The shortage of new- and used-vehicle inventory has created a lack of loaners at dealerships. And those stores that have them are faced with the choice of whether to keep the cars for service customers or take advantage of red-hot used-vehicle prices and sell them.
Russell Lemmer, president of Dealerware, a software provider that helps dealerships manage their loaner fleets and other courtesy vehicles, says the average dealership has about 40 vehicles for use by service customers, but it varies a lot between luxury and mass-market brands.
Typically, mass-market dealerships have around 15 to 20 loaner cars. But dealerships for luxury brands such as BMW and Lexus might have 100 or 200, Lemmer says. With the inventory shortage, loaner fleets for luxury brands are down "a few percentage points" in size, he says.