Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Biggest Problems Used Car Dealerships Face in 2020

The NADA Show just wrapped up its annual event in Las Vegas. The National Automobile Dealers Association invites dealers, suppliers, and vendors nationwide, to come together and collaborate as one industry. CarGurus.com recently shared press from the show, highlighting some of the hot topics today’s used car dealerships are discussing.

We often share insights from the manufacturer’s perspective. So, learning more about how the franchise and used car dealers are feeling about their current challenges, piqued our interest. After all, when you’re ready to trade in your vehicle, it’s the dealership engagement that will matter most.

What the CarGurus “One Voice” Report analyzes

When you get the whole gang together, it presents an opportunity to gather and present valuable intel and opinions. CarGurus launched the inaugural “One Voice” results in Las Vegas. This report collects and analyzes data, direct from the dealerships, regarding their metrics and predictions for 2020 performance, inventory sourcing, and digital trends.

Remember, it’s the dealership’s job to create a valuable experience for you, as the car buyer. Imagine once a year; all the dealers’ best practices and efforts come together in one comprehensive report.

Securing inventory is a challenge for used car dealerships

Dealers are struggling to find the right inventory that attracts consumers. In fact, 76% of used car dealerships said it was more difficult last year than in 2018. The plan is for dealership owners to find new sources of used cars. Traditionally, the car lots rely on your consumer trade-ins and auto auction purchases as channels for used inventory.

Digital concerns in an ‘add to cart’ culture

Another key area that dealerships plan to work on this year is bettering how they connect with buyers digitally. There’s been a surge in online buying options, including those like Carvana that promote the car vending machine.

Most consumers will tell you they loathe the thought of subjecting themselves to the traditional dealership buying process. While plenty of folks prefer these new digital channels for buying new cars, secretly, most consumers still want to see their purchases in person.

Admit it. You’d rather the dealerships change their process, not necessarily see them eliminated from it altogether, right? According to the CarGurus report, there are areas in which the dealerships can leverage more digital conveniences, to do just that.

The top three digital enhancements you can expect to see with your local dealers might include:

  • Financing and pre-approval online (50% of dealers think this is important)
  • Start to finish, click-to-buy feature (43% of dealers will focus on this)
  • Trade-in valuation online (33% of dealers plan to work on this)

How the dealerships plan to target you as the consumer

For used car dealerships, how they find, attract, and develop their relationships with consumers falls under what they call the lead management umbrella. In this recent report, almost half of the dealers reported higher numbers of leads last year, as another 29% of dealers reported declines.

What this means for car buyers heading into 2020, is you may want to prepare to start seeing more targeted messages via search engine marketing, better web experiences, and increased social media. It may be a good thing for you as a consumer.

The dealers plan to use their data to better apply their marketing. You may see interactions from them that actually apply to you, your car buying timeline, or your market. Unlike the cold calling and email-blasting in the blind, as the method of customer outreach in decades past.

What the dealerships learn from the CarGurus report and get-togethers, like the 2020 NADA Show this year, is how to get better at what they do. Their job is to connect great vehicles with local consumers who need them. Any effort to streamline and improve that process is a benefit to everyone.