Automotive Inventory Trends Affecting Today’s Dealer

The best content from industry veterans to inform dealers and solve their toughest challenges.

There’s an old saying in the car business that you can’t sell a car you don’t have in hand.

The truth of this statement proved especially true for dealers in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through much of 2020 and 2021, the chief problem dealers faced wasn’t the perennial challenge of selling cars.

Dealerships are Sourcing Used Cars Differently

The shift begs a question: Where are the other cars coming from? The answer reflects the “buy from anywhere and everywhere” strategy that many dealers adopted in the past two years as high demand, high values and limited supplies of used vehicles

How to Properly Manage Sourcing from Multiple Channels

vAuto founder Dale Pollak recognized that the shift would create operational challenges for dealers. “Dealers are sourcing more inventory from unfamiliar channels, and there isn’t an easy way for dealers to manage the success of their acquisition efforts in individual channels to optimize the outcomes,” Pollak says.

Success in Multi-Channel Vehicle Sourcing Strategies

Dealers who have adopted a multi-channel strategy for used vehicle sourcing say there’s no going back to the old ways of relying on auction vehicles and trade-ins to get the inventory they need.

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After nearly two years of an environment where used vehicle values, and retail prices, were largely on the rise, and retail demand showed no signs of slowing down, things are different.

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More Inventory Trend Articles

Read about other major inventory challenges dealerships across the country are facing along with vAuto’s point of view on the state of the industry.

Why Dealers Should Adopt Variable-Based Used Car Management

Strong retail demand and limited used vehicle supplies effectively eliminated the perennial worry of aged inventory for dealers. But depreciation returned when the average days supply of vehicles in dealer inventories hovered near 50 days, meaning some dealers had inventory they’d acquired 45 or 60 days earlier at the top of the market.

Customers Buying Preferences Continue to Evolve

For more than a decade, Cox Automotive has been tracking what consumers appreciate and expect from dealers when the time arrives to purchase a new or used vehicle. From this research, two clear trendlines emerge that hold significant implications for dealers who want to grow their sales volume and profitability of their new and used vehicle departments.

Turn Challenging New Car Inventory Levels into Opportunities

The good news is that while dealers wish they had more new vehicles to sell, they’ve also gained in experience in optimizing the outcomes for their new vehicle departments. The following represent best practices we’ve gleaned to assist dealers to make every new vehicle count at the time of sale and beyond.

Other Inventory Trend Resources