Vehicle Inventory Low? 4 Ideas To Source and Re-Stock On The Models You Want (Without Going To Auction)

Industry News, Sales and BDC

While consumer confidence continues to rise and more positive indicators for the auto industry are revealed each week, another challenge is starting to emerge for dealerships:

…diminishing inventory. 

Since vehicle factories and auctions have been closed or suspended over the last few months, many dealers are now worried that they will not have enough inventory to sell as demand continues increasing.

According to Cox Automotive, “new-vehicle inventory is low – less than 3.3 million vehicles by last count, the lowest volume in more than a year.” This puts a significant pinch on high-demand vehicles like SUVs and trucks.

Here are a few solutions your dealership can explore to replenish your inventory immediately and cost-effectively. 

Stock Up On Used Inventory By Going Direct-To-Consumer

Used inventory is an important part of any dealership’s business, but with most dealers relying on auto auctions and trade-ins, supply has come to a screeching halt.

Dealers have calculated costs upward of $1,500 to acquire a vehicle at auction. Factors include auction fees, transportation fees, and depreciation. Not to mention you’re dependent on the inventory selection, times to buy, and delivery schedules that could impact your floor plan.

Instead, dealers should look to source vehicles directly from consumers. Here’s how:

Idea #1: Buy Back Campaigns

A lot of people are looking to sell their vehicles right now, or maybe even just get out of an intimidating payment. 

Use IHS Markit data from Oracle Data Cloud to specifically target owners of desirable model lines your dealership wants. You can even narrow down targeting to owners of Makes, certain Models, and even how long they’ve owned their vehicle.

Then, run a straight Buy Back campaign on Facebook telling consumers that you’ll offer them a great price to buy back their vehicle, and that you’ll take their vehicle even if they don’t buy their next car from you!

Idea #2: Oil Change Special

Present an irresistible oil change offer targeted at specific model line owners.

Build a Facebook Custom Audience consisting of your customers who haven’t purchased or recently, or use Oracle 3rd party data and find owners of the makes you want to show them the offer!

Use a unique price point like “$9.99” to easily track where your service business is coming from and to alert your team to inspect the vehicle while it’s on the lift. If it’s what you’re looking for, make an offer to put them in a new vehicle.

This strategy is a great way to bring in brand defectors who live in your PMA/AOR and are not currently buying from you.

Idea #3: Trade-Up Campaign

Many vehicle owners simply want to stay in the model they’re in already. 

You can run a “trade keys” campaign to allure targeted model line owners to trade their vehicle in for a new model, giving you a desired used unit that you can add to your CPO or used inventory.

Deliver ads showing your easy Trade-In calculator that they can complete from the comfort of their home, or run ads showing exactly which body style (Truck/SUV/Car) you’re looking for.

Idea #4: Advertise What You Have

While there isn’t much you can do about your OEM’s new vehicle supply, there are ways you can maximize and quickly move the inventory that you do have on your lot.

Using Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads (AIA), you can display your live, on the ground inventory to in-market shoppers. 

Look at your SRP’s and heaviest grouped models and budget a larger amount for those units that your dealership has a surplus of.

Prospect shoppers with your live inventory and then retarget browsers of your lower stock inventory to show them what you have available. 

Since customer safety is still key, be sure to explain what remote offers you have, like at-home test drives and deliveries. 


Layer your “Why Buys,” or why they should buy from your dealership and what sets you apart, into your ad copy. 

Lastly, display and double down on your OEM’s incentives to show shoppers that right now is a great time to buy!

Recap: A Targeted Facebook and Instagram Inventory Buy Back Strategy

Facebook and Instagram paired with Oracle Data are great tools to get out in front of audiences where they are spending their time right now. 

Reach users who are willing to sell their vehicles to get much needed inventory for your dealership, display oil change and trade up offers with the intention of getting desirable units, and prioritize advertising the inventory you have on the lot now. 

Shopper demand continues to grow after the effects of COVID-19. Be sure that you have the models they want, before they defect to your competitor.

If you need help using Facebook and Instagram to source and re-stock your vehicle inventory, schedule a strategy call with us here. 

Blog Author - Drew Detweiler

Written By Drew Detweiler
Drew manages inbound and outbound marketing for Dealers United. When he’s not at work, he’s probably enjoying the outdoors, fishing, or eating.

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