The first student-operated, licensed used car dealership in the Commonwealth was implemented over 20 years ago at Marshall High School Academy. Today, this unique instructional program provides an interactive opportunity for students in both automotive technology and automotive collision service programs.
Used cars are donated to the Student Auto Sales Program by members of the local community, allowing students to diagnose and troubleshoot problems and subsequently perform repairs and maintenance on the vehicles. Students are responsible for ordering parts and preparing the cars for sale to the general public. SAS continues to refine processes for sales via the internet. The use of the Public Surplus (www.publicsurplus.com) website has significantly increased the number of sales and has allowed for wider distribution of the program's offerings. SAS recently became an electronic dealership that is able to electronically process titles and sales through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Becoming an electronic dealership with the DMV has also improved the buying and selling experience for our students and customers. The ability to complete title work and tag requests from the dealership at Marshall Academy has significantly reduced wait time at the local DMV branches. Concluding a sale, customers are reassured that the appropriate tag and title work will been completed according to VA state guidelines. The cost of becoming an electronic dealership was neutral for both SAS and FATE,
as provisions in the state code allow for these fees to be covered by the buyer.
In addition to the invaluable inclusion of the Public Surplus website, the
internet has greatly assisted with both SAS and FATE marketing techniques.
SAS consistently welcomes back repeat customers, and the program
maintains several followers on the Public Surplus website. Utilizing the Public
Surplus transaction collection service has improved the experience for FATE
by ensuring the collection of funds before releasing the vehicles. The funds are
distributed weekly from Public Surplus which eliminates the challenge of
collecting and clearing funds.
In the past, SAS has successfully sold vehicles to customers in Mexico and Honduras. Vehicles were also sold across the U.S. to customers in California, Texas, and North Carolina. Selling vehicles to a vast geographic audience allows students to develop additional operational skills including the transport of potential customers vehicles and the translation of documents and currency.
Since the 2004-2005 school year, total car sales equaled $2,583,995, of which $1,936,633 was returned to the 13 schools offering Automotive Technology or Automotive Collision courses. The remaining SAS proceeds were used to assist the funding of FATE scholarships and the fees associated with the dealership. The program has seen steady sale growth, with the 2018-2019 school year's sales producing a 511% increase from the 2004-2005 school year. Of the 3,800+ cars donated to FCPS during the past 15 years, 2,261 were sold and are back on the road.
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