How this used car manager is adapting to unprecedented supply and demand constraints

Welcome to this week’s episode of Used Cars Weekly, the original CBT News show dedicated to bringing car dealers best practices and tips for the used car department, in-depth dealer interviews, hands-on dealership strategies, as well as vendor analysis. Today, host Jasen Rice, founder of Lotpop, is joined by Nick Miller, Pre-Owned Vehicle Manager at Moberly Motors.

Miller is a fourth-generation dealer whose family has been in the car business for nearly 80 years. He says while today’s retail climate during COVID-19 is nothing like the 2008 recession, there are some eerie similarities between the two events. When Miller walked back into the dealership in 2007, he says he saw about three or four really good months. Then, the economy took an unbelievable turn, and Miller was worried that he would lose everything. However, his showrooms managed to pull through and recover.

Today, Moberly Motors operates two showrooms; the Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and a new Ford facility which house the service department as well. Together, the showrooms sell between 100 to 140 cars every month. Miller adds that it is roughly a 60/40 split, Ford to CDJR. Right now, Moberly Motors has 16 new units on the ground overall but got as low as four units in weeks prior. However, deliveries have become more frequent, and they are flying out the doors to customers. For used vehicles, Moberly typically runs 40-50 used units in stock, and 50-55 in sales each month.

In order to adjust to this lower supply, Miller says the dealerships flipped all of their advertising to a vehicle acquisition strategy only. He says, he received some pushback from his marketing partners, but ultimately moved forward with the messaging. It has been more successful than Miller could have ever imagined.

While Miller admits that his service lane is not as strong as it could be, the dealerships are buying lots of cars and acquiring lots of trade-ins. Miller says he handles 90% of those leads himself, and he’s not picky when it comes to vehicles. Moberly operates in a wide market as well, and they do not have direct competition from disruptors like Carvana.

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