Market Scan’s Rusty West on how car dealers can differentiate themselves from other online retailers

"Timing is important, but how responsive are we?" Rusty West asks.

It is clear that consumers’ actions drive change. Consumers prefer to buy a vehicle from their couch, or at the very least, shop for a car online and complete it seamlessly in the dealership. One particular nuisance experienced by consumers stands out: customers don’t understand why the monthly payment they were quoted online is different when they get to the store. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Rusty West, President, and CEO of Market Scan, to talk to us about these challenges facing many in the automotive industry today. 

The industry’s a mess right now, says West. The used car industry is as good as it has ever been because people can’t purchase new cars. He says one thing that has been fun to watch, is how rapidly the industry has evolved. It’s been necessary for a long time and the pandemic helped accelerate it. A lot of dealers are looking from the perspective of, there are a lot of opportunities here, how do I take advantage of it? It requires change.

Consumers are driving the change. The biggest disconnect is dealers’ terms and conditions under which they want to transact needs to be taken into consideration when payments are quoted upstream. A vehicle is the second most expensive purchase people will make, so you should treat it like that, says West. He says it’s not the dealership’s fault. It’s the disconnect between the companies, dealers are hiring to bring business and they aren’t communicating, the dealer’s payments, the dealer’s way.

Related: How salespeople can deliver engaging value-based sales presentations to online car shoppers, every time

onlineTiming is important. West poses the question, how responsive are we? Dealerships are at an age, where consumers are shopping for cars online. When you’re giving information, make sure it’s quick and accurate. Dealers are still facing challenges today because they approach the market from the consumers’ view first. One thing that sets online retailers is that they control the narrative from the beginning. Their processes are usually more smooth.

By 2022, West says the used car market is going to be very hot. We don’t know when the chips are going to come and that’s what’s holding everything up. This is the calm before the storm, so take advantage of it. West encourages dealers to look at how consumers shop for items other than cars. The consumers that they’re trying to attract, want the same experience they want. Set a fair price that meets your needs, along with the other terms and conditions, that’s needed to transact and make sure your website and digital retailing company reflect that properly.

Did you enjoy this interview with Rusty West? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.