Automotive Market | Dealership Victories and Challenges in the Post-Pandemic Market

There is no denying that 2020 and 2021 changed many things for different markets, not least of which is the dealership market. In terms of vehicle inventory and vehicle purchases, the pendulum swung from one direction to the opposite with lightning speed. In the first half of 2020, dealerships were working with ASB to connect with buyers via direct mail, to let them know that they could schedule concierge test drives and service. Now dealerships are marketing to consumers encouraging them to pre-order their vehicle as chip shortages continue to cause vehicle inventory to be skinny at most locations.

The general consensus in the Automotive world is that dealerships like not having such a costly floor plan and consumers are becoming accustomed to the idea of not driving off the lot same-day with a new vehicle, but waiting weeks or even months to receive their new ride. In the old days, ASB sales associates would spend much of their time working with customers on providing consumable items for inventory management and lot merchandising, such as key tags, stock numbers, stickers and flags. Direct mail pieces often centered around content that spoke to the price reduction on aged inventory.

Today, direct mail pieces focus on communicating the many features and options one can pre-order with their new vehicle. ASB sales associates now spend more of their time assisting dealerships with talent acquisition and retention. While there has always been a higher turnover rate in the dealership industry, simply recruiting talent, especially in the Service department, has become a significant challenge. There was a tech shortage before 2020 and the shift to an abundance of work-from-home opportunities has only exacerbated that challenge.

One recruiting tool that has proven quite effective is adding heat-tolerant labels to the bottoms of oil filters advertising open tech positions at the dealership in hopes that in-and-out oil change employees would find them and apply for the job. Unfortunately, that doesn’t add new techs to the workforce, but simply shifts the challenge from one employer to another. Instead, we should be putting labels with the same message on the boxes of parts sold to DIY customers picking up their purchases from the parts department. Anyone who still takes the time to change their own oil or replace their own belts has a passion for vehicles and, at minimum, an ability to be trained to be an excellent technician.

Another opportunity is to work with local high schools and community organizations to find young adults looking for an opportunity that provides on-the-job training. College debt is a big topic of conversation now and the resounding opinion among those who have significant amounts of it is that they envy peers who chose a career path that offered training, rather than demanding a degree. Young people entering the workforce are hearing this and heeding the warning. They are looking for opportunities to establish a career without the expense of education. If this is something that your dealership offers, make sure they know about it!

ASB can assist you in designing engaging marketing materials and creative ideas to capture the attention and interest of the workforce. We have experienced sales associates who understand the Automotive market and the type of personality that gravitates towards a career in this exciting and fast-paced industry. Reach out to your ASB associate to start the process today, if you don’t have one, you can find your nearest rep here.

To learn more about American Solutions for Business, visit

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