As the automotive industry navigates a dynamic and evolving landscape, the U.S. car market is experiencing significant shifts driven by supply chain disruptions, changing consumer preferences, and the rapid emergence of electric vehicles (EVs). While national trends set the stage, local dealerships play a crucial role in adapting to the demands of their communities. To gain insights into the interplay between national and local trends, we turn to two auto dealers in Blair, Nebraska—Jim Nelson, General Manager of Sid Dillon, and Dustin Wolfe, Sales Manager for Woodhouse Auto Family—whose perspectives offer valuable context for understanding the industry at large.
High Demand for Vehicles: National and Local Perspectives Nationally, demand for EVs remains high, with long waitlists for popular models like the Tesla Model Y and Ford F-150 Lightning. Supply chain troubles and material sourcing challenges are keeping new vehicle costs high, particularly for EVs, which face rising battery costs and limited availability.
In Blair, Nebraska, local dealerships echo these national trends. Jim Nelson observes that vehicle sales are influenced by availability, with specific models experiencing high demand: “Since Covid, what’s been selling is based a lot on what is available.” Silverado trucks, Equinox, and Traverse are among the models selling quickly. Dustin Wolfe shares a similar sentiment, highlighting strong demand for pre-owned vehicles: “The current demand for pre-owned cars/trucks, as compared to the availability, is at an all-time high.”
Supply Chain and Inventory Constraints: The Chip Shortage Challenge The chip shortage remains a national challenge, with the automotive industry grappling with the impact on vehicle production, especially for EVs, which require more chips than gas-powered vehicles.
On a local level, both Nelson and Wolfe highlight the challenges of maintaining inventory amidst supply chain disruptions. “With production and availability still behind pre-pandemic numbers, if you have inventory, whether it is New Inventory or Pre-Owned inventory, it is all selling as quickly as it comes in,” says Wolfe. Nelson concurs, adding, “Right now there’s nothing that isn’t selling that we have locally… there’s a demand for all models and types.”
Used Vehicle Prices: The Easing Trend and Local Demand Used vehicle prices, which reached record highs in early 2022, have started to ease on a national level, with prices expected to decline further in 2023. Blair, Nebraska, is experiencing a similar trend, with strong demand for used vehicles across all models. Nelson confirms that “there’s nothing that isn’t selling,” and Wolfe observes, “The market is getting back to a point where we are seeing some consistency and steadiness in both demand and sales.”
Preparing for the EV Revolution: National and Local Adaptation The shift to electrified vehicles is gaining momentum nationally. Policy changes, such as President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, are impacting federal subsidies for EVs, introducing new criteria for tax credit eligibility.
Locally, both dealerships in Blair are preparing for the EV shift. Nelson mentions that Sid Dillon has “just added a phase 3 charging system” and has trained technicians to take care of EV customers. Wolfe acknowledges the predicted growth of the EV market and notes that the dealership is “evaluating our options on obtaining more energy and installing charging stations.”
The Importance of Relationships: A Timeless Value Both Nelson and Wolfe emphasize the importance of people and relationships in their dealerships. Nelson advises that “Rates and price increases may continue to rise… We have seen people that procrastinated for 6 months pay more and wish they would have done it earlier.” Wolfe reinforces this sentiment: “People! It’s really that simple… We are more than just a car dealership, we are a trusted partner. Our commitment to our customers, our team, and our communities drive the decisions we make.”
Conclusion: Alignment of National and Local Trends The analysis reveals a strong alignment between national trends and those observed in Blair, Nebraska. The challenges posed by supply chain disruptions, chip shortages, and high material costs are impacting dealerships across the country, including those in Blair. The demand for both new and pre-owned vehicles remains strong, and the gradual easing of used vehicle prices is reflected in both national and local markets.
The growth of the electric vehicle market is a national trend that is also evident in Blair, where dealerships are actively preparing for the shift toward electrification by investing in charging infrastructure and training technicians.
The emphasis on building relationships and providing excellent customer service is a common theme shared by both Jim Nelson and Dustin Wolfe, reflecting the universal importance of trust and community in the automotive industry.
The experiences of auto dealers in Blair, Nebraska, offer valuable insights into how local dealerships navigate and adapt to broader industry trends. As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, dealerships that prioritize customer relationships and remain adaptable to emerging technologies are well-positioned to succeed in this dynamic market.
(Special thanks to the auto experts at Sid Dillon and Woodhouse. Jim Nelson of Sid Dillon, and Dustin Wolfe of Woodhouse are experts who know what’s selling and what’s not. Blair is lucky to have professionals like them to help navigate the crazy auto trends of the last few years!)
Edited by Don Harrold for BlairToday. For corrections, additions, or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org