Country at Extremes, Watch Your Message

Strong Race to the Finish

This is not about the recent election, of which the impact will be seen over time. These extremes are right now: average auto financing balances are at a 7 year high and factory-supported lease terms are approaching less than $100 per month.

TransUnion in the Q3 Industry Insights Report pegged the average balance per customer at $18,361, the highest balance since Q3 2009. Wantalease.com detailed the factory’s current offers with a new Sentra SV now at $109 a month.

While much of the country is pondering what will happen next on the political side, our job is to know what to do with Year End Sales already under way. The best advice, don’t get caught behind your competition.

The buyers about to come into the market may be aware of the $18,361 figure as an average finance balance but you need to make absolutely sure your in-stock inventory, especially used, gives them shopping leeway above and below that figure. The same with marketing aggressive lease offers – no doubt your market has seen $99 a month or below on new vehicles for some time.

A good rule of thumb about the quality of your offers and all traditional and digital marketing efforts between now and New Year’s: be at your best when all the rest decide to get in the game, and that includes competitors who have laid out all year.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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