Dale Pollak, speaking at the Cox Automotive press conference during the NADA Show, didn't mince words.
"This is my 49th consecutive NADA. This year, I'm seeing something I never thought I'd see," said the visionary behind vAuto's suite of products to help dealerships find and price used vehicles to achieve rapid yet profitable inventory turns. He cited data, from the National Automobile Dealers Association, which showed that the average U.S. light-vehicle franchise dealership lost $2 on every used vehicle it retailed in 2017.
"The greatest challenge to the viability of the dealership franchise system is margin compression," Pollak said. The problem has been acute in new-car departments for years, but used vehicles had remained a solidly profitable operation, as software such as vAuto's had offset consumers' increasing price awareness in the era of Internet vehicle research.
No longer, said Pollak. The need for dealerships to have data-driven used-car strategies is greater than ever.