that involves a trade, your first and hardest goal is to get a commitment. Now, while every customer has an idea of what they need for their trade, most of them think they are way too smart to actually tell you that number.

No commitment and the deal isn't started.

You need commitment. But to get that, you'll need a number to start the deal. And, the simplest way to get that number - a real number, a deal starting number - is to get an iLUXCARS Appraisal.

So to help with all this we have a new commitment to you - When you enter an Appraisal on the iLUXCARS System we promise that the System will give you number that you can use to start your deal in 5 minutes or less.

Promise. Appraisals in 5 minutes or less. Print it out if you want. Start your deal. Get a commitment.

(If you make your deal and want to wholesale the car, we'll convert it to a Fresh Trade deal - just give us a call.)

Now you have a commitment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Simple

All the time, money, and effort we put into the iLUXCARS service and the iLUXCARS System is dedicated to one thing: Help you make more deals.

Even though we're sure that iLUXCARS is one of the greatest web applications ever, we know that what you really want is for us to make it simple.

And, we think we're getting there. Most of what you do in the System is really, really easy. Make a Bid - 2 clicks. Accept an Offer - 2 clicks. Get paid - 0 clicks. Get your car - 0 clicks.

Enter a car - OK, a bit more work. We admit it. We do ask for quite a bit of information about a car when you enter it. It takes a few clicks. Still simple, we'd maintain, but it takes a minute.

Now, for those of you who don't even have the minute it takes to enter your vehicle, we sent you a pad of iLUXCARS Appraisal slips. If you didn't get them then you need to track down who DID get them in your dealership, really let them know how shockingly inconsiderate that was, and take them back (or give us a call and we'll send another pad or download one here).

The iLUXCARS Appraisal Slip, no matter how busy you are, is really, really simple. Fill it out, fax it to us (714.242.6732). Total Clicks: 0. That's it.

Remember: Help you make more deals. Simple.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Comfort

When you make a purchase on the internet, especially in the iLUXCARS dollar range, you want to feel pretty comfortable.

And, even though we guarantee everything about the transaction – money, title, condition, and transport – we know that the sellers who get the best response from the network (that is, the best money) are almost always the ones who take the time to properly describe the car they are selling.

Complete vehicle descriptions are essential to making buyers comfortable with your vehicle. Detailed information, especially vehicle options and specific required reconditioning are very, very important.

Comfort is especially important to new network members – over 100 last month alone – as many of them may not have had much experience buying $200,000 items based only on your vague description of vehicle options and blurry photos.

So, until we work out a way for a car to enter itself into the System – you'll have better results if you make sure that the description you enter is complete.

Friday, April 18, 2008

So this guy walks in...

We had one of those 'I get it' moments from one of our members recently. We love stories like this:

It was a weekend at a BMW dealership in Reno. The used car manager is out of town (Vegas, we're told). Guy comes in with a 2003 Murcielago. Big Car. And, he wants to trade. (We're told there were some tense moments in the back room.) 

So, the used car manager gets a call (in Vegas, we assume) - hands over his user name and password, the car is submitted, and a couple of bids later there is a working deal. All this in about 20 minutes. Two days later there is a check in the mail and the truck is on its way. We have a new fan.

Ah, I get it. Love this story. 

After all, this is exactly what we concentrate on - every day (even weekends). We do trades better than anyone else. There is no better solution. We help you make your deal during the trade-in process. No risk. Guaranteed.

Like we keep saying - Faster. Safer. Better.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our Guarantee

We've said many times that iLuxCars guarantees every deal. Payment. Shipping. Condition.

One of the things we do to ensure the condition guarantee is to run a CARFAX report on every accepted deal. The report is printed and placed it into the permanent file along with the invoice and purchase order from the deal. Every time.

We do this so that we can guarantee that the CARFAX is clean or if it isn't, you've been told about any issues in the report. If the report isn't clean and you don't want the car because of that, we'll unwind the deal.

Occasionally, data is reported to CARFAX well after the vehicle arrives at your dealership. Now, as much as we'd like to tell you this will never happen, we're not CARFAX and we're not in charge of their data.

