How did Chevy help dealers weather the changes brought about by the inventory shortage?
One of the things we’ve worked on is if we’re short on chips and so can’t produce new cars, let’s come up with a solution in the roughly three times larger used retail market, hence CarBravo.
We have only worked to help traders focus on profitability. There is a new spreadsheet available to all Chevrolet dealers called the Profit Projection Tool. It is an interactive tool available to all GM dealers. It aggregates all of the dealer’s financial results on a year-to-date basis and then allows the dealer to compare their results in the five major groups that drive all of our profits. Opens your eyes to what is possible from a profitability standpoint.
Could Low Inventory Become a Long-Term Retail Model?
This is exactly how we think about it. It’s exactly the way GM thinks of it or Chevrolet thinks of it. Obviously all the redundant modules out there is not the best answer. I think the new normal will be 30-40 days. This is somewhat more of what we strive for as dealers in the used car market. After COVID, it has become the most profitable model in the new car segment as a way to manage your inventory.
How do merchants deal with stock shortages?
You sell deeply for one thing. You definitely focus on controlling expenses… recording fixed operations. The economy is good. Consumers are overwhelmed with money and the ability to focus heavily on repairing vehicles and then marketing the service department primarily to attract customers to it. And after all, it’s the used car market. There is no shortage of chips in the used car market. You have to be smart when you go out there and you just have to complete your inventory and almost buy that new car and take the time to explain to the customer that, let’s go ahead and swap you out your 2014 car and get maybe in 2019 or 2020. And then in a few years, let’s trade it in And we get a new car at that point. So the used car section is very important. And that’s clearly why the CarBravo pops up a bit.
What facility upgrades are required for electric vehicle sales and service?
It is the infrastructure for chargers abroad. It’s the right forklifts in store for you to remove and reinstall Ultium battery packs and definitely all the technician training. It’s the special tools. It stores the right EV parts. A lot of the parts are the same on an ICE, but sure, from the drivetrain, a lot of them are different. There are training and certifications in the showroom.
Were there any other changes to the image software created by Chevy?
No, the original commitment they made to us many years ago on its compatibility with the brands’ core elements, it has stood the test of time. Our agency has surely had the same look, same tiles, same main entrance, etc. for more than 10 years now. It gives the consumer a sense of the brand as they travel across the country.
How do you expect electric vehicles to affect your Chevy dealership service business?
I think electric vehicle customers will be more loyal to us in the service department.
I guess anyone with an Apple Watch, you tend to trust and come back to your Apple Store just because it’s a very high-end computer.
These things are like computers on wheels, hopefully that loyalty and this complexity of servicing them properly might kill off some aftermarket stores that will continue to run on the internal combustion engine they used to work on. We keep more of these customers coming back to us for all the great stuff, all the regular maintenance items that will still need replacing. The brakes will not last much longer on one vehicle or the other. Tires, wiper blades, and cabin air filters will wear out. There will be air conditioning components and various things with problems.
All this work will be our business and the client will continue to come back and spend time on the showroom floor and in our showrooms and see the new products.
How were fleet sales?
Fleet is soft. It has the same problems all over the country and all over the world with chip shortages. It would be great when production levels build up back up and there is more availability of a new fleet product to be able to sell. This is why commercial used car prices are so high. If a company cannot get enough new vehicles to drive its business, we find ourselves owning used cars to meet that demand.
Have dealers discussed GM’s community charging program?
We are excited about that. It’s a commitment to take those 3,000 merchants and put the 10 Chargers out there in the community. Who can [install] 30,000 charger? The ones we will install will be in our geo-sales and service feature. We have seven zip codes in Cincinnati, and there are a few key areas. One of those that come to mind is downtown Loveland, Ohio, which is a very popular area. So if we put them there on the side of the sidewalk, there might be a car being towed. we [plan to] Put some Ultium McCluskey banner on the charger. You have hundreds of thousands of people walking by seeing a car connected to this charger and maybe you read a little bit about it or maybe the QR code is right there that goes to our website. We want to place our 10 strategically where a lot of people will go by his side and notice the community support, the electric vehicle support from McCluskey Chevrolet, Chevrolet, General Motors and Alitium that provide this charging station.
How do dealers handle new car pricing? Do they limit the sticker price or add market adjustments?
The vast majority are MSRP. That’s definitely what we do at McCluskey Chevrolet. We feel this is the correct answer. We are in a period of time when the market may dictate that we will be able to exceed the MSRP. But the vast, and vast majority, of years in our history, have been more than discounted under the MSRP of all manufacturers.
Are Chevy dealers interested in legislative efforts to allow startup EV manufacturers to sell directly to consumers?
I think any trader out there would be totally interested and interested in that. Anytime someone can sell or the factory can sell directly, that runs the risk of intercepting the sale we might get under the agency as well without question.
What is the role of Ultifi dealers?
GM told us we’re going to play a role in that. Increasing revenue and increasing profits is part of their comprehensive future plan. As we’re Chevrolet’s front and we’re with the consumer, and then between our product specialist and our salespeople and our F&I managers, there are a lot of those applications that we’ll be able to offer and get a share of the revenue in in the future. We all learn as we move forward. But again, I’d rather be consistent with a company that thinks this way and put the right people in place to drive this work and create a better customer experience with our product.
What is Chevy doing to guide merchants to digital retail?
The digital retail platform is coming out with CarBravo and it will become an integral part of all omnichannel sales operations of Chevy dealers. As we move into the world of electric vehicles, digital retail will be an even more important focus for Chevrolet dealers. We all need to move into this field because more and more consumers want to start and to some extent finish the process of buying online or at home. So coming up with a smart, consumer-friendly way to allow them to move down this path is important.
How did GM help dealers hire technicians?
This is a skill set. You don’t leave a different job and just become a magical technician at a Chevrolet dealer. But that’s the thing you just have to work hard and get in touch with Belle Tires and Tire Discounters and try to develop your car from the inside out.
General Motors has got a great new program where we can reward up to $6000 a year from Chevrolet or GM. Then the dealer has the option to match that to either zero, 25, 50, 75, or 100 percent. We chose 100 percent. Suddenly, this technician is getting a lot of extra money for a year on top of the regular basic pay plan.
One of the most important things to grow your agency and increase your profitability is not to stagnate or, God forbid, fall back in your head according to these productive employees, whether they are salespeople or technicians. It’s a very important thing, and GM has understood it. We hope to win this race.