Making the Most of 2018’s Automotive Predictions

2018 is underway and with the New Year comes a lot of predictions on how the automotive industry will change.  Are you ready for these changes?

If you want to keep your dealership in the mainstream with car buyers it is necessary to keep abreast of what is going on in the industry and make necessary adjustments and improvements in your sales practices, your dealership website, and the way you offer car buyers the opportunity to purchase a car.

Now is the time to embrace these changes even if it means changing the way you have always done business and the way you think about selling a vehicle.  Digging in and trying to stay with the way things were will only result in you being left behind.

Car Buyers Want Faster, More Reliable Information

If you’ve ever decided you wanted to purchase something and went online to research or inquire about pricing, you want that information to be easy to find, relevant, and reliable, and you want it immediately.

Car buyers are no different.  When they are ready to buy a car they want to have the information they need at their fingertips and they don’t want to have to struggle to find or understand it.

It is very important that your dealership caters to these needs by having a website that is easy to navigate, that has information on incentives, trade-in values if they have a trade-in and information on payments and financing options.  One of the things car buyers dislike in general about dealing with sales associates at the dealership is that they feel like they are in the hot seat.

They are shown a car they really like, test drive it and decide they would like to have it and then suddenly they have no idea just how much that great car is going to cost them until they get into the finance department where, let’s face it, they sometimes go blind on paperwork and numbers they may not even understand.

This scenario happened far too often for many car buyers and because of it, they became wary of the sales associates and started looking for ways to handle more of the car buying process themselves before ever stepping foot on the lot.

There are tons of great sales associates having to pay the price for those that have handled business poorly but if you focus on the right things to do, you can overcome the stigma that less than reputable dealerships have caused.

 What to Focus On

It is important for dealerships and the sales associates that work for them to take a look at the current way marketing is being handled to make sure that those processes cater to the CURRENT needs today’s car buyers have.

There are several things you want to accomplish with your website, sales practices, and any interaction you have with potential car buyers.

  • Easy-to-Navigate Website with relevant information – Provide car shoppers with an up-to-date website that is easy to navigate and that has the information they are looking for concerning financing and promotions.


  • Cars listed on the site for sale are STILL for sale – Make sure that the dealership website is being kept up-to-date regarding the available vehicles that are listed for sale.

This is one of the most common frustrations car shoppers have. They will go to the website, see a car they really like, get excited about it and contact the dealer only to find out THAT car is gone but “Hey, take a look at THIS one”.

The other car could be nicer than the one they originally liked but it doesn’t change the disappointment factor and harms trust between your dealership and the car shopper.

It is very important that the cars available on the website are available when the car buyer calls or comes in as well.  It is worth the effort it takes to keep the site up to date because your car buyers and everyone they know will come to trust that what they see is what they get.


  • Offer needed information quickly and accurately – Many car shoppers have vehicles they will want to trade in. Offering them a trade-in evaluation tool that is easy to use and provides up-to-date information for their trade is very beneficial.

Because so many car shoppers have a trade-in to offer,  this valuation tool can go a long way toward bringing the shopper into the dealership, especially if your trade-in tool is top of the line and provides them with the information they need quickly, accurately, and easily.


  • Handle as much of the sale as possible in their preferred manner – If you encounter a potential car shopper that wants to handle as much of the transaction as possible online, through email, or even through text, you should be able to accommodate them as much as possible.

Doing things “their way” whenever possible builds trust that you are not simply out to “get them in the showroom”.

In today’s technological world it is not too complicated to get financing information, trade-in values, and payment information for them to look at.

You will need to explain to the car buyer that a specific and exact trade-in amount cannot be determined until the trade-in vehicle is seen in person due to the need for an in-person inspection.



The more you are able to cater to the needs of the car shopper of today, the more likely they are to complete the car buying process with you.  By being willing to step away from the age-old “In person appointment in the showroom”, you will find that today’s car shoppers will be much more inclined to buy from you. It may not be the way things used to be but the bottom line will be the same…more sales.

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