Lower New Vehicle Supply Boost Fails to Lift Profits; Used Vehicle Prices Drop Amid High Demand
The automotive market is experiencing a shift as improved new vehicle availability is affecting used vehicle prices and profitability. Insights from industry leaders like Lithia, AutoNation, and Asbury indicate important trends, from stock incentives for General Managers to the implications of electric vehicle maintenance on dealerships. This piece explores these dynamics, touching on the potential for pent-up demand and the future of dealership sizing in a post-COVID landscape.
Executives Anticipate a Return to Normal
In 2022, fewer than 14 million light vehicles were sold, which was the lowest level since 2011. Supply constraints hampered productions from automakers, which led to higher profits for auto dealers on each vehicle they were able to acquire and sell, both new and used. Vehicle production improved gradually throughout the year, which is anticipated to continue through 2023.
This week we review the Q4 2022 earnings calls from the executives of six publicly traded auto dealers and discuss some of the major themes.
Part 2: Floorplan Relevant Factors
In part 2 of our series on floorplan interest, we take a closer look at floorplan relevant factors and macroeconomic forces to keep an eye on throughout the coming year and beyond as dealers plan their floorplan expenditures and budgeting.
Part 1: Rising Interest Rates and Increasing Inventories Are Anticipated to Remove the Unlikely Profit Center
Compared to last year, interest rates have significantly increased since the Federal Reserve began raising rates in March 2022. Inventories have also improved as the industry works through its supply chain issues. These shifts in economic trends are expected to have an impact on many aspects of auto dealer operations. In this week’s post, we talk about floorplan interest income and pose some important questions: What is floorplan interest expense, and what are floorplan credits? How have floorplan credits turned into an unlikely profit center for dealers? Can we expect this trend to continue amid changing conditions?
How the Pandemic Darling May Have Flown Too Close to the Sun
Lately, Carvana has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Its share price is down over 90% since its pandemic peak and currently sits below the low levels of March 2020. This post provides an abbreviated history of Carvana from its founding in 2012 to 2022 and discusses what its successes and struggles mean for traditional auto dealerships.
Large Dealer Groups Continue to Invest in the Franchise Dealer Model, Managing Their Dealerships as Portfolios
It’s earnings call season again. Themes from the Q1 2022 earnings calls were affordability issues, managing stores as a portfolio, the health of the franchise dealer model, and who repairs electric vehicle components and what that means for dealerships. All this against a backdrop of the continued inventory shortage makes for an interesting post. Read more here.
The March 2022 SAAR was 13.3 million units, down 5.3% from 14.1 million in February and down 24.4% from March 2021’s SAAR of 17.6 million units. This drop in the SAAR is a product of several factors. We dig into the low magnitude of the seasonal adjustment and ongoing supply chain issues in this post.