Features

Glass’s Guide: Valuations move online

Time 12 years ago

066-glass-netPICTURE a car dealership in your head and, chances are, there will be a scene involving thumbing through a well-used paper valuation guide.

Nowadays, it’s potentially a familiar, oft-seen one: such is the complexity of modern car ranges, getting an exact price is often not the work of a moment…

All that is about to change though, with the arrival of the new and improved GlassNet Unlimited. Given how 90 per cent of all car dealers use Glass’s for used car valuations, the introduction of the new system is very significant indeed. But what is it and how does it help car dealers? We spoke to Glass’s Vik Barodia to find out more.


‘GlassNet offers the simplest method for quickly generating an accurate and tailored valuation for a specific vehicle,’ he told us. A bold statement, but one dealers are responding to as a result: ‘An ever-growing number of dealers are now adopting this new method for valuing cars.’

It really has quickly become a bit of a hit. The GlassNet system was only launched six months ago, he reveals, but a quarter of Glass’s subscribers are already using it on a daily basis.

Ease of use and accuracy have driven the system’s subsequent development, he says. Key to this is utilisation of VRM lookup – this is where the really big revolution for many dealers lies. Thumbing through guides for hours on end becomes a thing of the past: instead, just enter the car registration number, adjust for mileage and fitted options, and bingo: out pops the EXACT value of that EXACT car… literally, in seconds!

Using it really could not be simpler, or faster, and provided you have the registration correct, the result will be 100 per cent accurate. No more puzzling whether that Megane is a Privilege or Initiale, whether the Fiesta is a 1.25 65 or 82: let the computer do the work instead.


Indeed, because of this car maker range complexity, the paper version of Glass’s Guide is able to feature only half of the UK car values available online: by doubling the valuation count, Barodia reckons 95 per cent of the UK’s used vehicle parc is covered.

Through the internet-based system, you can also adjust for light damage in another trick feature, again accurately and rapidly. GlassNet integrates with Glass’s Light Damage Estimator. If you’re an Experian customer, you can access provenance checks through the GlassNet system as well, saving even further time and making it yet more simple and inclusive. Clever stuff indeed.

GlassNet Unlimited is the latest development of this, that’s rolling out right now; it’s the ‘Unlimited’ part that’s so significant. It allows valuation of as many cars as possible, without dealers racking up extra charges. ‘For the typical user, GlassNet Unlimited works out at just over £1 per day – and the solution’s cost-effectiveness only gets better for dealers valuing larger numbers of cars.’

GlassNet Unlimited, then, really is just that… for something that’s as incredibly useful, efficient and accurate as this, having limitless opportunity to use it is set to bring massive improvements to car dealer processes, says Barodia.

HAPPY DEALERS

One of the first UK dealers to use GlassNet was Peter Brooks Honda in Rotherham. The dealer was drawn in because the system promised to bring together many of the day-to-day processes associated with valuations.

The dealership started out using GlassNet 100, which provides 100 online valuations alongside a subscription to Glass’s Guide. So well did this go, the car dealer immediately signed up for GlassNet Unlimited, which offers a limitless number of valuations; it is now used to process the majority of its used car valuations.

‘We instantly found it very easy to use,’ says sales manager Andrew Morley. ‘The interface is very intuitive, and we can access it from any web-linked terminal in the dealership.’

It’s all the extra things the system does that has surprised Morley, though. ‘Before GlassNet, we would often carry out a provenance check to accurately identify the vehicle. Because GlassNet incorporates a VRM identification tool, we now only carry out a provenance check at the latter stages of the transaction. This shift has streamlined the valuation process and also saved us money.’

The damage adjustment facility in particular has been invaluable. ‘Our salespeople previously made their own assessments about how minor damage would affect a valuation, wherever possible by also drawing on the expertise of our workshop team.

‘This was not as scientific a process as we would have liked. Because it involved some degree of subjectivity on the part of the salesperson, it was also an approach that could be challenged by customers who felt the downward adjustment was too severe.’

Enter GlassNet Unlimited’s features parts and repair data, as well as some core functionality from Glass’s Light Damage Estimator. ‘Our salespeople can now give the customer a printed valuation report that details how the valuation is affected by specific light damage. The report has the Glass’s name on it, and that instantly gives the customer confidence in the accuracy and independence of the valuation being given to them.’

This clarity is also useful when buying in used stock too. ‘When we’re negotiating with a seller we use GlassNet to evaluate how they arrived at a specific valuation, querying specific adjustments they might have made.’ It’s something Barodia picks up on. ‘Customer Valuation Reports can be printed off, detailing in full how each valuation was calculated,’ he says.

‘Carrying the dealer’s own details and those of Glass’s, these reports give the customer added reassurance that their part-exchange vehicle has been valued fairly by an independent and authoritative source.’

This hasn’t led to the abandonment of the paper guides, though. ‘We still use the Guide when out and about, such as when we’re at auctions. But GlassNet provides even broader coverage of the vehicle parc, is incredibly easy and quick to use, and is now our default valuation tool. We love it.’

WE LOVE IT

As do Border Cars, in Carlisle, they piloted the system in its initial stages, and have remained a user ever since. The system is now used to identify and value all the used cars and light commercial vehicles it handles.


‘Accurate vehicle identification and valuation is crucial to the profitability of our business,’ says owner Mike Fusco. ‘Before GlassNet, we would rely on the customer and sales adviser to check the identity of a vehicle being offered in part-exchange. This sometimes proved problematical given that model badging is often less than obvious, and because of the very high number of different model range derivatives now available.’ This whole process identification process is now automated using GlassNet.

Like Peter Brooks, Border Cars also uses the light damage estimator. ‘None of our team is equipped to provide a truly accurate estimate in those instances when replacement parts are required for a vehicle whose brand we do not represent,’ says Fusco.

‘If a customer comes in wanting to part-exchange a Mercedes-Benz and it requires a new windscreen or bumper, none of my team will know what these parts cost without making calls. This can have serious implications for us if we then under-estimate the parts cost and provide an inaccurate part-exchange price.

‘GlassNet takes this problem away by giving us accurate parts replacement costs for all makes and models. It even alerts us if there are issues we should consider if we subsequently carry out the repair. He’s another happy customer.

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‘GlassNet removes all of our identification and valuation problems, giving us speed, consistency and accuracy – seven days of the week. The system makes it much easier to produce accurate and up-to-date valuation for a specific vehicle, properly adjusted for the exact mileage, specification and condition.’

No wonder Barodia is chuffed. But he’s not resting on his laurels, either. Glass’s will continue developing GlassNet as more car dealers sign up. ‘We’re delighted that GlassNet is already attracting a wide variety of customers – from large franchised groups to small independent dealers.’ Will you be next to join in?

by RICHARD AUCOCK

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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