This means, of course, that we can't guarantee the report will always be clean. However, we will guarantee that it will be clean at the time of purchase.

It goes without saying that we do all of this as part of our solution. Every Time. Guaranteed.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Frustrated?

When we created iLuxCars our goal was to become the wholesale solution for luxury and exotic cars. The decisions we make and the rules we enforce are designed to realize this goal.

One of the advantages to the way that iLuxCars works is that it allows you as sellers to broadly distribute your vehicle to a large (growing larger every day) group of qualified buyers instantly. For buyers, there simply is no other place that gives you a chance to bid on big cars during the trade process.

We're unique. Oh, you say - it's just an auction. Well, almost. While iLuxCars feels like a traditional auction the choice to accept or reject the bid is up to the seller. Being the high bidder doesn't always mean you buy the car. Why? All of the vehicles on iLuxCars are Live Trades. The retail deal around the vehicle, even though your money is likely the best money, may not happen.

We sense a bit of frustration with this and frankly, we're a little confused. All auctions work this way. Even large auctions (Manhiem, for example) close less than 50% of cars that run. These are cars, remember, that are owned by the seller and have been trucked to the auction at the expense of the seller.

The close rate for an iLuxCars transaction is almost 25%. We should repeat this. Nearly 25% of the vehicles submitted on iLuxCars result in successful transactions. These are Live Trades that are NOT owned by the selling dealer and haven't been trucked anywhere.

The important thing about all of this is that if you are the high bidder on a vehicle you will, on average, end up winning 25% of the time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Risky Business

Almost 9 months ago we wrote about what we thought was an outside risk for those of you still going to auctions (see iLuxSafety). Well, it's happened again: 12 Hurt When SUV Slams Into Auto Auction. It seems an out-of-control SUV plowed into a group of innocent wholesale car buyers.

Say what you want about Internet safety - we've never actually heard of someone having to visit a hospital because they were surfing the Internet.

Any way you look at it, wholesale car buying is a risky undertaking - and not just because of errant SUVs. Auctions are risky - condition isn't certain, selection is sub-standard, and there are many hidden costs: (Auction Tales). Your local wholesaler (who probably never ran over anyone, to be fair) is risky - Would the person who never had to chase down a local wholesaler for their money please stand up?

Of course, buying trades yourself and putting them through your shop and on your front line is probably the riskiest business of all - especially if you aren't 100% sure of the market.

Now, while this may seem like a shameless way to promote iLuxCars, the truth is we understand this Risky Business better than anyone. Mainly because we assume all of the risks on EVERY car. We pay, we ship, we guarantee. Everything. And, we promise never to run you over.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Significant Others

We understand that there are other people in your organization who may want to use the iLuxCars system but may not have your full authority to, well, spend money. However, many of our network members want their sales team to have access to iLuxCars but not be able to bid or submit vehicles.

So, because you asked, we've done it. If you want to add your sales team to the system here's how:
  1. Have them register. (http://www.iluxcars.com/register). It'll take a few seconds. Use the same dealership name and address as you use, and we'll get them going faster.
  2. We'll call them shortly after their registration is submitted. When we call, have them tell us that they would like access to the system but that they won't be buying or selling. We'll be happy to walk them through the system as well.

Once your salespeople have been enabled, they'll be able to:

  1. Keep their finger on the real wholesale luxury market. Read our news, see active deals, and view open requests in the System.
  2. Look at what's selling now – that is, "Live Trades." If they see a car they can use, they can let you know. Remember, we're happy to enter a bid for you if you give us a call.
  3. Make Requests. If you need a car put it in the system as a request. Our software searchs this list every time a new vehicle is submitted.
  4. View status on vehicles you've sold or purchased. (My Account - Where's My Car and My Account - Where's My Check).

Give it a try. We're here to help.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Clearly Not

Sometimes the clearest way to describe something is to explain what it isn't. You know – black is not white, a democrat is not a republican, a coupe is not a convertible, wholesale is not retail, and iLuxCars is not a listing service.

