Page 19 - BusinessWest August 3, 2020
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      Carla Cosenzi says getting used cars has been a real issue for most car dealers, and that will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future.
made way back in March can attest — are diffi- cult to make.
Hitting the Accelerator
As he talked with BusinessWest at the Mer- cedes dealership on Burnett Road, just off turn- pike exit 6, Wirth noted that, in many respects, a
touch of normalcy has returned to this store, and the business of car selling in general.
Indeed, he noted there were several people sitting in the service waiting area, more than there would have been back in the spring, when ‘pickup and dropoff’ was the order of the day
— and it’s still a popular option. Meanwhile, all employees are back at the dealership — many of those who could were working remotely in the earlier days of the pandemic — although there are now vacant workstations between those with people, and some sport plexiglass dividers between them. Perhaps most importantly, busi- ness is ... well, perhaps not normal, but it’s cer- tainly in the ballpark.
In many respects, the dealership is well-posi- tioned for a solid year, despite the pandemic and various negative forces it has created, Wirth said, listing everything from those aforementioned factory incentives — Mercedes has them as well — to lingering, pent-up demand; from new mod- els arriving regularly to the mix of vehicles con- sumers are demanding.
“This might be the second year that we’re pro- ducing more SUVs than cars on the new-car side, and we’re almost at 60-40 now,” he explained. “It took us a couple of years to get there, but that’s what the market wants. So, maybe for the first time in five years, we’re actually in sync with what the market wants, and I think that’s going to help us.”
But while there are some signs of normalcy and even progress when it comes to sales vol- ume, there are reminders everywhere that these are very different times — from the masks on the customers and employees to the deep cleaning that accompanies every car that leaves the ser-
vice bay, to the cars in the lot, or the lack thereof, to be more precise.
Sullivan told BusinessWest that inventory has been an issue across the broad portfolio of mak- ers within the Balise stable. Closed factories were a big contributor to the problem, he said, but supply-chain issues were, and still are, a factor as well.
“I think that the used-car market will fall at some point, but you never know; it’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen given the circumstances.”
“Next to the tsunami that hit Japan, the pan- demic and everything it has brought has had perhaps the most impact the auto industry has seen since World War II,” he explained. “The sup- ply chains got interrupted, and this is a global industry; there’s parts from Scandinavia, China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, the list goes on. And it really only takes one part to not be able to have a production line running.
“If you have a plant that goes down, and you’re missing that key component, you can’t build an F-150, or a Silverado, or a Camry,” he went on. “The industry has been absolutely dis-
Auto Sales
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 With Every Used Vehicle Purchase
   THIS AUGUST, BUY ANY PREOWNED VEHICLE FROM BALISE AND WE’LL INCLUDE A 3-YEAR MAINTENANCE PLAN. During these uncertain times, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. Being there for each other is what will help us all get through, and we
are here to help. Balise will cover every factory-recommended oil change, tire rotation, and multi-point inspection for the next three years, allowing you to keep a little extra money for life’s other necessities.
QUALIFIED BUYERS FINANCING THROUGH BALISE MAY DEFER PAYMENTS FOR 3 MONTHS. We hope that this summer special offer can be a stepping stone to better financial times ahead for our valued customers.
  36-month maintenance plan included with purchase of any used vehicle from 8/1/2020 through 8/31/2020, commencing on agreement application date. Plan valid for oil changes, tire rotations and multi-point inspections at Balise dealerships for vehicle manufacturer’s normal usage scheduled intervals only. Severe/heavy duty schedules and additional maintenance items may be required or recommended and are not included. Plan is not transferable to another vehicle or owner. Not valid for purchases made prior to 8/1/2020. Some exclusions may apply, see dealer for details. Customer has option to defer monthly payments for up to 90 days (must finance with dealer, not all will qualify). Monthly payments begin 90 days from contract date. Contract date must be between 8/1/2020-8/31/2020. Customer responsible for accrued interest charges. Down payment may be required. Not valid for purchases made prior to 8/1/2020. See dealer for details.
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