The tight new-vehicle supply is forcing many customers to choose between waiting for their dream vehicle to arrive someday or buying a used car from the selection available on the lot now.
The supply-demand disconnect has left many dealers scrambling to figure out how to hang on to those new-vehicle buyers. Many have turned to the order books — one of the nation's largest dealership groups said it's largely been able to move those customers into the pipeline. But dealers also are trying to sell those buyers on the vehicles still in stock on their lots, even if they are used.
And converting new-car buyers to used-car buyers both requires and fosters skills that the industry has allowed to atrophy, two industry trainers said.
It has become necessary to "retool [employees] a little bit," said Ritch Wheeler, vice president of training for the Automotive Training Academy by Assurant.
Current conditions require dealers to revisit the old retail concept of SWAT — Sell What's Available Today — Wheeler said.