Increased 2011 Automotive Sales Figures and Effects of Recent Recession are the Perfect Storm to Bring Positive Changes to the U.S. Automotive Industry

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The Manus Group reports a growing demand for sales recruitment and service advisor training programs a firm indicator that dealerships are adjusting their structure and business practices to better serve more engaged consumers. Improved market influence, rising employment opportunities, and more intensive manufacturer participation all cited as key industry changes.

Dealerships nationwide are noticing this change in buying physiology and are bringing more to the negotiation table.

March 2011 automotive sales are up 15.5% over last year, according to The Detroit Free Press. The National Automobile Dealers Association expects U.S. new car sales to grow to 12% in 2011. Rising sales numbers are always good for headlines, but those at The Manus Group believe that the effects of the recent recession have done more than expected to help positively reshape the entire industry.

As Stephanie Young, Vice President of Business Development for the Manus Group explains, “having endured the recession, [consumers] are still concerned about budget and they want more for their money than in the past. Dealerships nationwide are noticing this change in buying physiology and are bringing more to the negotiation table. Instead of offering a good deal at a good price, dealerships are now rolling out the red carpet for prospective buyers.”

Sagging performances caused by the recession facilitated a pruning of the automotive industry by decreasing the number of dealerships in a given market, thus reducing competition for those dealerships who survived. Consequently, consumers have been forced to drive further and sacrifice more fuel and time to find a dealership, which intensifies their commitment to making a purchase instead of merely kicking the tires.

Dealership staffing has also been affected by the combination of rising automotive sales and post-recession activity. Higher sales figures and a larger market radius for surviving dealerships create a gaping need for more salespeople to handle the increased flow of business. The Manus Group evidenced the hiring trend with a 35% increase in its automotive recruitment campaigns over the last year. Further illustrating the point, dealerships in the Jacksonville, FL market increased the number of available jobs by 20% over the last ten months.

Positive change in the automotive industry is not only affecting new auto sales. After all, not every consumer is ready to jump into a brand new car payment. For those not ready to dive in, remaining consumers are still loosening up the purse strings to spend money on repair work. Savvy dealerships have recognized the trend and are expanding their service departments to insure the highest customer service for those not quite ready to purchase a new vehicle.

Winning over service clients is smart marketing for dealerships interested in creating new vehicle buyers from their existing customer base. To no surprise, dealership inquiries into service department improvement programs like The Manus Group’s Service Advisor Training Program are now on the rise.

Finally, manufacturers and support industries are also embracing industry changes. Inventory shortages brought on by natural disasters and human calamity notwithstanding, the fact exists that the automotive industry is currently experiencing a demand than exceeds the supply chain, indicating that parts are being sold, manufacturers are fulfilling orders, and vehicles are finding homes.

Increased customer intelligence and demands for greater satisfaction are inviting fierce competition from both established and emerging automotive brands. And with brands separated by the narrowest of margins, those who can win over consumer interest are destined to survive and thrive in the new economy.

The recession has clearly brought about changes in the U.S. auto industry, but the Manus Group believes that change can be good, because, without it, there can be no progress.

About The Manus Group:

The Manus Group (http://www.themanusgroup.com) made its mark across the nation as a premier provider of dealership sales performance training solutions and service advisor training programs as well as sales and management recruiting services. Backed by more than six decades of industry knowledge, The Manus Group offers proven sales training and recruiting services that produce top-performing employees and bring effective organizational change. The Manus Group focuses on one vital principle: create captivating, world-class experiences that inspire people to achieve benchmark levels of success.

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Stephanie Young
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