I’m sure you have read that Jim Press is leaving Chrysler. I keep coming back to my famous saying, “You’re never as smart as you think you are and you’re never as dumb as you appear.” He appeared brilliant during his Toyota days and now he looks pretty dumb. Was he all that smart at Toyota and all that dumb at Chrysler? The answer in both cases is no. At Toyota he was at the right place at the right time. Great product, great organization and some darn good dealers to work with. He maximized the opportunity that presented itself. I don’t want to bust your bubble, but I highly doubt the dealers he inherited at Chrysler were any worse than the ones he had at Toyota. The mere fact that so many of those Chrysler dealers survived over the years is a testament that they were outstanding dealers and probably a lot better than some of the Toyota guys.
I don’t want to take anything away from you Toyota dealers, but some of you were also in the right place at the right time. Yes, some of you absolutely maximized your opportunity and good for you.
Which takes me to today’s subject. Being at the right place and maximizing your opportunity. There is a tremendous opportunity right now for you in used cars. Everyone’s been all jacked up about this Cash for Clunkers deal, but now we have to come back to the reality of the marketplace. There has always been and will always be a market for used cars. Those dealers who have come to understand the role that used cars play in their overall profitability succeed in both good times and bad.
Let me give you some rough figures. Last year there were 36.5 million used cars sold in this country. Franchise new car dealers sold about 13 million of that number while used cars dealers sold about 12 million and the rest were sold by private individuals. The numbers this year and next year may not be quite that high, but they will be really big numbers as compared to new, which last year was 13.2 million.
It’s a fact that there will be fewer new car dealers competing for used car sales. It’s also a fact that there are fewer and fewer used car dealers. Thus, there is a huge opportunity for new car dealers who have their act together to capture used car market share and make a lot of money. There is a tremendous opportunity waiting for those dealers willing to make the commitment necessary to maximize their success. Many of you did it with Cash for Clunkers and you can do it with used car sales.
The opportunity is now, don’t miss it! That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs