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. 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: As owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a company that increases traffic up to 1,000% for dealerships, Strong lives by the simple concept that your attitude affects your success. Without a positive mind set he would not have been able to grow the company over the last decade from just 10 to over 80 full-time employees. The rapid growth is thanks to his ability to keep the company on the forefront of technology, market changes and an infectious talent to motivate and keep employees striving to fulfill their potential. His beginnings in direct mail gave him the tools and skills to develop incredibly successful marketing plans. From there he moved on to traditional forms of media and has now mastered the dynamic world of digital and social media advertising. With over 150 dealers to please, Strong takes a hands-on approach and personal attention to detail in all aspects of marketing strategies. His expertise in plan development gives him a keen sense on how to maximize a dealer’s budget and ultimately increase their bottom line. Strong is a passionate speaker in the automotive industry. He has authored two books on creating next day traffic. He graduated from the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School. Strong received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Montevallo. He lives with his wife and three children in Homewood, Alabama.


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