Lisa Copeland cites two reasons new-vehicle sales are softening: the huge debt held by young consumers and ride hailing’s popularity.
And car prices have shot up, says Texas-based Copeland, former dealership principal of Fiat/Alfa Romeo of Austin and a 30-year auto-industry veteran.
“In fact, Edmunds says the average price of a new car today is almost $37,000 compared with about $31,000 in 2013 and $28,000 a decade ago,” she tells Serbin Media.
The number of consumers financing used vehicles broke a record in the first quarter of 2019, Copeland says. “Used-car sales are on fire right now for many reasons.”
A big one is the almost $2-trillion in debt held by the 18-to-34-year-old age group. Financially strapped, they see used cars as a better budget fit.
“The popularity of ride (hailing) is another reason overall sales are down,” Copeland says. “More Americans are working remotely and don’t need a car to get to and from work. It’s more affordable to turn to ride (hailing) programs when they need a vehicle.
“Finally, the surge in popularity of (utilities) and larger vehicles is also driving prices up, but these vehicles aren’t in financial reach of most consumers.”
Meanwhile, Copeland says automakers and dealers should cater to more women.
“Women influence 85% of all purchases, including automobile purchases,” she says. “In 2018, women purchased 54% of all cars for 9.5 million vehicles. They spent more than $200 billion in cars and service combined.”
Women are responsible for $7 trillion in U.S consumer spending, she says. “Women purchase over 50% of traditional male products, including automobiles.”
Copeland works with dealers and automakers to help them better understand the female consumers and create marketing strategies that appeal to them.
She is author of two books: “Car Buying, Her Way: The Fierce Girl’s Roadmap to The Car of Your Dreams” and “Buying Cars Her Way – Don’t Go to The Dealership Alone.” She says the latter is a practical guide for all consumers.