RealJobs: Alex Walker

Projects

There are plenty of fancy ways of saying Used: Second-hand, Certified-Pre-Owned, New-to-You, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  One reality of the car business is that it goes far beyond the joy of new—while many aspire to drive that flashy new ride off the lot with the odometer at mile 1, many more aspire to drive a gently used car off the lot; the main advantage of the used car being a lower price with all of the same content—sometimes even the new car smell.  What BMW and other brands have done to make this a premium experience is develop a special process surrounding used car sales.  In the USA the refurbished and re-marketed used car has flourished.  People enter a dedicated showroom to view low mileage, certified cars that have all been put through a rigorous mechanical and body inspection; at BMW, they are treated exactly as if they were buying a new car.  The car is thoroughly polished in & out, and guaranteed to be “like-new”—for the new owner’s peace of mind, every car comes with an extended warranty and roadside assistance.  Sounds like a piece of cake.

In Mexico, there is a unique set of rules and circumstances that change the game.  One thing I have to remember is it it’s never one size fits all.  A program that works in one place may not work in another, so the rules have to be pushed and pulled and tailored to perfection for that particular market.  Essentially, I have been tasked with redefining the rules of the program in Mexico—looking at what we have, finding out what we need, conducting market analyses, and action planning for the future.  The project is large and will take time—it involves various departments—Marketing, Finance, Sales, Legal, Warranty, and Dealer Development.  It involves many conversations, meetings, and emails.  It involves terms like Key Performance Indicator, Trade-in ratio, sourcing, customer conquest, penetration rate, strategic target, and wholesale turnover.  There are power points and questions and obstacles; deep breaths, mixed in with chocolate candies and some laughs.   Am I learning a lot?  Absolutely. Do I know every answer?  Absolutely not—every project has its twists and turns, and that’s what makes it fun.  Now, time to continue tailoring.

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