The auto industry has always been a pulse of the economy and of how things are going overall. Many dealer groups, franchisees, and independent lots that have been able to remain steady (or at least in business) through previous socioeconomic changes are facing a future that doesn't look like anything they've seen before as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consider These Possible Futures
No one can predict the future, and we were all caught off guard when the current coronavirus pandemic ground the economy to a halt. Now, as things slowly begin to creep toward a new normal, dealers may be left wondering just what the new normal might look like (join the club).
Though we can't shed light on a particular future, we can offer some things to consider as you prepare to (possibly) reopen your doors, and welcome back a cautious public.
- Will foot traffic return? Even though many people are eager to get out in public and return to normal, Americans have been steadily pushing the boundaries of online shopping. Consumers love the convenience of getting nearly everything they want delivered, or just having to show up for pick up. Now that it's clear that auto loan deals can be done almost entirely online, look for more and more prospects to expect just that, even after things return to a stasis.
- Can the auto industry sustain the high prices of new vehicles? The trend over the past few years has been a steep climb uphill as new car prices marched in an ever-increasing upward direction. With the slump in sales and the push by manufacturers to roll out never-before-seen deals, the future of pricing may see some changes. This could be especially true as more consumers opt for used vehicles to offset rising prices.
- Can the used car market hold? The value of used cars may come into the discussion even more in the near future. A glut of off-lease vehicles will result in a larger pool of used cars flooding the market, driving used vehicle prices down further, which could force manufacturers to offer more incentives just to move new car inventories.
- Will people continue to travel less? Traveling less means vehicles have the potential to last longer. It also means that major auto rental companies may not have the need for the large fleets they currently hold. If a large national car rental company folded, even more damage could be done to the used vehicle market. Though this could help people purchase used cars at a lower cost, flooding the market with these vehicles could be damaging to manufacturer bottom lines, and your store’s as well if you’re currently carrying a lot of used units.
Staying Afloat in Rough Waters
After the pandemic passes, or when the coronavirus is understood enough to put this crisis behind us, dealerships will want to return to normal. Even considering the questionable outlook, you're most likely ready to weather the storm – auto dealers are typically resilient.
However, giving yourself the best chance to rise up in the aftermath of the pandemic is going to be a wise move. But how?
One option is clear: offer your inventory to a wider range of consumers. Prospects aren't in short supply, even as many people are sticking close to home. With millions of Americans out of work and unsure of what the future holds, being able to offer people the opportunity for the loans they need can be a key component of staying afloat.
Even previously good credit consumers may find themselves with situational bad credit due to the coronavirus. This means that subprime borrowers may become an even larger chunk of the automotive landscape in the coming years as we recover from COVID-19 as a nation.
If you're not currently offering a subprime solution for your consumers, it may be time to think about it. Rather than turning away prospects due to credit issues, team up with a service that caters to this highly loyal customer base.
Bring In the Prospects You Need
Since opening up your lending options may come in handy in the near term and possibly longer, the last thing you need to worry about is getting those prospects in the door – real and virtual. That's where Auto Credit Express can help. We've been a top source of subprime leads for over 20 years, and we don't plan on stopping due to an economic hiccup.
We want to connect prospective buyers who are ready to take the next step in their car buying journey to your store. Once you are capable of catering to a wider range of car buyers, you need a way to let them know, so let us shout it from the rooftops for you.
We can connect consumers to you, prepare them for buying with our dedicated automotive BDC, or simply help you roll out new direct mail campaigns to let people know when you're back in business for face-to-face sales. Plus, our partnership with CarsDirect Connect can put your new and used inventory within the reach of millions of consumers.
Whatever your dealership's needs are in the post-pandemic future, turn to us if you need a hand. To find out how we can help your business stay strong, simply give us a call at 888-535-2277 or fill out our online contact form and we'll get in touch with you.