CARFAX Canada Driving Insights


Justify the Trade Today to Win a Customer Tomorrow

Wed, Apr 12, 2023

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Have you ever heard of someone winning a deal and losing a customer at the same time? Winning a trade today is great, but the business of selling cars and getting great trades is quickly becoming more competitive. So how can you create a trade-in process that not only wins deals today but makes that customer excited to come back next time? It might be time to start looking at successfully justifying your offer as ‘winning’.

Canadians don’t love the trade-in process

Among Canadian used car buyers who traded in a vehicle, only 65% said their trade-in experience was good or excellent; this is just barely better than their feelings about the negotiation process which is rated as the worst part of buying a used vehicle. Improving the trade-in process so it wins cars and creates an excellent experience will not only help you sell more today, it helps bring more customers in tomorrow through referrals, reviews and repeat business.


What used car buyers wish you would do

Improving the trade-in process is all about justifying how your price was determined, then doubling-down on that justification. We asked used car buyers how the trade-in experience could be improved and found that:

  • 48% want you to clearly explain what their trade-in offer is based on (e.g. auction values, comparable sales)
  • 44% want you to plainly spell-out anything that lowers the value of their car (e.g. tires need to be replaced, dents need to be fixed)
  • 30% want external validation via a neutral, third-party tool to help reinforce your offer

TREND: We’ve seen the importance of trade-in price justification increase significantly over the last 5 years.

DI-Justify the Trade

Justifying your offer is time well spent

Plain and simple, your customers want to know how you got to the trade-in value they’re being offered. Used car buyers who go through a trade-in process that includes a vehicle history report, a valuation tool from a third-party service, and/or the salesperson showing comparable vehicles, are more satisfied with the trade-in process than average.


Taking the time to justify all the details about the trade-in process and breaking it down for your customers in an easy-to-understand way is going to help them feel confident that they’re getting a fair offer for their vehicle. This may take a little more time, but that’s actually not a bad thing; when used car buyers were asked how dealerships could improve the trade-in process, making it faster came in dead last.


Getting rid of an old, unwanted vehicle should be a highlight of the used car buying process for your customer. By making clearly justified offers, you can make a trade-in process that drives repeat and referral business to your store.

Explore how our research can be applied at your dealership to help you win more business - request a consultation with a CARFAX Canada Rep:

Driving Insights
Driving Insights takes your questions about Canadian car owners and finds the answers! Our proprietary research looks closely at the motives and behaviours of today’s car owners to uncover exclusive insights you won’t find anywhere else. To date, we’ve surveyed over 9,000 Canadians to identify their biggest pain points when buying, selling, and servicing their vehicles. If there’s a question you’d like us to address, email and we’ll get you some answers!

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