Let's repeat that: iLuxCars is not a listing service. Clearly Not.

If you've put a vehicle through your shop, listed it on AutoTrader, EBAY, Yahoo, ThaList, duPont, or the like, then iLuxCars isn't the right place for your car.

Our marketing and positioning department may not have communicated this with total clarity, so, here goes:

What we do – what we're 100% focused on – is helping you make your deal. Early in the process. Before – way before – you've put money into the vehicle. If you have a customer with a trade put it in the system. Right away. We're the wholesale solution for Live Trades. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a retail listing service then iLuxCars isn't the answer.

The truth is, our network members (you) don't want to see cars on iLuxCars that are also listed on Tha List or EBAY. You've told us this. Many, many times. You've made that clear.

So, we're unique. We know. We help you make more deals. EBAY won't do this. They can't. Neither can AutoTrader, the duPont Registry, or Yahoo. Only iLuxCars.

There simply isn't anything else like us. Clearly Not.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bentley GTs

The iLuxCars System is at its core a database. A pretty big database, by the way. Lots and lots of 1's and 0's. We're constantly mining this data trying to extract the nuggets of information out of it that will provide our members with something you can use when you have a customer in your dealership trying to make a deal.

Most of you have probably noticed by now that we're showing you real transaction data (and handy visual aids) for your vehicles in the system. We're also committed to turning this data into information – information that you can understand, and, more importantly, use to your advantage.

So, while you can look at the numbers yourself, here's a summary on one vehicle – 2004-2006 Bentley GT:

First, and this isn't surprise, but, we're seeing a strong downward trend in the 2004 and 2005 model year vehicles. The 2006 and newer models have stayed pretty strong, provided the color and mileage is acceptable. Prices on 2005s are fluctuating from $100,000 to $110,000 for cars that are good colors (Black, White, Moonbeam, Silver Tempest) and have less than 15,000 miles. Blue and green are less desirable. If the vehicle has the Mullinner package it generally adds between $5,000 and $8,000.

And here's one of those handy visual aids - a snapshot of average prices for the last 12 months:



Remember, these are real money prices - not our guess, not what we think the market is on the GT, but the real money. Wholesale, of course. Right out of our database. All part of the solution.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Suprised

Sometimes, even we get suprised by the market. Here's an example:

This week, we had a 2007 Gallardo Spider, Blue Fontus with Ivory interior, 6sp with a $229,000 MSRP. 1,000 miles. The car can be bought for $180,000 and apparently, none of you are interested.

Suprising. Our first reaction to this was $180,000. We've had recent comparable vehicles north of $180,000. Several, in fact.

According to our data, this car is priced below the market. Suprising, huh?

For those of you visual learners out there - here's a picture of what we're seeing:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Focus

As most of you know, we spend a great deal of time talking to you. We also squeeze in a little time listening. What we hear (during all this listening time), overwhelmingly, is that you don't want cars on the system that are old inventory.

If you want to move your old inventory – especially if you expect retail value – then iLuxCars isn't the right place for your car. In fact, what it tends to do is depress the rest of the network. The prices are simply too high for a wholesale purchase.

What you DO want – again, overwhelmingly, is Fresh Trades. So, we're focusing on that.

iLuxCars is a wholesale solution. What we do, what we focus on, are heavy cars (greater than $70K) during or directly following trade-in.

So, starting today, when you enter a car for sale on the system, you may choose either Fresh Trade or Appraisal. No more 'Dealer Inventory' transactions.

An appraisal means that we will use the system to determine a price for your vehicle based on similar transactions and market knowledge. Choose this if you don't intend to wholesale the vehicle.

A "Fresh Trade" is a vehicle that you are either trying to take in from a customer or have recently taken in on another deal. You do NOT need to own the vehicle to start this type of transaction.

