On-the-Point

Welcome to Saturation Nation

‘Da Man’ has a message for the manufacturers flooding the market with inventory and the dealers who have to sell it off.

March 1, 2017

After several years of strong sales, and despite strong economic indicators, dealers will have to fight for every sale until the market desaturates. Photo by Tom Hilton
After several years of strong sales, and despite strong economic indicators, dealers will have to fight for every sale until the market desaturates. Photo by Tom Hilton

It’s a new month and a new attitude in the car business, where sales have noticeably slowed down in recent weeks despite a rising economic tide. I keep trying to tell the industry that the two are not necessarily entwined. The issue here is good, old-fashioned saturation.

You can’t keep on pumping 60 million new and used cars annually into a market that only has about 200 million qualified buyers. About every five years, it catches up with us, and all your customers seem to be driving a new (or newer) car. There are a limited number of new customers coming into the market. It isn’t crashing, not by any means. It’s just adjusting.

Your response is critical. The cure for saturation is to get your processes and training in order. If you’re going to close a customer today, you have to take that business away from whichever competitor has it.

Most of all, managers have to act like managers — and leaders. It’s time to tighten up and do what we know best. It’s a buyer’s market, and customer service is all important. Your processes, along with your management, must be superior.

Jim Ziegler is the president of Ziegler SuperSystems Inc. and one of the nation's most recognizable trainers and forecasters. Email him at [email protected]

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