It’s fitting that the theme for next week’s NADA 2024 convention in Las Vegas is “Driving the Future.”
The theme is especially appropriate given recent news that Vroom will effectively exit the used vehicle business. The company’s announcement this week adds Vroom to what seems to be a growing list of technology-focused companies, including Shift and Carlotz, that positioned themselves as disruptors who represented the future of the car business.
And yet, there they are, and here we are. They won’t be going to NADA this year. For all intents and purposes, that means the future of the car business belongs to dealers who recognize something that apparently eluded the tech company executives and the investors. That is, you can’t and won’t find sustained success in the car business if you ignore the long-standing fundamentals that are necessary to achieve it.
For years, dealers and I have marveled at how the valuations for the disrupters continued to climb, even though it certainly seemed like they were stocking too much inventory and didn’t appear to be pricing every vehicle rationally every day. I remember how the rise of companies like Carvana, which has fared better than its peers but faces its own operational challenges, caused some to question whether CarMax was “with it” enough technology-wise to remain in business.
Well, guess what? CarMax never forgot the fundamentals and they took a measured, strategic approach toward incorporating the technologies that enabled ecommerce and online buying. Today, they’re still in business and doing pretty well. They’re making their fair share of deals online, just like other dealers. There’s good reason to believe CarMax will still be in business a year from now.
All this leads me to a question as our industry looks forward to next week’s NADA 2024 convention: How will you be driving the future of your business?
I believe the answer rests on an individual dealer’s desire and willingness to face a future where new technologies, aided by artificial intelligence and data science, help you make better decisions, keep ahead of market conditions and enable you to execute the fundamentals of dealership operations in a better way. I’ll be sharing some of this perspective next Friday and Saturday at the Cox Automotive stage. My presentation, A New Path to Optimal Used Vehicle Performance, focuses on how dealers can use new technologies to optimize their strategic objectives and ensure their related pricing, appraising and acquisition process execution tie back to the strategic objectives they’ve established.
As usual, I’m pumped for NADA. I’m excited for the annual opportunity to connect with dealers at the vAuto booth and share perspective on how they can run their businesses better and drive their own future success. I’m also excited to hear the reception the latest innovations vAuto’s bringing to NADA, including our Global Search tool, which helps dealers consistently connect their strategic objectives to every used vehicle acquisition.
Safe travels and see you in Las Vegas!
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