Automark boss Gary Farrell
Created late in 1982 with the purpose of providing the used car buyer with a higher level of confidence and satisfaction in his purchase of a previously owned vehicle, Automark today places over 2 400 premium used cars with new buyers each month.
Initially just six dealers in the PWV (Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vaal Triangle) area participated in the pilot project that required both investment and commitment from franchised Toyota dealers to embrace a new way of doing business.
In the early months these dealers moved on average 75 used units a month collectively. Today the franchise, with its stringent quality requirements and audits, has 125 outlets that deliver over 2 400 quality used vehicles a month.
The creation of the Automark franchise brought a totally new business approach to the used car business. An effective business model ensured that dealer used car lots weren?t grid locked with mediocre quality stock.
Lower levels of high quality stock that had passed the stringent Automark quality inspection and were attended by well trained, professional used vehicle traders became the norm on the Automark lot.
This new business model focused on improved trading efficiency, better used vehicle department viability, and a higher level of customer service.
From the outset Automark has been a stand-alone business unit within the Toyota South Africa organisation.
A significant breakthrough in enhanced customer satisfaction came when Automark introduced its "QAP" (Quality Approved Programme), which measures dealers in every aspect of their used vehicle trade, including the measurement of customer satisfaction.
Another first was the development of an exclusive Automark used vehicle warranty package - the most comprehensive of its type. This was followed by the introduction of an on-line management system to provide effective control over activities within a dealer?s used car department.
With this system a dealer has a powerful tool to manage all aspects of used vehicle stock and sales, including the generation of CSI questionnaires for mailing to customers.
This last aspect of the system provides the essential inputs for CSI measurement. Today that measurement shows customers? satisfaction with their purchase, from the sales experience through delivery and on the road, to be at a level of over 90%.
In recent years electronic commerce has become an important element of Automark?s business. A fresh new Automark website is designed to improve on an already convenient way of identifying a suitable used vehicle for buyers.
By visiting www.automark.co.za potential buyers can access as many as 3 800 vehicles and search for a suitable vehicle within this stock by price range, make and model.
If a suitable vehicle is found it can be flagged for the dealer to contact the prospective buyer ? a process that more often than not takes just minutes.
Recently Automark extended it representation into the medium and heavy vehicle market with the appointment of a number of Automark used truck specialists.
The same rigid inspection and quality requirements that area a feature of the used car outlets are applied to the truck outlets.