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Amid the NADA Buzz, 3 Common Themes I heard from Dealers

NADA Photo Compilation
Article Highlights:

  • EVs, single system, and excitement for the future reverberated around NADA.
  • The big topic though was around a single source of truth for customer data.

NADA is always a busy, boisterous event – multiply it by 10 when you’re in Vegas. As I walked around the show talking with dealers, visiting booths, and sitting in on sessions and workshops, there were three common themes I heard.

The first theme of course was EVs. Interestingly though, the conversations were pretty wide ranging. Some folks are all in, preparing their dealerships, and their customers seem to be all in too. Others are still grappling with the idea. Their customer base just isn’t ready yet or their location doesn’t have the infrastructure to support them. Common concerns for many were:

  • EVs have a slower turn than your average ICE vehicle. They take a lot of capital to put on the lot and then sit, and sit, and sit. That’s money being tied up and the longer it sits, the less you’re likely to make. Dealers and OEMs need to work together on the right inventory levels for EVs in individual markets and not just across the board.
  • In home infrastructure for EV buyers can be a headache and take time to install. This puts added stress on the dealership when it comes to selling EVs in an area where public charging isn’t as common.
  • Tax credit eligibility on EVs seems to be constantly changing; and it’s hard to sell and properly price an EV without the most up-to-date information.
  • Enough EVs have been sold now that they’re starting to come back into the used market. This is great for consumers because it offers a lower price point. But not so great for dealerships. It seems many dealers are having trouble properly evaluating and pricing used EVs due to limitations on testing remaining battery life.

With all that said, the EV movement is still a bit uncertain. The biggest question to understand is: “What will the demand be?” Once that’s answered, dealers will be ready to meet it.

The second common theme I heard rumbling around NADA was the concept of a single system. It seemed like more dealers than ever before were considering the impact a single system approach could have on their business. Some were simply fed up with working with so many different vendors. Others were discussing the efficiency of having all departments connected and talking to each other. The big topic though was around a single source of truth for consumer data. Many of the dealers I talked with are starting to realize the disparity in their customer interactions due to inaccurate or incomplete data. And they’re starting to wonder how they can do better or what more they could do if they had a complete and full picture.

The last theme was more than a theme. It was more like an underlying drumbeat to the entire show…. Dealers are excited! As an industry we seem to have gotten out of the crazy ebb and flow of COVID, we’re back on solid ground, and we’re ready for whatever comes next.

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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