Have you met the NEW New-Car Shopper?With more than one million additional new vehicles projected to be sold in 2013 and two months of strong sales already under our belts, economists, analysts and dealers alike are excited about what the rest of the year has in store.

“Our product has never been better,” shared Mark O’Brien, President, Roy O’Brien Ford, at this year’s NADA convention. “We’re going to have a great year, not only in 2013, but in the following year too. It’s a great time to be in the car business.”

The good news

“With consumer uncertainty of the fiscal cliff behind us, new-car sales are poised for a fourth year of consecutive growth,” stated Kelsey Mays, Industry Analyst, as part of Cars.com’s Have You Met the NEW New-Car Shopper? eBook. “By the end of 2013, we should see annual sales hit a six-year high.”

Mays referenced that young drivers in particular – a group hit hard by the recession – are set to play a large role in lifting the new-car market.

Key growth factors include an improved housing market, decreased unemployment and easier access to credit to those with average to below average scores, sentiments shared by Paul Taylor, NADA Chief Economist, during his NADA Convention address.  As a result, shoppers have the means and confidence to replace their aged vehicles with new cars.

It gets better

While the outlook nationally for 2013 is positive, some regions of the country may see even stronger growth than the national average.

“We’ve got good, solid economic conditions and stronger sales in the West, Southeast, South Atlantic, and Northeast,” said Taylor. “An improving economy is going to assist dealerships in getting back to a financially stable position.”

In reference to overcoming the economic shift that took place during the recession, Taylor stressed that, by the end of 2013, continued positive growth in the new vehicle market may provide dealers across the country with an opportunity to return to pre-recession financial conditions.

Prepare for success

In order to truly capitalize on the market this year, dealers must focus on key areas of inventory merchandising, dealership brand differentiation and online reputation management, to name a few, as part of their new-car marketing strategy.

”We’ve found that 80% of Cars.com shoppers considering purchasing a new vehicle seek out information about dealerships – not just inventory – during their shopping process,” said Nick Hummer, Director of New-Car Strategy at Cars.com.  “Shoppers are increasingly choosing a dealership based on what they see online, making it critical for dealers to manage how their store’s brand and reputation show up.”

To learn more about what makes new-car shoppers different and how to influence their decision-making process, download our free eBook “Have you met the NEW New-Car Shopper?”

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