NADA and Borrell. Two powerhouses that study the automotive industry and release annual reports filled with data points revealing key trends in sales, service, parts and advertising. These insights are critical when searching for new ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your dealership marketing. 

Before jumping into highlights from each organization’s report, a quick introduction to Borrell may be in order. (You already know NADA.) Borrell employs researchers and analysts who track advertising spend in a specific industry and then deliver insights into that market’s trends.  

We reviewed 66 pages of data and culled the top trends from each industry leader’s report, matching them with dealership marketing tips – for your convenience and continued success.  

Trend: The number of dealers who own 1-5 new car dealerships continues to decline, while the number of dealers who own 6 or more continues to rise.  


Tip: With all the dealer acquisitions going on, you might want to take a look at the impact consolidation is having on your market share. Then stake out your territory, protect it, and discover new ways to get profit from it. This type of dealership marketing strategy calls for solid data and sophisticated audience targeting. Learn details in: Find More Profit – In Your Dealership Backyard.   


Trend: Even though there are fewer new car dealerships, they’re still selling about the same number of vehicles. And the average selling price has steadily climbed over the past 7 years. 

Tip: With fewer dealerships selling more cars for more money, competition is fierce. And it’s going to stay that way. That’s why dealers are taking a hard look at their digital marketing campaigns, revisiting their strategies and partnering with leaders in automotive marketing.   


Trend: New vehicle sales remain higher than ever recorded before the 2008 recession. But used vehicle sales are still feeling the impact of Cash for Clunkers, the program that removed nearly 700,000 vehicles from the roads.  

Tip: If you want to sell more, you’ve got to know more. To understand your market share situation better, you’ll want to find out:   

  • Who’s selling what types of vehicles and how many they’re selling 

  • What consumers want to buy and who wants to buy what 

  • How to target the right audiences with the right vehicles using the right messages 

Once you’ve got answers, your dealership marketing can target audiences using a strategic combination of email marketingsocial media adsdigital marketing and geofencing. Of course, that’s just for starters.  


Trend: Truck, SUV and crossover sales now outpace car sales by 2:1 – and the increased demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers is expected to continue.  

Tip: Understanding – and accepting – the new market demand reality is critical. And although you can’t change what people are buying, you can change how you’re selling, who you’re targeting, and how you’re targeting who you’re selling. Confused? 

Consider Facebook inventory ads. They automatically generate and deliver the right messages – specific makes, models and years – to the right in-market buyers. You load the inventory you want to sell; customers see the cars they want to buy.  


Trend: Used-vehicle sales by new car dealers have increased steadily over the past 4 years, and so has the average retail selling price. 

Tip: With sales and selling prices on the rise, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles deliver profitable opportunities most dealerships want to cash in on. The Facebook inventory ads mentioned above are a smart tactic, because they can also pull in videos – and 65% of car shoppers say videos help narrow down their choice. Facebook Marketplace is also popular with car buyers. 

We already talked about protecting your territory, but how about working someone else’s? With geofencing, you can target consumers who’re on their phones searching for info about vehicles while they’re on a competitor’s lot. By having a used-vehicle ad for your dealership pop up with a special promotion.   


Trend: Trade-ins on new vehicles account for just over 40% of the used vehicle inventory retailed by new car dealerships. 

Tip: Pump up trade-ins by working your service lane – 1 in 3 customers want the trade-in value on their vehicle when it’s serviced, so have it ready for them. While you’re at it, check their equity and see if they’re in a position to upgrade to a new vehicle. Give them a loaner and when they return the vehicle, present them with some no-money-down offers.   

Service into sales often requires different tactics for different audience targeting: 

  • Email marketing to target your current customer list 

  • Social media ads to offer service specials to a custom audience match list from your CRM  

  • Display ads to reach a prospects list of older model vehicle owners 

While the automotive industry has experienced dealership consolidation and things may still feel a bit rocky, NADA and Borrell report there are real opportunities. From increased selling prices and higher sales for new cars to more used car sales by new car dealers. And the smarter your dealership marketing strategy, the better the results. All you have to do is focus on the right opportunities, target the right audience and employ the right tactics. Easy, right?   


Contact us to learn more about automotive trends and the right way to keep your dealership marketing on track. 


Related Content:  

Find More Profit – In Your Dealership Backyard 

Back to Basics: Automotive Email Marketing Best Practices 

Back to Basics: Automotive Social Ads Best Practices 

4 Ways to Ramp up Dealership Digital Marketing This Summer  

3 Ways to Leverage Geofencing for Automotive 

Back to Basics: Automotive Display Ads Best Practices 

How the Auto Buyer’s Journey Has Changed – and What You Need to Know 

Deepen Customer Relationships with Service Clinics 



BORRELL 2018 Outlook: Automotive Advertising Takes a Sharp Turn 
NADA DATA 2018: Annual Financial Profile of America’s Franchised New-Car Dealerships