Don’t panic, but do keep an eye on it.
The auto industry may be staring down another parts shortage, this time in rubber supply. These
headlines speak for themselves:
Is the world about to run out of tires? Should your dealership start panic-buying like the toilet paper
hoarders of March 2020?
My take is that you don’t need to panic – at least, not yet. But it would be wise to keep an eye on the
situation by making use of the tools at your disposal.
As of today, our live inventory tracking feature shows that tire distributors across North America still
have plenty of product in stock, in part due to lower sales through 2020 while people were driving less.
And if you just thought to yourself, “Wow, QQuote has a live inventory feature?”, the answer to your
question is yes, it sure does! A simple click on any tire graphic on the search results page will instantly
bring up a list of distributors with that product in stock, including real-time inventory counts and direct
contact information for ordering. This data can be accessed by anyone at your dealership, not just the
parts desk, which means your salespeople can tell right away whether a product is in stock without
having to pick up the phone or leave a customer waiting.
Regardless of how the impending shortage may unfold, it always pays to be prepared, and there are a couple of things your dealership can do to stay ahead of this situation as it unfolds:
- Put a high priority on advance winter tire sales. We’re already expecting this winter tire season to be
one of the craziest ever. Many people skipped buying winter tires in 2020, whether to replace damaged
sets or to go with their new car purchases, because at that point they weren’t driving all that often. But
demand is expected to spike as kids go back to school and more people return to their workplaces, and
staying ahead of any potential shortages is just one of a long list of reasons to get these customers in the
door early. Consider offering some great deals on wheel and tire sets – but not on loose tires (link to
previous article) – for any customers who want to purchase and install before the end of October. This
will help free up your service bays for the busiest weeks of the year while also ensuring your early-bird
customers don’t lose out if inventory dries up.
- Start tracking the products you order most often. Things haven’t reached the “buy everything now”
stage, but it’s a good idea to start painting a picture of how things stand with the products you rely on
most. Have a staff member begin monitoring and tracking availability on the products you order
frequently, and set the thresholds where alarm bells should start ringing. This will allow you to be
prepared for any supply changes without having to sit on a lot of expensive inventory, ensuring you’ll be
ready to serve your customers.