If you work in the automotive industry, chances are you’ve tried to predict the future at least once. Dealerships have been forced to react to rapid changes over the last decade, including a recession and a boom in internet use. It’s no wonder that dealerships feel they need to prepare themselves for what’s coming down the pipe.
We’ve been following trends, and we can give you an overview of what’s happened over the last year or two, and what might be coming your way.
2016-2019 Saw Big Changes in the Auto Industry
Vehicle sales hit a high point in 2016, when Americans bought almost 18 million vehicles. Unfortunately, sales have been levelling out since. Interest rates are not trending favorably, and car lots are gradually changing from a new car to a used car focus. Owners are holding onto their vehicles longer, and they expect their dealers to service and care for older cars over the long term. Dealerships who don’t focus on service and quality will have a harder time keeping up with the competition. That’s just one trend we see going into 2019 …
5 Trends We’re Watching This Year
(1) Light Trucks Continue to Beat Out Cars in Popularity
Consumers continue to prefer utility vehicles and light pickup trucks. It appears that this trend will last throughout 2019 and into 202, especially with vehicles like the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Chevy Blazer SUV on the market.
Since used vehicles continue to grow in popularity as well, expect to see late-model used trucks in demand. Plus, now that most vehicles include the kind of technology consumers want, like blind-spot detection and lane departure warning, there’s no reason not to go with a late-model used SUV if you’re hunting for a capable bargain.
(2) More Technology and Capabilities Across the Board
Speaking of technology, some auto industry experts are seeing what they call a democratization of these technologies across the industry. Driver-assisted technology is in demand. And, honestly, once you experience blind-spot detection, why would you want to drive without it?
More and more cars, Toyota and Nissan models in particular, are offering these technologies. There’s simply no turning back from the smart vehicle revolution.
(3) Customers Do Their Research; You’d Better, Too
Many customers now shop online before they ever step foot on a car lot. And if they’re doing their research, dealers must be prepared. The more hard questions you can answer, and the more you can maximize your online presence, the better.
When customers do come to your lot, you need to make the most of each customer interaction. Shoppers are smarter. They make decisions quickly, and they expect you to make the purchase as smooth as possible.
(4) Private Party Sales are on the Rise
Private party and used vehicle sales continue to grow in popularity, as we mentioned above. As incentives stagnate and interest rates go up, consumers will be more likely to go with a late model used vehicle than buy new. Remember, however, that used cars depreciate quickly; you should always be able to give customers a quick list of the pros and cons if you want to provide the quality the public seeks.
(5) Ride-Sharing Services? Don’t Worry Quite Yet
Many car dealerships are wringing their hands over the growth of ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. However, experts caution that it’s not yet time to panic. These services are not as dominant as they might seem. Ride-sharing works in dense urban areas, but they’ve yet to make much of a difference in suburban or rural areas. In fact, the majority of adults in America don’t use them.
Is Your Dealership Positioned to Make Gains in 2019?
Is your dealership prepared to make the most of 2019’s challenges. How are you positioning your brand to take advantage of the spring season?
We recommend that dealers embrace the power of the internet, be prepared for customer interactions, and make data-driven decisions.
Do you need a reliable company to bring quality used cars to your lot? If you’re looking for a partner with dealership experience, contact the experts at PreOwned Auto Logistics.