When I see people in the auto industry gloating as Carvana and other online retailers struggle, it makes me wonder why. Did Carvana “talk trash” about the car dealers in their marketing?
Yes, they did. Was it warranted? In some cases, yes it was. But as bad as it was, did it motivate other dealers to do better? I think, yes.
Most people just don’t like the traditional means of buying an automobile and the data shows it. The sales made by Carvana and other online car dealers show it. When I was a new and used car dealer, I embraced disrupters like Carvana. I studied them, took what I thought they did best and incorporated it into my dealership processes and business plan.
I also partnered with Carvana’s marketplace program. I was glad I did, especially in the early days of COVID when my showroom doors were forced closed by the Government. This confirmed that consumers want transparency. They want high-quality photos of cars. They want a painless, haggle-free transaction.
Carvana made me a better car dealer. Frankly, I think Carvana forced many dealers to improve to compete, which is a good thing whether they want to admit it or not.
But gloating over a competitor's trouble isn’t something anyone should do. Someday you could be the one that’s struggling.