WardsAuto Editor Steve Finlay on Digital Retailing, Inventory Struggles, and More


Joining us today to give a full recap on retail automotive trends and what dealers need to know is Steve Finlay, senior editor at WardsAuto. For a number of years, automotive digital retailing has been a topic of conversation, but the COVID-19 pandemic kicked it into high gear. Steve wonders if the surge of online transactions and home delivery will stick, or if many dealers will revert back to their usual practices.

While many consumers would still rather do their shopping online, the flip-side for dealers is that building the infrastructure to facilitate online transactions can be expensive. Steve asks – Can smaller dealers really afford this? However, digital retailing allows consumers to do most of the heavy lifting, while dealers can spend less on marketing and other expenses.

Inventory also continues to be a challenge for dealers nationwide. Domestic OEMs have considerably reduced the manufacturing of their sedan models. This is due to the high demand for trucks and SUVs among consumers. Brand loyalty is also not what it used to be according to Steve. Despite these challenges, Steve believes that the auto industry is resilient and pre-COVID sales levels are expected to return in 2022-2023.

In addition to being the senior editor at WardsAuto, Steve Finlay is also the editor of WardsAuto Dealer Business Magazine. As such, he covers automobile dealers, OEMs, and retail practices. His career in journalism started 42 years ago as a crime reporter. For the last 23 years, he has followed the automotive retail industry, and continues to write informative and engaging stories. To hear more insight from Steve, click here.

Did you enjoy this interview with WardsAuto’s Steve Finlay? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at jfitzpatrick@cbtnews.com.

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