Established in 2000, Wright Auto Domestics and Imports has grown to one of the largest used auto dealers in the Cambridge, Waterloo region of Ontario. Led by Larry Wright, the company focuses on both wholesale and retail of the used vehicles, striving to provide its customers with the best selection of cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs at the best possible value in the used car market, all complemented with top customer service, including car maintenance and repair services. Between its wholesale and dealership sales, Wright Auto turns over 7,000 cars a year.
The Canadian Business Journal spoke with Larry Wright, Founder and President of Wright Auto Domestics and Imports, who has spent his whole life in the car business, and who informed about the company business as a wholesaler as well as the latest issues that the used car industry the company faces today.
While the past four years had been challenging for the most in the used car business, Wright Auto has been one-up in the industry, focusing on the used car wholesale operation. “Being a wholesaler has definitely helped us to bridge the gap in the industry. We have eight buyers on the road full time buying cars, and we supply other used car dealers, taking in trades for retail. We buy the trade-in cars from new car dealers – the brands they don’t retail – we buy the used Fords from new Chevy dealers, and so on, and then we sell them off to the dealerships. This is because these dealerships are specialist on their brand and they can’t very well evaluate a used vehicle of a different brand,” says Wright, but also added that dealerships are trying much harder to sell the used cars.
“The car dealerships have also shrunk and they are not making as much money on the new cars as they used to, so they are trying to squeeze all they can out of their used car trade-ins as well. The dealerships would not bother with the used cars in the past, but today they try to retail their products themselves.”
As a wholesaler, Wright Auto has the advantage of access to a larger selection of used cars. Wright Auto deals with about 22 dealerships directly, while the auction prices for used cars have been increasing and the auction selections had been diminishing. “As a wholesaler we are in a much better position to find cars. The tight margins weeded out many of the small guys, because fees had increased and the customers are getting more sophisticated,” says Wright.
“The selections have shrunk because car dealers had focused on car sales rather than leasing. The leased cars are usually three years old with say 60,000 kilometres. Owners keep cars longer, so when they trade in, the cars are five years old with 100,000 kilometres. This costs us more to inspect these cars for safety, and they also more difficult to sell, because people are set to buy a low-mileage car,” says Wright.
While the industry as a whole faces several new challenges, the need for a quality customer service has returned to the industry. “This is a relationship business and a service business, and we need to be available to customers when the customers have the time to shop for a car. The old days of the nine-to-five are gone. If you don’t serve the customer, the customer will go to someone who will. That’s why we are always available, we are just a phone call away, adjusting to our customers schedules,” says Wright.
Wright Auto also strives to provide its customers with the peace of mind when buying a used vehicle, making sure that the car is in the condition the new owner expects it to be. Wright Auto guarantees lien free vehicles as well as title against stolen cars. The dealership abides by the UCDA (Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario) code of ethics, and it has been certified by The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council in Automotive Law and Ethics. All vehicles come to their new owners following a 167 point inspection, including complete frame inspection, no-haggle low pricing and 30-day dealer warranty with Preferred Dealer financing available. Wright Auto also has a Sales and Service Centre located in Waterloo, provides drivers with high-quality car repair with skilled auto technicians who have the expertise and experience to get your car, truck, or SUV into top condition.
In the Community
While the industry challenges Wright Auto more than ever, the company does not forget those in need. The company pays back into the local community and sponsors charitable initiatives worldwide. Wright Auto supports two orphanages in Africa and one in Mexico through Give International. According to Wright, the orphanage in Mexico has outgrown its facilities, so the company is holding a fundraiser on May 15 to expand this facility. “We are having a Mexican Day on this day to raise the money for the expansion,” says Wright. “We also do a lot of volunteer work here in Cambridge. For example, first Thursday of every month we cook a meal and serve in the homeless shelter in downtown. We are giving back and it gives you a different perspective on what’s going on in the community.”
The industry may have put many used car dealers into a tight spot, but Wright Auto stays the course by focusing on providing a good value to clients and customers, and improving the service that won’t disappoint the potential customer.