Kelly Summers, general manager at Bill Knight Ford in Tulsa, Okla., is seeing a lot fewer trade-ins come into his dealership as retailers battle it out to buy used vehicles directly from consumers during the inventory crisis.
So Summers is turning to technology to give him a competitive edge in snatching up those cars and trucks before rivals can. And he's not alone. As microchip shortages and other supply disruptions crimped new-vehicle production during the past year, dealerships have increasingly relied on their used- vehicle businesses.
It has dealers more willing than ever to pay for sophisticated software tools to help them solve the inventory conundrum and stock their lots even as used-vehicle prices surge. Retail technology vendors see a window of opportunity and are investing significant money and resources to develop or acquire products to bolster their inventory-sourcing offerings. A resulting boom in product launches and acquisition deals has emerged in recent months, and experts say there's more to come.