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Fitting an Off-Road Presence into Your Dealership’s Marketing

In General Motors’ second-quarter earnings call, Mary Barra pointed to GMC and Chevrolet models that will continue to build upon demand for popular off-road products. The new HUMMER electric vehicle coming soon is also said to be trail ready with more than 1,000hp. For General Motors, off-road vehicle owners are on the radar.

The same goes for other major carmakers. The all-new Ford Bronco unveiling has resulted in more than 150,000 reservations with deposits within the first two days. Toyota’s TRD lineup is popular among enthusiasts, and the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is slated to come with a 707-hp Hellcat powertrain for fun in the dirt. And there’s certainly a reason the Jeep Wrangler is such an iconic model.

It’s safe to estimate that between five and ten percent of off-road-ready new vehicles will be driven in locations where a two-wheel-drive vehicle would not be able to safely pass. But when trucks and SUVs are the largest growing segments in the United States and more people are planning staycations that involve their vehicle, it makes sense to position your dealership to capitalize on the demand.

If your customers are increasingly buyers of off-road capable vehicles, make the most of it. SEMA reports that the average truck owner spends $2,250 on accessories, often geared towards making their truck more capable with a lift kit, oversized wheels, or upgraded suspension. It can be lucrative business to build your store’s off-road presence. Here are three tips to consider. 

Provide Off-Road Packagesoff-road

For mass-market pickups and SUVs, 18 percent of purchasers spend between $2,500 and $5,000 on accessories. The market is there for customized vehicles, and a specialized off-road model could entice enthusiasts.

Keep in mind that a serious off-roader is discerning about the equipment on their vehicle. Only the best will do such as FOX suspension, THULE racks, and true beadlock rims with top-performing aggressive tires.

It’s an investment for your store, but adding a full load of off-roading accessories onto a popular model is a great way to showcase the parts and expertise your dealership can provide. It can generate service income, parts sales, and recognition among the culture.

Participate in Meets

Nothing develops credibility in the off-roading scene like participation. While management may balk at putting a vehicle from inventory through the paces, the benefits from the relationships that are established should far outweigh any potential repairs or maintenance costs.

Going off-road doesn’t immediately mean hardcore trails either. For example, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association runs events that range from extreme trails to dirt paths which are barely more than an unmaintained road. 

Target Your Online Audience

Marketing your dealership as a resource for off-roading enthusiasts has its rewards. Groups and associations tend to have a greater sense of loyalty, especially when combined with a relationship at the store of someone is in the club.

Form paid Facebook campaigns that target local off-roading clubs and groups, along with other social media venues. Inquire about ad placements on club websites also, which may require a donation or a sponsorship on your store’s behalf. A couple of additional marketing ideas include: 

  • Offering group discounts on parts and service for club members. Ensure the discounts are aggressive enough to entice them away from other shops.

  • Create exclusive preferred pricing programs for new and used vehicles.  

Anyone who has participated in organized off-roading will tell you that it gets expensive with upgrades and mechanical improvements. Determine to be the local source for that revenue.


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Jason Unrau
Jason Unrau
Jason Unrau is an automotive specialist with more than 15 years of experience at the dealership level. Focusing mainly on fixed operations and the service industry, Jason’s expertise is in enhancing the customer experience and promoting a healthy, profitable service department.

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