Car dealers: co-partner or competitor?

Oct 13, 2011

The pendulum swings.

Some car/truck dealers have their own in-house aftermarket-selling and installation departments that do a good business. Others have partnered with contract installers to handle the add-ons that dealers’ customers want, and together they do a good business.

Some dealers promote their brands’ aftermarket parts. Others are  more democratic and present a host of options. And then there are those dealers that don’t make the effort to promote aftermarket add-ons.

It wasn’t long ago that many new-vehicle dealers shed their in-house aftermarket  install areas in favor of using expeditor shops that had the expertise to handle any add-on from seats to sunroofs, from body kits to graphics, and PPF to winches. Some dealers, though, having seen the profits slip away to restyling contractors, have rethought the idea of keeping more of that work — and the profits — in house.

Even at next month’s SEMA Show, the annual Dealer Day, co-sponsored and promoted by the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) council, dealers are tutored by restylers on the benefits of aftermarket add-ons and, it’s hoped, partnering with restylers instead of directly competing with them.

Are new-vehicle dealers, then, your potential partner or your potential competitor?