As the auto industry continues to reset and recalibrate in a constantly changing market, we're thinking about the biggest trends facing dealer owners and operators in 2023. From all indications, the intense pressure on the auto industry to transform during the pandemic isn’t going away. Economic turbulence, an influx of new competitors, and market changes will force dealerships to find new ways to remain competitive and drive growth.
Going into a year like this, where we know there is probably a recession coming, sometimes people need help figuring out what to do - and that's exactly what FlexDealer is here for.
In this blog, we discuss trends we think are on the horizon for the automotive industry and how we can help dealers overcome them. You can also catch the full conversation in this video featuring industry pros Michael Cirillo and Whit Norrad as they talk about what's to come in 2023 for the automotive community.
More Dealer Franchisee Pushback Against OEMs
If we look back to the beginning of the year, something that started to happen (and we believe will continue into the new year) is dealer franchisee pushback against OEMs. Many franchise dealers are concerned that the future of their businesses is in jeopardy due to automakers' bold moves concerning everything from electric vehicles to exploring new revenue streams and distribution systems. One business model has persisted for decades in automotive: consumers buy cars from independent dealers, not automakers. As this business model is threatened, we imagine some clashing between OEMs and franchise dealers is bound to happen.
Flex is ready to be that bridge between our dealer partners and OEMs. There are so many ways to keep franchise dealerships strong in the face of change, and that's what we work hard for each and every day. We believe that greater transparency and communication between OEMs and the franchise network will be vital, as well as empowering individual franchisees to focus on the customer experience.
More Willingness and Openness To The Discussion Around EVs
In regards to electric vehicles (EVs), we've seen OEMs suggest new EV programs and dealers resist this change. But now that we're seeing more market data come out around EVs, we think it will inspire dealers to be more open to the EV movement. Whether you love it or hate it, it's happening. Your customers are looking for EVs, and we want to empower our dealer partners to feel ready to meet that demand.
Electric and hydrogen technology is opening up new opportunities within the automotive space, and dealers with an eye on the future will be ready to fill that need.
Learn More About How to Sell EVs With These 9 Helpful Tips for Dealers
The Auto Industry Will Keep Growing
Cars aren't going away, folks - now that's a nice prediction for everybody! Although we predict overall growth, it likely won't be to the same extent that we saw over the past two years. The last few years were a unique case that can only happen once in a while. That type of massive growth in any industry just isn't sustainable and will cause other issues and shortages down the road that impact that growth. Regardless, we think everybody will be able to appreciate the steady upwards growth trend and can harness it if they focus on key areas of their businesses.
We love this recent podcast episode on the Dealer Playbook that discusses how investing in customer relationships, team building, and networking is one of the best things any dealer owner or operator can do to secure future growth.
We'll See An Increase In Vehicle Ads
Google Vehicle Ads (VAs) are increasing in performance and spending, which aligns with this potential growth. It's really easy to connect the dots because more players are entering the VA market. And because more people are in that realm, it's still in an auction, of sorts. We're seeing budgets increase to remain competitive, or we're seeing the need to enter that market at a baseline with a matching budget to be competitive, which will continue to happen over the next year at a bare minimum.
We still see a lot of dealers who either don't know what Google VAs are or who can't access them (or both). That's because they are relatively new and need to be set up and managed by an official Google Trusted Partner in the VA program. As one of Canada's first official partners in the Google VA program, FlexDealer has the knowledge, connections, and credentials to get our dealer partners' Vehicle Ads set up and running ahead of their competitors.
Want to take advantage of this trend?
We're offering a FREE setup (trust us - it's a lot of work!) when you start running your Google VAs with Flex. Click below to book a meeting online and take advantage of our offer.
People and Processes Will Matter More
This is one of our favorite things to talk about, so we're going to shout it from the rooftops: people and processes will matter more than they ever did in the past two years. People have only existed on this planet for a hot minute. For every generation who takes their trip around the sun, ultimately we arrive back at this place of understanding that people are the thing that matter the most.
Especially moving into a period of expected economic disruption, the silver lining to these moments and circumstances is that it causes us as human beings to look deeper inward and say, "Hey, what needs to be trimmed? How do I lean up? How do I become more effective and more efficient? How do I improve? How do I get the best bang for my buck?" We encourage dealer owners and operators to look at their processes, their structure, and their team, and think, "It's time to put my people first."
Flex is Your 365-Day Partner For All Things Automotive
It's easy to be a Walmart on Black Friday; it's not easy to be a mom-and-pop shop on Tuesday morning at 11:00 AM. The automotive industry is headed for a Groundhog Day-style loop that is likely to be full of many Tuesday mornings at 11:00 AM. But there are ways you can work on your business during this time that will help leverage what's still working and prime your automotive business for growth in the future. Let's work together to make 2023 a successful year.
After several decades of working with retail automotive dealers, we know our way around the industry. From inventory solutions to dealership website design, to marketing services and lead generation, FlexDealer is your trusted partner in all things automotive.
Contact us to set yourself up for success in 2023 and beyond by exploring our competitive packages.