If you follow investment news, the automotive sales industry is struggling. Early in the pandemic, the issue was supply — too few new cars were available for the number of people wanting them. The supply problem trickled down to the gently used car market. Used car and truck dealers began paying higher and higher prices to be able to get vehicles on their lots. The consumer was willing to pay for it to a point.
After almost two years of this situation, add in higher interest rates and a looming recession, and buyers are not buying. The average new car payment grew by 29% from 2019 to 2022, the 3-year-old used car payment rose by a whopping 52%. As an auto repair shop owner, this is a great opportunity to build value in your customers’ vehicles and double down on how taking care of what they have is the better option.
How You Can Take Advantage of Rising Costs
How can you take advantage of the automotive sales industry challenges? Here are a few ideas:
Marketing That Educates the Customer
Now is the best time to focus your marketing on maintenance. Most consumers are not well educated on anything maintenance related beyond oil changes. Education marketing can be brochures, blogs, social media posts, and workshops with your team. Any information that shows how keeping the vehicle correctly maintained ensures a long life free of expensive repairs is a good topic.
Used Vehicle Inspection
The price tags on new and gently used vehicles leave a lump in most buyers’ throats. Helping a customer avoid a bad decision, or negotiate a better price, makes you the good guy.
The dealerships have been doing this for decades, but independent auto repair shops rarely offer services at a package price based on mileage or age of the vehicle. This is a great way to bridge your customers from being repair-focused to maintenance-focused.
A “True Cost to Own” Calculation
Is your customer wondering if their car is worth investing in the maintenance vs. replacing it? There is a great resource already available for free that you can use with your customers — Edmunds True Cost of Ownership Calculator.
The supply issues with new and gently used vehicles aren’t going away any time soon. Now is the time to turn new customers into lifetime customers.
Non-ATI members: At ATI, we make sure our members know how to add value and build lasting relationships. Curious about what we can do to help you and your shop grow, increase profits, and be the best in your area? Get started with one of our shop owner events.