How to position your local car dealership against online dealers like Carvana, Carmax and Vroom

How to position your local car dealership against online dealers like Carvana, Carmax and Vroom

competing against carvana and online auto dealers

by John Tkac

Business at many car dealer showrooms slowed to a crawl or stopped altogether when pandemic lockdown measures went into effect last spring.

As the auto industry rebounds in 2021, there are great opportunities on the horizon.

The auto industry is focused on two key growth areas: trucks and luxury vehicles.

In the truck market, there is a major battle waging among Ford, Ram and Chevrolet, while Mercedes Benz, BMW and a struggling Lexus are duking it out in the luxury sector.

With the average price of a new vehicle hitting record highs, the certified pre-owned (CPO) market is also heating up as shoppers seek out affordable alternatives. According to Edmunds, CPO sales will explode through 2022 and should reach 5 million.

During an hour-plus webinar last week, Tkac explained how brick and mortar auto dealerships possess attractive competitive advantages over their growing online retail competitors, such as Carvana, Vroom and CarMax.

McKinsey recently interviewed U.S. consumers in the market for a new vehicle and uncovered a raft of advantages that brick and mortar dealers can use to position themselves against Carvana and other online retail competitors.

  • Six in ten (62%) said they wouldn’t buy a vehicle without a test drive
  • 52% indicated they can’t trust the quality of a vehicle unless they see it in person
  • 46% said it’s hard to know exactly what you are purchasing online
  • 45% said they wanted to test drive multiple vehicles
  • 31% said it’s more difficult to return a vehicle purchased online if there is a problem.

You have some unbelievable advantages and all you have to do is stand on the rooftop and shout to the consumer what these advantages are! 

How do you shout the loudest? Broadcast radio and TV or targeted digital display. They hear your message on the radio and your digital display or video ads follow them on websites they are already visiting and on smartphone apps they currently use.

Every radio station has listeners. A car is the number 1 place people listen to the radio. When you advertise on radio, you’re reaching that stations core listeners. 

What better time to put your message in front of a potential customer, than when they are behind the wheel of the vehicle they no longer like?

The average vehicle on the road today is over 12 years old. There is pent up demand right now and you can take advantage of that by putting your brand in front of the right audience and focusing your message around your advantage.

  • You should include Price in your ad
  • Talk about your selection
  • Tell them about your unique selling position
  • Include an easy to remember URL and mention it at least 3X in the ad

If you’re looking to bring your cost per vehicle retail (CPVR) down, an effective radio and digital campaign can can help. The national average CPVR is $398.

If you’re interested in exploring your marketing options, reach out to me at or 717-901-3461.

I’ll help you sell more cars!

The main reason to advertise

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