Traditionally the kick-off for summer, the Memorial Day Holiday anchors of the biggest weekend vehicle sales events of the year. But with some states emerging from the lockdown and others observing stay-at-home guidelines, what can car shoppers expect this year?
Memorial Day Weekend is a travel holiday, but fewer people expect to be flying. Road trips may be up, but with fewer restaurants and attractions open, little in the way of professional sports and concerts being held, it’s likely many will stay home. This is a good thing for the dealerships/ Automotive Groups who have a solid on-line shop/buy/trade your way presence on the Internet. Many dealerships have employed social-distancing tactics at their stores and are ready for the guests to come but for the first time, offerings of vehicle delivery are heavily focused on digital sales. At last count there are close to 12,000 dealers are now offering Dealer Home Services.
More shoppers may be good for dealers, but there may be a scenario unfolding where there are more buyers chasing fewer popular new models.
Factory shutdowns ending, but inventories are tight as some dealers, so the best time to buy is NOW. The ports are stocked with vehicles that are in transit and will be arriving in your community as early as next week.
Automotive assembly plants are just now beginning to restart their production lines after an 8-week hiatus. The vehicle with the trim, tech or safety package may not be on line or at the lot today but don’t let vehicles that are not in stock, scare you away because you may have heard that the lowest volume in more than a year is what the Industry is facing. Popular vehicles that were in short supply before the shutdown may remain difficult to find this weekend but in the weeks ahead watch out. You might find the biggest offers on 2019 model year closeouts as it is every year.
Shoppers will find a better selection among pre – owned vehicles. While both new and used retail sales fell in late March and April, used vehicle activity is up in May. Even as pre owned vehicle sales climb, remember including manufacturers don’t forget Independent stores for pre-owned vehicles. A tip from this CPO Champion is that if you can’t find that new vehicle you want, a late model Certified Pre-Owned model might just fit the bill.
Manufacturers instituted across-the-board programs like 0-percent financing for up to 84 months at the height of the shutdown. However, these broad offers are on the decline. More traditional rebates and lease deals on selected models are now in place. So while the headlines focus on 0-percent and payment deferrals, you need to dig down to find the best deal.
Part of that drilling down involves a visit to the manufacturers’ websites. Don’t forget to enter your zip code to find out what specific deals are available in your area. It’s here where you’ll also find conditional incentive offers to first responders and military families. Some give $1,000 extra cash for qualified buyers and don’t forget to compare it with your dealership’s shop, buy, trade your way financing portail.
Although the Federal Reserve has lowered rates and manufacturers tout 0-percent deals, most low-interest rates go to highly qualified buyers. The lower your credit score the higher the interest you’ll pay. That has always the case for automobiles but Independents and Certified Pre –Owned buyers might get a pleasant gift this holiday weekend. Rule of thumb always watch your credit scores especially our younger buyers who may have not been exposed to this knowledge in secondary or college. When it comes to financing, online research before shopping a dealership is a good strategy. Check first with your bank or credit union and prequalify for a loan. With that rate in hand, see if the dealer can beat it or offer another discount if you don’t qualify for the factory-backed rate.
Overall, automakers have not pulled out the usual stock of blow-out-Memorial Day deals. Still, there are good incentives in place to pull shoppers into dealerships during the second half of May. And with significant pent-up demand, there’s reason to believe Memorial Day Weekend may be a good one for dealers and consumers in many parts of the country. Tight inventory will keep incentives in check. As a result, some buyers will steer towards Independent dealerships. How well the Memorial Day Weekend unfolds in the Automotive Industry on the sales front will likely set the tone for what’s to come in the second half of the year for dealer and Independent service departments and the other vertical retail markets sales companies in our country for the balance of 2020
Brandon Hardison – Champion Strategies