Ordering new vehicles for a dealership is a science and an art.
The science: calculating which vehicles to order based on customer demand, past sales numbers, factory input, model availability, and financial considerations such as anticipated floorplan costs and manufacturer incentives.
The art: determining what the market is going to look like when vehicles arrive in two months and what buyers will be anxious to own.
Dealers who don't keep close track of inventory - or don't have managers who do - are asking for problems.
"Dealers tend to get sloppy because they depend on busy managers," says consultant Dennis Puskaric, head of Dendi Enterprises Inc. in Hobe Sound, Fla.
"The manager or dealer should always look at the age schedule of vehicles on hand."
One dealer who keeps close track of his inventory is Bill Stasek of Bill Stasek Chevrolet Inc. in Wheeling, Ill. Stasek does a lot of dealer trading, readjusting 20 to 25 percent of vehicles to keep new inventory moving.
"With Chevrolet, we can run our inventory however we like," Stasek says. "For every 100 vehicles we order, no more than 10 are special orders, and those are most likely Corvettes."
Stasek has put his fleet and commercial vehicles manager, Scott Wiscomb, in charge of vehicle orders.
At the end of last year Wiscomb counted about 250 new cars and trucks in his inventory.
"We're also a commercial truck dealer, and we'll be ordering soon for spring," Wiscomb said in December. "Trucks for seasonal operations like landscapers are a significant portion of our business."