Key trends that could affect 2014 spring auto sales

key trendsFlowers aren’t the only things expected to bloom in the spring. Typically, auto dealers look to spring as the time to boost their sales numbers.

Consumers have usually recuperated from the all of their Christmas spending and are ready to put their tax returns to good use on a new or used vehicle. But with this year’s frigid temperatures and winter storms, sales have been slower than usual.

As a result, the market is taking a few “corrective measures” in order to move new cars, putting pressure on used cars.

Dealers will need to pay close attention to three key trends from AutoTrader.com that could affect sales:

New Vehicle Pricing – Incentives will be the name of the game for new vehicle pricing. Manufacturers are expected to offer attractive pricing and incentives programs to entice shoppers. Why buy a used car when you can get a new one at the same price? Used car departments will have to be competitive on pricing if they want to stay in the race.

Used Vehicle Volume – When customers purchase the aforementioned new car at a great price, they will likely leverage their current vehicle as a trade-in. AutoTrader.com says those trade-ins and “a notable volume of leased vehicles will be returning to dealership lots this year.” The increase in supply will likely cause a decrease in price. And the more affordable the vehicles are, the more demand you will see from used car customers.

Access to Credit – Bad credit is not the stigma it used to be. Industry insiders say that access to credit has and will continue to open up in 2014. With more lines of credit being extended, consumers will, well, consume. Both new and used retail volume should feel the positive affects of newly acquired purchasing power “not seen in several years.”

The spring selling season may appear to be a late bloomer, but there is still time to make a full recovery. Auto dealers will need to focus on the pricing, volume and credit trends that have taken root over the last few months.

With some adjustments in their plan of action, spring sales could blossom and dealerships could reap some great rewards.

For dealer resources and additional information about Santander Auto Finance, visit our page for dealers.

– LaQuenda Jackson

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