The Biggest Challenges Car Dealerships Face in 2024

The Biggest Challenges Car Dealerships Face in 2024

The auto industry is in a constant state of flux, and 2024 presents a unique set of challenges for dealerships. While some carry over from previous years, new trends are emerging that demand innovative solutions. Here's a breakdown of the biggest hurdles dealerships need to overcome to thrive in the current market:

1. The Evolving Sales Landscape: Direct-to-Consumer vs. Traditional Dealerships

The rise of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers like Tesla and Rivian, who sell directly to consumers, disrupts the traditional dealership model. Dealerships need to adapt by offering a compelling value proposition beyond just selling cars. This includes exceptional customer service, transparent pricing, and a seamless buying experience, both online and in person.

2. Inventory Management in an Era of Uncertainty

Supply chain disruptions continue to cause headaches for dealerships. Shortages of new vehicles combined with fluctuating customer demand for specific features (gas vs. electric) make it difficult to maintain a balanced inventory. Embracing data analytics and leveraging tools like AVA Trade can help dealerships optimize their stock and avoid understocking.

3. The Rise of the Tech-Savvy Customer

Today's car buyers are more informed than ever. They conduct extensive online research before stepping foot on a dealership lot. Dealerships need to enhance their digital presence with informative websites, tools like AVA Credit for customers to begin the financing journey, engaging social media content, and virtual showrooms that allow customers to explore vehicles remotely.

4. Mastering the Art of the EV Sale

The transition to electric vehicles presents a learning curve for both salespeople and service departments. Dealerships need to invest in training their staff to effectively communicate the benefits of EVs, address customer concerns about charging infrastructure and range anxiety, and be prepared to service these new technologies.

5. The Cybersecurity/ID Fraud Threat Landscape

As dealerships collect more customer data for online sales and service bookings, they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks and fraud. Implementing robust tools like AVA ID, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and employee training is crucial to protect customer information and maintain trust.

6. The Changing Face of Financing

Rising interest rates may impact customer purchasing power and lead to longer loan terms. Dealerships need to partner with a diverse network of lenders to offer competitive financing options and cater to a broader range of customer budgets. Additionally, exploring alternative financing models like subscription services could attract new demographics.

7. Evolving Consumer Expectations: Personalization is Key

Customers expect a personalized buying experience, regardless of their chosen channel (online or in-person). Dealerships need to leverage CRM systems to track customer preferences and tailor their interactions. This could involve targeted online advertising, personalized recommendations during the car selection process, and building genuine customer relationships for future sales and service needs.

8. The Agency Model: A Looming Disruption?

The "agency model" is gaining traction, where manufacturers set national pricing, manage customer relationships, and handle inventory, essentially turning dealerships into sales agents.  While this offers benefits like transparent pricing, it could also limit dealership autonomy and profitability. Dealerships need to be prepared for such potential changes in the industry landscape.

By addressing these challenges head-on and embracing innovation, dealerships can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving automotive market of 2024.

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