For years, auto dealers were told they had to price pre-owned vehicles at 92 percent to market to move them. Of course, dropping prices forces your competitors to lower theirs, and so begins the race to the bottom. The problem with that approach is it has sucked billions of dollars out of the automotive market, with dealers struggling to average $1,500 in front-end profit per vehicle retailed even before COVID-19 hit.
The pandemic and the inventory shortage it caused confirmed that you don't have to be the cheapest. In fact, many dealers started pricing vehicles at 115 percent to 135 percent to market and generated more gross profit than they have in years. They're operating with less staff, less overhead, fewer days' supply and making two to three times more gross per vehicle than before the pandemic.
Do we have to return to normal? Or is it time to reset the market and create a new normal — one in which dealers can enjoy healthy margins again? I would argue the latter, and the way to do it is with data — not just data from your local market but the transactional data from your store.