By on March 14, 2011

I know what you’re thinking: “What is a magazine publisher doing certifying pre-owned vehicles?” The answer: selling a lot of cars. Motor Trend’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program, which certifies vehicles and dealers and offers some service features, sold more vehicles last year than Kia or Porsche’s in-house CPO programs, at 10,010 units sold. Which raises questions about both the nature of consumer demands and the efficacy of some of these OEM CPO programs. For one thing, it’s not at all clear why consumers seek out a new car magazine’s stamp of approval on a used car. After all, would you rather have your car certified by its manufacturer or by the magazine that picked the ’97 Malibu and 2002 Thunderbird as its Car Of The Year? Not that Motor Trend has anything to do with its eponymous CPO program, mind you, as that is operated by EasyCare. And that firm has some 2.6m current service contracts, a number that puts MT’s 10k units into perspective. But the real question here is how do CPO sales by brands like Porsche, Kia and Jaguar get beat by a magazine? Given that EasyCare also administers the official Volvo, Mazda, and Jaguar CPO programs, isn’t it a bit odd that the Motor Trend-branded program sells nearly as many cars (or, in the case of Jaguar, more)?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

10 Comments on “Motor Trend CPO Program Outsells Kia, Porsche...”

  • avatar

    MT already hawk the gas they use in their test vehicles.  Why stop there?  How about putting the MT label on Whoppers?  The official burger of MT test pilots…Or hotels, where we crash after we crash.   I’m sure the B&B can come up with even more.  The potential is endless.  And given the state of print media, it needs to be.

    • 0 avatar

      We’ll know print auto journalism has truly tanked when the “Motor Trend” brand name generates more revenue through licensing deals than it does through print advertising sales. (We’ll know TTAC has gotten too big for it’s britches when we start seeing TTAC CPO stickers on used cars, but that’s at least six to nine months away.)

  • avatar

    I’m not surprised. There are many, many more independent used car dealers than there are new car dealers that also sell used cars. New car dealers only offer CPO vehicles on their own brand, which is only a fraction of the dealer’s total used car inventory. Independent dealers using the EasyCare/Motor Trend program can slap a certification on every vehicle in their fleet if they want to buy the contract. There’s just more opportunity.
    On the subject of CPO:
    Keep in mind that car dealers have to pay for CPO, it’s not free. They add it to the price of the car- they are in effect buying an extended warranty. If you have the car looked at by an independent mechanic not associated with the dealer and the car model has a good reliability record, you can negotiate to have the CPO “removed” from the deal. (Opposite: If you want a car that doesn’t have CPO status and want to pay for it or negotiate it into the deal, ask for it.) The cost of the CPO varies but on a late model used car you could be in the $1,500 range (that’s based on my one time experience, your mileage may vary, etc.)

  • avatar

    I understand why it outsells Porsche, Porsche’s volume to begin with is not that big.  Most can’t afford a used Porsche because of maintenance.  Those who want and can afford a Porsche, buy it new.
    For Kia, it makes me think that the cars a really bad, or the perception is.  Kia doesn’t do to bad in sales, but I guess the perception is so bad that you must be really hard up to want a used Kia, certified or not.
    The rest of list are also small players on the US market.  I don’t think that there is much to them being below MT’s sticker.

    • 0 avatar

      It seems to me that a much larger percentage of Porsches wind up as CPO cars than do GM products or Toyotas. What is Porsche’s total US sales number? 20,000 cars and crossovers? I’m pretty sure that Toyota and GM each sell well over a million new vehicles here.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Actually I didn’t even know KIA had a CPO program.  I knew Hyundai did, but I didn’t know KIA did. 

  • avatar

    Does the Motor Trend CPO program include a free oil change with genuine Car and Driver motor oil?

  • avatar

    I only use Road & Track Nitrogen in my tires.  I tried other brands, but my mileage was 3% better with R&T Nitrogen.  My brother-in-law tried some generic nitrogen, and he sure paid for it!

  • avatar

    If the TTAC “thumbs up/down” logo ever appears on anything in a serious endorsement nature, then I’ll be worried. It sounds like print media are scrambling to somehow survive. JB may try something with the logo in a satirical vein, though. I’m waiting…eagerly…!

  • avatar

    “Road and Track Certification” is to cars
    “Bathroom sanitized by swisher” is to toilets

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ToolGuy: I see curb weight as 5,103 pounds, which makes the torque-to-pork ratio… well nevermind, we should...
  • Lou_BC: @redapple – interesting. “An acre of mature trees can capture 2.6 tonnes of CO2 per year.”...
  • dal20402: OK, that’s a new one, but taking it at face value… (1) If it is actually possible to engineer a major...
  • dal20402: My state imposes a registration surcharge for EVs that is quite a bit more than the gas tax savings I...
  • j lu: “Though your author would argue that there’s nothing luxurious about nixing built-to-order...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber