(NEW YORK) As the American economy continues to recover, automakers are still waiting for that massive pick up in new car sales. Auto industry analysts estimate that a little more than 15 million new cars will be sold in the United States in 2013, but even that figure doesn’t come close to the 40.5 million used vehicles which changed hands last year.
Thanks to the American public’s reborn interest in used cars, the industry has gotten very competitive. There will come a time when regional inventories of used vehicles will be very low, but that is still a few years away. In the meantime, auto dealerships are sharpening their marketing skills and sales strategies to capture market share and stay ahead of their competitors.
Seizing Estrogen Power
According to industry magazine WardsAuto Dealer Business, the used auto sales force in the U.S. is not adequately represented in terms of gender. At an industry conference in Toronto, an auto journalist explained that used car lots are too male-centric. The same journalist recommended that a used vehicle dealer should strive to hire enough saleswomen to make females 30 percent of their sales force.
A recent survey by Road & Travel Magazine revealed that 95 percent of all car purchases in the U.S. have some level of influence by a woman. While it is natural to assume that this is due to the interest of women in making a decision relevant to a family car, it is important to remember that American women who are in the Generation Y demographic are fiercely independent. They may not always be looking for a family vehicle; they could very well enter a used car sales lot looking for a sporty and affordable model.
When compared to their peers of previous generations, women of the Millennial Generation have greater purchasing power. This means that they are worth attracting to used car dealerships. One way of accomplishing this is by engaging them in online social networks where they frequently hang out. The visual social network Pinterest is a good place to start, but dealers must keep in mind that the pictures of vehicles they upload must be bright and pretty in order to catch the attention of prospective female used car shoppers.
Choose the Right Models for Your Lot
The ongoing economic recovery has not done much to increase the purchasing power of average American buyers. Although the employment situation has improved, salaries are a bit stagnant. This means that used car buyers are looking for low-cost, reliable cars. To this end, used car dealers should try to stock their inventories with certain models.
The Ford Fusion, Chrysler Sebring and the Mazda 6 are in high demand and should be easy to sell. The best selling points of these models include their proven reliability and relative low cost. Used minivans are going through a rough patch right now, which means that used car dealers should not make them a priority of their inventory. On the other hand, the Cadillac STS and Dodge Charger are highly sought-after, which means dealers can probably extract a higher profit margin on each of those sales.