Getting Creative In the Hunt for Inventory

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If 2020 wasn’t the ideal time for you to get creative, then what are you doing? Whether it be in your personal or professional life, we’ve all had to adjust our lives pretty quickly in a short amount of time – kids, family, school, work, and just life in general. As a friend said to me a few months ago, “We may not all be in the same boat, but rather we are all weathering the same storm…” and how true is that? Not everyone is in the same situation, but the most important thing is how we navigate this craziness. 

How does this relate to the car business, you say? Pretty sure you already know the answer but let me break it down for argument’s sake. It is now October, and we are still battling this coronavirus pandemic, with no end in sight, it seems. And we are tired, tired of it all, but still managing to survive. That’s what is so great about the auto industry – no matter what happens, we always manage to find a way through. Since March, dealers everywhere faced the similar, if not the same, problems – store closings, health and safety precautions, remote sales, furloughs, sales, inventory shortages, etc. etc. etc. It didn’t matter where you were in the US – we all had similar battles – but the key is, what did we do to survive? I mean, honestly, any plans you had at the beginning of the year pretty much went out the window, right? 

A continuing problem for many right now is the shortage of vehicles, new and used. Unfortunately, there is only so much one can do regarding acquiring new vehicles; when manufacturers shut down production, it put a halt on everything. Used cars became a little challenging, as well. People were holding onto their cars, either by extending their leases or simply just keeping them. In the beginning, when everyone was pretty much stuck at home, wholesale prices and sales [in general] plummeted. Still, as restrictions eased and people started to come out, the inventory became an issue. With the shortage of new vehicles, some customers turned to purchasing a used vehicle, and then, as a result, wholesale prices soared. As it was becoming more difficult to acquire used cars from wholesalers and auctions, some people got creative in their inventory hunt. 

Example? Troy Duhon [owner of Premier Auto in New Orleans] told his guys to take it to the streets. Talk about creativity. His sales guys were going outside the box and looking for vehicles on Craigslist, Facebook, Instagram, heck, they were even talking to their friends about selling their cars and getting into a new car. One salesperson alone bought 30 vehicles off the streets in the month of August. Duhon also decided to change his advertising technique. Instead of promoting deals on cars, he let customers know that they will buy their vehicles instead! 

This is not to say you should be buying every single used car available, but it’s definitely a creative way to spread your resources. It also doesn’t mean you should stop buying from auctions or upselling from the service drive; it is merely another way to cast your net. As they say, what might work for one, might not work for another, but sometimes you do have to think outside the box. To go back to what I said in the beginning, we are all in the same storm. The question is, what are you doing to get out of it?

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Dealers Get Creative in Inventory Hunt


Author: Christine P.
Date: Oct 07, 2020