Americans want cars, whether electric or ICE, but with today’s low inventory market, dealers need to become even more creative and resilient. Today on Inside Automotive, we’re joined by Brooke English, Dealer Principal and General Manager of Coastal Chevrolet Cadillac and GM of Coastal Nissan, to learn a little about her market in Pawleys Island South Carolina. We’ll also get her perspective on the current state of retail automotive and her advice for other women in the industry.
The business was started in 1980 by English’s grandfather, who always had a passion for car sales. After working for Town and Country Ford, he decided to go into business for himself by opening a used car lot and Datsun rooftop. Since his passing, English’s father took over the company and has kept it in the family. Coastal has served the state’s easternmost markets for over 40 years.
Today, business is booming for Coastal. The stores have set a few unit records, mainly on the pre-owned side, given the short supply of new vehicle inventory. English’s brother, the Pre-owned Sales Manager for Coastal, has been very aggressive on vehicle acquisitions and trade-ins during this time. Regarding new vehicle supply, English says Coastal Nissan typically has 200 new cars on its lot. Today, it has 12. In an ideal world, English wants to see a 30-60 day supply of new vehicles moving forward.
English credits much of Costal’s success this year to training, inventory management, and getting back to the basics. The stores are prioritizing inventory turn rather than price. She explains that in order to keep inventory moving, they might make special price considerations for return customers.
English is excelling in her role as Dealer Principal and General Manager, but she says women often don’t know how many opportunities are in the automotive space. She adds that attracting more women to the industry should start with the dealer body and the culture inside dealerships. During COVID, Coastal adopted a new schedule that gives its employees more off time and early outs on Friday. English says the hours can be grueling, and it’s tough to sell for long stretches of time. However, providing employees with a little more flexibility or downtime can make all the difference.
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