Dealerships Want to Get Trucked More Often in 2017

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
dealerships want to get trucked more often in 2017

The cornerstone of every healthy relationship is frank and frequent communication. Last year, consumers wanted more sport utility vehicles, but automakers still had too many cars rolling off assembly lines. Caught in the crossfire were forlorn dealerships that were incapable of providing the trucks and crossovers that customers cannot seem to get enough of.

At the 2017 National Automobile Dealers Association Conference & Expo, this issue is apparently weighing so heavily on the minds of America’s automotive purveyors that it wouldn’t be surprising if gray matter began leaking out of their ears and onto the expo floor.

Making the rounds at the conference, Automotive News spoke to numerous dealership representatives and the song was largely the same: a demand for fewer sedans and larger profits.

“We had too many sedans and not enough SUVs — the X3 and X5. It is a matter of adjusting production and having the right amount of cars at the right time,” said Timothy Kraemer, general manager of BMW Minnetonka in Minnesota. BMW’s sedans have taken a particularly hard hit this year. The 3 Series saw its 142,232 U.S. sales in 2014 plummet to 70,458 only two years later. BMW’s 4 and 5 Series also hit a slump, while its SUVs managed better.

Volkswagen dealers had enough on their plate to worry about without having to cope with American automotive fads. Michael DiFeo, a dealer at Linden Volkswagen in Roselle, N.J., said that to remain profitable “we relied a lot on shifting our efforts to used cars.”

Now they’ll be shifting focus. “The Atlas is the first time that we’ll be in this large [crossover] segment,” DiFeo said. “Getting the larger Tiguan is huge for us considering the growth of that segment.”

Mike Bowsher, owner of Carl Black Automotive Group in Kennesaw, Ga., says Chevrolet dealers are worried about getting an appropriate ratio of cars to trucks on their lots as well. “I wouldn’t say we’re short,” Bowsher said. “But with Colorado crew-cab trucks and full-size utilities, we all want more. Dealers are always screaming for that. For SUVs, I’ll take every one we can get. Diesels, too — we just can’t get enough.”

“All dealers care really about two things. First and foremost is franchise value, and second is dealership profitability,” he explained. 2017 is “going to be the year of the crossover for us. We go in with solid momentum, and we’re going to continue to build on the market share gains, which would continue to give us strong franchise values and profitability.”

[Image: Faris/ Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]

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  • Stevelovescars Stevelovescars on Jan 27, 2017

    Production will get changed, gas will jump to $4/gallon thanks to a trade war or the bi-annual mysterious refinery disaster, and boom, car dealers will be screaming about not having enough smaller cars.

    • See 2 previous
    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jan 27, 2017

      Somewhere, someone is typing up the same "well when gas hits $4 again, you'll be sorry!" line for the next article that shows cars falling and truck/utilities gaining. Maybe if you guys say it enough, it'll become true, and everybody will be miserably pushing a Versa CVT suckmobile, just like you think they should be. I just wouldn't bet on it if I were you. CUVs and trucks are getting better MPG all the time, and plain sedans are looking more compromised as well, and those facts suck nearly all the air out of your argument.

  • NMGOM NMGOM on Jan 28, 2017

    Sedans are history. They are soon to be as extinct as dinosaurs. They are incapable, and a waste of money. After all, what does a sedan actually get you that a decent CUV or SUV doesn't? Maybe fuel mileage? But I am a pickup truck guy. Had 'em since 1974. Would never leave home without one. In fact, I can't, since that's now all I've got this winter. Just remember, Truckiness is next to Godliness....(^_^).... ====================

    • OldManPants OldManPants on Jan 28, 2017

      While I'd love to join your happy dance upon the sedan's grave, I feel constrained to note that the taller alternatives are being steadily CAFE'ed into representing only a marginal improvement over said squashed blobs.

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.