Car Stock Buying for Used Car Dealers

As an independent used car dealer, one of the biggest challenges you may face is sourcing high-quality, affordable vehicles to add to your inventory. With limited options available, it can be difficult to find the right cars at the right price. In this article, we’ll explore the different places where used car dealers can buy car stock from and discuss the best options for you.


1.         Auctions

Auto auctions are one of the most popular places for used car dealers to source their used car stock. These auctions offer a wide selection of vehicles, including trade-ins, lease returns, and rental cars, all of which can be purchased at competitive prices.

However, auctions can be highly competitive, and it can be challenging to secure the vehicles you want, especially if you’re competing against other dealers.

      2.   Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as CarGurus, Autotrader or even the likes of offer dealers access to a vast selection of vehicles, often from private sellers. These platforms can be an excellent source of inventory, as they offer a wide variety of vehicles, including hard-to-find models. However, prices can be higher than at auctions, and there may be additional fees and charges associated with purchasing vehicles through these platforms.

We understand the challenges of acquiring stock for your used car dealerships during this time. One of our dealer partners in Northern Ireland resorted to purchasing stock from as a recent example. Consider exploring various innovative approaches to restore your inventory.


3.         Wholesalers

 Wholesale dealers specialize in buying and selling vehicles in bulk, often at lower prices than retail dealerships. Wholesalers typically purchase vehicles from auctions or other sources and then sell them to dealers at a markup. However, dealers must be cautious when dealing with wholesalers, as there can be a higher risk of purchasing vehicles with hidden problems or issues.

  1. Private Sellers

Private sellers can be an excellent source of used vehicles for dealers, especially if they’re looking for unique or hard-to-find models. Private sellers may be motivated to sell their vehicles quickly, which can result in lower prices. However, dealing with private sellers can be time-consuming, and there may be a higher risk of purchasing vehicles with hidden problems or issues.

  1. Trade-Ins

Another option for dealers is to purchase vehicles through trade-ins from their customers. This can be an excellent way to build your inventory, as you’ll have a guaranteed buyer for the vehicle. However, trade-ins can be limited, and you may not always receive the types of vehicles you’re looking for.

So, what’s the best option for used car dealers looking to buy their car stock? Ultimately, it depends on your business needs and budget, depending on if you’re looking for a wide selection of vehicles to purchase in bulk at competitive prices from wholesalers, or specific, unique models or hard-to-find vehicles.

Regardless of where you choose to buy your used car stock from, it’s essential to do your research and carefully evaluate the vehicles you’re interested in purchasing. This can help you avoid purchasing vehicles with hidden problems or issues and ensure that you’re providing high-quality, reliable vehicles to your customers. With the right sourcing strategy in place, you can build a strong inventory of vehicles that meet the needs and preferences of your customers.

How to better manage used car stock

Managing stock is one of the most critical aspects of running a successful used car dealership. Effective stock management can help dealers avoid overstocking or understocking their inventory, improve cash flow, and increase profits. Here are some tips for used car dealers to better manage stock:

  1. Analyze Your Sales History

Start by analyzing your sales history to determine which types of vehicles are selling well and which ones are not, based on the demographic that’s buying them and at what point in the year. This can help you make more informed purchasing decisions and avoid overstocking your inventory with slow-selling vehicles.

      2.   Monitor Your Inventory Levels

Regularly monitor your inventory levels to ensure that you have a good mix of vehicles that appeal to different buyers. Try to maintain a balanced inventory by stocking a variety of vehicles in different price ranges, makes, and models.

      3.   Use Inventory Management Software

Consider using inventory management software to help you track your inventory levels, sales history, and expenses. This can help you make data-driven decisions about purchasing, pricing, and stocking your inventory.

      4.   Purchase Vehicles Strategically

When purchasing vehicles, consider factors such as market demand, resale value, and repair costs. Look for vehicles that are in high demand and have a good resale value to help you maximize profits.

      5.   Regularly Inspect Your Vehicles

Regularly inspect your vehicles to ensure that they’re in good condition and ready to sell. This can help you identify any issues or problems with the vehicles and address them before they become more significant issues.

      6.   Rotate Your Inventory

Rotate your inventory regularly to keep your used car dealership fresh and appealing to buyers. Consider featuring new arrivals prominently and moving slow-selling vehicles to the back of your lot.

      7.   Offer Financing Options

Offering financing options to your customers can help you sell more vehicles and improve cash flow. Consider partnering with a used car finance company to offer financing options to your customers.

By following these tips, used car dealers can better manage their stock and improve their chances of success. Effective stock management requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a focus on providing high-quality vehicles to customers. With the right strategy in place, used car dealers can build a loyal customer base and thrive in a competitive market.

How can used car dealers set the right price in a highly priced and competitive market

Setting the right price for used cars can be challenging in a highly priced and competitive market. Used car dealers need to consider various factors to ensure that they’re pricing their vehicles correctly and competitively. Here are some tips to help used car dealers set the right price in a highly priced and competitive market:

  1. Research the Market

Before setting the price for your used cars, research the market to see what similar vehicles are selling for in your area. Look at prices for comparable models, mileage, age, and condition to get an idea of what buyers are willing to pay.

      2.   Consider the Condition of the Vehicle

The condition of the vehicle is a critical factor that affects its value. Be honest with yourself about the condition of the vehicle and price it accordingly. Take into account any repairs that may be needed or previous accidents that may have affected the value of the vehicle.

      3.   Set a Competitive Price

To compete in a highly priced and competitive market, consider setting a price that is lower than other dealers in your area, if you are able to do so. This can help you attract buyers and sell your inventory more quickly.

      4.   Be Open to Negotiation

Most buyers expect to negotiate when buying a used car, so be prepared to negotiate on price. Consider setting a slightly higher price than your bottom line, so you have room to negotiate while still getting a fair price for the vehicle.

      5.   Highlight Value-Adding Features

Highlight any value-adding features that the vehicle has to justify its price. This could include things like low mileage, a well-maintained service history, or a warranty.

      6.   Use Online Price Comparison Tools

There are various online price comparison tools that can help you set the right price for your used cars. These tools compare prices of similar vehicles in your area and can give you a good idea of what buyers are willing to pay.


  1. Partner with a Used Car Finance Company

Partnering with a used car finance company can help you offer financing options to your customers and increase the pool of potential buyers. This can help you sell your inventory more quickly and at a higher price.

How to sell unsellable used car stock

Connected's Swap Shop

Struggling to sell a car and it’s been at the back of your dealership for a while now? Connected Car Finance’s new Facebook group for independent used car dealers is now at your service to help you dispose of your unsold stock and exchange it with another vehicle from other like-minded dealers.