In the Future, Will You Be Selling the Vehicles Buyers Want?

It’s time for dealers to understand and plan for the changes that self-driving and electric vehicles are bringing

I am not an economist, but tell me if you think this is a problem.

Right now, we have an overabundance of vehicle inventory in the U.S. Car sales are slated to decrease after years of constantly increasing sales numbers.

At the same time, due to the high prices on vehicles and the lack of increases in middle-class income, people are (a) keeping their cars longer, and (b) getting longer and longer loans (can you say “84 months”?).

Meanwhile, multiple manufacturers are working on both all-electric cars and autonomous vehicles, which drive themselves.

Millennials are now the largest group of consumers, but they seem to care less and less about cars. This most-influential group of consumers will love the idea of buying a vehicle that drives itself, especially if it costs less than a regular car.

They’ll also love the idea that with an electric vehicle you don’t need to visit a gas station . . . ever. And they won’t need to service that vehicle at the dealership. . . ever.

My friend has a Tesla S, and in nine months he has never been in for service at the dealership, and has never been to a gas station. The only fluid he can change is for windshield wipers.

The key here for long-term dealers is to understand and plan for the changes that are coming. If self-driving and/or electric cars take off with millennials, does your manufacturer have a plan? Will your lot have what consumers are buying?

It may be time for you, as a dealer, to look further forward than next year. I imagine the folks at Blockbuster video rental stores were at least slightly surprised when people abandoned the VHS tape and then the DVD in favor of the new technology of Netflix.

If someone had told you 10 years ago that most young people in 2017 would be staring at their cell phones all day (and long into the night), what would you have said?

If someone tells you today that 10 years from now most young people will be buying electric vehicles that drive themselves and need little or no service, what will you say?

I would say it’s time to find out everything there is to know about self-driving and electric vehicles, and make sure you will be selling them.

Brett Stevenson


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