In the current economic climate car dealer groups will be under pressure to protect margins and, in the albescence of sustained growth, will need to look at cost centres as a way of saving money.
Unfortunately the cascade effect of cost saving measures can ultimately affect staff morale as they naturally feel under pressure for their jobs.
Because of the unique nature of car sales, and the heavy investment in stock, cash flow is key to keeping the business fluid, and by looking at cost cutting measures this can offset the negative effect of falling sales and pressurised margins.
Despite the worldwide climate and specifically the problems in the euro zone, September has not been a bad month relatively speaking. Indeed dealer sentiment, despite the gloom, remains broadly and cautiously positive.
Most dealers are describing the current trading conditions as stable, with many bucking the trend and stating an improvement in sales and footfalls against recent months.
Remaining upbeat and trying to look for the positives is something the car trade is good at and has to be as it’s very much a day to day business in which yesterday is irrelevant and tomorrow never comes.
It is the current day that counts and breaking targets down into bite sized chunks and asking staff in all departments to manage their personal targets has always been a successful way of navigating through tough times. It installs the belief that everyone in the business has an important part to play.
This is an attitude people in governments and the press might do well to mirror, the power of positive thinking and belief are very potent weapons in the world of car sales. For example a customer who is in the market to change their car and has the money to do so does not want to go into a place where there are lots of unhappy, de-motivated staff with their heads down, they still deserve “the treatment”. It is up to sales execs and the rest of the business to put their ‘game’ faces on and deliver the best experience they can no matter the underlying sentiment.
We don’t yet know the numbers for September and although we suspect them to be slightly down, they will still hopefully provide evidence that the business is alive and kicking and that customers who buy cars today will not have a financial time bomb on their hands.