Obstacles such as rapid inflation, high interest rates and constrained supply continue to challenge both dealers and car buyers, even as the car business rebounds from the COVID pandemic. To navigate these headwinds, the retail automotive sector has employed a variety of strategies that have allowed it to achieve remarkable success in spite of the complicated industry landscape.
On this episode of Driving Solutions, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Ian Hunter, assistant vice president of sales at JM&A Group, and his colleague Jonathan Jordan, director of retail strategy. The JM&A Group has helped dealers across the country achieve success in every market imaginable, providing sales-boosting F&I products and services in addition to industry-leading training for dealership staff. Recently, the company published its Automotive Trends Report, examining the latest trends affecting the car business and how retailers have overcome numerous challenges in the last year. Now, Jordan and Hunter shed additional light on the report and the strategies dealers are using to combat inflation, boost inventory and achieve success.
1. One of the key focuses of the JM&A Group’s Automotive Trends Report was vehicle acquisition. Dealers have employed a variety of more affordable strategies to keep their inventories stocked during the current period of high inflation, with tactics like off-street purchasing seeing popularity as an alternative to auction and wholesale transactions.
2. Although demand has been constrained by inflation and high interest rates, dealers have faced economic headwinds on numerous previous occasions. To boost sales, retailers have focused on simple, traditional strategies such as promoting financing options, warranties and effective sales tactics.
3. Service contracts can help consumers navigate high inflation and avoid unexpected fees. Dealers should advocate for these plans when speaking to consumers, especially those with complicated financial circumstances.
4. Despite ongoing economic headwinds, car sales in the new, used and fleet segments have seen admirable improvements since last year, thanks to better production, strong demand and aggressive sales strategies.
5. The retail automotive sector continues to face challenges in its efforts to adopt digital retailing. By putting themselves in the mind of the consumer, retailers can “shop” on their own websites and gain a better understanding of how easy the process is.
6. Many aspects of the car-buying journey can be conducted more conveniently online. Even traditionally in-store processes such as financing and insurance can benefit from a fully digital framework. The JM&A Group is an expert in online F&I and can help dealers improve service for their website users.
"I think the big message is to get back to basics and to really sit down with the consumer, find out what they're looking for, find out what their budget is and really work with them to find the right car, find the right financing, find the right protection that fits into all that." — Jonathan Jordan, JM&A