By on January 27, 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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10 Comments on “Dealerships Want to get Trucked More Often in 2017...”

  • avatar

    two truck pun headlines in one day.

  • avatar

    Offer the right vehicles in the first place and you might make more sales. I, for one, don’t want a sedan and I have not, EVER, purchased a sedan with my own money. Every car I’ve purchased (as compare to trucks/suvs (of which some CUVs are awarded that label by me)) has had only two doors and if it’s had more than two it was either not purchased by me or it was a wagon/SUV-styled vehicle, NOT a sedan.

    It’s as simple as that. Get me the kind of car I want, and I will consider it.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, but if the manufacturer isn’t producing enough crossovers, dealers are going to have sedans hoisted on them in order to get a few crossovers into their inventories.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah, it won’t be as dramatic as the last round of 4 dollar gas now that compact and subcompact CUVs are routinely approaching 30mpg combined. Once people get a taste of sitting up high, they are not getting back into a sedan that makes them feel like Sylvester Stallone in the Netherlands when sitting in traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      Unlikely, you can thank the Saudis for their terrible strategy in trying to ruin US frackers which backfired on them royally. We have so much oil right now we are shipping it away to other countries.

      Even if it were to go back to those highs, Americans are much more use to it now, and won’t have the knee-jerk reaction that came in the late 2000s, we also had a financial melt-down that happened at the same time back then.

      Also, as already mentioned, we have SUVs rated in the 30 plus mpgs now, even some fullsize trucks are rated at 26 – 29 mpg.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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….(^_^)….


    • 0 avatar

      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.

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