We have been using Car Fax for years but are thinking of switching to Auto Check mainly because our lender uses Auto Check for frame damage. What are dealers paying for their monthly subscriptions on either?

Karl

Winners Circle Auto

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Rod, do you work for autocheck?  Can you tell me about it a bit.  I am wondering about the marketing aspect of it.  It seems that pulling a report of any kind,  like you said,  woud be helpful for a sale. Do autocheck reports have the exact same information as carfax reports?  I know they have auction information which I would not be interested in, but do they offer anything else that Carfax doesn't have?  Do Carfax reports contain information that you don't have?  Anyone can answer this actually.  Also I am wondering,  Isn't this really a product for the consumer?  Isn't this suppossed to put them at ease with the dealer, instill a trust in the dealer so the dealer then can sell them a car easily, quickly and have the opportunity to sell them more products?  I guess I want to know what is the best report for the consumer and which produces the most leads. It does no good to spend less money if the products are not equal and don't do the same thing.  Otherwise it is just a waste of money.

pretty much all vehicles on eBay motors have a free autocheck report attached so consumers are definitely aware of autocheck!

I personally ran them side by side for 30 days, and Auto Check costs a lot less than Carfax, but Carfax had more detailed information than AutoCheck. I also found that Carfax is the one that has the brand recognition with my customers. Carfax advertises a lot on TV, and they have been around for twenty-five years. Personally, we deal with well-educated, middle-class buyers who are very smart shoppers. I can tell you that Carfax includes an icon when someone is searching for a vehicle on Cars.com or AutoTrader.com. That is a HUGE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE to a retailer who advertises on those online sites. Also, in the nearly seven years that we have been selling cars, NOT ONE buyer has ever asked to see an AutoCheck Report. Just ask your customers if they have heard of anyone other than Carfax. Listen to their responses! While it may work just as well for wholesalers, AutoCheck is light years behind in name recognition and consumer awareness when it comes to retail. 

Hi Tina.  Since you are asking for some help I'm going to respond even though I said I wouldn't in a prior post.  I do work for Experian / Autocheck.  I would be more than happy to answer these questions for you, but I'm going to limit the specifics in this forum because it's not meant to be a billboard.  In my first and second response I was speaking directly to someone who OBVIOUSLY isn't aware of our product and the number of dealerships nationwide that utilize us today.  His repetitive responses we prove wrong every single day across thousands of dealerships, many of which are some of the largest names among Franchise, Indpendent, and BHPH operations.  Also, considering I've worked with the Autocheck product for nearly 7 years I'm confident that I know MUCH more about his vendor (Carfax) than he does since I compete with them every single day.  Plus in one response he used us for 3 months, and in another for 30 days.  Which is it?  Plus, 2007 is not 2011.  The products have changed significantly.

 

If name recognition was that big of a concern to consumers, why would some of the largest names in the industry that provide services to dealers choose Autocheck if it was going to hurt them?  A few examples.... ADP, Reynolds & Reynolds, eBay Motors, NADA, KBB, the major auctions and a good share of OEMs. Many of the major lending institutions require an Autocheck for obvious reasons (some specific data advantages).  IF name recognition was so compelling in favor of one over the other, HOW could this have happened?  The same person boasting his unlimited Carfax pricing should be thanking us and the thousands of dealers that utilize Autocheck today because without them he'd probably be paying $15+ per report times the 500-700 he runs every month.  "Cheaper" is how some might put it, however "Cost Effective" and "Fair" is another way of describing our pricing (from Day 1).  Since I've started working with Autocheck our pricing has alway been structured to accomodate all dealers and their specific VHR needs. 

 

In the end who hasn't heard of "Experian?"  The name resonates loud and clear with consumers.... Globally.

Rod, I had no idea you work for AutoCheck. I'm sure that lends to your huge bias toward AutoCheck. Shame on you! Truth be told, as a wholesale tool, I would use AutoCheck, just as most auctions do. But, as a retail tool, Carfax is way ahead of AutoCheck. It's not even close! If AutoCheck were competitive in the retail market, why would I or any other dealer pay a lot more money for a Carfax Report? If you advertise on AutoTrader.com or Cars.com, there is a Carfax Icon next to EVERY vehicle. Is there an AutoCheck Icon? Tina, if you are a  retailer, with the exception of BHPH or sub-prime, then you will lose credibility and business if you advertise on AutoTrader.com or Cars.com. Ben Franklin said it best when he said, "THE BITTERNESS OF THE CHEAP QUALITY (ie; AUTOCHECK) LINGERS, LONG AFTER THE SWEETNESS OF THE LOW PRICE HAS BEEN FORGOTTEN."

That's funny, because I made it obvious saying I wasn't attempting to turn this into a sales pitch multiple times which is why the many advantages were left off the table.  I called out my bias within my initial post and my profile clearly says I am with Experian.  I stated I was defending my many clients with your "dumb" remark.  How you managed to miss all of that I don't know.  Probably the same reason the majority of the people who have read this will not take you seriously.

