Emerging Trends in Automotive

Nicole Marcellino

There are many trend watchers all over the internet these days. They’re telling us what to wear, what to watch, and even what to eat. The automotive industry is no different than any other, as there is a nearly constant shifting of trends in this changing industry. What has been going on in the automotive industry for the past five years that you may have missed?

Sure, we have been able to shop for cars on the internet for over a decade, but it used to be a pretty difficult process. Once you found the vehicle you liked, you had to call the dealership if you had any further questions, then you test drove the vehicle in person, hashed out the details with the salesperson, talked to financing people, and three hours later you were on your merry way with your new car. 

Now almost all dealerships have added the text pop-up asking how they can help, you can email the dealership in most instances to ask further questions, and more information than ever before is available at the tips of your fingers. Post-COVID, things have been simplified even further, as many dealership sites have added a “Buy From Home” button, eliminating the need for lengthy dealership visits.

The microchip crisis and supply chain issues have brought forth another trend in dealerships; less inventory on hand. Remember the days of driving through expansive dealership car lots and ogling their expansive inventory. That is not going to happen anymore and many of us are wondering if this is permanent. Are dealerships going to have less available inventory on the lots even after the chip shortage reverses?

With lower inventory, dealerships have been forced to create another trend, the custom build. Custom builds pre-COVID were available but fewer and far between. Custom builds were more popular for luxury or performance sedans or to build the truck of your dreams. However, now you can find the option to build the car of your dreams on nearly every automotive site and if you are willing to wait eight months, you can achieve it. 

Prior to the pandemic, when purchasing a vehicle there tended to still be some wiggle room to finesse the art of the deal. During the buying process, you would talk numbers with the salesperson and he would “throw in” something, you would ask for a couple of thousand dollars off the window sticker, and then you would come to a several hundred dollar discount. 

These days, more dealerships than ever are becoming “one-price” stores. This means to the car buyer that what they see is what they get, in terms of price. There is no haggling, no big discounts, and most stores have added in a market adjustment to all of their vehicles, especially when the model is in high demand. For several years, the dealership model has been moving toward the no-haggle structure, but the inventory shortage has allowed for them to complete the transition.

As more trends emerge and more business is being done over the phone and the internet than ever before, isn’t it time to make sure your staff can handle the increased volume? With ongoing coaching, you can ensure that your staff knows how to handle a phone call and has the ability to get the customer into the store. When used properly, modern scripts are known to increase appointment set rates by up to 80%. Times are changing in the automotive industry, is your dealership changing with them?

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Nicole Marcellino

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