2021 Auto Industry Insight on Dealership Car Sales

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Although COVID-19’s effects have rippled into 2021 for dealerships, experts have said that the outlook for the auto industry looks promising for 2021. University of Michigan economists expect a solid rebound for car sales and production in 2021 and 2022.

In a recent article, U.S. forecasting specialist Daniil Manaenkov, predicts new car sales will climb to 16.3 million units in 2021, and 16.7 million units in 2022. However, according to the University of Michigan economists, COVID-19 remains a significant risk in calculating the outlook for 2021.

Car sales trends show online car shopping is becoming more prevalent among millennials and Gen Z consumers. According to a recent study, less than a third of younger consumers prefer conducting car sales and aftersales in person at a dealership. The study also showed respondents are more interested in contactless services, and approximately half of respondents were willing to pay extra for these services.

So, what does this auto industry outlook mean for dealerships and their car sales?

  • Create a comprehensive, online car-shopping/buying experience for consumers.
    While online car shopping was already trending before COVID-19, recent studies show that more car buyers want to handle price negotiations online. Therefore, it’s important that dealerships provide consumers with the flexibility to choose how much or how little of the car-buying process they want to conduct online.

  • Continue focusing on fostering a safe environment for your staff and customers.
    Just because more of the car-buying process is trending towards the digital doesn’t mean showrooms are obsolete. In a recent CNBC interview, Sonic Automotive CEO David Smith noted that while car buyers may do most of their shopping online, they still want to come into the dealership, conduct a test-drive, and make sure they like the vehicle. Keeping this in mind, dealerships should continue focusing on presenting a safe, sanitized environment for customers and staff.

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