The automotive industry’s largest event of the year may be over, but the fun is just beginning. NADA 2023 promised to help dealers make a splash in the new year. After a vibrant series of days consisting of networking and learning, the automotive industry walked away having gained valuable lessons needed to stay competitive and break away from the pack in the coming months.
And while every dealership is unique in its processes and operations, there were a few themes that echoed throughout the show. One of the conversations that repeated itself from booth to stage was the need for dealers to better source inventory from consumers. Valuable inventory exists for savvy dealers to work outside their comfort zone to stock their lots with the right vehicles that customers are shopping for.
As it stands, the buyer’s journey is skewing a hybrid mix of digital and traditional. Because there are so many options for shopping, dealers need to be smart in how they source cars for their inventory. Enter a proper strategy for consumer acquisition as a business tentpole in 2023. But one lesson learned at NADA was that simply having a physical banner or digital campaign to attract consumers to your lot may not be enough.
The used car industry needs to think outside the box. With so many technology solutions available to help transform the process of consumer inventory acquisition, dealers should leverage tools such as a brandable website widget capable of delivering data-backed, real-time price offers based on vehicle information provided directly by the consumer. On top of that, savvy stores have been standardizing the dealer walk-around inspection process to vet the preliminary offer. This combination provides the transparency a dealer needs to establish actual value while building superior consumer relationships based on objective vehicle data points.
Beyond that, dealers at NADA were hyperfocused on handling aged inventory. Many conversations circled around how to successfully turn old vehicles. As it stands, the average amount of time it takes to turn a car is at a record high not seen since 2020. This creates a unique time for dealers to get back to fundamentals in order to maximize opportunities. Used inventory is likely to decline over the next few years, which many expect to be positive for vehicle values.
Finally, in order to engage with and educate dealer partners, ACV team members Randy Barone, Doug Hadden, and Kraig Quisenberry hosted the newly launched TEC (Transparency, Education, Community) Talks series about the future of technology and data-driven inspections in conjunction with new and inventive ways to achieve inventory independence. ACV was joined by leading voices in the automotive industry, including Sam D’Arc from Zeigler Automotive Group, Tony Lucas from Casa Auto Group, and Nate Myers from Performance Automotive Group. Together, they shared strategies and tips for improving business operations on the wholesale and retail side.
Overall, this year’s show proved to be an excellent mix of education and networking opportunities. The lessons learned will continue throughout the rest of the year. As dealer partners prepare to break free from the pack, it is more critical than ever before to build a community that supports data-driven growth for consumer inventory acquisition while strategically turning aged inventory.