Patrick Daly, 30
General manager, Randy Wise Chevrolet
These days, the dealer principal's 1964 Impala SS is the only vehicle that resides in the Randy Wise Chevrolet showroom, and the new-car lot is nearly empty.
But instead of waiting on General Motors to replenish inventory amid the global microchip shortage, Patrick Daly plans to significantly boost used-vehicle inventory, harnessing the skills he has developed throughout his career.
"With used cars, I like the idea of being able to control your own destiny," said Daly, general manager at the dealership in Flint, Mich.
Daly is extremely precise and analytical: He creates spreadsheets to track reconditioning speed, marketing campaigns, social media interactions and gross earnings on trade-ins vs. the used vehicles he and his team purchase.
Before Daly was promoted to general manager in March 2019, he was the store's general sales manager for about a year and a half. During that time, everything ran "flawlessly," he said.
But during his first year as general manager, a competing dealership opened nearby and poached three of his top staffers, a UAW strike halted GM production and the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., temporarily forcing the store to close.
Despite the obstacles, 2020 was the most profitable year in Randy Wise Chevrolet's 31-year history.
The store sold 1,179 new and 1,729 used vehicles last year, with the used sales total up slightly from 2019 — even after shutting down for nearly two months because of the pandemic.
Daly came up with several strategies to get through the crisis, but he is most proud of his ability to navigate the used-vehicle market — a skill he's been honing since his early days as a car salesman and his time as the used-vehicle director for another dealership.
"I usually buy over 100 used cars a month, just myself, and stay pretty close to the pulse of what's selling every single day," he said.
Lessons learned throughout the pandemic also have helped the dealership through the microchip shortage that has depleted new-vehicle inventory.
In mid-June, Daly had only five unsold new vehicles on the lot.
At the same time, Daly had 216 used vehicles in stock, a 29-day supply. He was aiming to get that count up to 250 and transition his entire sales team to used vehicles.
"My goal was that everyone here can make the same living or better than what they're used to," Daly said. "I'm just trying to take care of the employees to make sure that there's no difference in their lifestyle."
— Hannah Lutz