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Autotrader’s Kevin LeSage on how car dealers can successfully navigate today’s industry

It’s clear that the microchip shortage issue will continue to impact the industry well into 2022, and possibly even into 2023. As OEMs and dealers adjust and prepare accordingly, it’s important for them to really understand the consumer’s mindset. On today’s show we’re pleased to welcome Kevin LeSage, Director of Digital Marketing of Autotrader to discuss how you can successfully navigate and adjust in the industry today.

Data shows that 35% of in market shoppers are willing to pay over MSRP. LeSage this isn’t just isolated to the automotive industry. The supply chain is impacting many other industries. Out of those 35%, thirteen percent are willing to pay a premium. He also says a lot of shoppers are delaying the purchase process altogether. Forty-eight percent of those in market car shoppers are likely to wait because of the chip shortage. Others say they are willing to delay the decision over the next 6 months or more.

Related: How to sell better than your online-only competition

It’s important to understand your audience, LeSage says. Dealers should use data to understand who’s in market and who is not. He says dealers aren’t taking advantage of focusing the message of merchandising strategy for at home services. This includes vehicle walkarounds or at home test drives. Americans will always pay for convenience. LeSage says, dealers are seeing more consumers coming in to order directly from manufacturers.

Know where to “fish” says LeSage. Next, tap into your CRM data. Lastly, make sure you’re doubling down in service and repair. That’s a foundational part in a dealer’s business, regardless of chip shortage or inventory issues. He says to also make sure you have a private acquisition strategy in place.

Soon for the auto industry, LeSage says he forecast, that things may get worse before they see an improvement. He says they aren’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon. Cox Automotive is forecasting mild supply improvements in Q4, and continuing improvements in 2022, but no return to normal until 2023, or if ever.


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CBT Automotive Network is a multimedia broadcast platform serving automotive professionals. With interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts following top stories, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest industry trends, CBT is the leading voice of the retail automotive industry.

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