Learning from the latecomer

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By Lawrence Papoff

Infiniti was last of the luxury brands to market with its CPO program. It debuted in 2008.

“The program creates another entry point to the Infiniti brand,” Wendy Durward, director Infiniti dealer operations, said. “The CPO buying experience is very much like the new-car experience.”

Qualifying vehicles can’t be older than 72 months old or have more than 120,000 km on the odometer. Those that pass a comprehensive 160-point inspection and a CarProof history check – no U.S.-registered vehicles, no theft recovery, for example – qualify.

All units come with a 24 month/40,000 km warranty. An extended 96 month/160,000 km coverage warranty is available.

Canadian AutoWorld wanted to know what makes a dealer successful at CPO.

“It starts with finding out what the customer is looking for. They find out if they are looking for a pre-owned vehicle,” Durward said. “They listen to what the customer wants.”

But is it difficult to suggest to someone who’s come into a luxury dealership that they might not be able to afford new?

“There are certain people coming in expecting to buy used. It may be their first entry into the luxury market. They want used, but they need the confidence that CPO brings. And then there are people who buy pre-owned regularly.”

To compete with the new side, she said that Infiniti offers special financing on certain models.

But the goal is to offer the customer buying a used model an experience equal to buying new.

“At Infiniti, we treat all Infiniti customers as special guests, new and pre-owned,” is the way the automaker puts it in a release.

Since its birth, Infiniti dealers have sold 400 units. The automaker is not content with that number.

“We are young in the process. Our advertising will expand. We have great expectations that now that we are no longer dualled with the Nissan brand, that raises opportunities for CPO,” Durward said.