Sellers agree that persistence and communication are key to getting via a troublesome season with an unknown expiration date, particularly in the case of repairs.
“One of many issues we won’t management are back-order elements — when they are going to be in and whether or not there are workarounds so that folks can get on the highway safely on this interim interval, earlier than they’ll get their automotive again,” Glassman stated. “… We have been lucky we have a fairly large loaner automotive fleet. However we’re making an attempt to be clever concerning the distribution of these vehicles.”
Glassman stated the uncertainty has put a pressure on his staff.
“Folks have bought their automotive with an expectation that if they’ve an issue, they’re going to carry it in, and within the regular course of enterprise, historical past will inform them that over an inexpensive time period, the vehicles will get fastened. … So once we run into a few of these provide chain points, naturally, if we’re unable to get folks right into a automotive, that is when the nervousness can heighten,” he stated.
Muncey stated the perfect factor LaFontaine did to maintain its prospects comfortable was growing its loaner fleet final yr.
Earlier than the pandemic, he stated most dealerships solely carried brand-new loaners, which they might enable to be pushed about 3,000 to five,000 miles earlier than transferring them into their new car stock to be offered. However given the historic stock scarcity, that wasn’t an possibility.
“We did not have new vehicles out there to place right into a loaner fleet,” he stated. “We went out and purchased lots of of further pre-owned automobiles to serve our company’ wants in that regard.”
Fox Motors did the identical factor.
“We have tailored fairly a bit at a number of shops, utilizing pre-owned automobiles when wanted and placing these in our service loaner fleets,” he stated.
Daniel, at Maple Hill in Kalamazoo, stated it is typically been a horrible time for the gross sales aspect of the dealership enterprise, however recognized one silver lining of the stock scarcity: With the typical age of automobiles on the highway rising to about 12.2 years, extra folks want elements and repair, boosting enterprise within the storage.
“Our elements enterprise grew considerably this yr, (and) our service enterprise grew considerably this yr,” he stated, though he did not share particular numbers.
Wright, at Shaheen Chevrolet in Lansing, echoed that have, however stated the spike in enterprise additionally means a scarcity of technicians to work on automobiles.
“There’s extra demand, and there is not sufficient folks to repair the vehicles,” he stated.
What this excellent storm means for purchasers, Wright stated, is being compelled to adapt to life with no automotive by carpooling, taking the bus, or utilizing one other technique of transit. For probably the most half, Shaheen Chevrolet’s prospects — lots of whom are both GM staff or associated to 1 — have been an understanding bunch.
“Folks seemingly are figuring it out,” Wright stated. “It is simply sort of like going again in time, earlier than there have been loaner vehicles and earlier than everyone had the a number of automobiles and whatnot. You sort of needed to determine it out.”
Moore, at Fox Motors, stated he would not have a crystal ball, however feels “some positivity” heading into this yr that the part shortages will ease up.
“We’re manner higher than we had been six months in the past,” he stated. “…We really feel that 2023 will doubtlessly have a greater stock provide.”
Muncey, at LaFontaine, agreed.
“We nonetheless are seeing delays,” he stated. “However I might say, total, we’re in a a lot, a lot better place right now than we had been six months in the past when it comes to total stock, in addition to transferring prospects which have been ready for his or her chip.”