Expeditor Sales Creeping Back

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car dealer

Car audio expeditor sales are starting to pick up for certain expeditors.

Sales by 12 volt dealers to car dealerships have been rebounding at a slower pace than 12 volt sales directly to consumers.  But in recent weeks, some expeditors have turned a corner.

Those that offer accessories such as leather seats and moon roofs, are faring better than expeditors offering radios, rear seat video and remote start, according to dealers we polled.

Expeditor demand plummeted in March as new car sales stalled earlier in the pandemic. April new car sales were down by almost half.  In May, new car sales picked up a bit and were down 30 percent, and they are expected to decline by 25 percent in June.

Two weeks ago, was the first week Columbus Car Audio, OH saw its expeditor sales match last year’s level.  Sales had been slowly rising since the third week in April, said Owner Todd Hays.  The demand is in accessories such as moon roofs, leather seats, truck accessories and a little bit of wheels and tires, he said.

Conversely, three expeditors that deal mainly in car audio and remote start said expeditor sales were still down by around 50 percent compared to last year.

New car inventory has also been a problem for dealerships and therefore expeditors.  Many dealers don’t expect to see their full allotment of new cars until late July or August. Car inventory levels at the end of May were at about 2.6 million nationally, down 32 percent from almost 4 million vehicles in May 2019, said Cox Automotive. But it will take 60 days or more for the factories to catch up.

It is luxury brands that have sold at the highest rate, while mainstream vehicles have been slower to recover, said TD Economics. So, car makers are expected to begin offering more sales incentives to spur sales.

Joe Cardinale, President of The Auto Action Group, NJ, a leading 12 volt expeditor, anticipates dealerships will be low in stock for the next 6 to 8 weeks.  “We’ve seen demand with leather, blackout packages, bed liners and a lot of accessory sales including running boards.  Our 12 volt electronics [expeditor] business is coming back but it’s taking longer,” he said.

Osprey’s Boston Truck & Van, MA said its expediting business is “out of control.”  Sales began blowing up about three weeks ago for the shop near Boston that specializes in outfitting work vans. “Towards the end of May it started to ramp back up. At first it was drips and drabs,” said President Jason Maron.  In the Boston area some of the dealerships are short on inventory but other have plenty of vans, he said.

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