Auto Dealerships to Chase Repair Service, Increase Regional Branding Efforts

The automotive industry is enjoying a solid recovery after a few rocky years. But dealers can't afford to become complacent about the future. Based on an industry press conference held in Illinois last week, dealers are likely 242659_auto_show_2005_4to take some big steps in advertising this year.

Writing for Automotive News, Jamie LaReau describes the impact of auto owners who are driving their vehicles for many years. The average age of vehicles on the road these days is 10.8 years, a situation which sets up the need for a lot more maintenance. If dealers can’t sell new cars, they’ll want to attract owners for vehicle maintenance. That strategy will allow them to bring in revenue and impress customers in the hopes of selling them a new car in the future. Some dealerships may even explore the idea of selling service contracts for old vehicles as a way to make sure that customers keep returning.

Auto industry experts also believe that large dealerships have an incentive to emphasize their brands regionally. Until recently, these dealerships may have been operating individual sites under a local name. But this year, one large dealership group, AutoNation, has already begun rebranding itself nationwide. According to Scott Waldron, Experian Automotive, “large dealership groups are also recognizing the importance of branding themselves to improve regional market penetration.” Waldron notes that several groups will increase their ad spending on this initiative this year.

One additional change in the car sales market relates to financing. This is especially true for the length of a new car loan. These days, up to 13% of these loans extend for 84 months. With so many families still stretching their finances to make ends meet, ad campaigns that promote flexible financing will be on the increase this year.

To learn more, check out the Auto Buyers Forecast, available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

[Sources: Our cars are getting older, too. USAToday​.30​.com. 17 Jan. 2012. Web; LaReau, Jamie. Old car, new repair prospect. Autonews​.com. 9 Feb. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2013
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.