 

For those that I have spoken to on the phone since my initial response or that posted why they use Autocheck, thank you for your time and kind remarks.

Dream on, Rodney. 

This string seems to be getting away from the original question asked, so let me try to provide some factual observations over the last 2 years of working with many franchise dealers, large, medium and small, across the country. I am a co-owner of Autozenith LLC (autozenith.com). We provide engagement solutions from a dealer's website and then manage that prospect engagement through an online negotiation process. As a result we see many thousands of complete end-to-end prospect / dealer communications each year - some that result in a sale and some that don't.

We have no affiliation with Carfax, Autocheck, instaVIN or any of the other VHR providers that now exist. 

Now to my observations.....

1. We have many dealers that use Carfax and many that use Autocheck. Both are very common.

2. We have dealers that have switched from one to the other.

3. We see no meaningful difference in the percentage of vehicles sold per thousand website visitors where a dealer uses Carfax or Autocheck.

4. In 2-years of many thousands of online negotiations, we have had only one instance where a customer has questioned the validity of Autocheck as a valid VHR associated to their negotiation. We have had no customer question Carfax as a valid VHR.

5. We do have customers that ask for a Carfax. When dealers respond stating they use Autocheck, or merely point the customer to an Autocheck VHR - that seems to be accepted without question.

Factual? I am speaking from a real dealer's perspective, Gerry and Rodney. Have you ever owned your own dealerships?  These are the facts: NOT ONE of my customers in nearly seven years has asked to see an AutoCheck Report. Must be a mere coincidence, then. While AutoCheck may be good for wholesalers or BHPH dealers, it is virtually unknown by most consumers. Why is that the case? Have you ever seen an AutoCheck commercial on TV? I haven't. How about an AutoCheck Icon next to an online vehicle search on AutoTrader.com or Cars.com?  Furthermore, any retailer who advertises on AutoTrader.com and Carfax.com does not have a way to track how many customers they are losing because they don't provide a free Carfax History Report. TRANSPARENCY leads to TRUST. I'm referring to ONLINE SHOPPERS. How do you overcome the lack of transperancy BEFORE the customer even decides whether they will contact you? It's called VDP (Vehicle Detail Page Views) My VDPs are much higher than the average dealer that does not provide a free Carfax Report ONLINE. It's not even close. How does a dealer overcome that hurdle? FACT: Unless you provide a free Carfax Report online when advertising on AutoTrader.com or Cars.Com, you will lose out to those dealers who do provide one. You can track your VDP (click ratios) on AutoTrader and Cars.com. 

That's a huge advantage over dealers who believe there is little difference between Carfax and AutoCheck. FIRST, you have to have someone click on your car online, before they visit your dealership to hear you trying to convince the buyer that there is no difference between the two.

Customer perception is all that matters. Unfortunately for AutoCheck, educated buyers know and demand Carfax Reports. It's all that matters to my dealership. Again, my customers are middle class or higher. We offer no financing. For my dealership, it would be detrimental, if I switched to AutoCheck. 

So this doesn’t seem like 2 kids bickering, I will give Chris credit where credit is due.  There is nothing wrong with having confidence in your current vendor and I sincerely admire his passion for Carfax, I just don’t agree with his perception of Autocheck since we are 5 years removed from his use of the service.  You mentioned transparency in your previous message so I’ll help you out by pointing out that the 2nd car listed on your website (’03 Honda CR-V) is listed as “No Accident” with a clean Carfax but it has been in an accident… Autocheck picked it up.  I was surprised it only took me 2 VINs to prove my point regarding data.  There is no need to thank me for helping on this one because I’ll admit, nobody’s perfect.  Also, your middle to upper class buyers… do they buy a large number of vehicles that are 10+ model years old?  I ask because 60% of the inventory you sold last year was 2001 or older.   

That's a fluke, Rod. How do I know? We buy from Carmax Auctions, which provides a free AutoCheck Report at the dealer auction level. The Carfax Report not only catches more accidents, but is much more detailed as far as service records and accident specifics. To answer your other question, yes, my buyers are middle to upper-middle class and well-educated. We specialize in Carfax-Certified, Asian cars under $10,000.

Mostly Hondas and Toyotas.

I have been in the car business since 1986, which happens to coincide with the year Carfax was formed. I have seen a lot of changes over the years. The internet allows us to measure things that we couldn't even imagine in the early years. That's great for customers and dealers. Transparency leads to trust, which leads to more sales. Carfax is the trusted source in retail.

You may not believe this, but I would love to switch to AutoCheck, but it would cost me, dearly. Competition is a great thing. I am grateful that Carfax has a competitor, or they would probably charge us more! For that, I thank you!

Maybe one day, (Experian) will spend a little money on marketing and consumer awareness. That would help to educate consumers that there is an alternative.

When the playing field is even, and you're still cost-effective, I will gladly switch.

Chris, please shoot me an email and I'll send you the PDF.  It's a minor incident to the back and now that you know I'm sure it would help having the report.  rodney.mcdowell@experian.com

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