No ridiculous dealer markups here - just clever thinking.
The semiconductor chip shortage has caused chaos for the automotive industry. From the manufacturer to the consumer, things have been undeniably tough. Many carmakers, including big players like Ford, have had to cut production as a result of a lack of chips. Consequently, some retailers have resorted to unethical behavior, placing ridiculous markups on their inventory.
Some automakers are exploring ingenious solutions to the shortage, but the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine isn't making things easier for the industry. Aside from the consumer, it's the low-volume, luxury car dealerships that are suffering most. But one Calfornia-based purveyor of Alfa Romeo and Maserati vehicles has found a rather ingenious solution, filling its often empty showroom with exotics and classics from other brands.
As per Automotive News, Alfa Romeo and Maserati of Ontario in California has faced several challenges in the face of the chip shortage, one being a lack of steady inventory supply. Selling niche vehicles such as the Maserati Levante is already challenging, with the dealership's director of operations, Brandon Goodermont, telling the publication that gaining access to used cars is difficult.
"Just being … the limited-volume brands that they are, you don't really have a whole lot of access to used cars. The used cars have been really minimal." But a new strategy has changed this. Last year, the retailer started stocking various ultra-premium cars, "anything really in [the] super-high-line world," said Goodermont, creating excitement and introducing new customers to the dealership. Among the vehicles are a classic 1963 Maserati 3500 GT Sebring and a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder. The latter sold for over $1.5 million.
The director of operations told Automotive News the new game plan is paying off: "We've actually found ourselves recently in a position where customers are reaching out to us, asking if we're interested in buying their vehicle … because they've seen that we've started to sell and turn these things." It's the demand for Lamborghinis that has surprised Goodermont, noting the Italian supercar brand is the "highest-volume turner."
Aside from boosted profits, the dealership has also benefited from increased foot traffic into the showroom and what's more, the staff are also gleaning insights into a new field of the auto trade. "We tiptoed our way in before really kind of diving in the rest of the way, and it's just been a really fun adventure … for us as a company to jump into that space and expand our horizons," said Goodermont. It's great to see a dealership adapting to the challenges - and flourishing, no less - instead of placing exorbitant markups on cars to improve the bottom line.