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Managing 31-Day Bucket Jumpers: A Daily Discipline for Used Car Departments

In the world of used car sales, time is of the essence. Every day, a car sits on the lot and depreciates, which presents a challenge for dealerships aiming to maintain a fresh and profitable inventory. Among the many metrics used to gauge inventory health, the concept of "bucket jumpers" has emerged as a crucial one, especially for cars teetering on the edge of aging out of their prime sales window.

What exactly are 31-day bucket jumpers? These cars transition from the 16-30 day bucket to the 31-45 day age bucket. Essentially, any vehicle reaching the 31-day mark is classified as a bucket jumper, signifying the need for urgent attention. These vehicles demand immediate action to prevent them from becoming aged inventory, which can significantly impact gross and be much harder to sell.


To tackle this challenge head-on, dealerships must implement a daily discipline of addressing bucket jumpers, which involves proactive measures to evaluate and address any issues that may hinder a quick sale. Here's how it can be done effectively:

  • Hands-On Evaluation: Assign a sales representative or porter to drive each bucket jumper and report any issues that could deter a customer from purchasing. This includes assessing the car's condition, checking for any unpleasant odors, verifying if it starts reliably, and ensuring cleanliness, especially if it has been previously test-driven.

  • Immediate Action: Upon identifying any issues, take immediate steps to rectify them. Whether addressing mechanical issues, detailing the interior, checking pictures on the website, or repicturing the car if it needs a fresh set of photos, prompt action is essential to keeping the car market-ready.

  • Lead Management: Track leads, switch leads associated with each bucket jumper, and follow up diligently. Sometimes, a simple reminder or additional information can reignite interest and lead to a successful sale.

By making the management of bucket jumpers a daily priority, dealerships can foster a culture of proactive inventory turnover. Instead of waiting for cars to age out and become a burden, staying ahead of the curve ensures a steady flow of fresh inventory, which is key to maintaining market competitiveness and leads to increased sales and a healthy inventory turnover rate.

Paying attention to 31-day bucket jumpers is not just about managing inventory and gross; it's about preserving reputation, driving sales, and creating a positive customer experience. By prioritizing these vehicles and implementing a daily discipline to address them, dealerships can maintain a healthy inventory turnover rate and stay ahead in the highly competitive automotive industry.

-Jean Rollins

Performance Engineer


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