February '20

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52 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 O n Sept. 21 last year, my sales rep and I visited one of our Chevy dealer- ships where we've maintained two to three vehicles on the showroom floor for over a year. It was a routine visit and a dealership we have a great relationship with that has been making profits from our limited-edition designs. The showroom cars had sold, and we were stopping in to replace them when we got the bad news from the general manager. "We just got out of a meeting and we have to hold our inventory until we know what's going on with the strike," he said. "We don't know when we'll have cars inbound or how long the strike will go." During the GM strike (which lasted until late October) we had some deal- erships limit the number of showroom cars they sent out and some dealers hold off completely until they knew they had inventory inbound once again. Manufacturer strikes can happen at any time and have the potential to con- tinue for however long it takes to reach an agreement. For restylers, a slowdown is an opportunity to help dealerships increase profits on temporarily limited inventory, and conduct sales trainings on new accessories or packages. LOST BUSINESS The 2019 General Motors strike defi- nitely did some damage. "Daily losses started off slow, at under $10 million per day," said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan research firm special- izing in the auto industry, in an Oct. 7, 2019 article published in CNN Business. "However, we're looking at GM losses spiraling up to $90 million daily as the strike continues into its fourth week." The article added that the losses were escalating as GM burned through its available inventory of cars and trucks. The continued idling of expensive plants and equipment was also hurting GM, particularly when non-UAW plants in Mexico, Canada and elsewhere in the U.S. were also forced to halt operations because of the strike. Here at home, our dealerships needed inventory and had no idea when they'd see vehicles inbound again. Potential car buyers were confused as well, contributing to the overall negative energy felt throughout the dealerships. As their restyling partner, how could we help? We decided it was the perfect time to train and educate the sales staffs at each of our dealerships affected by the strike, focusing on trim level breakdowns and the various accessories available at each level. When dealerships sit on limited inven- tory—whether from a strike, massive recall or limited production due to a natural disaster—they must make the most of what's on their lot. This is where the trusted restyler can serve an important role. When inventory is limited, the restyler can provide accessory solutions, particu- larly for buyers who want a vehicle with specific features but don't have time to wait for inventory to come back. If a customer is ready to purchase a vehicle with specific features but is forced to wait weeks for it to arrive, they will likely turn to other brands that match the class. However, if the dealership can offer the products the customer is looking for with a good warranty, it may be able to save the deal. SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE The best way to educate dealership sales 52 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 Restylers can aid dealerships with limited inventories by helping them turn larger profits on the vehicles they do have. There's never a good time to experience a halt in business, particularly because of something like a manufacturer's strike, which is completely out of your control. By Courtney Pahlke When auto manufacturers strike, restylers can help. Back in the Swing of ings

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