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An often overlooked aspect of dealerships is the business platform that they use. Car dealerships come in one of two varieties, franchise and independent. Franchises are dealerships that sell cars for a specific manufacturer. This is like going to an Apple Store to buy an iPhone. Independent dealerships can sell cars from any manufacturer through a contract with the automobile manufacturer. This is akin to buying that iPhone from Best Buy or Radio Shack. Franchises and Independent dealership business models vary in a number of ways. Backed by The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, as well as state organizations like the Virginia Independent Automobile Dealers Association, independent dealers are well trained, and well equipped to provide great service at a great price.

Since 1932, the State of Virginia has required vehicle owners to have their cars and trucks checked for mechanical safety and reliability by a State certified facility & mechanic once every 6 months. Yes, twice a year. The state actually required a bi-annual vehicle inspection up until the early 1980's when it was finally changed to the once annual inspection we have today. Some parts of the State require* an "Emissions Inspection" in addition to the Vehicle Safety Inspection, but that is currently not a State requirement for vehicles registered in the Hampton Roads area.

When I was given the assignment to write a blog on "how much truck do you need," I chuckled to myself. For about 12 years I only owned and drove a couple of big old Ford Broncos with overbuilt, oversized engines, full 6" suspension lifts, rolling on 35" tires. Why? Because I liked them! I had fun in them. I mudded.., hard. I drove on the beaches. I drove them in the mountains. I drove them off-road every chance I got, and I drove them on the highway. For me, the only answer I had when folks asked me why I drove such a big truck? I liked it! 

For the purpose of this blog, I'm going to discuss consumer based "Light Duty" trucks. Commercial needs for selecting a pick-up are defined by different criteria because the needs are typically a lot more specific.

Marketing is great about inventing new names for every genre and subgenre and niche. If you take a walk through your local dealership’s lot, you’ll see that vehicles are no different. So you want something between a sedan and a van, and you don’t want to drive a soccer-mom mobile. You’re looking at vehicles that are classified as “crossovers” like the Jeep Compass and Honda HR-V, and “SUV” vehicles like the GMC Terrain and the Hyundai Santa Fe, but you have no idea what the difference is. Don’t worry, some of the marketing agents don’t seem to know either!

The car buying process has certainly changed over the past 10 years with all of the information instantly available to the consumer across the internet. For the most part, your basic car buyer is going to know how much they should be paying for a vehicle and what their trade is worth BEFORE they ever set foot onto a car lot. One group that is particularly web and information savvy are the Millennials.

Millennials, in general, are the under-35 consumers. According to MaryLeigh Bliss, chief content officer at Ypulse, “Millennials are not a risk-taking generation, and the recession has majorly impacted their views of luxury and conspicuous consumption. It's not as appealing to them as it was to previous generations to own a car made to ‘show off.’”

So, just what cars are the Millennials buying? Based on 2016 report from MarketWatch, here are the top 3.