This is actually a big release for us. Many changes. Simple, useful, focused changes. Here's the top 4:
  1. A new home page. You'll notice this right away. It consolidates important information about the currently trading cars, cars you are selling, and recent transactions you have made. Plus, it looks really cool.
  2. iLUXCARS Market Report! When you submit a vehicle you will now be able to see recent, comparable transactions to your car during the submission process. You can use this information to establish your wholesale target price.
  3. Less email. We've reduced the number of emails that you will receive for events that happen in the system. Email is the only reasonable way to communicate with you about the rapidly changing state of the system, but we acknowledge (reluctantly) that it probably seems a little excessive.
  4. New preferences. You can now set a maximum mileage in your account preferences. If you enter 15,000, for example, we won't send email on vehicles with more than 15,000 miles. Note that you will still be able to see and bid on ALL vehicles – you just won't get the email.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Dream

We've come to the educated conclusion that our network has some optimistic members. Especially in January.

This month, on average, the wholesale asking prices on vehicles you submitted are 16% higher than the iLuxCars offer amount. In November, they were only 7% higher.

And this means? You have a dream. We call it the retail dream. You've listed your vehicle at this price on eBay and Tha List. You were on the money only 88 days ago. And now? You're dreaming about that perfect retail customer walking into your store, paying the money - dream come true. Right?

Like we said - an optimistic January.

On average, high-end cars - $70,000 and above - heavy cars - the ONLY cars we handle - have depreciated a little less than 3% a month for the past 3 months. (2.87% to be exact).

Our opinion - based only on raw statistical analysis (of over 500 million dollars worth of Big Cars) - says that it may be time to consider a new solution. If you want to wholesale the car - then iLuxCars is almost certainly the right solution.

You guys are an optimistic bunch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oscar Quality

We've removed the movies from the home page. We got a bunch of good feedback on them, and we got a few minor complaints that it was a tad repetitive.

They are still on the site, of course, so if you want to watch (and we know that you do) you can. Play them here, here, and here.

The one thing we know is that if you were starting to tire of the movies then you were using us as we want - that is, you were (and are) logging in every day. That's good. Good for iLuxCars, certainly, but more importantly good for you.

iLuxCars happens in real time. Every day. All day. The only way to keep your finger on the real, up-to-the-minute, nationwide market on luxury and exotic vehicles is to participate in the iLuxCars Network.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cracked

There was an article today by CNW Research with the quote: "The used-vehicle industry will receive a 'shock' this year" because of a projected 9% decline in "used-vehicle purchasing intentions."

You bet. To better illustrate this point - here's a snapshot of last year's wholesale prices on one of our more popular vehicles (2004 360 Spiders).





Most of you probably have a sense of this. Things have most definitely cracked. Which is why you might want to be a little more circumspect about putting numbers on your trades without checking with the iLuxCars Network first.


Think about it - there simply isn't a downside to being sure. The number you get from iLuxCars is the real money on the car. When you make your deal based on the number from the System you're safe. We suggest you enter every trade. Every time. No risk.

Things have cracked. Be careful you don't fall through.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New, New Things

Technology is the heart of our business. Those of you who hear from us on a regular basis probably think all we could possibly have time for is talking on the phone. Not true. Most of our time, energy, and really good ideas go into using and improving the technology that powers this Network.

You'll notice that we've changed the look and feel of the 'Make an Offer' page. We're now grouping vehicles by make to make it simpler for you to navigate the list. To open one of the make lists click on it. To close it, click it again.

We've also added a 'Chat' link on the each of the cars you are selling ('iLuxCars Offers') (we'll add it to the 'Make an Offer' page next.) We're seeing that more and more of you are using chat (to avoid actually talking to us, we suppose) and we just want to make it simpler.

For all of you who just want to print your invoice or purchase order – we've added two new links under 'My Account -> My Transactions' dedicated to making this super quick and easy. To print an invoice click on 'My Invoices.' To print a purchase order click on 'My Purchase Orders.'

Finally, you'll notice that you can now 'Print' an iLuxCars Offer. From iLuxCars Offer list, click on the print button. It's a nice looking, printable version of the current offer on your vehicle for your use. We've had numerous members ask for this to use as a way to show your customer the actual number on their car while you are making your deal.