What is the biggest challenge for used car operations in the coming year?
Without question the most important challenge for used vehicle operations in the coming year will be sourcing inventory. Simply stated there will not be sufficient quantities of used car trade-ins, nor will the local auction alone be the solution. As dealers, we had it so good for so long with respect to the plentiful availability of used vehicles that we never really honed our acquisition skills. Today, it requires a completely new approach and discipline.
I’m confident that dealers will need to dedicate specialized resources to the task of identifying, locating and procuring needed vehicles. I don’t however think that it’s realistic to expect traditional used car managers to spend the necessary time to do these tasks. Rather, I think that there is a need for a stocking analyst. This individual is someone that has a good head on their shoulders with respect to the used car business and enjoys working with technology systems and data. I suspect that most dealerships have such an individual already on staff. They might be in another department of the dealership, but probably already there. Properly trained, these individuals can do much of the research and leg work for the used car manager.
I would encourage everyone to recognize and address the need to hone their vehicle acquisition skills. We are running training classes around the country to teach the stocking analyst role and responsibilities. It is already paying off for many dealerships.