If information is power, then ensuring a customer has all the data necessary to feel comfortable in buying a vehicle – especially a used one – is vitally important on both sides of the transaction.
That’s the reason most cited by dealers for making use of a vehicle history search company like CarProof.
Founded in 2000, the site has grown to become the go-to company in providing vehicle history reports not just to dealers and manufacturers, but to auto auctions, lenders, insurers, governments, police and consumers.
And for the most part, it works.
Tony Dilawri of Toronto-based Dilawri Group says most of his organization’s dealerships nation-wide use the service.
“Overall we’ve had no issues,” he said in an interview in Calgary, although sometimes a trade-in from one province to another can have “a bit of a delay.”
CarProof was sold for $650 million to IHD Inc., the Colorado-based parent of Carfax in 2015, but operates independently in Canada from its U.S.-based sibling. Headquartered in London, Ont., CarProof, employs 130 people with the goal of gathering all information on vehicles, though there’s no guarantee they can collect everything about a specific vehicle.
Data from the United States can sometimes be “a bit thin” but that’s improving, says Dilawri.
In the end, dealers and customers “have to buy with confidence” and the history report helps alleviate concerns.
Jim McManes, president of Calgary-based McManes Automotive, with dealerships in the western provinces, makes extensive use of the service.
“We use CarProof on every deal once it’s approved for delivery,” he said in an interview with Automotive News Canada. “They are both fast and accurate in our experience and we have never had an issue with a report.”
Denis Ducharme, president of the Alberta Motor Dealers Association, says CarProof is used by the majority of dealers in the province; “I’d say at least 90 per cent [of the time].”
“They have a very good connection with manufacturers, government and insurance companies and dealers use it because, let’s face it, not all customers are entirely honest about their trade-in.”
Works both ways
He says the reports provide a better playing field for both consumers and business.
“I can recall only one incident where a car sold with a clean report, but in between the report and delivery the vehicle was damaged. When a later report showed damage, CarProof immediately compensated the customer.”
Perry Itzcovitch of the Hyatt Group in Calgary says most manufacturers support CarProof via the auctions as well, adding that “it’s usually good, but I have seen some errors – not many – over the years.”
He says he thinks the vehicle history report is a necessary tool that customers have come to expect.
Jim Gillespie, executive manager of the Calgary Motor Dealers Association agrees.
“I think many dealers use it because customers demand it,” he says. “A clean report makes them feel more comfortable.”
However, he adds, the information from CarProof is only as good as its sources. “They can’t catch everything.”
“For instance a car can be damaged in a collision or by hail and fixed without going through insurance. That kind of repair is never reported and won’t show up in a CarProof report.
“On the positive side, Gillespie said, “it’s a good bet that any major work will show up.”